A Mountaintop Experience

It was Thursday July 3, 2014. I was lying in a hospital bed in Durham, NC. One day earlier I had been taken to the emergency room because I had suddenly gone blind. This moment was to become a mountaintop experience for me. Please read more to find out why and discover what it has to do with you.

I arrived at the hospital emergency entrance on Wednesday July 2nd around 9pm. After an hour or so in triage, the balance of the night was filled with tests. It was a mysteriously eerie feeling being pushed around the halls of the hospital in a wheelchair, all the while unable to see anyone or anything. Countless voices spoke to me as they checked me in and out of each new procedure and test. I spent hours in a MRI machine that I couldn’t see.

The next morning the doctors were still perplexed by my blindness. Although they had yet to determine the cause of my blindness, the tests revealed that my optic nerve was severely damaged. The doctors informed me that they did not think I would ever be able to see again. To a non-believer, this may have come as tragic and frightening news. For me it was a blessing of great magnitude. Allow me to explain.

As I laid in the hospital bed, exhausted from the previous night’s tests, I had a sudden realization. The loss of my vision had removed all worldly distractions. Although there were others in the room with me, including my wife, for a period of time I felt as if I was having a mountain top experience with no one there except Jesus and me. I was seeing Jesus more clearly than I had ever seen Him before. At that exact moment I prayed a prayer, that to this day, still astonishes me. I prayed, “Jesus, I have never seen you as clearly as I do now, Lord, please don’t give me my vision back. I want to remain here with you forever.”

As I prayed my prayer, it occurred to me this was a transfiguration-like moment. The Bible says a cloud overshadowed the apostles and they found themselves alone with Jesus. Similarly, I was clouded in blindness, but I was seeing Jesus in a way that I had never experienced before. Did I actually see Him? No. It is more accurate to say, I experienced Him. I experienced a closeness to Him. He felt present to me in the darkness.

In Matthew 17:1-9 we read about The Transfiguration of Jesus. Peter, James, and John had a mountaintop experience with Jesus. Peter wanted to build tents and stay there. Similarly, I wanted the closeness I was feeling in my blindness to last forever. At first, Peter missed the point of the encounter. He didn’t yet understand that this was a gift meant to sustain them through future difficulties. Jesus had more for them to do. They had to come down from the mountain.

I believe that God gives all Christians mountain-top experiences. These encounters can happen in the seemingly mundane aspects of everyday life. These small glimpses of Heaven are meant to sustain us on our journey. Too often these encounters are just called coincidences. Some people refer to them as God-incidences. A friend of mine calls them “pings” from the Holy Spirit. I prefer to think of them as personal transfiguration moments. They are usually brief and fleeting. These incidents are powerful, and joy-filled. Just like with the apostles, we cannot “build a tent” and remain in these moments. There is more work to be done in God’s Kingdom.

Like Peter, we often fail to understand these moments for what they are. They are gifts from God. Sometimes we have so much clutter, noise, and visual distractions, that we miss the opportunity to see God in these encounters. Like with Elijah in 1 King 19:12, God frequently speaks to us in silence. Are we tuned in to hear Him?

By God’s grace, and good medical care, I have regained much of my sight. Now, my vision fluctuates. Sometimes I see better than other times. However, my encounter with God in my blindness has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. It’s lasting impact has sustained me through many difficulties and trying times. I believe God granted me my transfiguration-like moment to sustain me in the work He has called me to do. So now, broken by sin, wounded by my neurological illness, and with damaged vision, I strive to serve the Lord.

Have you had your own transfiguration-like experience? Has Jesus made Himself more apparent to you in some unique way? Have you encountered Jesus in nature or some ordinary daily aspect of life? Have you ever just wanted to lie at His feet or curl up in His arms, safe and away from the world? Has He shown you that there is still more work to be done?

Just prior to the Transfiguration, Jesus told His disciples that He had to die. At the Transfiguration, Jesus granted the three disciples a mini glimpse of Heaven. He gave them a glimpse of what was to come. Through His Transfiguration, He gave them a glimpse of His glory. Jesus knew that they had hard times ahead. He gave them hope to sustain them during their trials.

Jesus had more work for the apostles to do. He has work for all of us to do too. Jesus had to endure His cross before He received His crown. We will encounter many challenges, heartaches, and difficulties. We all have our own cross to carry. The life of a Christian is not easy. Following in Christ’s footsteps is not easy. Submitting our will to God’s will is not easy.

God grants us glimpses of glory to strengthen us. We must be careful not to miss these encounters when they happen. If you are moved to do so, please tell us about your mountaintop experience in the comment section below.

Heavenly Father, please grant me many more mountaintop experiences. Help me never to miss these spiritual encounters when they happen. Help me to stay alert to your presence in everyday situations. Lord, as much as I would like to build a tent next to you or curl up and rest in your arms, give me the courage to go forth in this broken world, to tell others about the good news of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen! 


As always, I love to hear from you. You can email by clicking here. To share your thoughts with other readers, please use the comment section below.

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Brian Pusateri
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  1. Dennis Lobmeyer on August 11, 2023 at 7:51 am

    Even though I know your story from meeting you in Savannah, your trevails give me confidence to ride through my own issues. God is good, and we only need to listen.
    Blessings to you Brother.
    De Colores

    • Brian Pusateri on August 11, 2023 at 7:57 am


      Thank you for your post. May God’s blessing be with you. De Colores!


  2. Joseph B Galloway on August 9, 2023 at 9:19 am

    I love hearing your story. It’s always a good nudge to reflect on my encounters with Christ, two of which are my go-to’s when I worry about the future. One was during my Cursillo weekend while visiting the Tabernacle. The other was while traveling with you and our visit to the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. How blessed am I to have had those encounters! Why do I worry? Oh ye of little faith.

    • Brian Pusateri on August 11, 2023 at 7:58 am


      Thanks for your post Joe and thanks for your non-stop support of Broken Door Ministries!


  3. Bill Hartley on August 9, 2023 at 6:17 am

    Hey Brian…wow…that was incredible sharing you did this week…it took me back to an experience I had in January 1997. I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive marital relationship that was nearing its end. I had attended one meeting of a support group for separated and divorced Catholics and I did not know where I was going and was scared. At the same time, I had coordinated a school trip to Washington, D.C. to witness the Inauguration of President Clinton for his second term. The pace of touring and keeping up with fourteen of my kids kept me from spending much time dwelling on the sorry state of my personal life, much less that my relationship with Christ was at an all-time low. We were in Arlington Cemetery atop the hill looking out at the panaromic view of the city, huddled together due to the severe winter cold. As my kids and the tour guide headed back down the hill to the warm bus, I stayed behind for a quiet moment to myself. I said a quiet prayer and suddenly a warm feeling came over me and I felt a sense of peace and quiet and I know I heard in my head and heart a voice telling me that all would be well. When I got to the peace I was calm and in a good place…within a year I was out of the marriage and starting a new life with my soulmate who I had met in the support group. After my annulment was finalized, we married in the Church and have been faithful to Christ and one another for over 23 years. Bill

    • Brian Pusateri on August 11, 2023 at 7:59 am


      Thank your for the courage to share your story. May God continue to bless you in all that you do.


  4. Richardine Coleman on August 8, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    Brian, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to share this but after reading your Mountain Top experience I have to tell you about mine. Not too long ago I was looking at a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which I have seen numerous times throughout my life. I was Baptized Catholic, raised and educated Catholic from Kindergarten through Nursing School but now I am a sinner and asking Jesus for the strength to help me to come back to Him. When I looked at that picture I felt an overwhelming surge in my heart which has given me the hope and faith and belief to know that the love and graces from His Sacred Heart are still waiting there for me to come back to Him.

    • Brian Pusateri on August 11, 2023 at 8:02 am


      Your post made me think of one of the lyrics from the song Come Back To Me. Come back to me with all your heart. Don’t let fear keep us apart. Thanks for sharing your story!


  5. Bob Davis on August 8, 2023 at 9:22 am


    Thank you for a wonderful witness! A phrase comes to mind: “What the blind man saw”. I’m afraid you may have opened the flood gates for people to share their own stories.

    Here is an excerpt from one of the Faith and Photography reflections that you and others helped inspire me to write.


    A lot of times I, like many, have found myself looking at faith as a quid-pro-quo, a this-for-that scenario. But faithdoesn’t mean you get what you think you want even if you do something, or give something up for it. Faith is believing that God is good and loving, despite any real or perceived suffering. Faith means trusting that God will work all things for our good in the end. We may just not see the complete picture in this life. I say this, but there was one time I needed to be shown something.

    Hard to believe it’s been 3 years since this happened. I go in a lot of walks and take a lot of photos. My favorite picture I’ve taken is that of a Luna moth. I know that is saying a lot, considering how many pictures I share, but it was a blessing, and quite unexpected. It was something I needed to see! It was also quite improbable considering Luna moths only last maybe 10 to 14 days as adult moths. I barely saw it at all because it was covered by the flip side of the leaf it was hanging onto with only the wing tips sticking out. I just noticed the different green in the distance, and so I was curious, approached it, and turned the leaf up to look. It was quite literally, to me, an answered prayer!

    It was a dark time in the world (it kind of still is) and I was feeling all of it, as I know most everyone else was as well. So, before I started that walk I presumed to ask God to show me something. And this happened! To me it was a lesson that even when things seem dark (or actually are) that the light is still there. You might have to look for it. You might just have to turn over a new leaf to see it!

    Bob Davis

    • Brian Pusateri on August 11, 2023 at 8:03 am


      You have a keen eye and great photographic skills. More importantly you use those skills to grow God’s Kingdom. Thank you!!


  6. Peggy on August 8, 2023 at 9:11 am

    When I was a little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, I went to Sunday Mass with my older sister one very warm spring morning. Since I was too young to receive Communion, I stayed in the pew. While my sister went up to receive our Lord, I passed out from the heat. What I saw was Jesus passing out Communion to the faithful up at the altar. No one ever had to convince me that the Communion was anything other than the Body of our Lord Himself. I knew it from that time forward.

  7. Frank Lofurno on August 8, 2023 at 8:02 am

    Brian, before I got to your request to share our experience with you, that thought passed through my mind. So, here is what your reflection triggered for me. It happened on a silent retreat weekend at least 30 years ago. I was sitting in the chapel by myself. I am not even sure what I was thinking about. I was just sitting in Christ’s presence in the tabernacle when I was overcome with joy when it was revealed to me the reality of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. I now say that I do not believe in His presence (which is an act of faith), I KNOW He is present in the Eucharist. I remember thinking that memories fade over time, so I made an effort to consciously remember this forever. Which I have done. I still feel a sense of joy each time I recall this amazing gift from God.

    • Brian Pusateri on August 11, 2023 at 8:05 am


      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with all of us. May God grant you many more mountaintop experiences.


  8. Paul Cronin on August 8, 2023 at 7:36 am

    Brian – thank you for sharing this experience with us. I remember when this happened to you and how much we prayed for you.

    My mountaintop experience happened in 1987 when I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome after receiving a flu vaccine. I was hospitalized because the doctors were unable to initially confirm a diagnosis. During a routine CAT scan I had a severe allergic reaction to the iodine dye that had been injected into me and my heart stopped. Thankfully my doctor was there and I remember hearing him say my blood pressure was 40/0 before I passed out. When I woke up after they restarted my heart I remember feeling a tremendous sense of peace that God had given me a second chance at life.

    • Brian Pusateri on August 11, 2023 at 8:08 am


      Thank God that you recovered from your allergic reaction. You have joyfully shared your musical talent with so many people since then. May God always be near to you.


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