Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On The Transfiguration

The transfiguration of our Lord puts before our eyes the glory of Christ as the Son of God in whom the Father is well pleased. Our Lord allowed his disciples to see Him in a way they never have seen before. They have been accustomed to see Jesus as a man among men. It was His will that His humanity should act as a veil to hide the splendor of His divinity. But today, in order to prepare his disciples for his coming suffering and death, he showed them a glimpse, a ray of his divinity. His face and his clothing became resplendent in light. Although but a ray, what they saw was enough to ravish his disciples with delight to the point that Peter said to the Lord, “It is good to be here!”

“Whence did this wonderful radiance come from? From Christ’s divinity. It was a flowing forth of the divinity upon the sacred humanity, a radiation of the hearth-fire of Eternal Life that ordinary was hidden in Christ but which at that hour made His sacred body shine with a marvelous splendor. It was not a borrowed light, coming from outside, but truly a reflection of that immeasurable majesty that Christ contained and kept hidden in Himself. For love of us, Jesus during His earthly existence habitually hid His divine life beneath the veil of His mortal flesh. He prevented it from overflowing in a continuous light that would have blinded our weak eyes. But at the Transfiguration, the Word gave leave to the eternal glory to project its splendor upon the humanity which He, the Word, had taken.” (B. Columba Marmion, Christ in His Mysteries, 280.)

Our Lord did not show a glimpse of his glory in order to impress his disciples. Aside from wanting to prepare the faith of his disciples for his coming passion, our Lord shows us the real holiness that he intends to impart to us. Remember how Adam and Eve were so driven by the ambition to become like gods? Their misguided ambition made them assert their own will to the detriment of the life of grace which the Lord imparted to them. They wanted to become god-like on their own. They wanted to reach such an exalted status apart from God. Just as the humanity of Christ received its splendor from the Divinity of Christ, so also, “our holiness is nothing than our resemblance to Christ Jesus: not a holiness of which we ourselves can be the first source, but one that is a flowing of Divine life into us. By the grace of Christ, this holiness has been like a light which has begun to shine within us, from the time of our baptism which inaugurated our transformation into an image of Christ. Here below, indeed, holiness is but an interior transfiguration modeled upon Christ. The Father ‘has destined us to become conformed to the image of His Son.’ (Rom. 8:29.) By our fidelity to the action of the Spirit, this image grows little by little, develops, is perfected, until we attain the Light of eternity.” (Ibid.)

This is the glorious state that awaits us because such is the glorious state of Jesus our head. His grace and glory overflows to us who are the members of His mystical Body. But what are we to do to attain this glory? The Father reveals to us: ‘Listen to him.” The words of the Father contain the whole secret of the Christian life: “Listen to him.” It has so pleased the Father that no one should come to Him except through His only begotten Son. “Ii is Jesus alone that we must listen to and follow. Let us give ourselves up to Him through faith, trust, love, humility, obedience…If our soul is closed to the noises of earth, to the tumults of the passions and of the senses, the Word Incarnate will become the Master of our soul little by little; He will make us understand that the true joys, the deepest joys, are those which are found in serving Him…” (Ibid., 284.) It is true that listening to Him will not always lead us to Tabor where it is good to be. More often, he leads us to Calvary where we would rather not go. “As long as we are here below, it is more often to Calvary that Jesus leads us – that is to say, through what is opposed to our own will, through trials, temptations…Here below, it is not the time for repose, but the time for toil, effort, struggle, patience.” (Ibid.)

“Let us remain faithful to Jesus, despite everything. He is the Son of God, equal to God the Father…His words do not pass: He is the Eternal Word. He affirms that those who ‘follow Him’ will attain to ‘the light of life.’ Happy are the souls who listen to Him, who listen to Him alone and listen to Him always, without doubting His words, without letting themselves be disturbed by the blasphemies of His enemies, without letting themselves be overcome by temptations, without letting themselves be disheartened by trials.. ‘For our present light affliction, which is for the moment, prepares us for an eternal weight of glory which is beyond all measure,’ says St. Paul. We do not know what weight of glory is reserved for us because of the least of our sufferings borne in union with Christ Jesus. (But this much we know: ) ‘God is faithful’; and in all the vicissitudes they pass through, God will infallibly guide those faithful souls to the transformation which makes them resemble His Son.” (Ibid., 285.)

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