Wednesday, August 6, 2008

August 6: The Transfiguration of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to the Preaching of St. Matthew:

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead." (RSV)
There is, of course, much to be said about the event which this feast celebrates. If I have time in the next couple of days, I would like to consider it under the subtitle, "The original hermeneutic of (dis)continuity". Today, however, I only have time to share something that comes from RC priest Fr. Dwight Longenecker, up the road from me a little way in Greenville, South Carolina. For Fr. Dwight, the Transfiguration is about "seeing things as they really are".

The Feast of the Transfiguration

Many, if not all, priests have had experiences such as Fr. Dwight describes. How could we not? A colleague of mine, a fellow priest in the ACCA, relates that once when he was celebrating the Qurbana with only a sub-deacon physically present, the sub-deacon kept moving nearer and nearer the altar as the liturgy progressed. When the sub-deacon finally ended up standing beside the priest at the altar, Father turned to the sub-deacon and said, "It's getting crowded in here, isn't it?" "Yes," said the sub-deacon, "yes, it is." The sub-deacon is now also a priest, and he corroborates this account.

Whether we experience their presence or not, we would do well to always remember that whenever we offer the Most Holy Sacrifice (or, for that matter, the daily prayers of the divine offices), all the angels and saints celebrate with us: or, perhaps, better, we celebrate with them. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are participating in the heavenly liturgy which is ever offered by our Lord (who is both the offerer and the offering) before the heavenly Throne of the Most High Father. To this Thrice-Blessed + Trinity, One God, be all glory and honor and worship, in both worlds unto the Aeon of aeons! Amen!


Ttony said...

Beautifully put, Fr Greg.

Adoro te Devote said...

It is beautiful, Father.

I've long known that angels and Saints are present, but a few years ago, at the Vigil Mass for All Saints' Day, as the liturgy progressed the church "felt" full. I had space all around me, and many pews were empty...yet just the same, the church was FULL! Beyond words. And very moving. I can't imagine what it must be like at the altar.