“Hear Ye Him”. A Homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration On Preserving the Word of God in Our Hearts


Great is the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord! On this night, holy Mt. Tabor is overshadowed by the descent of a mysterious cloud—a miracle no less remarkable than the descent of the Holy Fire upon the Lord’s Tomb on Holy Saturday. We remember that, having been transfigured before His disciples, Christ prayed on Mt. Tabor, and then from the midst of this cloud came the voice of the Heavenly Father (the apostles forever preserved the memory of this extraordinary revelation): This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him (Mt. 17:5)—that is, fulfill His word, the dictate of the commandments, for these are the words of the Living God, God in the flesh, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

And perhaps the main edification from today’s feast is the voice of the Heavenly Father, which should resonate in our hearts not just today, but even unto the end of our days. We should daily renew these all-holy words in our memory: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. How can we fulfill this lifegiving commandment so that the fulfillment of it would bear fruit in our souls?

We listen to the Son of God when we diligently study His all-holy law, daily reading Holy Scripture, and especially the Divine Gospels, for hidden within them is Christ Himself, Who speaks to every soul that reverently and diligently heeds this law. The Lord nourishes every soul that studies the Gospel. There is no greater pleasure on Earth; no other task bears more fruit in the soul than reading Scripture with the intention of fulfilling it, with prayer for the proper understanding of it. This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him—by daily drawing nearer to the book of life, the Gospel, to the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We full this commandment when we bear in mind the statutes of our holy Mother Church. He who listens to the Son of God is obedient to the Church’s precepts and God cultivates the blessed fruits of obedience in his heart, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let us not be ashamed to show the world our faith and loyalty to the Mother Church in both the small and the great; to its statutes on fasting and prayer, on going to the churches of God, on everything that relates to piety.

This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him—the Son of God speaks within the depths of our conscience, especially purified by faith, repentance, fasting, and prayer; that is, by receiving the grace of the holy Sacraments of the Church. Indeed, our conscience is the voice of God. He who hearkens to his conscience, who heeds its warnings, hears the Son of God.

When we glorify God for His wisdom and goodness, imprinted upon all of creation, then we hear the voice of the Son of God; through the examination and contemplation of the beauty of God’s world, we draw near to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who imprints knowledge of Himself upon our hearts.

This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him—the Lord manifests His voice through those around us, especially through those who humiliate, insult, and offend us. God Himself allows people to say unpleasant things to us, because self-knowledge is best served by humbly enduring evil words, no matter how unpleasant they are to us. When we are met with grievances and slander and say: “Lord, Thou Thyself didst command them to open their mouths and pronounce that which would be soul-profiting for us,” we step on the tail of our pride.

However, there are not so many disciples of Christ who have sense and reason and know the voice of the Son of God through sharp speech and words directed against us.

The Son of God reveals to us the good pleasure of the Heavenly Father through the wise words of mentors, priests, teachers, parents—all those who are charged with taking care of us, all those who admonish, edify, and instruct us from the goodness of their hearts. However, how often we prove to be not ready to hear the voice of the Son of God, but turn our ears away from the speeches calling us to proper order and reason, because they do not flatter our self-esteem and pride, do not indulge us, and therefore we close our ears and remain fruitless. People who pray to the Lord with attention and reverence, who try not to cling to anything earthly, who have but one care—to please God, to draw near to Him, to purify their hearts from filth, ever walking before God—hear the voice of God and in a special supernatural way, because with us are fulfilled the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who said: When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come (Jn. 16:13).

And he who cleanses his heart through repentance and prayer, is accounted worthy, in an hour he does not expect, of this instructive, edifying, and soothing voice of God’s grace, the “still, small voice,” which cannot be heard by any human efforts of someone who intentionally desires it, or is proud, or deceived, or unkind, or unmerciful, impure, or lazy. And perhaps today’s feast, more than anything else, calls us to these prayerful works, in which the Christian is honored with edification by the grace of God from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who mysteriously speaks “words of eternal life” to the devout and reverent soul.

Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov
Translated by Jesse Dominick

Alekseevsky Monastery


Rhoda Blaauw8/19/2019 8:21 pm
What a blessing to read this message on the Transfiguration of Christ! God's Word has been the life of my soul since Christ called me by my name. I love His Word supremely; by it He has kept and preserved me through trials & tribulations, suffering and loss, continual change in my Christian growth, understanding & perception, and now has brought me into the Orthodox Church! My husband and I were baptized into the Antiochian Orthodox Church 2 days ago--Aug. 17, 2019--(tho' I had been baptised 3 times as protestant, and he, 1 time). Glory to Thee, O Christ.
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