Tag Archives: Transfiguration

Transfiguration Sunday

Transfiguration Cretan 1550.jpg

 

Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ, our God, showing to Thy disciples Thy glory as each one could endure. Shine forth Thou on us, who are sinners all, Thy light ever-unending. Through the prayers of the Theotokos, Light-Bestower, glory to Thee.

 
The focus of today is not our self-initiated transfiguration but on our attentive listening to Christ and our worthy approach of the altar to be transfigured by the Risen Christ present in the Eucharist.
 
Can we approach the Transfigured Christ and allow him to change us?

Blessing of Grapes


Blessing grapes.jpgA pious liturgical custom is for the priest to bless grapes on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Why do we bless grapes on the Transfiguration? Symbolically and on a concrete level grapes represent real transformation, an old vine produces new fruit, a new harvest for God. As the Lord was transfigured on Mount Tabor, so we too are given the grace by God to transform our lives more and more according to His will, the Gospel. The hard of personal conversion is done by authentically following the Church. 

Theologically, one might say that the grape is symbolic of new life; think of the fruit derived from grapes, wine, used at Mass. That after the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and the prayer of consecration the wine becomes the Precious Blood of Christ. It is by His Blood we are saved, given new life, a pledge of future glory with the Blessed Trinity in heaven. Many liturgical families, including the Latin, Byzantine and Armenian Churches have a liturgical theology and rite for the blessing of grapes and situate the blessing of grapes as a needed reminder of our real and on-going conversion to Christ in hearts and minds of Catholics. (Read this blog post on the blessing of grapes where the author brings together several elements: work, harvest, offering, human transformation by God, liturgy, new life, etc.). 

The prayer

Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Response: Who made heaven and earth.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

Response: Lord, have mercy.

Bless, O Father, this new fruit of the vine, which you permitted to ripen through good weather, and drops of dew and may it bring joy for us who will partake of this fruit of the vine, and forgiveness of sins to those who offer it, through the pure Body and Blood of Your Christ, with whom You are blessed, together with Your all holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and always and forever and ever.

R. Amen.

(this blessing is taken from the August Menaion, Byzantine Melkite Euchologion published by the Melkite Eparchy of Newton.)

Transfiguration of the Lord

Transfiguration of the Lord with doveThe Master came with his three friends
To climb Mount Tabor’s height
There he was changed,
transfigured with God’s uncreated light.

As Daniel, seer of old, had seen
One like a Son of Man,
On whom were kingship, sov’reignty,
And place at God’s right hand,

So too, said Peter, we have seen
His glory, come from God,
Revealed to us, who with him lived
And walked in ways he trod.

“This is my Son,” the Father said,
“In him is my delight.
To him give ear, that all your ways
May be within my light.”

Bring us, O Lord, to hear your Son
That, walking in his ways,
We as your daughters and your sons
May praise you all our days.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications
CM; ST. MAGNUS, ST. STEPHEN, MORNING SONG

Transfiguration Sunday: Listen to Jesus!

My heart has prompted me to seek your face; I seek it, Lord; do not hide from me.

 

The Church observes the Second Sunday of Lent. The following hymn incorporates the texts from sacred Scripture.

Thumbnail image for Transfiguration APrevitale.jpg

Gone forth from home with God to guide him,

Abram looked up and saw the sky:

“Even as stars you cannot number,

So shall your offspring multiply.”

God there with Abram cov’nant made,

Promise that shall not change or fade.

 

Jesus went up upon the mountain,

And there, transfigured ‘fore their eyes,

Saw  the disciples “law” and “prophets,”

Standing there next to Jesus’ side.

“This is My Son, ” they heard the voice;

“Listen to Him, He is My choice!”

 

Each of us, baptized in Christ Jesus,

Is launched on journey hard and long

Where we are daily called to cov’nant,

Following Christ with joyful song.

Do not give way!  Now faithful bide,

Clinging to Cross as boast and guide!

Transfiguration of the Lord

Christ Jesus, the brightness of the Father and the image of His substance, upholding all things by the word of His power, effecting man’s purgation from sin, has deigned to appear this day in glory on a high mountain.

Transfiguration Raffaello.jpg

The Church celebrates the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. It is one of two times in the liturgical year that the gospel tells the narrative of the Lord’s being transfigured. The other time we hear the narrative of the Transfiguration is in Lent. The Franciscans built a church to mark the sight of the Transfiguration and the oldest monastery in Sinai, Saint Catherine’s (an Orthodox monastery), has an ancient mosaic dedicated to this feast. As point of ecclesial comparison, the Orthodox Church observes today also as a significant feast of the Lord. Hence, the commonality of liturgical observances gives witness to a Christian reality.

Today’s feast is a twofold reminder of the Lord’s victory over death and the promise of the resurrection. You will recall that the one of the witnesses to this vision is Peter, and this vision of the Lord’s glory happens after Peter’s confession of who Jesus is and his belief in Jesus’ messiahship. A very bold claim to make, indeed. One might say that the vision portrayed in the gospel today is a reward for faith, hope and love in the Lord’s proclamation of the Kingdom. It also foreshadows the Lord’s passion and death on Calvary. This event is preparatory for that great event on what we now call Good Friday and Easter Sunday. All the synoptics record the Transfiguration.

Rafael’s beautiful painting is an enduring testament of the apostolic vision on Mount Tabor. The upper part of the painting is that of Jesus with Peter, James and John. The lower section relates the Lord’s curing of a possessed child. It is said that Rafael was commissioned to paint the Transfiguration to celebrate the Christian triumph over the Muslims and to state in no uncertain terms what Christians believe: Jesus as the divine physician overcomes death of the body and in doing so gives us glory in the resurrection. The addition of the child’s cure demonstrates for us this fact: that the Lord restores to life a sick child, thus conquering sickness and death.
In this way the Lord’s Transfiguration fulfills what was told by the prophet Elijah and Moses who spoke of future glory.
What Rafael does for us is to invite us into the Lord’s promise of immortality. He shows us that the Lord is preparing us to enter into the destiny that God the Father offered to us: communion with Himself.
O God, Who in the glorious Transfiguration of Thine only-begotten Son did confirm the mysteries of the faith by the testimonies of the fathers, and Who by Thy voice from the shining cloud did in a wondrous manner foreshadow the perfect adoption of sons, make us in Thy loving-kindness, we beseech Thee, co-heirs with Him Who is the King of glory and in that very glory call us one day to share.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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