Transfiguration: Bask in the Brightness

August 6th

TransfigurationDuring each 'Liturgical Year' the last feast of Our Lord we celebrate is that of His Transfiguration, a feast of great beauty and richness. (Mt 16: 1-8., Mk 9: 2-8., Lk 9: 28-36.) This feast is a source of endless writing and meditation, and is best approached in a spirit of prayer, and profound awe. Among many topics we might consider, we can reflect on this as a feast incarnation; the wonder of Jesus, true God and true man.

We see Him as God, wonderfully "wrapped in light as in a robe". The event on the mountain of Tabor is a window into the divinity of Jesus Christ, surrounded with the glory, intensely white. No earthly fuller could produce such brilliance. Jesus is God, and in His presence we worship in silence. Once before, Moses and Elias worshipped God on the mount, and in silence fell on their faces before God. Here, now however, they are speaking with Jesus. "...and they were talking with Jesus".

What were they discussing, what were they speaking about? Scripture is silent, but we may wonder. Perhaps were they speaking about the coming passion of Christ, the suffering, the trial, the cross, and the tomb? The Church celebrates the transfiguration 40 days before the feast of the Cross, as if to show the inherent link between the feasts of the glory, and the cross. If Jesus, Moses, and Elias were speaking about the coming passion, perhaps Christ is also showing something of his human nature, even as he reveals his divine nature? For a man lives in relation with others, and he has a need to put into words the events and mysteries of the past, the present, and the future. Before any important moment, do not we turn to our spouse, our family, and our friends and together seek to understand the presence of God and his will? In this way, perhaps Moses and Elias ministered unto Christ? Each had spoken to God intimately and with boldness before. Is it surprising that Christ would call upon them now as 'friends of God', friends of His, to speak of the coming Passover? The Lord acts naturally as a man, and humbly converses with his friends about the coming trial, even as his divinity is wondrously revealed to the disciples.

The union of Christ's humanity and divinity is complete and full, and as we meditate upon the feasts of the Lord's life we always benefit by focusing on this wonderfully unity in his person. Let us, as disciples might, bask in the brightness of this mystery, begging our Savior God to reveal Himself more fully to us. For what we see is beautiful and alluring. The tropar proclaims that Christ reveals His glory to his disciples. But the glory is not the divinity, nor is it the humanity, both are glorious in Him! Let the light shine upon us sinners (for the glory of humanity is marred in us by sin), that enlightened and purified through this feast, we too may shine through His generous gift of mercy.

Written by a monk of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

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Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

Scripture

February 17, 2019
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
- Matins: Luke 24:36-53 (Gospel 6)
- Liturgy: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Luke 15:11-32

Meat Fare Week
- Monday: 1 John 2:18-3:10, Mark 11:1-11
- Tuesday: 1 John 3:11-20, Mark 14:10-42
- Wednesday: 1 John 3:21-4:6, Mark 14:43-15:1
- Thursday: 1 John 4:20-5:21, Mark 15:1-15
- Friday: 2 John 1:1-13, Mark 15:22-25,33-41
- Saturday: 1 Corinthians 10:23-28, Luke 21:8,9,25-27,33-36
- All Souls Saturday: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, John 5:24-30

February 24, 2019
Sunday of the Last Judgment (Meat Fare)
- Matins: John 20:1-10 (Gospel 7)
- Liturgy: 1 Corinthians 8:8-9:2, Matthew 25:31-46

Cheese Fare Week
- Monday: 3 John 1:1-14, Luke 19:29-40; 22:7-39
- Tuesday: Jude 1-10, Luke 22:39-42, 45-23:1
- Wednesday: Joel 2:12-26, Joel 3:12-21
- Thursday: Jude 11-25, Luke 23:2-34, 44-56
- Friday: Zechariah 8:7-14, Zechariah 8:19-23
- Saturday: (Commemoration of All the Holy and God-bearing Fathers Who Shone Forth in the Ascetic Life) Romans 14:19-23, 16:25-27 (Saturday), Galatians 5:22-6:2 (Ascetics), Matthew 6:1-13 (Saturday), Matthew 11:27-30 (Ascetics)

March 3, 2019
Forgiveness Sunday (Cheesefare)
- Matins: John 20:11-18 (Gospel 8)
- Liturgy: Romans 13:11b-14:4, Matthew 6:14-21

Feasts & Fasts

February
2 - Encounter of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ with Simeon and Anna (Presentation of Our Lord Into the Temple)
3 - Sunday of Zacchaeus
10 - Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
17 - Sunday of the Prodigal Son
18 - President's Day (USA)
23 - First All-Souls Saturday
24 - Sunday of the Second Coming of Christ (Meat-Fare)

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

Join Our Community

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Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When you are praying, watch over yourself so that not only your outward man prays, but your inward one also. Though you be sinful beyond measure, still pray. Do not heed the devil's provocation, craftiness, and despair, but overcome and conquer his wiles. Remember the abyss of the Saviour's mercy and love to mankind. The devil will represent the Lord's fact to you as terrible and unmerciful, rejecting your prayer and repentance; but remember the Saviour's own words, full of every hope and boldness for us: `Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out'; and `Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden' - with sins and iniquities, and wiles and calumnies of the devil - and I will give you rest.'

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ