On August 6th, the Church celebrated the mystery of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ upon Mount Tabor. Jesus had taken the “inner circle” of His disciples, Peter, James and John, up the mountain, and there “He was transfigured before them. And His clothes became dazzlingly white, such as no fuller on earth could make them.” By doing this, Jesus revealed Himself in His Divine Glory. Why would He do this? Pope St. Leo the Great (d. 461 A.D.) once said: “The primary purpose of this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of Christ’s disciples; the greatness of his hidden glory was revealed to them to prevent their faith being shaken by the self-abasement of the sufferings he was voluntarily to undergo.” It was precisely to prepare them for the scandal of the Cross – to keep them from being utterly shaken in their faith. There are times in our lives that we need to reflect back on this mystery, and on times in our own lives in which we have experienced the presence of God, this is very helpful during those times when things get rough and the path of following Christ becomes more difficult.
The chosen three disciples saw Jesus in conversation with Moses (the Lawgiver) and Elijah (the greatest of the prophets) about the passion and death that He was to undergo. Then Peter made his generous offer of service to build the three tabernacles – he wanted to stay there, to continue enjoying this wonderful experience! Wouldn’t we want to do the same? It is important for each of us to see the Transfiguration as relating to our own lives of prayer: we each need times of special intimacy with Our Lord Jesus. That is why it is so important for us, as members of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy, to spend time in quiet, meditative prayer each day (with either the rosary or Lectio Divina), and to make our hour of prayer each week before the Blessed Sacrament! But then we are meant to take the fruits of our prayer and meditation back out into the world, to share them with our family, friends, and with those who God brings into our life each day – we must not let the light of our faith be kept under a bushel basket!
A dark cloud (representing the Holy Spirit) overshadows them, and the voice of the Father is heard: “This is My Son, My Chosen One. Listen to Him!” St. Ambrose of Milan (d. 397 A.D.) says “It is a cloud that does not darken the heart, but reveals to it things that are hidden…. It is a cloud whose dew, sent by the voice of the all powerful God, softens the human heart and impregnates it with faith.” Each of us should ask the Lord to send the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts, to impregnate them with deep and lively faith, so that we can truly listen to the voice of our Lord Jesus every day!