The Transfiguration

Titian_Transfiguration

The Rosary,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II, “precisely because it starts with Mary’s own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning.”

Pope Paul VI wrote that “without [this contemplation,] the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation is in danger of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas and of going counter to the warning of Christ: ‘And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words’ (Mt 6:7).’”

Because of this, it is vital that Christians familiarize themselves with the Scriptures in order to meditate on the mysteries of the life of Christ.

Below is the fourth Luminous mystery. To see other mysteries, click here.

The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9)

In the seventeenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel we see Jesus taking Peter, James and John up a high mountain. While they were there we read that Jesus “was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light” (17:2) and that Jesus was seen conversing with Moses and Elijah. A bright cloud covered Jesus, and the disciples heard a voice from the cloud saying, “‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’” (17:5). Jesus comforted the trio who were hiding their faces in fear. Jesus led them back down the mountain, instructing them not to speak of the vision until “the Son of man is raised from the dead” (17:9).

 Insight

In the transfiguration, the three disciples are permitted to catch a glimpse of the glory of Jesus Christ, the glory that would later be revealed in the resurrection. This mystery evokes God’s self-revelation to Moses on Mt. Sinai

“(1) Both take place on the seventh day (17:1; Ex 24:16);

(2) both occur on a mountain (17:1; Ex 24:13, 15);

(3) both Jesus and Moses take three companions with them (17:1; Ex 24:1);

(4) the faces of both Jesus and Moses shine with God’s glory (17:2; Ex 34:29);

(5) both involve the glory-cloud of God’s Presence;

(6) and both events involve God speaking through a heavenly voice (17:5; Ex 24:16).” [1]

Personal Application

One chapter prior to this event, St. Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that he had to suffer and die (16:22). Now in chapter 17, having witnessed the splendor of his Lord, Peter cries out, “‘Lord, it is well that we are here’” (17:4).

It is part of our human nature to avoid suffering and seek pleasure. Because of this, we, too, can be like Peter, wanting to emulate and cling to “mountaintop experiences” when the Lord felt close. It is comforting to note that while our Lord does not grant Peter’s request, he does not make him walk back down the mountain alone but journeys with him.

In a similar way, our Lord remains close to us, not just in the spiritual highs but in everyday life, journeying with and strengthening us.

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 [1] Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, n. Mt 17:1-8

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