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45. The Transfiguration

1. In St. Matthew's Gospel (chap. 17) we read that ourLord was transfigured in the sight of his apostles Peter, James,and John. "And he was transfigured before them. And his facedid shine as the sun, and his garments became white as snow."Thus the three apostles had a glimpse of such glory as would cometo them after their life of fidelity to God, through hardships andtrials. Our Lord had told the apostles of his coming Passion beforehe gave them this encouraging experience of seeing theTransfiguration. Christ as man had the glory of the beatific visionfrom the first instant of his existence in Mary's womb. But hewas not to have the "overflow of heavenly glory into hisbody" until his Resurrection from the dead.

2. In the Transfiguration, our Lord showed by way ofanticipation the clarity of his bodily glory. This was theessential clarity of true heavenly glory, here manifested in a newmode, that is, as miraculously produced. In the glory following theResurrection, the clarity of the glorified body is not a miracle;it belongs to the glorified body as such.

3. Our Lord chose as witnesses to the Transfiguration, notonly the three apostles, but Moses and Elias who appearedvisibly.

4. As at the baptism of Christ by St. John, so here on themountain of Transfiguration, the voice of God the Father proclaimedthe divine Sonship of Christ. The baptism of Christ by Johnforetold the true baptism which brings grace; the Transfigurationforetold thetriumph of grace in glory. Both grace and gloryare available to man, but only through the Son of God who becameman. Hence it is notably suitable that the divinity of Christshould be divinely proclaimed on these two occasions: the baptismby John, and the Transfiguration on the mount.

"Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God."
Thomas á Kempis

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"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"God has no need of men."
St Philip Neri

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