Did I experience Transfiguration? (and other matters) (Warning: Wall of Text :P)

My original title was going to be “Saints, Transfiguration, Total Sanctification before physical death (before Purgatory). Faith+Protestant Shenanigans” but this is too long :thumbsup: Apologies also for a long series of posts. Wanted to get this off my chest.

I come from a protestant background where the philosophy is “Even if you’re saved you’re going to be a sinner till the day that you die”. I bought into that but have recently been heavily rebuked.

I was talking to the Priest at my local Catholic Church and he mentioned that the Saints experienced transfiguration during their time on earth. I was wondering about the implications about this and where I can learn more information/details?

Does this mean that the saints got to a point where they were so full of faith, love, the Holy spirit etc, that they could resist all temptation and simply became incapable of sinning?
“Resist the Devil and he will flee from you” comes to mind although I forget where that comes from and I may be misquoting it.

My understanding is that salvation in the catholic church is perceived as a journey, not an instantaneous event. With sanctification being tied up with justification. So is it fair to say that the saints managed to arrive at “heaven on earth” because before they even died, they successfully made it to the end of their sanctification journey?

(And was Jesus capable of sinning? He went through all the temptations… but this is a side question)

Also, one last thing. Is faith a one-off thing? Or something that grows with prayer and devotion? Because I find in the protestant church everything is very “absolute”: Either you have the holy spirit or you don’t, you have faith or you don’t, you are saved or you are not saved. Either you are Fully justified and sanctified or you’re a scum-of-the-earth dirty sinner. I’ve tried to buy this for so long but I just can’t any more because it doesn’t match up with my experience at all and the cognitive dissonance is getting to me. (and if I’m sanctified, why the heck do I still sin??? It honestly seems like more of a sliding scale. I know I sin LESS than I used to, but I haven’t stopped sinning completely…)

My experience seems to be more that there are days and moments when I feel much more “full of love” and “full of the spirit”. Sometimes it feels like I’m Holy, protected, sinless, completely loving and humble, and staring God/Truth itself in the face, the words I’m speaking to the people around me feel like my words, and they make sense, but at the same time they don’t feel like my words at all, it feels like God is speaking through me. I know that we have to test the spirits and I always encourage who I’m talking to to do this, and I’m always careful not to overstep what I know to be true. I will be gently but effectively rebuking or leading the person I’m speaking with towards Christ. Is this prophecy?
At these times the gospel makes complete sense and people just want to sit and talk with me and listen to what I’m saying. In such moments people are attracted to me, but I also humbly realize that it’s not me they’re attracted to: it’s God and his holy spirit within me! :eek: :slight_smile: In these moments I feel as if I’m serving god with all of my mind and my heart, and this overflows to the people around me. I am free of pride and just amazed at Gods grace, amazed at the ultimate expression of love he demonstrated on the cross. I’m full to the top with an overflowing faith and love and I am “Radiating godliness” (someone has actually, honestly said this to me before), and it’s absolutely wonderful, the only word that I know which would come close to describing it would be “heaven”, although I would be careful to describe it like this.

But I have a relativist background, and so most of the time I’m fighting against sin/the devil and my mind and heart are FULL of doubts about what I’m believing. This simply doesn’t match up with the idea that the protestants are pushing at me that “Just have faith in Christ and you will be saved”. Well, how the heck do I know if I have faith??? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t! Sometimes I have a little bit of faith, sometimes I have a lot of faith :slight_smile: (I would love to have a faith that moves mountains one day). Some times I’m sharing the love of God and witnessing moments of conversion written all over the face of whoever I’m talking to, some times I’m being grabbed by the devil and dragged down into darkness to commit lust, fornication, adultery, theft, lying etc etc etc

Right now, as well as faith I actually pray for doubt, because my experiences tell me that my doubts have led to rapid growth in faith. Doubts are important too! Can’t just ignore them. And I don’t just want more faith, I want a RIGHT faith, with correct doctrine. I don’t want to dishonour our lord by spreading heresy. So far this mindset has lead me to the Catholic church, which is simultaneously scary and exciting for me because my background has been so anti-catholic for so long.

Ok summary questions:

  1. Is faith something that comes and goes? and how does it relate to sanctification + justification? if you have 50% faith would it follow that you have 50% sanctification and 50% justification? If you then died, would you have to make up the remaining 50% in purgatory?

  2. **Have I experience transfiguration? **I can remember 4 occasions (2 per post):
    [LIST]
    *]My initial “Born again” conversion experience. It’s a bit embarrassing to go into the details, but I was baptized a Catholic when I was ten and only properly became a Christian at 19. My conversion was similar to Saul/Paul on the road to Damascus. Very blinding. (To be brutally honest I ended up in a mental hospital because it was such a character change for me and my family was worried).
    However I do remember feeling exactly as I described above, and all the doctors + people around me being very humbled by the stuff I was saying. (They all thought I was crazy and lets face it, I was :stuck_out_tongue: but I can still remember just how amazed they were at the stuff I was talking about.)

*]One time after a university Christian conference, I came home ready to “sleep off” the conference-high, only for my flatmate to barge in and announce that he and 9 other people are about to take LSD and do I want to join in? I said no way, but that I would supervise the trip.
For the whole night, I was full of the love I described above. All I wanted to do was demonstrate the love of God and keeping them safe in every way I could. In retrospect, God’s hand really truly must have been at work that night through me because there is NO WAY I could have managed an acid trip with 9 people by myself. So many times everyone was about to freak out (which is fatal on an acid trip), or someone was about to get run over by a bus or something was about to go wrong, but I was able to sense it and come to the rescue.
At the end of the night my flatmate came to me with all his questions, somehow I had all the answers (except for a few catholic doctrines), and after 3 hours of discussion he converted! (although he’s still living an incredibly sinful lifestyle :frowning: it really sucks)
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[list]
*]On another Christian camp where I was a leader. I remember having an 8 hour conversation with a girl 4 years older than me. She asks really good questions, and thinks very critically about what she believes and what others believe, but she is agnostic/athiest/hedonist.
Anyway, the conversation started with a silly question (something about underpants), but I kept coming back to the gospel regardless. As the conversation continued the questions got deeper and more honest, and her objections became deeper and more honest, and she started opening up and revealing truths. Like the fact that she’s not comfortable with her current worldview because it has no hope at all.
As the conversation continued, I could see a distinct change on her face. At first she was asking questions from a position of cynicism (“haha! I’ll ask this to show how ridiculous it is that they have faith”). Then she was asking questions from a position of skepticism (“hey, maybe there’s some truth to what he’s talking about”). Finally, there was a moment where she was asking questions and she just had a look of joy written all over her face (“wait, this actually makes sense. I want to know more!!!”)
This conversation was so intense that it actually had spectators. This was the one where a christian friend of mine said “Look at this guy: Doesn’t he just radiate Godliness?”. For most of the conversation I felt full of love, faith, hope, holy spirit. As I looked at this girl and the other people around us, all I could see were people who were made in the image of God and were absolutely beautiful. It was wonderful. And when she started to be full of joy it was contagious. Everyone in the room was so happy :stuck_out_tongue: (makes me think of a bible verse, “every time a soul is saved all the angels and saints in heaven rejoice!” but I forget where this is/if it’s legit).
Unfortunately she has since fallen away and seems even more closed off to the gospel than before :frowning: I have actually cried about this and been praying about it continuously since I found out, because I can see what a sad sinful state she is in, but she can’t see it or refuses to see it… and that really hurts, especially when compared to the memory of the joy I saw on her face that night. If that’s how it feels for me, imagine how it feels for God!

*]Finally, on that same camp, the night before. I shared my full testimony with my bible study group. It was the most perfect/honest/concise/god-glorifying sharing of my testimony I had ever done (Usually I miss the point and the story becomes too much about me, or I exaggerate certain things, leave out some things which are relevant or leave in some things which aren’t). Right after I shared it a profound sense of humility overcame me and things started happening like in a dream: I was pulled up to the front of the hall by one of the girls in the group and a whole bunch of other girls joined us and we just started singing praise and worship songs. I had some strange (potentially heretical) and profound thoughts as I realized that these songs we were singing about God, actually apply to each other as well in many cases (provided that we are all in a state of perfection/full sanctification) because we all bear the image of God. It honestly felt like we were worshiping each other AND God at the same time. This sounds like heresy to me so I’d love to hear a Catholic opinion about what was going on, but my experience tells me it was something profound.
At first it felt like they were singing worship songs TO ME because they were all smiling at me and facing towards me as if I was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen. They all were sitting very close and one of them was trying to touch me/rub legs with me. So I was a little intellectually uncomfortable because I don’t want to be the object of idolatry, however I felt “full of the spirit” and so it sort of made sense! If God was fully and completely dwelling within my soul in this moment, and these girls were singing praise songs to God while staring at me. haha I’m not trying to say I’m God… but was this Transfiguration??? Because I had no pride and felt only humilty and godliness and holiness. I had no guilt, sin was far far away… I had a similar experience during group prayer. I realised we were praying to both each other and God, because we all heard each others prayers, and if they are addressed to God they are from the heart… And reflect whether that heart is singing or weeping. We all get to hear it, and we all get to build each other up after. Imagine someone full of the spirit listening to these prayers and being moved to action. Amazing stuff.
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:hmmm:

Er … you obviously feel things very deeply. Your post is a bit strange in places. I don’t think mere mortals experience Transfiguration, fwiw, but of course God works through us.

Maybe you have a strong personality and people find you compelling. I don’t know.

If you did, you wouldn’t have to ask.

Transfiguration involves the whole human body and would be visible to others.

IMNAAHO.

ICXC NIKA.

thanks for the responses. It all seems strange to me as well (although in the heat of the moment “everything makes sense”)

GEddie, when you say transfiguration would be visible to others, that’s why I include what my friend said: “Look at this guy: Doesn’t he just radiate Godliness?”
He could have said this for any number of reasons (eg Jealousy that I was teaching/rebuking so effectively at the time) but honestly when I looked at him it seemed to be awe and amazement that prompted him to say such a thing.
Although, it’s not like I had rays of light projecting from my face and fingers :stuck_out_tongue: It was a very subtle, yet intense and profound experience. And as I mentioned, when I looked around the room, I could see that everyone was beautiful and made in the image of God, so all I really could feel was love for them :slight_smile: In their own way everyone in the room was kinda radiating Godliness, except that I could also identify how we were broken. For example the girl I was talking to: the flaws in her worldview were just so obvious to me and I was able to instantly, lovingly rebuke her but doing it gently as well, so as not to drive her away but instead have her grow in trust and open up more and more. ahh I can talk and talk and talk about this cause it is such a strong memory but I will stop.

who knows? maybe I’m just mentally unstable XD But really these are amazing memories which I cherish either way because when things feel dark I can remember both the love of Christ on the Cross and what that looks like when the holy spirit works through someones soul today :slight_smile: This helps my faith

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