The Second Sunday In Lent The Gospel Matt.17.v.1. Sunday Meditation
GOSPEL Matt. 17: 1-9
At that time, Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: 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. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo a voice out of the cloud, saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him." And the disciples hearing fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them: "Arise, and fear not." And they lifting up their eyes, saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: "Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead."
This transfiguration of Christ and the splendor and glory thereof, for very short time, or rather for no time, but a moment: seemeth to have been a wondrous great miracle; but indeed, the miracle was that is had not been all his life long: & it had been so indeed, (by reason his most blessed soul, had the continual vision of God, being hypostatically or personally united thereunto, and his body essentially unto his soul) but that this glory which would have redounded unto his soul was suspended, and restrained by the hand of God for the effecting work of our redemption.
For otherwise, as Solomon affirgueth by way of interrogation, alluding unto this mystery: Can any man hide fire in his bosom and not burn his garments Can the fire of this most inflamed beatifical vision, of God, reside in the soul of Christ, and not redound unto his body illustrating and glorifying the same? wherefore surely this transfiguration; was no miracle, but the cessation of a continual miracle, even as we see, if a window be shut, the sun beams cannot enter into the house to illuminate the same: but being opened, it presently passeth in, being violently held out before.
To the window of this glory, that is to say the will of God, being now in the instant of the transfiguration of Christ set open, the glory of his beatifical vision, being before kept out by violence, presseth in upon him and maketh his face shine like the sun and his garments white as snow when the sun shineth upon it, which ever it would have done from his Nativity had not the window of Gods will kept it out: This beatifical vision is that supreme good or felicity where unto man is ordained in heaven, & which to acquire here in earth, by his cooperation with the grace of God in the merits of Christ Jesus, is so great a felicity that St. Peter with one little momentary glimpse therefore was ravished with joy, and in an ecxtasy out of himself, crying out, O Lord it is good for us to be here, let us make three Tabernacles, to dwell here, one for thee; one for Moses, one for Elias, being so out of himself that he forgot himself: else he would have said: and one for me.
And Saint Augustine saith of it, thus: If a man might enjoy in his soul, though he were in hell, and suffered all the torments thereof; they would all be so drowned therein, that he should not feel them a whit.
What afflictions and cross should we think much to suffer patiently or rather joyfully, to attain to this unspeakable felicity? of which Saint Paul saith, all the sufferings of this life are not condign or portionable to the glory that shall be revealed unto us in the next.
The joy of this glory in heaven Saint Paul saith Christ did propose unto himself, to encourage him to suffer his passion and the same he exhorteth us to do, that we faint not, saith he, under our cross and for this purpose was he pleased here to be transfigured in glory, to comfort his disciples with a little taste thereof to whom he had foretold a little before his cruel death and passion: and their own future sufferings for his sake, and in them he comforteth all that are in affliction, and persecution especially for the religion and faith of God.
And also the Church appointed this gospel to be read now in the beginning of lent that proposing before our eyes the joyful resurrection of Christ & of our own in the virtue of his, we may be animated the batter, to endure the difficulty of lent without fainting.
And if we are to suffer all kind of afflictions and calamity to attain unto the vision of God in heaven, whereof this transfiguration of Christ was but a little sipp or taste; much more ought we to deprive ourselves of all unlawful delights, and pleasures altogether, and sometime from lawful, as Christ deprived himself all his lifetime, of that glory that would otherwise have redounded to his body, as it did here in his transfiguration yea and at his death in his greatest agony deprived himself of all comfort in so much that he cried out O God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me; and all this he did for our more copious redemption, and to show the excess of his love, towards us, and shall we think much to do any thing for him especially considering what we do for him, redoundeth to ourselves.
A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634