August 6, Feast of the Transfiguration

(.pdf file of Transfiguration-Coloring Page)

Here are three excerpts that are helpful meditations on what the feast of the Transfiguration should mean to us.

The first is an excerpt from The Feasts of Mother Church by Mother Mary Salome, 1904, Burns and Oates, in .pdf file. Although the writing is a bit old-fashioned in sections, this can be a lovely read aloud for middle age and older.

Feast of the Transfiguration, by Mother Mary Salome
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The second is a short excerpt from With Christ Through the Year: The Liturgical Year in Word and Symbols by Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B., 1947, The Bruce Publishing Company.

The Transfiguration Of Our Lord Jesus Christ

August 6: Already in the fifth century, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord was regarded by the eastern Church as a feast in honor of the kingship of Christ. Sacred Scripture vividly describes God’s glorification of His Son on Mount Thabor; the first three evangelists tell the story in detail (Matt. 17:1-8; Mark 9:1-7; Luke 1:28-36), and St. Peter refers to it in his second letter (1:16). Peter himself, and James and John “had been eye witnesses of His grandeur.”

The feast was instituted for the western Church by Pope Calixtus III in the year 1457, after the brilliant victory of St. John Capistran (March 28) over the Turks near Belgrade, a victory which assured the triumph of the cross over the crescent.

Today we should dwell, not only on the wonderful event which happened on Mt. Thabor two thousand years ago, but also on a fact with which we are seldom impressed: we ourselves are destined one day to be transfigured in heaven. This transfiguration, how. ever, will only come about if during our life we keep our bodies and souls pure and holy, and if, through loyalty to God and His commandments and frequent and worthy reception of Holy Communion which is the sacrament of glorification, we make ourselves more pleasing to God.

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The third excerpt is from Volume IV of The Church’s Year of Grace by Dr. Pius Parsch, 1959, Liturgical Press.

5. The Meaning of the Transfiguration (a) for the apostles, (b) for us, and (c) for the liturgy.

a) For the apostles the transfiguration formed part of their training. It should have disposed them to believe in the divinity of Christ, even during His passion and death. In particular, the three favored apostles should have become sufficiently mature to remain faithful during their Master’s deepest humiliation on Olivet and Calvary.

b) For us the transfiguration is, and will always remain, heaven’s testimony to Christ’s divinity. All the miracles of Christ served this end, to reveal the divinity of Christ. Jesus passed His life on earth as a poor, ordinary, simple Jew. But at the transfiguration, one may say, He threw off the dark mantle of humanity and revealed Himself in full divine splendor. In spirit we gaze upon Him glorified and say: “Lord, I believe. Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Yet another truth is proclaimed in today’s mystery, viz., some day we too will be glorified. Using words from St. Paul, the Breviary tells what today’s feast anticipates: “We eagerly await a Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. He will refashion the body of our lowliness and conform it to the body of His glory.”

c) Lastly, what is the import of the transfiguration to the liturgy itself? Remember, the liturgical texts not only serve to give instruction; their principal function is to signify that which actually takes place. What once happened during the night on Mount Tabor happens again every time the holy Sacrifice is offered. WE may see only the simple appearances upon the altar, but with the eyes of faith we behold the glorified Christ; we see, in fact, the King of glory with His court, the saints of the Old and New Covenant. Liturgy actualized in our very presence the sanctifying act of Christ at His transfiguration.

It is, therefore, not only Christ who becomes transfigured — He allows me to share His glory. The holy Eucharist is the sacrament of the transfiguration, for it is “the seed of glory.” The purpose of the liturgy is the divine transfiguration of the participants. Understand the Gospel as a description of what the liturgy strives to effect and to perfect. Awareness of these truths seems presupposed by an ancietn mosaic in the Church of St. Apollinaris at Ravenna. St. Apollinaris is pictured standing in paradise, surrounded by his congregration (twelve lambs); above him there is a veiled representation of Christ’s transfiguration (crux gemmata), in front of which are three lambs (Peter, James, John), Moses and Elias. The whole design cries out: Through the liturgy this congregation of St. Apollinaris is being transfigured into Christ. (For images, see Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe and Sant’ Apollinare di Ravenna,

Coloring Page

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