Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah" -- not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. Luke 9:28-36
[[9:37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not." Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here." While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astounded at the greatness of God. 9:37-43]]
On This Week's Prompts for Personal Meditation
For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. -2 Corinthians 4:6
On Epiphany Day we prayed, “O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face.” Today, we witness this glory face to face with Peter, James, and John, in the luminous Cloud of Presence.
Moses and Elijah discuss with Jesus his exodus : “his departure which is to be accomplished in Jerusalem.” And now, “face set toward Jerusalem,” it is time to turn toward that dark path of self-sacrificial love.
In John's Gospel Jesus admonishes his friends to “walk while you have the light... believe in the light, that you may become children of light” (12:35-36). For these last days of Epiphany Christians contemplate with the eye of the soul that Light that never changes (meditation one) and the soul as dwelling place of ineffable glory (meditation two). But then, with memories of light, it is time to turn toward Jerusalem, the confusion of our particular lives, and the cost of bearing Light in a dark world. (meditation three).
Have a good end-of-Epiphany meditation in these most holy days of blessed light ! - Suzanne
Meditation One (introit) the Light that never changes
I entered into the secret closet of my soul, led by Thee; and this I could do because Thou wast my helper. I entered, and behold with the mysterious eye of my soul the Light that never changes, above the eye of my soul, above my intelligence. It was not the common light which all flesh can see, nor was it greater yet of the same kind, as if the light of day were to grow brighter and brighter and flood all space. It was not like this, but different: altogether different from all such things. Nor was it above my intelligence in the same way as oil is above water, or heaven above earth; but it was higher because it made me, and I was lower because made by it. He who knoweth the truth knoweth that Light: and who knoweth it, knoweth eternity. Love knoweth it.
-Augustine 354-430 Confessions, book 7 chapter 10
Today on Tabor in the manifestation of your light, O Lord, your light unaltered from the light of the unbegotten Father, we have seen the Father as light, and the Spirit as light, guiding with light the whole creation.
Orthodox liturgy, Feast of Transfiguration
O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for the Last Sunday in Epiphany BCP
The Transfiguration, Unknown Master, 16th Century, Hermitage Museum
Meditation Two (insight) all light, all face, all eye
When the soul is counted worthy to enjoy communion with the Spirit of the light of God, and when God shines upon the soul with the beauty of his ineffable glory, preparing her as a throne and dwelling for himself, she becomes all light, all face, all eye. Then there is no part of her that is not full of the spiritual eyes of light. There is no part of her that is in darkness, but she is transfigured wholly and in every part with light and spirit.
Just as the sun is the same throughout, having neither back nor anything irregular, but is wholly glorified with light and is all light, being transformed in every part; or as fire, with its burning sheath of flame, is constant throughout, having neither a beginning for an end, being neither larger nor smaller in any part, so also when the soul is perfectly illumined with the ineffable beauty and glory of the light of Christ’s countenance, and granted perfect communion with the Holy Spirit and counted worthy to become the dwelling-place and throne of God, then the soul becomes all eye, all light, all face, all glory, all spirit.
Pseudo-Macarius (4th Century), Spiritual Homilies, Alphabetical Collection “H,”1,2;Coptic Apophthegms, Paris, 1894 in Celebrating the Saints, Devotional Readings for Saint’s Days Morehouse Publishing
Meditation Three (integration) coming down off the mountain
When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then? Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time been allotted to me?
-Blaise Pascal 1623-62 Pensees, 205
Bitter and dark and desolate Are Love's ways in the beginning of love; Before anyone is perfect in Love's service, We often become desperate: Yet where we imagine losing, it is all gain. How can one experience this? By sparing neither much nor little, By giving oneself totally in love.
-Hadewijch 13th century
The Last Word
If I let God take hold of me more and more; possess me, as fire possesses the burning log, then I give off light and heat to the whole world even though the influence be completely hidden.
Ruth Burrows Before the Living God
Union with God, which Jesus otherwise holds hidden in the ultimate depths of his soul, now fills up all the chambers of his soul, it embraces his body, drawing it, too, into the blessedness of God's light and God's unity. “His face was like the sun, and his clothes were as radiant as light.”...
And just as at the baptism, the voice of the Father confirms here, too, that this poor, praying Jesus, consecrated for suffering, and heroically prepared for the cross, is God's very beloved Son.
This then is the meaning of the transfiguration for Jesus himself: in the dark night of earthly hopelessness the light of God shines, a human heart finds in God the power in which turns a dying into a victory and into the redemption of the world.
-Karl Rahner sermon for August 6, 1933 The Great Church Year