His Eminence Archbishop NICOLAE’ Meditation at the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord 2009
“Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13) is the question the Savior asks the Apostles about Himself. St. Peter responds on behalf of the Apostles: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16). Christ called Himself “Son of Man”, and St. Peter recognizes Him as the “Son of God. Christ is the Son of Man and the Son of God. On MountTabor, the Son of Man has allowed the glory of the Son of God to be visible, making worthy three of the Apostles of a bodily vision of divine matters.
The event of the Lord’s Transfiguration reminds us of another significant event in the history of salvation: Moses receiving the tablets with the Commandments on Mount Sinai. This event is described in the Book of Exodus chapter 34. Moses wrote the Ten Commandments revealed by God. Descending from the mountain, to present them to the people of Israel, Moses’ face shone because he had spoken with God. So bright was the countenance of his shining face that they put a veil on his face when he spoke to the people. The countenance of Moses’ shining face was that of a man who was made worthy to stand before God and speak with Him. It was the countenance of the glory which passes away (2 Corinthians 3:7), the glory of the divine light upon a man called to ministry by God. It was a human reflection of the glory of God. Even this human reflection needed to be hidden by Moses with a veil. The Holy Apostle Paul explains this event saying that the veil of Moses became a stumbling block for the people of Israel “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” (2 Corinthians 3:15, 16). That which protected their eyes from seeing the divine because they were not able to see it then, became a stumbling block from seeing and recognizing the Messiah.
The Transfiguration of our Lord on MountTabor is precisely this assurance of the coming of the Messiah. For on the face of Christ we see not the reflection of the divine light, but the Light itself. The shining Image of Christ is not only the image of the prophet chosen by God, but is the image of God. From the Lord’s Transfiguration man can truly say that he has seen God; and this vision changes his destiny: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Those who see the image of Christ with faith that He is God and man make ourselves worthy already now of a “transformation”, of the power of a direct vision, face to face, of the glory of God foretasted in this life and fulfilled in the eternal Kingdom. In the miracle of the Transfiguration of our Lord we have “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). We have the assurance that God reveals Himself to man in His light, and that man can become capable to see His light.
Let us use the Lent of the Dormition of the Mother of the Lord to work toward this “transformation” which brings the vision of the divine light.