As mentioned, love is also transformative. At the Transfiguration Jesus was not the one who changed; rather He revealed what was already there, His divinity. That is because He is God, and God is immutable, (unchanging). It was Peter, James, and John who were changed. They were surrounded by the glory of God’s love which filled the place, and therefore they began to transform, even if they were confused as to how to understand what had happened. Jesus knew they were struggling with the experience, both from the perspective of what they had seen and with the effect it had upon them, but He knew that they would grow from the experience. Indeed, they were not the same on the way down the mountain as they had been on the way up. But the direct contact with the reality of God’s glorious love began a shift within the three men, such that when the time came, they were able to have more clarity and to let the power of it move them to greater love throughout their ministries.
©Michele L. Catanese
* There are no coincidences. According to St. Paul, all things work to the good for the glory of God. (Paraphrase of Romans 8:28) That is, all things happen for a reason. I did not seek Fr. Michael. ‘The odds’ of running into him like that were incredibly slim. Therefore it was clear to me that it was God who arranged this amazing reunion. Why God did this I do not know, but as with the apostles at the Transfiguration, we are not always to understand, but to joyfully accept each gift, letting it transform our hearts. This reunion was a complete surprise; and one thing I have come to know about God is that He revels in surprising us.
Note: Next post March 12.
1. This icon is called Nuestro Salvador De Las Sandias, by Fr. William Hart McNichols. Although it is an icon intended for contemplating Easter as indicated by the stick which is budding, I chose to use it because Jesus has a look of deep love and compassion in His eyes as if to tell us not to fear anything. It also shows the new life which comes as a result of all we do during Lent, therefore it is appropriate for contemplation at this time, too. Should you be interested in a copy for purchase, you can find this icon at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/nuestro-salvador-de-las-sandias-012-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
2. I took this photo in the desert of Big Bend National Park in west Texas. It seemed to speak of the temptation of Jesus in the desert: the desert is not always a lifeless place, as seen here.
3. This painting is The Transfiguration, painted by Duccio Di Buoninsegna (1308-11). I especially liked the artist's usage of light by painting this on a gold background. It truly captures the glory of God and the luminous atmosphere of the event, as well as the shock of the observers. The colors of the clothing of Jesus symbolize His full divinity (blue) and full humanity (red), rather than getting caught up in the dazzling white description of some of the gospel accounts; therefore this painting is more iconic in style. It can be found at http://www.ducciodibuoninsegna.org/Transfiguration-1308-11.html.
4. This is a print of a famous painting called Chalice and Host Surrounded by Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem (1648). The print is in my dining room, and this is a photo of it. I chose to use it here mostly because of the story being told in the accompanying paragraph. If you look closely at the Host, in its center you can see a crucifix which is aglow. To see a close up click here: http://www.lessingimages.com/viewimage.asp?i=40030421+&cr=236&cl=1#
5. This is a photo I took of a stained glass window in St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. The figure is God the Father. I chose to use it here because it depicts God surrounded by the rainbow of colors, representative of the covenant. (See Genesis 9:1-17 in which God makes a covenant with Noah and says the sign of that covenant will be the rainbow.) The face of God has an expression of love, and His right hand is raised in blessing.
6. This painting is called Cagnes-sur-Mer by William H. Johnson (1928). I chose to use it here because I loved the curves which skew the perspective. Life is not perfect, nor are we; this painting spoke to me of our need for the grace to accept the reality that we are 'a work in progress.' This painting was posted on Facebook by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and so the following notes came from the Museum, beginning with a quote of the artist: “I am not afraid to exaggerate a contour, a form, or anything that gives me character & movement to the canvas.” — William H. Johnson, who captured this street view—on display in our American art galleries—while studying & working in France. Just before World War II, Johnson returned to the U.S. & focused his work on chronicling African American life & culture. Johnson was an African American artist. (1901-1970)
7. Finally, this is another icon written by Fr. William Hart McNichols called Our Lady of Grace Vladimir. I chose to use this here because I could not imagine an omission of the love shared between Jesus and His mother which is extended to us. In this icon Jesus gazes lovingly upon His mother and she in turn shares the gaze with us. She does not keep it for herself, but as always, directs everything from Him to us, and from us to Him. So beautiful! As above, you can find this icon for purchase in a variety of mediums at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/our-lady-of-grace-vladimir-002-william-hart-mcnichols.html. (Remember, I get nothing from my endorsement except the joy of sharing!)