Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This morning I was reflecting on the great mystery of the Transfiguration, which we are celebrating on this wonderful Feast Day in which the Lord was transfigured high on a mountain to Peter, James and John. We read in the Gospel of St. Matthew 17:2, “And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” God the Father’s voice was heard, “This is my beloved, Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” (Mt. 17:6) Jesus was revealed as the Son of God. What a consolation and incredible experience for these three Apostles! Yet, we see in this mystery that we who receive consolations from Our Lord and the foreshadowing of eternal life are lead down the mountain into daily life where we experience “ups and downs”, joys and disappointments, consolations and desolations. We learn to detach from the consolations and cling to Our Lord with all our might to have profound faith, hope and charity. With His grace, we grow. We are not to seek the consolation of God but the God of consolation, so that we be united to Him. This is for our preparation for heaven where we will see the face of Christ.
Speaking of heaven, have you ever seen or listened to the children’s choirs at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Gilbert with Claire Halbur directing? Here are videos of the Sacred Music Program at St. Mary Mag’s Parish:
Meet Claire Halbur: an interview done by high school parishioners. She will be consecrated by Bishop Olmsted to be a Consecrated Virgin Living in the World, Saturday, August 22 at 11 a.m. at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral. This private Consecration will be live-streamed via YouTube and Facebook.
“O Pure Virgin” from 2019 Spring Concert at St. Mary Magdalene Parish.
“Como Estrella en Claro Cielo” from 2019 Spring Concert at the Parish.
“De Profundis” from 2019 Spring Concert at St. Mary Magdalene Parish.
St. Mary Magdalene Sacred Music YouTube channel, including our Spring 2020 virtual choirs and snippets from 2018 Spring Concert
St. John Paul II, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, in Paragraphs 14 and 15, teaches consecrated persons are an icon of the Transfiguration:
“The event of the Transfiguration marks a decisive moment in the ministry of Jesus. It is a revelatory event which strengthens the faith in the disciples’ hearts, prepares them for the tragedy of the cross and prefigures the glory of the resurrection. This mystery is constantly relived by the Church, the people on its way to the eschatological encounter with its Lord. Like the three chosen disciples, the Church contemplates the transfigured face of Christ in order to be confirmed in faith and to avoid being dismayed at his disfigured face on the cross. In both cases, she is the Bride before her Spouse, sharing in his mystery and surrounded by his light.
“In the Gospel, many of Christ’s words and actions shed light on the meaning of this special vocation. But for an overall picture of its essential characteristics, it is singularly helpful to fix our gaze on Christ’s radiant face in the mystery of the Transfiguration. A whole ancient spiritual tradition refers to this “icon” when it links the contemplative life to the prayer of Jesus “on the mountain.” Even the “active” dimensions of Jesus “on the mountain.” Even the “active” dimensions of consecrated life can in a way be included here, for the Transfiguration is not only the revelation of Christ’s glory but also a preparation for facing Christ’s cross. It involves both “going up the mountain” and “coming down the mountain.” The disciples who have enjoyed this intimacy with the Master, surrounded for a moment by the splendor of the Trinitarian life and of the communion of Saints, and as it were caught up in the horizon of eternity, are immediately brought back to daily reality, where they see “Jesus only,” in lowliness of his human nature, and are invited to return to the valley, to share with him the toil of God’s plan and to set off courageously on the way of the cross.
“This light shines on all the Church’s children. All are equally called to follow Christ, to discover in him the ultimate meaning of their lives, until they are able to say with the Apostle: “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21). But those who are called to the consecrated life have a special experience of the light which shines forth from the Incarnate Word. For the profession of the Evangelical Counsels makes them a kind of sign and prophetic statement for the community of the brethren and for the world; consequently they can echo in a particular way the ecstatic words spoken by Peter: “Lord, it is well that we are here.” (Mt. 17:4)
May I ask you to please pray for our elderly Religious Sisters and Brothers who have come to the end of their time on earth and are in preparation for seeing the face of Our Lord in the eternal life? I just received news that two elderly Sisters will be returning to their Motherhouses. Please pray for Sister Mary Frances Simons, CSJ and for Sister Carol Frances Miller, SSND both of whom will be moving this month to their Motherhouses out of state.
Today, is the 42nd Anniversary of the death and birthday in heaven of Saint Pope Paul VI, who was a very courageous Pope who suffered a great deal because of his Encyclical Letter, Humanae Vitae, “On Human Life.” He faced much opposition as a result of teaching the truth about the dignity of human persons and the immorality of contraception. His heroism gives us great hope and gratitude for the virtuous life, especially fidelity to God. I found this beautiful homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration by Saint Pope John Paul II from the 21st Anniversary of the Death of Saint Pope Paul VI.
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 21st ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF PAUL VI
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Friday, 6 August 1999
“Today, the Eucharist which we are preparing to celebrate takes us in spirit to Mount Tabor together with the Apostles Peter, James and John, to admire in rapture the splendor of the transfigured Lord. In the event of the Transfiguration we contemplate the mysterious encounter between history, which is being built every day, and the blessed inheritance that awaits us in heaven in full union with Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
We, pilgrims on earth, are granted to rejoice in the company of the transfigured Lord when we immerse ourselves in the things of above through prayer and the celebration of the divine mysteries. But, like the disciples, we too must descend from Tabor into daily life where human events challenge our faith. On the mountain we saw; on the paths of life we are asked tirelessly to proclaim the Gospel which illuminates the steps of believers.
This deep spiritual conviction guided the whole ecclesial mission of my venerable Predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, who returned to the Father’s house precisely on the Feast of the Transfiguration, 21 years ago now. In the reflection he had planned to give at the Angelus on that day, 6 August 1978, he said: ‘The Transfiguration of the Lord, recalled by the liturgy of today’s solemnity throws a dazzling light on our daily life, and makes us turn our mind to the immortal destiny which that fact foreshadows’.
Yes! Paul VI reminds us: we are made for eternity and eternity begins at this very moment, since the Lord is among us and lives with and in his Church.
As we commemorate my unforgettable Predecessor in the see of Peter with deep emotion, let us pray that every Christian will know how to draw courage and constancy from contemplating Christ, who ‘reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature’ (Heb 1:3), in order to proclaim and witness faithfully through his words and works.
May Mary, our tender and caring Mother, help us to be bright rays of the saving light of her Son Jesus.”
© Copyright 1999 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana
As we give thanks to God for the special experience of seeing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, transfigured and the dazzling light of his divinity, let us be strengthened by this consolation and the beauty of his transfigured face, so that when the suffering comes and we detach from consolations, we will remember that we are destined for eternity and union with Our Beloved. The love of Christ urges on as we live and serve Him on this earth. May we have the courage to endure and even desire the sufferings we bear for Him.
Blessed Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ!
With prayers, I am
Your Sister in Christ,
Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM
Director of the Office of Consecrated Life
Diocese of Phoenix