Friday, August 06, 2010

Transfiguration as icon of Christian Contemplation

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration. I don't have anything clever or inspiring to say necessarily, but the late Pope John Paul II did. Here are two excerpts from his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginus Mariae:

“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun” (Mt 17:2). The Gospel scene of Christ's transfiguration, in which the three Apostles Peter, James and John appear entranced by the beauty of the Redeemer, can be seen as an icon of Christian contemplation. To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us. In contemplating Christ's face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Saint Paul's words can then be applied to us: “Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2Cor 3:18).

The mystery of light par excellence is the Transfiguration, traditionally believed to have taken place on Mount Tabor. The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ as the Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with him to the joy of the Resurrection and a life transfigured by the Holy Spirit.
The best part I think is where he calls the Transfiguration "an icon of Christian contemplation". The chosen apostles truly had a great revelation of Christ's nature as they beheld him. Also, on His left and right were Moses, the law giver representing how the Law points to Christ, and Elijah, the prophet showing how all the prophecies pointed to Jesus.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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