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Subjects Rosary Mysteries Light Transfiguration

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Jesus in the Mysteries of the Rosary

Mysteries of Light
  1. The Transfiguration of the Lord

The mystery of The Transfiguration is celebrated solemnly by the Church each year on a specific day: August 6th. It is the most luminous of all luminous mysteries: «Mystery of light par excellence is the Transfiguration, which according to tradition took place on Mount Tabor» (St. John Paul II).

At the same time, this same mystery is remembered in the 2nd Sunday of Lent (in its three cycles A, B and C). In Lent? At first glance, this is paradoxical! However —like so many other mysteries of the life of Christ— the Transfiguration was a preparation for the already close Paschal Triduum (Passion, Death and Resurrection)... St. John Paul II said, «The Father commands the astonished Apostles to “listen to him” (cf. Lk 9:35 and parallels) and to prepare to experience with him the agony of the Passion, so as to come with him to the joy of the Resurrection».

The Transfiguration is like a double mystery: it prepares us for the moment on the Cross and reveals the eternity of Heaven...

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1st) «About eight days after Jesus said this (...)» (Lk 9:28). The three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) introduce the story of the Transfiguration with this fact. Days after? What had happened? What did Jesus say? How important was that? Matthew, Mark and Luke agree on that 100%: 2 things had happened.

First of all, Simon Peter had confessed Jesus as the Christ-Son of God (cf. Mt 16:16 and par.). Now, on the Mount Tabor, in the height of the “glorious shining” is the Father who “confesses” —better said: confirms— the Son: «This is my Son, whom I have chosen» (Lk 9:35). It is no possible a greater solemnity! Jesus Christ is fully revealing his Divine Being, his Divine Beauty: He is the Eternal Son who existed from the beginning (cf. Jn 1:1). He and He alone, with the Father and the Holy Spirit (read more: The Transfiguration is not a change in Jesus but the revelation of his divinity). Few days later, Jesus himself will make that same “statement” before the high priest and the Sanhedrin (cf. Mt 26:63). That earned him the unanimous sentence to death!

Secondly, Jesus had predicted his Passion (and his Resurrection) about 6 or 8 days before. Mark affirms that Jesus «spoke this openly» (Mk 8:32). On other occasions the Lord had announced it. The difference is that now, just when his Transfiguration takes place, the Passion is already imminent (it will happen few days after) (read more: The Transfiguration is a splendid icon of our redemption). Jesus-God, who now shines, will be totally hidden; Jesus-Man, whose human figure now shines beautifully, will be totally crushed (disfigured). All this will happen for our salvation (read more: “Jesus alone”: this must suffice on the journey).

 

2nd) «He took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray» (Lk 9:28). Throughout the life of Jesus Christ we find different mounts of prayer. After a few days, just before turning himself in, we will find him on the Mount of Olives. And, a few hours later, on Mount Calvary (where he continued to pray, from the top of the Cross) (read more: «Jesus went up the mountain to pray»).

Jesus takes his disciples with him to these “mounts of prayer” with the Apostles in first place. Once again, He relies on us. But, oh, surprise!, «Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep» (Lk 9:32). Same thing happened in Gethsemane (cf. Mk 14:37-38). Always sleeping! And we're still sleeping!

However, «becoming fully awake, they saw his glory» (Lk 9:32). We often complain that we do not see God! We ask ourselves where is God? But how could we see him without praying, without speaking to him, without confessing him, without accrediting him?

 

3rd) «They saw his glory and the two men standing with him» (Lk 9:32). Who are these “other” two men? Elijah and Moses! that is, the leaders of Prophetism and the Law in Old Testament. The scene is of a maximum solemnity: Old Testament, New Testament and Heaven (the Holy Trinity) come together (read more: On the “mount” of Transfiguration).

They all meet there, at the top of Mount Tabor. However the most important thing is to know what are they doing there... Or rather, what are they talking about? About the cross! «They spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem» (Lk 9:31). Everything in the project of Creation, everything in the life of Jesus is directed towards the supreme moment of the Cross (that is a mystery!, but it is like that). It has been rightly said that the Gospels are stories of the Passion with a broad introduction. The four Gospels —some longer, others not so much— stops at the Paschal Mystery (Friday of Death, Saturday of Burial and Sunday of Resurrection).

St. Paul, for his part, doesn’t want to know anything other than Christ crucified (cf. 1Cor 1:23); he doesn’t want to glory in anything other than the Cross (cf. Gal 6:14): everything else considers it “loss” and “rubbish” in order to win Christ (cf. Phil 3:8). Therefore, who will be surprised that the Catholic Liturgy reserves a Sunday of Lent to the mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord? (read more: The Transfiguration and the mystery of the Cross).

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