The Gospel: Matt. 17:1-9.
At that time, Jesus took unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them. And his face shone as the sun, and his garments became white as snow. And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then Peter, answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us here make three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And, lo! a voice out of the cloud saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him. And the disciples, hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said to them: Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of Man be risen from the dead.
Meditation for the Second Sunday of Lent:
On the Transfiguration.
Jesus is transfigured on Thabor, on Calvary, and on our altars. The first is a transfiguration of glory; the second of ignominy; the third of love. To be transfigured with Jesus on Thabor, we must be transfigured with him on Calvary. If you suffer with him, you shall reign with him; if you take part in his ignominies, you shall also have part in his glory.
The third transfiguration is that of the body of Jesus on our altars. His vestments there are as white as snow, and his face a thousand times brighter than the sun; but it is covered with a cloud or veil, for what human eye could support the ineffable splendor of his countenance? It is here that Moses and Elias, that is, the will and understanding, converse together with him of all the extremes of love and grief that he suffered for us in Jerusalem, since this divine mystery represents the sacrifice of his bitter passion and death, and was instituted by him as a commemoration thereof.
The fourth transfiguration is that which takes place in holy communion; wherein a man is transformed into Jesus Christ. He is no longer a man, but a God; no longer a sinner, but a child of God. The eternal Father regards him with love, and salutes him, as he did his divine Son on Thabor: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." He who was before a sinner, being clothed in the real presence of the body and divinity of Jesus, is thereby rendered holy and just! They are one body, and one spirit; they are two united in one flesh. Let your lives, then, correspond with the great privilege you enjoy, of being transformed into Jesus. Let your thoughts be the thoughts of Jesus, your words be the words of Jesus; that God the Father, beholding you, may say: "This is my beloved son, in whom 1 am well pleased."
The fifth transfiguration is that of a soul in prayer. His heart burns with a celestial flame. Moses and Elias, the law and the prophets, converse with him of the passion of Jesus. The powers of his soul, filled with the sweet rest of contemplation, cry out with ecstasy: It is good, O Lord, for us to be here; here let us remain always. I have had great difficulty in ascending the height. I have not spared myself in the exercise of mortification, and I have, through many toils, prepared my spirit by meditation; but the labor, the sweat, and the pains are forgotten in my present happiness, and in the extreme repose that I enjoy.
The last transfiguration is that of happy souls in heaven. "When we behold God," says St. John, "we shall be like him." When, after the sufferings of this life, we shall, have been received into the glorious company of those who reign on this beautiful Thabor, our eternal and joyful song shall be: "Oh, it is good for its to be here!" There is nothing left me to wish for. I have found an everlasting rest. I have received a glorious recompense for my poor labors. But, Christian soul, while you are waiting to sing this beautiful canticle in heaven, be contented, wherever God may place you on earth. In whatever state you may be, it is good for you to be therein, since God has placed you there; whether it be in poverty, sickness, humiliations, or confusion, Jesus is with you, and will remain with you, if you do his holy will.
Resolution: I will keep in mind that my only true happiness is the beautiful Thabor of heaven and live my life so as to achieve that end.
Prayer: My loving Redeemer, transfigured on the mountain, grant me the grace to be transfigured in thy sight. Help me to live my life on earth always in your presence, so that when my life shall come to an end, I may dwell in thy presence forever. O Mary, my dearest Mother, keep me always close to thy son and give me the grace of salvation.
By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.