Lent is with us now, an invitation to prayer, noticing what we hope for, and what God offers us day by day. And maybe we simplify our calendar, open the door to helping people, take time with the scripture or the blessing of quiet where we can find it. But mainly it’s a time to simply come to know Jesus, looking toward his humanity and closeness to us, tasting a connection that can surprise our dull hearts.

So it is that Jesus in the desert grips our attention, where his mission is sifted and shaped with real choices for God’s way over easier ways of miracles and self-concern. And then this week comes an invitation to a more intimate connection, a mountain walk, where the air clears and our brother Jesus is transfigured there. It is felt almost as a new relationship, directed exactly toward us who follow, at first impossibly beyond the human, and yet full of consolation and possibility.

The Beloved of God lives in immediate friendship with the saints, the prophets and liberators of history. And he is totally present to us. We see who this is, his radiance, such freedom. And still he is this human one, accessible, “only Jesus.”

What is it now to know and love him, directly, letting go of other efforts! I invite him into my life, where he wants to be, where I am most at a loss, most in need.

—Fr. Richard Bollman, S.J., a Jesuit of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently engaged in pastoral ministries in Cincinnati and at the Jesuit Center in Milford, OH.