Homily on the Transfiguration


So that the faithful would not become fainthearted from the commandment on self-sacrifice, and so that they would know that after patience comes glory and triumph, the Lord was transfigured before His disciples. This happened in the follow way: The Lord Jesus Christ took three disciples, Peter, James, and John, and ascended with them to Mt. Tabor. Here the disciples laid down on the grass and fell asleep, while the Lord prayed. During His prayer, the clothing of Jesus Christ became white as snow, and His face shone like the sun. The prophets Elias and Moses appeared to Him and spoke with Him about His departure, that is, about His sufferings and death. At that moment His disciples awoke, and the manifestation of divine glory seemed so joyous to them that they expressed through Peter’s lips the desire to remain on the mountain, saying, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias (Mt. 17:4). At these words a bright cloud suddenly overshadowed the apostles and they heard the words, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (Mt. 17:5). Hearing these words, the disciples fell on their faces in fear. The Lord came to them and said, Arise, and be not afraid. The disciples rose and saw no one before them save Jesus Christ alone.

During His prayer, Christ the Savior was transfigured before the disciples and God’s glory illuminated Him. Doesn’t the essence of our lives consist in this—to gradually, by our own will, with the help of God’s grace, ascend from glory to glory and from strength to strength, and thus be inwardly transfigured spiritually, mentally renouncing the earthly for the Heavenly, renouncing with our hearts the sensual for what is higher, and with our will the sins and passions for the fulfillment of God’s will. This is not easy to do, my friends. This all involves many difficulties. But after all, if we do not spare labors or efforts, even sacrifices, when we strive to attain to something better in this life, then shouldn’t we ever more so work towards what is eternal, for what can by God’s will bring us participation in divine glory?

The Lord gave us an example, so let us follow Him: For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you (Jn. 13:15).

What could be higher and more instructive for us than the Holy Example of the God-Man? Let us also be transfigured from darkness to light, from sin to a virtuous life, from disobedience to God’s will to the possibility of its complete fulfillment; let us be transfigured not by our external life but our internal life, the life of our immortal soul.

He Who was transfigured on Mt. Tabor has shown us the way for this. He prays to God the Father, and in these minutes through His Filial, prayerful conversation with the Father He was manifested in another, bright appearance. This marvelous appearance, my friends, is very remarkable for us. Here are clearly seen the influence and power of true prayer. In the Person of the Lord, prayer manifested heavenly glory and divine Light, about which we ask that it enlighten also us sinners.[1] O, if only our prayer would also be as pure and filled with love! Of course, then the darkness of sin would not touch us, the Light of grace would enlighten our entire earthly life, and each of us would be able to say with the apostle Peter, “Lord! It is Good for us to be here!” Amen.

August 6, 1915

St. Alexei Mechev
Translation by Nun Cornelia (Rees)



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