taking a breather for Transfiguration

When Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ our God, Thou didst show Thy glory to Thy disciples as far as they could bear it. Let Thy everlasting light illumine also us sinners through the intercessions of the Mother of God. Giver of Light, glory to Thee. (Troparion of the Transfiguration – Tone 7)

Returning from near a week south of the border managed to take a day off for the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord. It is amazing how refreshing it can be to take a day off from time to time at the celebration of a feast. This feast presents us with a foretaste of the coming Kingdom as Christ is Transfigured before three of his most elevated Apostles. They are given this taste of the Kingdom, according to many of the Church Fathers, to give them strength and comfort in the coming period of His Passion. “He is transfigured to manifest the glory of the cross, to console Peter and the others in their dread of the Passion and to bring their minds to elevated understanding. Those who went up with him did not hold their peace but were destined to speak of the glory which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem—of his Passion and the glory of the cross.” (Chrysostom – Homily on the Gospel of Matthew).

In addition to the taste of the future Kingdom we again (as at the Baptism of Christ) have a direct word from God indicating Christ’s authority and place as the Son of God. “A voice from the cloud said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I am manifested through his preaching. I am glorified through his humility. So listen to him without hesitation. He is the truth and the life.31 He is my strength and wisdom. “Listen to him” whom the mysteries of the law foreshadowed, of whom the mouths of the prophets sang. “Listen to him” who by his blood redeemed the world, who binds the devil32 and seizes his vessels, who breaks the debt of sin and the bondage of iniquity. “Listen to him” who opens the way to heaven and by the pain of the cross prepares for you the steps of ascent into his kingdom.” (Leo the Great, Sermon)

So presented with the divine light of the Kingdom as both a promise and a destination we have the pattern from our Lord to focus our life on the task of Theosis and dedicating ourselves to His commandments. In his sermon our Priest raised the point that we should look at the Transfiguration as an example that we should focus on transfiguring our souls and ensuring our Orthodoxy is more than ritual.

I am thankful that I was able to take this day away from the hustle and bustle of work, and dedicate it to the Lord. Certainly a spiritual uplift from the service and time spent afterwards with good people sharing the joy of the feast together. Glory To God!

17 And aafter six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was ctransfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then danswered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: eif thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, fa bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, gThis is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hhear ye him. 6 And when the disciples iheard it, they kfell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and ltouched them, and said, Arise, and mbe not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, oJesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that pElias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That pElias is come already, and they knew him not, but rhave done unto him whatsoever they slisted. Likewise shall also tthe Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.