The purpose of these videos and articles on the Transfiguration is to show its place in our spiritual life.
The following is a video on this subject. In it the Transfiguration according to the Greek Fathers is presented. Its revolutionary approach is addressed. One of the most beautiful fruits of the new understanding of the Transfiguration is a deepening of the two parts of the Mass.
(Two more videos at the bottom of this page.)
The Texts of the Transfiguration of the Lord
|Matthew (James) 17||Mark (Peter) 9||Luke (Paul) 9|
16:28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
1 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.
|17:1 And after six days Jesus took with himPeter and James and John his brother, and led them upa high mountain apart.||2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves;||28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.|
2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.
3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
|and he was transfigured before them, 3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.
5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.
|29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white.
30 And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” – not knowing what he said.
|5 He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.||
7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.
|34 As he said this, a Cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.|
|9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead.”||9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.||And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.|
Peter: “16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honour and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.19 And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:16-19)
John: “And the Word became flesh and pitched his Tent among us, full of grace and truth; we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (John 1:14)
Transfiguration According to The Greek Fathers
Breathing with Both Lungs
“The Church must breathe with her two lungs!” stated Pope John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint, (no. 54). By the “two lungs” the Pope meant the Western and the Eastern Christian theological Traditions. They are both valid, they complement each other and help each other. They often shed a splendid light on each other.
As Christians, and Catholics we should lead the world with our capacity to make things “catholic,” that is, universal: valid for all. We cannot do that without at least letting both lungs work.
The richness that the Gospel’s Seed develops in each part of the world belongs to everybody and all of us need all its parts.
The mystery of the “Transfiguration of the Lord” is a very special example of the diversity of the two traditions. This makes it a strategic point in the life of the Church. In a matter that important as the “Transfiguration” we need to let the two lungs work very well. Therefore, the Eastern Tradition should be explored, deepened and explained, so that everybody will benefit from it.
Did you know that both traditions see the Transfiguration in a different way?
For the Western Theological Tradition (embodied in St. Thomas Aquinas’ commentary, and in the Preface of the Roman Missal) Christ did actually change, He was really transfigured, His clothes changed colour and aspect as well as His Face, and a real Cloud hovered over the Apostles, Moses and Elijah, and Jesus, and overshadowed them. This event is considered to be very necessary for the Apostles in order to strengthen them and to help them endure the rigors of the Passion of Christ.
However, in order to help them to go through the trial of the Passion, the Eastern Theological Tradition offers quite a different understanding of that Event, without negating the fact that this huge grace and event must have had an important effect on the Apostles.
Let me state a few facts that characterise the Eastern vision of the Transfiguration:
First: The entire mystery of prayer is enclosed in the Mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Therefore, this mystery is central in the Teaching on Prayer. It embodies it. For instance, we can see that St. Luke’s version of the Transfiguration focuses on its relationship with “Prayer”: they went up “to pray” (Luke 9:28).
Second: any Iconographer, starts his Mission in the Church, by exercising himself first on the Icon of the Transfiguration. It is with this Icon that he/she can work on the Light, because the “contemplation of Light”, and “expressing it” are central in the Iconograph’s Mission.
Third: Jesus did not physically change that day! From day one, from the moment when the Son of God receives a human nature in Mary’s womb, His human nature is, so to speak, “transfigured” by this union: the union, in One Person, the Person of the Eternal Son of God, of the divine nature and the human nature of Christ.
Fourth: The Apostles, by climbing the Mountain with the transformative Force of Jesus, are purified and transfigured so that they are made capable of seeing Jesus as He is. Jesus, in fact, is the one who changes them.
Fifth: In the Transfiguration, the Apostles actually contemplated the Uncreated Nature of Jesus, and not a created light.
Sixth: Before the event, Jesus Himself makes a Promise to show some of them the Kingdom, and the Transfiguration is the fulfilment of this Promise: “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God. About eight days after Jesus said this [promise], he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying […]” (Luke 9:27-29).
I am sure there are many other aspects but, as you can already see, if you combine these six elements of the Eastern Theological Tradition, you will be faced with a revolutionary understanding of the Transfiguration that will open amazing new horizons.
First, there is a Promise: Jesus speaks to his Apostles and prophesies to them that some of them will not die before seeing the Kingdom, or “see the Son of God coming in his kingdom” (Mt 16:28). Applied to us, this means the same: amongst the people who read the Gospel or listen to its Proclamation in the Mass, there are people standing there who will have an amazing experience.
Second: by climbing the Mountain we find much useful information to understand Jesus’ Action on the Apostles, namely, “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.” (Mt 17:1) If we break this sentence down a little, a deeper and more marvellous significance will become clear:
– “took with him” He grabs them with His Power. He saves them, bringing them out from darkness into His Light.
– Election of some: this, of course, can refer to those who are more fervent.
– “Led them up”: Jesus Himself is the one who is Acting.
– “a high mountain”: reveals the quality of His Action.
– “apart”: reveals the content of His Action.
The above neatly sums up that Jesus is capable of transforming the human being, bringing the “new being” to life and into its fulness. So, we “become like Him”, and therefore can “see him as He is”: “we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
Third: the discovery that the apostles changed and that we are invited to change like them becomes the foundation of our Christian life, setting for us the real goal: to be transformed in Christ in order to “see Him as He is”. This is the core of “Spiritual Theology”: divinisation, or transformation. We understand that this central task embodies everything for us in our Christian life, including our “Spiritual Life”.
We can now, finally, understand why and how the Transfiguration is such an amazing event for the Theological Spiritual Eastern Tradition. It is our Treasure. To a degree, it embodies all the Gospel.
Also, we can easily understand the importance of its Feastday, every year (6th of August).
Transfiguration and Mass
The Byzantine tradition tells us that the Transfiguration is of such importance that it encompasses the entire mystery of “christian prayer”.
It is only by willing to enter into this mystery embodied by the Transfiguration, that one starts to discover its great scope. Let us, now, explore one of its aspects.
Transfiguration and Mass
The Transfiguration could be seen as a spiritual summary of the Mass.
1- First: the Mass used to be mainly celebrated on Sundays, where all the Christians used to gather to meet the Risen Lord. The earliest accounts of that gathering could be found in St. John 20, with the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room, the door closed; see also Luke 24, in the structure of the apparition to the two disciples of Emmaus.
The Three accounts of the Transfiguration give us a hint about the relationship between: the Resurrection (happening on the 7th or 8th day) and the weekly Gathering (the Sunday Mass): “6 days later” (Mt. Mk.), or “8 days later” (Luke).
2- Second: we enter into the Mass by climbing up that High Mountain of the Action of God through the “Divine Liturgy” that God will deploy. Notice that we have to receive a special grace in order to climb. The same Greek verb is used in the Transfiguration as in the Mass: anapherei “Anaphore” meaning “Eucharistic Prayer”. Jesus is the one who “grabs” the celebrants by His Grace and makes them climb with Him.
Hence, we start the Mass by asking forgiveness (Kyrie), preparing ourselves to be put into the Hands of the Mercy of God. This is an act of purification and surrender by offering ourselves to the Hands of Jesus. Later in the Mass, He will elevate our hearts (“lift up your hearts”), and He will secrete them within Himself, or “under the shadow of the Cloud”.
3- Third: the early Church kept the readings of the Sabbath Liturgy of the Synagogue: one reading from the Torah (Pentateuch) and one reading from the Prophets (one can verify that this is still the case in the Jewish Liturgy), and add to it the reading of the Gospels and some readings from the Apostles as well as from Acts.
In the early Church, Christians used to have a very special experience of “seeing” Jesus in the Old Testament (see Luke 24, 1 Cor. 10), namely, what used to happen is that Jesus would “appear” in the Text of the Liturgy of the Old Testament.
Now, in the Transfiguration we have Moses representing the Torah and Elijah the Prophets, side by side with the fact that Jesus’ clothes and face are transformed, transfigured. The “letter” of the text (the “clothes” of the text) of the Old Testament is hereby transfigured and shows the Presence of Jesus. Jesus appears, and sheds a light over the Old Testament (Moses and Elijah), namely, the true significance of Moses and Elijah. All this takes place in the first part of the Mass and the first part of the Transfiguration. In brief, the Power of the Light of the Gospel and the presence of Jesus in the Proclamation of the Gospel, sheds a light over the two readings from the Old Testament.
4- Fourth: we then enter the second part of the Mass, the Eucharistic part. We also enter the second part of the Transfiguration: where the Cloud (symbol of the Presence of God) will overshadow everybody, just as the Eucharist will overshadow everybody, for everybody will receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus, until finally, united in Jesus, it will be only Jesus who will remain (as the text of the Transfiguration will state in Luke 9:36). This is “the vision” par excellence.
5- Fifth: the Transfiguration is about seeing, having a vision: it starts with a promise of seeing the Son of God coming (see this Promise before the Transfiguration), and ends (while coming down the mountain) with Jesus saying “don’t say anything about what you saw.” Receiving the Eucharist is about seeing Jesus, the True Light. This is what everybody sings right after Communion in the Byzantine Rite: “We have seen the True Light, and we have received the Heavenly Spirit”. In Holy Communion, we are truly overshadowed by the Heavenly Spirit as were the Apostles on the Sacred Mountain.
The parallel between the Transfiguration and the Divine Liturgy requires a degree of caution. For me, this shows that Jesus was entrusting the three Apostles, as heads of liturgical traditions, with the Divine Liturgy itself, so, through this unique experience on Mount Tabor, they can understand, enter, and measure the greatness of the one single Mass. He asked them not to reveal what happened during the Transfiguration until He rose from the dead, until He is capable of delivering, on a weekly basis, that “apparition”, that “transfiguration”.
This is why we gather together each Sunday.
Each Sunday we are invited to climb the High Mountain of the Glory of God, to listen to His Word, to see Him transfiguring the Old Testament text, each Sunday, with His Light, as “the Risen Lord”. We are then invited to enter beneath the Divine Cloud (the second part of the Mass where the catechumens were excluded, and the doors shut (see John 20 and the doors shut)), and receive the Communion that makes all of us One in Him, that make us “one Jesus” only.
This invitation, however, poses some important questions. Do we really enter into the Mystery of the Divine Liturgy? Do we really enter into the Mystery of the Transfiguration? Do we understand that the Transfiguration, that is, seeing the Lord’s Glory, it is given to all of us?
To enhance this understanding of our part in the Eucharist, in the Byzantine Rite, during Communion people sing and say that they will not betray the secret of our Lord like Judas, with a kiss. The “secret” is what we see, what we experience during Communion.
Come on great people, be aware of your greatness, of the greatness of just What it is that God is offering you weekly – or even daily!
With the great intercession of the Mother of God, we thank You Jesus-God for your indescribable Gift. Amen.
Transfiguration and St. John’s Gospel
Here, I would like to address one aspect of it that is rarely addressed by theology: the relationship between St. John and his writings and the Transfiguration. Let me explain my point:
if we accept, and you don’t have to, that all the writings of the Bible put under the name of “John” are written by the same person,
if we accept that, and you don’t have to, that same person is John the Apostle,
if we accept that he was one of the witnesses of the Lord’s Transfiguration, and
if we consider the Transfiguration as something of a transcendental meaning and importance
then we seriously have to wonder:
“how come John does not mention the Transfiguration in his Gospel?!”
In other words, we could say: “The Transfiguration must certainly have left a great and living influence on St. John, and he must have most probably meditated upon it, time and time again. Since the Transfiguration is that central to Christ’s message, one would dare to think that most probably John would decide to insert it into his Gospel. However, he didn’t do it in an obvious, literal way for there is no account of the Transfiguration in his Gospel. Therefore, he must probably have thought of mentioning it, or at least mentioning its essential message. Most probably he must have chosen to integrate the Transfiguration in a more central manner. Indeed, the way the “Transfiguration” is inserted within the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) looks a bit off-centre, just like a meteorite that has landed from nowhere.
The more one deepens one’s understanding of the Transfiguration, through prolonged meditation of it over the years, the more one sees its transcendental importance, and the more one is convinced that it is impossible for John – who witnessed it – to have remained totally silent about it.
It is more than puzzling unless one thinks that he probably found a solution to voice it, to present it, in a way that is “integral to the message”, and all together “less abstract,” as if landing from nowhere in the middle of the Gospel, and unrelated to any other text; altogether “less frightening” as would be the case on hearing the Voice of the Father, and falling in fear to the ground, namely, “When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified” (Mt 17:6).)
What would your explanation be? For a start the first thing one notices in St. John’s Gospel is the way he presents Jesus’ Passion and the Cross. It is not all an occasion of suffering; it is first and foremost the main point where God reveals His Glory. On the Cross God is glorified, and the Son is Glorified. The Passion is a moment of Victory for Jesus. One could say that John did meditate upon the Passion and the Cross so deeply that God invited him to see it in greater depth. Just consider John’s firm reaction when he sees Jesus’ side transpierced by a spear: “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.” (John 19:34-35)
More texts then follow about God’s Glory on the Cross: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5; see also John 13:32) John unequivocally shows that the death of Jesus glorifies God the Father, and that the death of Jesus’ disciples glorifies God as well: “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God” (John 21:19).
The Cross is then for John the highest point of the manifestation of the Glory of God in Jesus. In that sense, then, why would one include in the Gospel an “off-centre event” that speaks about the Glory of God, namely, the Transfiguration? In that same vein, one can already see that Luke starts to orientate the Transfiguration toward the Cross and its Glory: “And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His Exodus [departure] which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.“ (Luke 9:30-31)
So, it now follows that one has to find the essence of the Transfiguration and its relationship with the Cross, and how John planned his Gospel according to this “combination”.
The main structure of the Transfiguration in the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) is simple:
a- A Promise of a vision :(some who are present here will see the Son of God coming in his Kingdom)
b- The realisation of the Promise (the event itself of the Transfiguration with its three steps: climbing the mountain, the actual transfiguration (clothes, face, Moses and Elijah), and the overshadowing (the Cloud and the Voice of the Father).
c- The mention that that was a vision.
Furthermore, one will then be amazed to discover that in the Gospel of St. John is to be found an event that has the same structure: Cana’s wedding (John 2:1-11).
a- The wedding is preceded by a Promise: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:51).
b- The wedding itself is the realisation (in a “symbolic” and prophetical way) of this Promise, while waiting for the Cross to be the actual realisation of it.
c- The wedding ends with a strong statement: “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11)
As this shows, John decidedly structured his entire Gospel around an event: a wedding.
Note: the very least we can say is that this wedding is mysterious. We don’t know who the Groom is, who the Bride is – you can guess, but it is not clear. It speaks about “Jesus’ hour”. Then the text itself, if it is read simply as the account of a wedding, doesn’t work. Too many questions rear their heads that prevent us from saying that John wanted to tell us about a simple miracle – and not a “sign” as he says – and a miracle performed at a wedding. Did Jesus ever perform a useless miracle?! Of course not. What is the point of having “new wine” if the “new wine” didn’t have a “new” meaning. This mysterious wedding can only be understood at another level because the text itself is not complete or intelligible if taken “to the letter”.
John, therefore, decides to add something which will be discussed later, equivalent to the Transfiguration not only at the beginning of his Gospel, but as a structural event that will dictate the structure of the entire Gospel.
Admittedly, people have the right to criticise these assertions, on the grounds that there are no proofs. However, just bear with me a moment in order, not to prove anything – because you yourself will come to the realisation and see it for yourself -, but just allow me to illustrate it for you.
Transfiguration, the Assumption and Cana
First, very briefly, I would like to address some aspects of the Assumption of Mary body, soul and spirit into heaven.
This event reveals that evil in no way affects her body. Death is the separation between, on the one hand the body, and the soul and spirit on the other. Death entered the world because of Original Sin. The general view regarding Our Lady tends to avoid compromising the integrity of her being. As a consequence of the above there is an opinion in the Church that prefers to avoid using the verb “to die” for the Assumption of Our Lady. In fact, Pope Pius XII avoided it in the definition of the Assumption (CCC 966). The Oriental churches use the word “Dormition” instead of “Assumption”. Some theologians and mystics compare this final solemn moment of her life with a gentle ecstasy of love. In fact, the description of Christian death given by St. John of the Cross in the Living Flame of Love (stanza I v.6) sheds an amazing light on the Assumption. If for the normal human being he describes death as a powerful act of love moved by the Holy Spirit, just imagine what it was like in Our Lady’s case!
Consequently, if on the one hand we know that Jesus ascends into heaven and that He sits “at the right hand of the Father”, on the other hand, we can say that Mary, “ascends” into heaven. Therefore, we can also say that she sits at the right hand of Jesus.
We can say that Jesus is victorious in Her, in the sense that Mary is experiencing the total effects of the Resurrection of the body of the Lord in an exceptional way: her body is now (before the final Resurrection) admitted to being close to the body of the Lord, who is seated at the right hand of the Father.
Since Mary is the archetypal follower of Jesus, we can say that the Church, and each one of us is, in a way, in Her, and already victorious. This is why she is said to be “our hope”. We hope to reach the point where she is. She has already reached the final destination, with her body.
Also, since we are invited to receive Mary as our Mother (John 19), our Mould, and receive in us her immaculate capacity to say “yes”, to believe, to follow Jesus, and become “like her”, “for Jesus”, we may say that the fact that she now is at the right hand of Jesus, in heaven, this gives her (and us, in her) a totally different status and “power” – or “influence” if you prefer.
There is no place closer to Jesus, right now, than Mary’s place. In this sense, He is totally victorious in her and, in a way, she is “equal” to Him, in the sense that she loves Him as He loves her.
Note: see what St. John of the Cross, in the Living Flame of Love, says about the possibility of “equality of love” for us already on earth. Very important!
The Wedding at Cana
Now, let us go back to the Transfiguration and its very personal formulation in his Gospel by St. John (see above).
This equality between Jesus and Mary, or Mary’s status vis a vis Jesus, is vividly presented to us in Cana (John 2:1-11). It might not appear at first glance, but if you examine it minutely, you yourself will discover the truth of this.
After years and years of pondering over what had happened and all the Graces he was continuing to receive from God, and all that he had received from Mary, it seems that John on re-visiting the scene, saw with new eyes the simple wedding at Cana which he had attended.
He saw through it, like through stained glass, a multitude of deep meanings, to the point that he decided (certainly inspired by the Holy Spirit) to build his Gospel around this event thereby providing the entire Gospel with a readymade structure, while aiming of course toward the Cross, Death and Resurrection.
With the Help of the Holy Spirit let us now consider how through this simple human wedding, the Holy Spirit showed him that “other marriage” that takes place between the real Groom and the real Bride (Mary). That “other marriage”, secret and sacred, occurs on the day of the Resurrection. Nobody saw this, but John wanted to mention it in a very respectful and discreet way.
That “Marriage” reaches, in a way, a new completion on the day of the Assumption. Jesus and Mary meet, finally, equally, with their bodies. They “sit” at the same level, with no change anymore. The final victory is expressed here in the person of Mary.
This victory will have a long-lasting influence on us.
Let us take a closer look at Cana: Mary says: “they don’t have wine”. She doesn’t say: “we don’t have wine” because forevermore she is (sitting at his right hand) victorious (see image above). She possesses the Wine, in total quantity and quality. What a poor word we use for this statement when we say “intercession”. It is infinitely much more.
It is first: Union. There is no barrier between Jesus and her. Who can understand the union between Jesus and Mary? Since she is pure, He fills her totally, there is no space in her not occupied by Jesus and His Spirit. Linked to union, there is love, namely, the exchange of the Holy Spirit.
It is secondly: Influence. She has a powerful influence over Him. She desires; He fulfils. Indeed, it is very difficult for us to understand this consequence of the total transformation of Mary’s being in Jesus. But one can try to understand by seeing what the saints already experienced, as seen through the descriptions given by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila of the final stages of holiness. And then, if the saints can acquire all this, how much greater will be what the “Mother of all the saints” can obtain! Wouldn’t you agree?
Since she is filled by His Grace, she always asks that things be done according to His will. But still, her “agenda” is “to take the side” of us humans.
Let us then accept and explore that “new world order”, that “wedding” of another dimension.
The servants (us) must still listen to Him (“do as much as He’ll tell you to do” (John 2))… but now, with “new ears”. Hers.
They will deal with water.
Wine will appear.
They make a human effort (water), helped with the ordinary initial grace, and, through Mary’s help/faith, the “new wine” appears. They couldn’t even ask for it, they didn’t know what it was!
Thirdly: She has the “new wine”. Constantly. She knew the “new wine” would appear. She had no doubt. She has the “new wine” already, therefore what she is asking for in Cana is not for herself (even if she is totally grateful to Jesus, in anticipation, for her own salvation).
John is writing his Gospel very late in his life, much after the Assumption of Mary. This means that he can contemplate Mary even better in this “position” and can tell us about her in greater depth. With John can’t you see her sitting, body, soul and spirit, at His Side? Jesus’ “door” is totally and constantly open to her. She has total access to Him. This also is His will.
It is a fact.
Try to contemplate her, beside Him, you’ll see that “she has the new wine”. All the new wine. Any time. All the time.
Fourthly: did you notice that for the Transfiguration, we have a powerful, almost inhuman, event, that scares the three Apostles, and that for Cana it is much gentler. For the Transfiguration the Eternal Father speaks. For Cana, Mary speaks. Both point toward Jesus. Both remind us of Moses, coming down from the Mountain, mentioning the Words of God (the two tables of the Covenant), and that the people of God have to listen to them and put them into practice.
– The Father says: “here is my only begotten Son, listen to him”.
– Mary would say: here is my son, listen to Him. She actually says: “do whatever He asks you to do” (see John 2).
The Father shows* us His own Son • Mary shows* us her own Son
(* “shows”: guides us toward) I am in awe. John seems to have humanised the Transfiguration. Determined to offer it to everybody, through Cana he seems to have made it more accessible, more possible: he saw right through that simple wedding that happened in Cana.
More on Cana
Jesus still won’t call his mother: “mother”. In fact, He’ll do something better. He’ll call her “Woman”, “Ishsha”.
“Ishsha” (Mary) is taken from the word “ Ish” (Jesus). Now, when for the first time the word “Ishsha” (woman) appears in the Bible, who uses it?
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman (Ishsha), because she was taken out of Man (Ish).“(Genesis 2:23) Mary is the “New Eve”.
This was the case for the first creation (Genesis 2).
However, for the “new creation”, through Redemption, for the “New Day” that God made (the Resurrection) at Cana on “the third day” (see John 2:1), the New Man, Jesus, the New Adam, calls the one who resembles him and can help him (Genesis 2:18), Woman, that is, Ishsha.
Mary is “bone of his bones” and “flesh of his flesh”. Woman is the First being to come out of the side of Jesus on the Cross, Mary, the New Eve.
This description of Mary goes far beyond what we can imagine!
Another video on the same subject from the 2016 Course:
Another video on the same subject from the 2013 Course:
Handout of the Lesson: The Transfiguration of the Lord and Spiritual Life
St. Gregory Palamas’ Homily on the Transfiguration
St. Maximus the Confessor: Spiritual Interpretations of the Transfiguration
St. Cyril of Alexandria: Homily on the Transfiguration of Christ
St. Leo the Great, Pope: Homily on the Transfiguration of Christ