To be Transfigured in Glory for All Eternity
Thomas A. Droleskey
And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and 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 ye 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 fear not. And they lifting up their eyes 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 (Mt. 17: 1-9)
This wonderful feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord speaks to us on so many levels about so many truths.
There is, first of all, the chief significance of what Our Lord did by taking Saint Peter, the first Pope, and the sons of Zebedee, Saint James the Greater and Saint John the Beloved, with Him to the top of Mount Thabor.
Our Lord showed forth the glory He had possessed with the Father and the Holy Ghost from all eternity to manifest clearly His Sacred Divinity and to give them encouragement during His Passion and Death.
Our Lord showed for the glory that was His from the very beginning to teach the three Apostles He would take with him to the Garden of Gethsemane on Mount Olivet that He would manifest His transfigured glory after His Bodily Resurrection from the dead.
Our Lord showed forth the purity and brilliance of His Divine Majesty and Splendor to teach the first Pope and the sons of Zebedee that all of those who die in a state of Sanctifying Grace will have their bodies raised up incorrupt and glorious on the Last Day to share in that same transfigured glory as they witnessed atop Mount Thabor.
Our Lord showed forth His glory on Mount Thabor in the presence of Moses and Elias to demonstrate that He is indeed the fulfillment of all of the prophecies contained in the Old Testament, that Moses and Elias looked forward to His coming and rejoiced in it.
Additionally, though, the Transfiguration of Our Lord teaches us that our souls were transfigured in baptismal glory as the spiritually regenerating waters from the baptismal font were poured over our heads and the stain and the guilt of Original Sin (and in the case of adults, all Actual Sins and all punishment due for them) are washed away as we received the very inner life of the Blessed Trinity by means of Sanctifying Grace. We are meant to keep the gown of our baptismal innocence pure and bright throughout our lives.
Prone to sin as a result of the vestigial after-effects (the darkened intellect and the weakened will) that remain in our souls after Baptism, we need our souls to be constantly re-configured to Our Lord in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance and by living penitentially so as to undo the effects of sins on our souls and to pay back the debt that we owe Him for these sins. Our bodies and souls cannot be transfigured in glory on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead if we do not confess each and every Mortal Sin by number and kind. We must be conformed to Our Lord as He has revealed Himself to us solely through the Catholic Church in every aspect of our lives without any exception whatsoever.
The Transfiguration of Our Lord teaches us also that we are to live our lives in the "desert." That is, we are to go about the duties imposed by by our freely chosen states-in-life without complaint, seeking no consolation other than the knowledge that we have done each day's duties as best as we can for the honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. God will, in His ineffable Providence and Mercy, give us "transfiguring moments" of consolation now and again when we least expect them. We are to be grateful for these gratuitous, unmerited moments of consolation and then be prepared to descend from our figurative "Mount Thabors" to take up our daily crosses and to lift them up to Heaven through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Very importantly, we are called to be transfigured, if you will, by assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, especially by the worthy reception of Holy Communion. Those truly in love with Our Lord burn with ardor in their hearts as they approach the altar rail, knowing that their Beloved in about to make His home in their bodies and souls in order to fill them more and more with His very inner life. And we are meant to be transfigured by our time spent in prayer with Our Beloved in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. It is known that those saints whose souls were purely and wholly in love with God had faces that shone like the sun after they spent time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Why do we make excuses for not permitting ourselves the time to be so transfigured?
Oh, yes, there will also be moments of great joy in our ordinary lives (the day of our weddings, the birth and baptism of our children, the First Communion and Confirmation of our children; ordinations for priests and the profession of vows for a consecrated religious; some professional achievement or promotion). These are moments of consolation given us by God to assist us as we make our way in the desert journey of life here as members of the Church Militant in this mortal, passing vale of tears. God knows that we can profit from a bit of consolation now and again. He thus sends us moments of joy and consolation to give us the same kind of encouragement as he gave Saints Peter, James, and John atop Mount Thabor, reminding us quite especially that the joys of this passing world are merely a foreshadowing of--and pale in comparison to--the eternal joys of possessing the Beatific Vision of Himself in Heaven.
Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., gave us much food for thought about the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in The Liturgical Year:
We must first notice that the glorious Transfiguration that has already been twice brought before us on the sacred cycle--viz., on the second Sunday of Lent, and on the preceding Saturday. What does this mean, but that the object of the present solemnity is not so much the historical fact already known, as the permanent mystery attached to it; not so much the personal favour bestowed on Simon Peter and the sons of Zebedee, as the accomplishment of the great message then entrusted to them for the Church? Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of Man be raised form the dead. The Church, born from the open side of the Man-God on the Cross, was not behold Him face to face on earth; after His Resurrection, when He had sealed His alliances with her in the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, it is on faith alone that her love was to be fed. But by the testimony which takes the place of sight, her lawful desires to know Him were to be satisfied. Wherefore, for her sake, giving truce, one day of His mortal life, in the ordinary law of suffering and obscurity He had taken upon Him for the world's salvation. He allowed the glory which filled His blessed soul to transpire. The King of the Jews and Gentiles revealed Himself upon that mountain, where His calm splendour eclipsed for evermore the lightning of Sinai; the covenant of the eternal alliance was declared, not by the promulgation of a law of servitude engraven upon stone, but by the manifestation of the Lawgiver Himself coming as Bridegroom to reign in grace and beauty over hearts. Elias and Moses, representing the prophets and the Law whereby His coming was prepared, from their different starting points, met beside Him like faithful messengers reaching their destination; they did homage to the Master of their now finished mission, and effaced themselves before Him at the voice of the Father: This is My beloved Son! Three witnesses the most trustworthy of all assisted at this solemn scene: the disciple of faith, the disciple of love, and that other son of thunder who was to be the first to seal with His blood both the faith and the love of an apostle. By His order they kept religiously a, as beseemed them, the secret of the King, until the day when the Church could be the first to receive it from their predestined lips.
But did this precious mystery take place on August 6? More than one doctor of sacred rites affirms that it did. At any rate, it was fitting to celebrate it in the month dedicated to Eternal Wisdom. It is she, the brightness of eternal light, the unspotted mirror and image of God's goodness, who, shedding grace upon the Son of man, made Him on this day the most beautiful amongst all His brethren, and dictated more melodiously than ever to the inspired singer the accents of the Epithalamium: My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the king.
Seven months ago the mystery was first announced by the gentle light of the Epiphany; but by the virtue of the mystical seven here revealed once more, the 'beginnings of a blessed hop' which we then celebrated as children with the Child Jesus, have grown together with Him and the Church: and the latter, established in unspeakable peace by the full growth which gives her to her Spouse, calls upon all her children to grow like her by the contemplation of the Son of God even to the measure of the perfect age of Christ. We understand, then, why the liturgy of to-day repeats the formulas and chants of the glorious Theophany: Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee: it is because on the mountain together with our Lord the Bride also is glorified, having the glory of God.
While the face of Jesus shone as the sun, His garments became white as snow. Now these garments so snow-white, as St. Mark observes, that no fuller on earth would have bleached them so, are the just men, the royal ornament, inseparable from the Man-God, the Church, the seamless robe woven by our sweet Queen for her Son out of the purest wool and most beautiful linen that the valiant woman could find. Although our Lord personally has now passed the torrent of suffering and entered for ever into His glory, nevertheless the bright mystery of the Transfiguration will not be complete until the last of the elect, having passed through the laborious preparation at the hands of the Divine Father and tasted death, has joined in the Resurrection of our adorable Head.
The life of the Church Militant on earth must be lived in the desert. The devil is always seeking to attack the Church. He knows that he will not win the ultimate war with God. He does, however, want to do as much damage as he can to the Church Militant by encouraging those who hold the levers of institutional power to say and do things contrary to the Catholic Faith, thus bewildering and scandalizing the faithful. Great damage has been done in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, obviously. However, the devil was attacking the Church long before that council, insinuating Modernists, both open and covert, in the highest of places to exert their influences as best they could until one of their own sympathizers could appear to have triumphed on the papal throne. It is not an accident, as I have noted several times before on this site, that the Modernists placed a mosaic of Angelo Roncalli in full papal regalia right to the side of the altar of Pope Saint Pius X. Their message was clear, "We win!"
Ultimately, though, the Modernists lose. The Church Militant on earth will be transfigured in glory once again when Tradition is restored to her maternal bosom and Christendom is restored in the world as a result of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We must keep this in mind, ladies and gentlemen. For while it is important to be aware of the gravity of our circumstances and to realize that there are enemies of the Faith in shepherds' clothing in most of the structures of the conciliar church, we must never be disheartened, which is a tool of the devil to lead us into the darkness of despair.
No, as Catholics, we must maintain the Supernatural Virtue of Hope for ourselves and for the larger life of the Church Militant on earth. God will restore the Church in her full glory when some pope actually consecrates Russia to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. There will be a certain period of peace. There will be the Reign of Mary Immaculate. We must keep this mind in all times as we go about the business in our own desert lives of fulfilling our daily duties for love of God as the totally consecrated slaves of Our Lady and as we go about the business of preparing for that terrible moment of our own Particular Judgments. God will not be mocked. He will manifest His glory in the Church through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
May we beseech Our Lady in this month dedicated to her Immaculate Heart that we will be encouraged by the Transfiguration of her Divine Son on Mount Thabor to attend to the hard work of saving our souls while maintaining our fidelity to the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church as it has been handed down to us by the Apostles without for one second yielding anything to the apostasies of conciliarism. May beseech Our Lady to help us now and at the hour our deaths so that we can be transfigured in the glory of the Divine Redeemer with all of the bodies and souls of the just on the Last Day.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint James the Greater, pray for us.
Pope Saint Sixtus, pray for us.
Saints Felicissimus and Agapitus, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.