Transfiguration: Bask in the Brightness

August 6th

TransfigurationDuring each 'Liturgical Year' the last feast of Our Lord we celebrate is that of His Transfiguration, a feast of great beauty and richness. (Mt 16: 1-8., Mk 9: 2-8., Lk 9: 28-36.) This feast is a source of endless writing and meditation, and is best approached in a spirit of prayer, and profound awe. Among many topics we might consider, we can reflect on this as a feast incarnation; the wonder of Jesus, true God and true man.

We see Him as God, wonderfully "wrapped in light as in a robe". The event on the mountain of Tabor is a window into the divinity of Jesus Christ, surrounded with the glory, intensely white. No earthly fuller could produce such brilliance. Jesus is God, and in His presence we worship in silence. Once before, Moses and Elias worshipped God on the mount, and in silence fell on their faces before God. Here, now however, they are speaking with Jesus. "...and they were talking with Jesus".

What were they discussing, what were they speaking about? Scripture is silent, but we may wonder. Perhaps were they speaking about the coming passion of Christ, the suffering, the trial, the cross, and the tomb? The Church celebrates the transfiguration 40 days before the feast of the Cross, as if to show the inherent link between the feasts of the glory, and the cross. If Jesus, Moses, and Elias were speaking about the coming passion, perhaps Christ is also showing something of his human nature, even as he reveals his divine nature? For a man lives in relation with others, and he has a need to put into words the events and mysteries of the past, the present, and the future. Before any important moment, do not we turn to our spouse, our family, and our friends and together seek to understand the presence of God and his will? In this way, perhaps Moses and Elias ministered unto Christ? Each had spoken to God intimately and with boldness before. Is it surprising that Christ would call upon them now as 'friends of God', friends of His, to speak of the coming Passover? The Lord acts naturally as a man, and humbly converses with his friends about the coming trial, even as his divinity is wondrously revealed to the disciples.

The union of Christ's humanity and divinity is complete and full, and as we meditate upon the feasts of the Lord's life we always benefit by focusing on this wonderfully unity in his person. Let us, as disciples might, bask in the brightness of this mystery, begging our Savior God to reveal Himself more fully to us. For what we see is beautiful and alluring. The tropar proclaims that Christ reveals His glory to his disciples. But the glory is not the divinity, nor is it the humanity, both are glorious in Him! Let the light shine upon us sinners (for the glory of humanity is marred in us by sin), that enlightened and purified through this feast, we too may shine through His generous gift of mercy.

Written by a monk of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

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Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Scripture

August 4, 2019
Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: John 20:11-18 (Gospel 8)
- Liturgy: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 14:14-22

Ninth Week After Pentecost
- Monday: 1 Corinthians 11:31-12:6, Matthew 18:7-11
- Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Matthew 18:18-22; 19:1, 2, 13-15

August 6
The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ
- Vespers: Exodus 24:12-18, Exodus 33:11-23; 34:4-6, 8, 1 Kings 19:3-9,11-13, 15,16
- Matins: Luke 9:28-36
- Liturgy: 2 Peter 1:10-19, Matthew 17:1-9

- Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 13.4-14:5, Matthew 20:1-16
- Thursday: 1 Corinthians 14:6-19, Matthew 20:17-28
- Friday: 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, Matthew 21:12-14, 17-20
- Saturday: Romans 14:6-9, Mathew 15:32-39

August 11, 2019
Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday After Transfiguration
- Matins: John 20:19-31 (Gospel 9)
- Liturgy: 1 Corinthians 3:9-17, Matthew 14:22-34

Tenth Week After Pentecost
- Monday: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, Matthew 21:18-22
- Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 15:29-38, Matthew 21:23-27
- Wednesday: 1 Corinthians 16:4-12, Matthew 21:28-32
- Thursday: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7, Matthew 21:43-46

August 15
The Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary
- Vespers: Genesis 28:10-17, Ezekiel 43:27-44:4, Proverbs 9:1-11
- Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56,
- Liturgy: Philippians 2:5-11, Luke 10:38-42; 11:27,28

- Friday: 2 Corinthians 1:12-20, Matthew 22:23-33
- Saturday: Romans 15:30-33, Matthew 17:24-18:4

August 18, 2019
Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
- Matins: John 21:1-14 (Gospel 10)
- Liturgy: 1 Corinthians 4:9-16, Matthew 17:14-23

Feasts & Fasts

August
1-14 Dormition Fast
6 Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
15 The Dormition of our Most Holy Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary
29 Beheading of St. John the Baptist

Please pray!

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword...." (Hebrews 11:37a)

Please lift up in prayer all those who are persecuted and deprived of liberty, everywhere in the world. Please especially remember the peoples of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Niger - the whole Middle East and Africa - who are literal martyrs for Christ. Also the peoples of Ukraine. They are our brothers, for all are one in Christ.

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Dormition

O Mother of God, in giving birth you preserved virginity; * and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world. * You are the Mother of Life and have been transferred to life, * and through your prayers you deliver our souls from death. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Neither the tomb nor death could detain the Mother of God, * who is unsleeping in her prayers and our unfailing hope in her intercession; * for He Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb, * transferred to Life the Mother of Life. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa