Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Second Sunday of Lent—1 March AD 2015

Raphael - The Transfiguration

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
hear ye him.”[1]

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Lenten Observance

    I am indebted to the late Monsignor Matthias Premm[2] for pointing out that the stark contrast between today’s Epistle and Gospel—the Epistle speaking of sin, and the Gospel speaking of glory—is reflected in the last painting of the great Italian painter Raphael, almost completed before his death at the age of thirty seven in 1520.[3]  The painting depicts the transfiguration at the top, and then, at the bottom, the next event mentioned in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, the expulsion of the devil from a possessed young man, whom the devil would often make fall into fire or water.[4]

    The contrast is stark indeed, for the Transfiguration presents our Lord in the greatest glory seen through all of His life on earth.

    Some say that this glorification was to prepare the Apostles for the events of our Lord’s crucifixion and death.  At the end of this same chapter, Saint Matthew quotes our Lord, saying:  “The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall rise again. And they were troubled exceedingly.”[5]  The vision of our Lord’s glorified humanity, His association with Moses and Elias, and the voice of His father in heaven all helped to reassure them that in the end good would come out of evil, and that He would indeed rise again on the third day.  Pope Saint Leo the Great said:  “Of this metamorphosis the chief work was to remove from the hearts of the disciples the stumbling at the Cross.”[6]

    Pope Saint Leo suggests another purpose for the Transfiguration: “The members of that body whose Head hath already been transfigured in light may promise themselves a share in His glory.”  That is to say that our Lord’s transfiguration was a promise of the future glory of those who persevere in holiness in this life—that we members of the Mystical Body of Christ would share something of the glory of the Head of our Body.  In the Transfiguration we are given an incentive to abstain from the uncleanness deplored by Saint Paul in the Epistle.[7]

    Pope Leo also tells us that the Transfiguration helps us to understand that Jesus Christ is true God and true man:  “to acknowledge that He is perfect God and perfect Man, and that as there is in the Godhead perfect Manhood, so there is in the Manhood perfect Godhead.”[8]  You will recall that Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became man so that He could offer Himself, the perfect gift to His Father, on behalf of fallen mankind, which had nothing with which to atone for the sin of Adam and Eve.

    In the previous chapter of Saint Matthew’s Gospel, after the confession of Saint Peter that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” our Lord promised that “some of them that stand here, that shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”[9]  Pope Leo tells us that He was referring to the Transfiguration.  It is the “Son of man” that is transfigured and who gives a glimpse of His heavenly kingdom.  The Apostles were privileged to witness the glorification of the God-man—they did not see the glory of God Himself, “for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live.”[10]

    Holy Mother, the Church, commemorates the Transfiguration several times during the liturgical year.  Today, during Lent, She is reminding us that “God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification; in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  And, in order to encourage us, She gives us this glimpse of the glorified mankind of our Savior.  As the Father said to the Apostles, He says to us:

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
hear ye him.”

    Be sure to hear Him, and keep His commandments!


[1]   Gospel:  Matthew xvii: 1-9

[2]   Matthias Premm, The Year Made Holy (Milwaukee: Bruce1961)  page 52.

[6]   Lesson iv, Matins of the feast to the Transfiguration

[7]   I Thessalonians iv: 1-7

[8]   Lesson i, Matins of Ember Saturday in Lent

[10]   Pope Saint Leo the Great, Lesson vii at Matins of the First Sunday in Lent.


Dei via est íntegra
Our Lady of the Rosary, 144 North Federal Highway (US#1), Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441  954+428-2428
Authentic  Catholic Mass, Doctrine, and Moral Teaching -- Don't do without them -- 
Don't accept one without the others!