Austin Cooper, OMI, an Australian theologian, maintains that the essence of Christian spirituality is found in the Transfiguration of Jesus:
Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone.
There in their presence he was transfigured. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light (Matthew 17).
Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him – they let themselves be taken by the Lord Jesus.
They don’t choose the encounter. They don’t will the experience.
Rather, they willingly – freely – allow themselves to be attracted by Jesus.
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) has a very harmonious view of our God-given freedom:
The word will for Thomas does not first connote a power to dominate things but a willingness to be attracted by them (Timothy McDermott, Summa Theologie: A Concise Translation, xli).
We are alerted to something most important.
Our humanity is deepened when we let our freedom be engaged by the radiance and beauty of Christ.
Freedom is perfected – not threatened – by truth, love and beauty.
We, too, allow ourselves to be taken by Jesus – alone with him on the mountain.