Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Transfiguration of Christ

"Today we have a votive feast that was introduced into the West by Pope Callistus III (1457) after the victory of St John Capistran over the Turks at Belgrade. In the East, where it is a summer feast of highest rank in honor of Christ the King, it was celebrated on this date already in the fifth century.

[W]e celebrate the marvel of the Lord's transfiguration, a miracle that the Fathers of the Church numbered among the greatest God worked in attestation to Christ's divinity. It was during the second half of His public ministry. Already Calvary's Cross was casting its shadow when Jesus ascended Mount Tabor one evening with His three favored disciples. Night. Jesus prays. His companions drowse away. He continues in prayer, and through the cloak of human nature the brightness of His divinity beams forth. He becomes radiant, glorified. The apostles awake to the blinding light and are witnesses to the miracle.

For us the transfiguration is, and will always remain, heaven's testimony to Christ's divinity. All the miracles of Christ served this end, to reveal the divinity of Christ. Jesus passed His life on earth as a poor, ordinary, simple Jew. But at the transfiguration, one may say, He threw off the dark mantle of humanity and revealed Himself in full divine splendor. In spirit we gaze upon Him glorified and say: 'Lord, I believe. Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Yet another truth is proclaimed in today's mystery, viz., some day we too will be glorified.

What once happened during the night on Mount Tabor happens again every time in the holy Sacrifice is offered. We may see only the simple appearances upon the altar, but with the eyes of faith we behold the glorified Christ; we see, in fact, the King of glory with His court, the saints of the Old and New Covenant. Liturgy actualizes in our very presence the sanctifying act of Christ at His transfiguration.

It is, therefore, not only Christ who becomes transfigured - He allows me to share His glory. The holy Eucharist is the sacrament of transfiguration, for it is 'the seed of glory.' The purpose of the liturgy is the divine transfiguration of the participants. [...] [T]he one great concern of the Church and the aim of all liturgy - to make the members of the Mystical Body participate ever more fully in Christ's divine glory."

-- The Church's Year of Grace by Dr Pius Parsch

To learn more about Mount Tabor, please visit this site.

1 comment:

carmelitemom said...

I love that our Father Elijah was chosen to converse with the Lord on that holy mountain.