Thursday, January 31, 2008

How the Light of Christ reveals God's victory over darkness and death

J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R.*

When you read these inspired words of St. Leo the Great
who served with distinction as Pontifex Maximus from 440-471 AD,
ponder anew the importance of understanding the Son of Man
and his relationship to Light and Darkness.

The Lord reveals his glory in the presence of chosen witnessed. His body is like that of the rest of mankind, but he makes it shine with such splendor that his face becomes like the sun in glory, and his garments as white as snow.

The great reason for this transfiguration was to re­move the scandal of the cross from the hearts of his disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of his volun­tary suffering from disturbing the faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.

With no less forethought he was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand the kind of transfor­mation that it world receive as his gift. The members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.

The Lord had himself spoken of this when he fore­told the splendor of his coming: Then the just will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Saint Paul the apostle bore witness to this same truth when he said: I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not to be compared with the future glory that is to be revealed in us. In another place he says: You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. ­

This marvel of the transfiguration contains another lesson for the apostles, to strengthen them and lead them into the fullness of knowledge. Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, appeared with the Lord in conversation with him. This was in order to fulfill ex­actly, through the presence of these five men, the text which says: Before two or three witnesses every word is ratified. What word could be more firmly established, more securely based, than the word which is pro­claimed by the trumpets of both old and new testa­ments, sounding in harmony, and by the utterances of ancient prophecy and the teaching of the Gospel, in agreement, with each other?

The writings of the two testaments support each other. The radiance of the transfiguration reveals clearly and unmistakably the one who had been prom­ised by signs foretelling him under the veils of mys­tery. As Saint John says: The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. In him the promise made through the shadows of proph­ecy stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the one who teaches the truth of prophecy through his presence, and makes obe­dience to the commandments possible through grace.

In the preaching of the holy Gospel all should re­ceive a strengthening of their faith. No one should be ashamed of the cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed.

No one should fear to suffer for the sake of justice; no one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on him­self the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in him and in our love for him, we win the victory that he has won, we receive what he has promised.

When it comes to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should also echo in our ears: This is my Son, the be­loved, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,
Mike Rizzio, SOLT

Imitate Mary
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Seek the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ
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* - J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R. stands for: Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
O Beata Trinitas; St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael

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