“This is My Beloved Son…” Feast of the Transfiguration

The Apostle St. Peter“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. For when He received honor 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,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. 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 Pet. 1:16-19 RSVCE).”

Leo the Great: “For when the Father said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom, I am well pleased; listen to Him,’ was it not clearly meant, ‘This is My Son’, Who is eternally from Me and with Me? ‘This is My Son’, not adopted, but true-born, not created from another source, but begotten of Me, nor made like Me from another nature, but born equal to Me of My nature (John 1:14). ‘This is My Son’, through Whom all things were made, and without Whom was nothing made (John 1:3). All things that I do He does in like manner, and whatever I perform, He performs with Me inseparably (John 5:19) and without difference: for the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son (John 14:11) and Our Unity is never divided. (John 10:30).

“Listen to Him, therefore, because He is the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), He is My Power and Wisdom (1 Cor. 1:24). ‘Listen to Him’, Who redeems the world by His blood (Eph. 1:7), Who binds the devil and carries off his captives (Matt. 12:28-29), Who destroys the bond of sin [and sets you free] (John 8:34-36). ‘Listen to Him’, Who opens the way to heaven, and by the… cross prepares for you the steps of ascent to the Kingdom.

“These things, dearly beloved, were said not only for those who heard them with their own ears, but in these three Apostles the whole Church has learned all that their eyes saw and their ears heard. Let all men’s faith be established according to the preaching of the most holy Gospel, and let no one be ashamed of Christ’s cross through which the world was redeemed.” (Leo the Great, 440-461 A.D., excerpts from Homily 51, On the Transfiguration – portions of a previous post)

The Transfiguration: The Voice of God the Father

                  The Transfiguration of  Jesus (Matt. 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-9, Luke 9:28-36)
“Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves…

Transfiguration of Jesus“While he [Peter] was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice from the cloud said, This is My Beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him. When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’ And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone (Matt. 17:5-8).”

St. Leo the Great:  “…as a bright cloud overshadowed them, behold a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, listen to Him (Matt. 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35).” The Father was indeed present in the Son, and in the Lord’s brightness, which He had tempered to the disciples’ sight; the Father’s Essence was not separated from the Only-begotten. As the effulgence of the Son’s body was displayed to their sight, so the Father’s voice from out of the cloud was heard by their ears. And when this Voice was heard, “the disciples fell upon their faces, and were sore afraid (Matt. 17:6, Luke 9:34),” trembling at the Majesty…. For when the Father said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom, I am well pleased; listen to Him,’ was it not clearly meant, This is My Son, Who is eternally from Me and with Me (John 8:42)? This is My Son, not adopted but true-born, not created from another source but begotten of Me, nor made like Me from another nature, but born equal to Me of My nature (John 1:14). This is My Son, “through Whom all things were made, and without Whom was nothing made (John 1:3).” All things that I do He does in like manner, and whatever I perform, He performs with Me inseparably (John 5:19) and without difference: for the Son is in the Father and the Father in the Son (John 14:11) and Our Unity is never divided. [John 10:30: “I and the Father are one“].

Listen to Him, therefore, unhesitatingly, in Whom I am well pleased, and by Whose preaching I am manifested, by Whose humiliation I am glorified; because He is “the Truth and the Life (John 14:6),” He is My “Power and Wisdom (1 Cor. 1:24).” Listen to Him, Whom the mysteries of the Law have foretold [represented by Moses], Whom the mouths of prophets have sung [represented by Elijah]. Listen to Him, Who redeems the world by His blood (Eph. 1:7), Who binds the devil and carries off his captives (Matt. 12:28-29), Who destroys the bond of sin and the compact of the transgression (John 8:34-36, Rom. 5:15-18). Listen to Him, Who opens the way to heaven, and by the… cross prepares for you the steps of ascent to the Kingdom. Why do you tremble at being redeemed? Why do you fear to be healed of your wounds? Let that happen which Christ wills and I will. Cast away all fleshly fear and arm yourselves with faithful constancy; for it is unworthy that you should fear in the Savior’s Passion what, by His good gift, you shall not have to fear even at your own end.

“These things, dearly-beloved, were said not only for those who heard them with their own ears, but in these three Apostles the whole Church has learned all that their eyes saw and their ears heard. Let all men’s faith be established according to the preaching of the most holy Gospel, and let no one be ashamed of Christ’s cross through which the world was redeemed. Let no one fear to suffer for righteousness’ sake, or doubt of the fulfilment of the promises…since all the weakness of our humanity was assumed by Him, in Whom, if we abide in the acknowledgment and love of Him, we conquer as He conquered and receive what he promised. Whether to the performance of His commands or to the endurance of adversities, the Father’s Voice should always be sounding in our ears, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him” Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Pope St. Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome 440-461 A.D., excerpts of Homily 51, given on the Saturday before the 2nd Sunday in Lent – On the Transfiguration.)

+ St. Leo the Great, Pray for us. +