The early life of our Lord is the image of humility. He was born outside, in a cave, where there was “no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:2). He eventually left the safety of Galilee and eventually returned to Jerusalem where a shameful and painful execution awaited him.
This life of self-renunciation was most often viewed the lens of Christ’s humanity. Occasionally, and in rare exceptions, we are provided a view of his divinity. Although equally man and God, even on those instances when Christ’s divinity shone forth, few saw it, and even less understood it.
The Feast of Transfiguration, along with his birth and his baptism, are those times when the divinity of Christ was manifest. Along with the Theophany, Transfiguration is much more easily celebrated, then explained. Even the Church Fathers struggled to fully understand. Both feasts, all feast for that matter, are not simply the remembrance of a past event, but instead acts as an invitation to more fully participate in the present.
The image of light is the dominate theme of Transfiguration. It’s the Divine Light of Christ which serves to illumine and transfigure man. The entirety of our life then becomes that continual thirst for transfiguration. We come to that process more readily when we make the words offered by the Apostle Peter on the mountain to become our inner most prayer. “Lord, it is good to be here” (Matthew 17:4).
I would suggest that if those words were to become our prayer, and we acknowledged that wherever we are, and we recognized and embraced that it was indeed good to be there, then we would become changed, transfigured.
“Lord, it is good to be here” is the prayer which remains the prayer of transfiguration, the prayer of the victory of light over darkness, of life over death.
- Fr Marc Vranes