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In late 2018, Fr. Thomas Keating died, after many years of promoting “centering prayer.” In one of his talks on prayer, Fr. Thomas quipped “Everybody wants to be transformed but nobody wants to change.” How fitting this statement is to the situation of the world today.

Unsatisfied people want transformation. Those who believe they are ugly are willing to pay for a make-over. Fat people go through so much pain to attain “fitspiration.” Even homes go through make-overs, as those who exercise now minimalism and tidying techniques can prove.

The words of Fr. Keating become even more compelling and true. Real transformation has something to do with change. Not in the physical sense, but change in what really matters. Do you become beautiful outside only to become proud inside? Do you achieve flawless perfection externally just so that you can have sweet revenge at your bashers? After becoming fit now, is it the start of contentment or just the beginning of a cycle of vain obsessions?

Lent invites us to go not only for make-over or transformation but for real change. From selfishness to generosity. From anger to forgiveness. From laziness to hard work. From sin to sanctity.

The power to real and lasting change is not from us, but from the Lord. St Paul says “he will change our lowly body to conform to his glorified body by his power!” And this is possible because we are already children of God, citizens of heaven, and because we have our Savior Jesus Christ at our side, as the first reading reminds us.

It is not wrong to desire transformation but it must be accompanied by a spiritual component. In the Transfiguration, Jesus’ change is a signal of his deepening relationship with the Father, his stronger commitment to serve other people, and his constant struggle to remain faithful to his mission. This is all that mattered to the Lord.

Be transformed, if you must. But above all, be a changed person in this Lenten season, for your lasting good and the good of the people around you.