Friends, today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. What does this event mean? Thomas Aquinas’ treatment in the Summa theologiae sums up much of the wisdom of the Church Fathers on this matter.
Aquinas says that it was fitting for Christ to be manifested in his glory to his select Apostles because those who walk an arduous path need a clear sense of the goal of their journey. The arduous path is this life, with all of its attendant sufferings, failures, disappointments, and injustices.
Beset by all of this negativity, a pilgrim on life’s way can easily succumb to despair unless he is granted a glimpse of the glory that comes at the end of his striving. And this is why, Aquinas argues, Jesus, before journeying to Jerusalem to walk the way of the cross, for a brief moment allows the light to shine through him.
Though we live and move within the confines of this world of space and time, we are not meant, finally, for this dimensional system; we are summoned to life on high with God in a transformed state of existence. The Transfiguration, therefore, awakens our sense of wonder and steels our courage to face the darkness here below.