Monday, August 5, 2013

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. It is one of the those observances so ancient that both the East and the West celebrate it on the same day.

There is a passage of Scripture that is not one of the accounts found in the Gospels (Matt 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-26) which gives us great insight into the significance of Jesus' Transfiguration.

In a brilliant section of the first volume of his theological aesthetics, Seeing the Form, Hans Urs Von Balthasar gives an amazing summary of 1 & 2 Peter, the beginning of his summary is most germane to today's feast: "As he nears death (2 Pet 1.15), Peter is zealously concerned that those who follow should not forget his witness." His witness of Christ's glory, which he "has already seen... proleptically on Tabor, where he 'clearly heard from heaven' the voice of the Father that spoke of the Son (2 Pet 1.17f). For Peter, the earlier light of prophecy has wholly entered into this light; taken in itself, the prophetic light was a groping, as it were, (1 Pet 1.11f). But seen together with vision on Tabor, the light of prophecy becomes 'all the more reliable' both for the Apostles and for the Church (2 Pet 1.19; cf. 3.2), which receives it together with the apostolic kerygma. Here is the passage in its entirety:
Therefore, I will always remind you of these things, even though you already know them and are established in the truth you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this “tent,” to stir you up by a reminder, since I know that I will soon have to put it aside, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me. I shall also make every effort to enable you always to remember these things after my departure. We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:12-19)
Jesus' Transfiguration is also the fourth of the Lumnious Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, those mysteries on our Lord's life and ministry, established by Pope St. John Paul II, to fill the gap between the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries. I challenge you to pray them today.

It is a special day for our family because on 6 August 2011 that our youngest son, Evan, was baptized by the Most Reverend John Wester, Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City in our beloved Cathedral of the Madeleine.

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