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.

Copyright © 1998, www.byzcath.org.


Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky