Tag Archives: Transfiguration

A Theophany of Communion

Icon of the Transfiguration by Alexander Ainetdinov. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Feast of the Transfiguration (Year A)

Matthew 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

The Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, the last of the biblical theophanies, unfolded the deepest secret of divinity hidden from Moses on Mount Sinai and Elijah on Mount Horeb. 

Unlike the Old Testament theophanies, in which God spoke to his prophet one on one, or “face to face,” three witnesses were present on Mount Tabor. The first peculiarity of this mountain theophany was its communal aspect. Jesus took a trinity of disciples, Peter, James and John, his inner circle.

And he was transfigured before them;  his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

A trinity of mortals suddenly found themselves beholding a trinity of prophets in the dazzling light of the transfigured Christ. Jesus, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (Moses and Elijah), exchanged greetings with his predecessors.

James and John were speechless, but Peter felt compelled to say or do something, anything.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

“He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified,” Mark reported (9:6). Peter was ready to take charge of the situation, though he barely understood what was happening. His instinct for hospitality came forth spontaneously as he offered to house Jesus and his illustrious companions. Jesus was, after all, his house guest. 

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said,“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 

“The heavens are my throne,
the earth, my footstool.
What house can you build for me?
Where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1)

The same voice that spoke to Isaiah now spoke out of the cloud, but it was no longer solitary. The God of Isaiah who could not be confined in houses made by human hands has a Son! With the Father and the Son, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, was also present in the light of glory. 

This was the second time the son of a carpenter from Nazareth was addressed by the Father as “my beloved Son.” The first time was at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan (Mark 1:11). 

When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.

The traditional icon above portrays Peter on the left, kneeling, John in the center falling prostrate with his back to the light, and James knocked backward in awe. 

But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.  

The unearthly light disappeared, but what an unforgettable experience! It would seem that anyone who witnessed Jesus in such blazing glory should have had enough confidence to stand fast with him in the garden of Gethsemane. But that was not so. And perhaps that was why Jesus ordered silence.

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

The Cross was the pivot between two extremes. The mortality of the Cross stood as crux between the glory of incorruptible divinity on Mount Tabor, and the glory of incorruptible humanity at the resurrection. The infinite and the finite, divinity and humanity, entered into incorruptible, inseparable, indivisible glory in the multi-personal unity of the Trinity three days after the crucifixion.

Whereas Moses and Elijah only knew God as monad, and therefore spoke to him as a bride to a bridegroom, the marriage of humanity and divinity opened the way to a communion of persons transcending the marriage of two natures. At the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John, a trinity of disciples, received a foretaste of the multi-personal communion of saints in Trinitarian Light.

-GMC

Beyond Contradiction

10th week in Ordinary Time, Friday

1 Kings 19:9-16, Psalm 27, Matthew 5:27-32

After a long, thunderous showdown with the prophets of Baal, ending with their destruction, Elijah was a prophet on the run from the wrath of Jezebel. The Lord listened to his complaints under a broom tree, fed him, and strengthened him for a long journey on foot to Mount Horeb. Alone and in silence during his forty day trek, Elijah had a lot of time to reflect on the events that had just taken place. 

He apparently received no directive to hide out in the cave because the Lord asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 

He answered: “I have been most zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, but the Israelites have forsaken your covenant. They have destroyed your altars and murdered your prophets by the sword. I alone remain, and they seek to take my life.”

No mention was made of the killing of the prophets of Baal. Elijah’s zeal was interrupted by an unusual theophany:

Then the Lord said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the Lord was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.

Theophanies to Moses on the same mountain involved thunder, lightning and fire. The same God came to Elijah in a gentle whisper. Is this a contradiction?

God is beyond contradictions and paradoxes. The Trinity is infinite and incomprehensible. Yet the infinite took form in finite flesh. The God of thunder and lightning began to be in the womb of a Virgin as a helpless embryo. The God of the silent sound denounced hypocrites. The Word made flesh spoke in figures about the unspeakable.

God cannot be put into a box. Not even the finite form of Christ remained in its earthly state in perpetuity. The destruction of his body released the Triple Light that opened the way for a transfigured humanity. 

All the violence and passion of Adam and his progeny were given free rein to strike God on the Cross. The innocent Lamb called us to wholeness and singleness of eye. Dramatic language about discarding an eye or a hand that causes sin underscores the nothingness of earthly attachments compared with the transfigured life for which we are made. The Triple Glory of the Transfiguration and the Cross is the apex to which a person of single (spiritual) eye is fixed.

“Your presence, O Lord, I seek. Hide not your face from me” (Psalm 27:8b-9a).

-GMC

Who is the Father?

Greek icon, The Mystical Supper

7th Week of Easter, Sunday

John 17:1-11a

“Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.”

The word “glory” rings several times in this passage, evoking an unfamiliar and unworldly milieu. Jesus asks the Father to reveal to the disciples the splendor and brilliance of their love, a glimpse of which was given at the Transfiguration. The hour has come in which the Son will be glorified by being disfigured on the Cross. How can glory be manifested in such opposite ways—in light (Transfiguration) and darkness (the Cross)? The clue is in Christ’s constant turning to the Father. Jesus does nothing on his own, but only what the Father wills. The bodily eye may “see” disgrace on the Cross, but the spiritual eye sees divine love and glory.

“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” Eternal life is knowing the Father through the Son. Revelation alone opens this path to the hidden Person of the Father, about whom we know so little. Since Jesus cannot seem to speak enough about him, it must be worth every ounce of our energy to seek him.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept my word.”

Some translations have “from the world” instead of “out of the world.” In any case, the Father is neither in nor out of any world. He is uncontainable. The meaning seems to be that the ones given to Jesus originally belonged to the Father. Thus they are given to him. As the Son is begotten of the Father, so is each one of us. The inviolability of persons created in the image of the Son is rooted in the Father. 

“I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours…”

Is there a line of division between “the world” and the children of the Father? Perhaps “the world” might be understood as the emptiness of separation from the Father—the tendency toward nothingness. Outside of the Father, there is nothing.

“All mine are thine, and thine are mine,” in the elegant English translation. These are mysteries too deep. May the Holy Spirit enlighten our hearts and minds to know the Father and the one he sent, Jesus Christ. 

-GMC

2nd Sunday of Lent B Jesus is Transfigured

To listen to today’s homily, select the audio file below:

Immediately before the account of his transfiguration on the mountain, which we read in Mark’s gospel this Sunday, Jesus and his disciples go up north to the villages around Caesarea Philippi, a major gentile city of the day. Mount Hermon, the great snow capped mountain that’s the principal water source for the Lake of Galilee and the Jordan River dominates that region. In bible, mountains are places close to God, where God reveals himself.

So here Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” Some say you’re Elijah, John the Baptist come back from the dead, the disciples say. “Who do you say I am?” he said. “You are the Messiah,” Peter replied.

But as Jesus goes on to tell them he’s going to “suffer greatly, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes and be killed and rise after three days,” Peter stops him. No, that’s not going to happen to you. That’s not the Messiah I mean. Jesus turns to him and says “Get behind me Satan, you are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.”

‘You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do.” Mark’s gospel, more than the others, insists that despite his teaching and the wonders Jesus works, his own disciples whom you would expect would know him best, don’t understand him that well. They think as human beings do. Of course we do too.

And so Jesus takes them up the mountain and is temporarily transfigured before them. It’s a temporary experience. A brief encounter. His clothes become a dazzling white. The great traditional figures of Moses and Elijah appear; a terrifying cloud overshadows them, a voice says “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” That’s the way the gospels describe it.

The disciples want more. Peter wants to set up tents so they can stay there. But then it’s over. They only have a glimpse of the One who walks with them. After they come down from the mountain they still don’t understand him.

But, still, they follow him.

The mystery of the transfiguration of Jesus reminds us that God periodically reveals himself to us. Periodically,we have intimations,  glimpses of God. We can’t create that experience on our own. God makes himself known. In St. Luke’s account of the transfiguration, he seems to indicate that prayer is one way to enter God’s presence.

And so we do all we can, we wait for him like  the disciples, but we’re absorbed in our human thinking. “Thinking like human beings.”

The mystery of the transfiguration also offers the promise of something that awaits us, something that is permanent, and not temporary. “Follow me.” Jesus says. We try to get ready for him. God will come, but here in this life he comes when he wills. We wait, we watch, we listen.  Jesus saysa Kingdom is coming, where the limitation of human thoughts and actions passes away and our waiting is ended and we shall see God face to face, not for a time but for eternity.
“This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

The first reading for today is from the Book of Genesis. It begins “God put Abraham to the test.” He’s tempted. He takes his only son up a mountain to kill him. What a test that is to our human way of thinking. His only son, his beloved son. Everything he put his hopes in.

For Abraham this was the greatest temptation he or anyone could face. Everything’s lost; nothing more to live for. But God tells him  he’s not lost everything. No, he hasn’t. Go beyond your human thinking. God is for us, not against us.

Father Quentin Amrhein (1926-2014)

 

Sower

 

Yesterday I preached the homily at the Mass for Christian Burial for Father Quentin Amrhein, a Passionist priest who died at Queens Hospital, New York City, on July 31st and was buried at St. Paul’s Monastery, Pittsburgh, Pa., August 7, 2014. He was a member of the community at Immaculate Conception Monastery, Jamaica, New York, at the time of his death.

“Each of us is a witness to the gospel; we’re living gospels, however imperfect we may seem. What gospel did we see in Quentin?

We’ve been reading the parables of Jesus recently at Mass; the parable of the sower; the parable of the treasure hidden in the field, the mustard seed, the parable of the net cast into the sea. I wonder if Quentin’s life might tell what some of those parables mean. Parables need to be explained and sometimes the best explanation comes, not from books, but from people who are living gospels.

God the Sower is one of Jesus’ most important parables. He’s the sower who sows seed in the field of humanity. He never stops sowing; from the first moment of creation, from the first moment of our lives, God is at work sowing good seed. Sometimes the growth is quick and obvious, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes the growth is delayed, but all our life long, God is the sower sowing good seed. And he doesn’t stop.

In a poem called “Putting in the Seed” Robert Frost describes what he calls “a farmer’s love affair with the earth.” It’s spring and getting dark, but the farmer keeps working his field. Someone from the house goes to fetch him home. Supper’s on the table, yet he’s a

“ Slave to a springtime passion for the earth.

How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed

On through the watching for that early birth

When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,

The sturdy seedling with arched body comes

Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.”

Isn’t that a good image of God: a Sower, passionately in love with our world, casting saving grace on it in season and out, and watching it grow?

God blessed Father Quentin. He came from a good Pittsburgh family with strong Passionist roots. His grand uncle, Father Joseph Amrhein, served the Passionist community in Rome and in the United States. His uncle, Father Leonard Amrhein, was a missionary in China and then the Philippines. His younger brother, Raphael, was a Passionist priest, and his sister, Mary, was a Passionist Nun who died a missionary in Japan. Quentin was always proud and grateful for his family.

He was blessed by God with a keen mind and an exceptional memory. Those who knew him marveled at the way he recalled in detail things that took place 20, 30, 40 years ago. I remember him telling me the line-up of the 1944 Pittsburgh Pirates.

But much of Quentin’s life was clouded by sickness of one kind or another, which prevented him from doing many of the ministries a Passionist priest does. He loved preaching, yet for many years he wasn’t able to preach. He loved to study, and yet sickness kept him from doing that as well.

What we noticed in him in recent years, though, was not the sickness but the way he persevered through the suffering and disappointments that sickness brings. He wasn’t beaten by it; he fought the good fight. He was an exceptional fighter. At our wake service for him in Jamaica, a doctor and members of the medical community who cared for him through recent life-threatening crises spoke admiringly of Quentin’s determination to live. He came back again and again from death’s door.

How did he do it? Was it simply him? Was it his strong personality, good constitution, or German determination? We usually explain things like this in purely human terms.

Yet, if the gospel is at work in us, was God at work in him? Do we see in him God the Sower tending the life of his seed and seeing it grow?

Last week before he died, Father Quentin celebrated and preached at the community Mass at our Jamaica monastery. He hadn’t done that in years. The thirty of us who were there that day will remember that Mass for a long time, I think. It was a beautiful Mass: we were watching a promise come true. A resurrection, a Lazarus come to life.

It was like watching the birth of a seed, as Frost describes it in his poem:

“The sturdy seedling with arched body comes

Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.”

I said to Father Quentin after that Mass, “ I hope you are going to do that again.” “Yes, I am,” he said, “ the vicar has me down for celebrating Mass for the Feast of the Transfiguration.” Then he went on to tell me with his usual enthusiasm, how the Lord shares his glory with us as he did Moses and Elijah and the apostles. But first, we have to follow him in suffering, as he told his apostles when he predicted his passion to them.

Last Wednesday was the Feast of the Transfiguration, but Quentin was not going to preach that day. God was going to bring him up the mountain to share his glory with him.

We’re living gospels and Quentin was a gospel to us. He’s a reminder that God the Sower is always at work in the world, in a world where we think that people with long term disabilities are going nowhere, in a world where we think that life ends with youth, in a world where we think that suffering has no meaning, where we think there’s no resurrection and God has given up on us.

The Gospel of Quentin. I know he would be the last to call it his gospel, because he saw it as the gospel of Jesus, whom he served and love and prayed to and relied on all his life. Today as we commend him to God we read from the Gospel of John a passage he himself chose for this Mass.

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”

The seed has fallen to the ground, but it will bear much fruit.”

(Vincent Van Gogh painted the Sower (above) many times and found the subject filled with spiritual significance. He once said “one begins to see more clearly that life is a kind of sowing time, and the harvest is not here.”).

2nd Sunday of Lent

Lent 1
en español
for Swahili
Matthew 17,1-9

The Transfiguration of Jesus takes place at the midpoint of Matthew’s gospel, after Jesus announces to his disciples that “he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Take up your cross and follow me, he tells his disciples.
“God forbid, Lord,” says Peter. who doesn’t understand this at all. We find it hard to understand too.

Six days later, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain where they experience him glorified, surrounded by Moses and Elijah. It’s a transitory experience, even though Peter, awed by the vision, asks to prolong it. After falling to the ground, the disciples looked up and “saw no one except Jesus himself alone.” But the experience strengthens them for the journey they’re called to make.

“The main purpose of the transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of Christ’s disciples,” says Pope Leo the Great. God doesn’t want us to be weighed down by suffering.

So, like Peter, James and John, Jesus takes us up a mountain throughout our lives to strengthen us as we share in his cross. What mountain do we ascend? St. Paul of the Cross and other spiritual guides say it’s the mountain of prayer, where we experience intimations of God’s glory, brief encounters, transfigurations of a lesser kind. We’re strengthened as we pray.

“Don’t think that the trials and crosses you experience turn you to go another way. Trials don’t indicate you’re straying from God. We know it’s just the opposite from the scriptures we read and the saints we honor. The way to go is the way our Savior gives us grace to go. Saint Bernard wasn’t the first to know this truth when he said: ‘The cross is the way to life, the way to glory, the way to the Kingdom, and the way to the inhabited City.’”

(Letter 1194)

Lord Jesus,
lead me to that mountain place
of stronger light and surer sound
where I may see your glory.
Strengthen me through prayer.

Light and truth,
bright as blinding snow,
whom Peter, James and John saw,
“Bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling place.”
Spanish

en español
2do domingo de cuaresma (Año A)
Mateo 17.1-9

La Transfiguración de Jesús ocurre en el medio del Evangelio de Mateo, después de Jesús haber anunciado a sus discípulos que ” él tendría que ir a Jerusalén, y pasar grandes sufrimientos bajo las manos de los ancianos, los jefes de los sacerdotes y los maestros de la ley, ser matado, y al tercer día resucitar.”

Carguen con su cruz y síganme, les dice a sus apóstoles. ” Diós no lo quiera, Señor!” le dice Pedro, que no entiende esto en lo absoluto. Nosotros lo encontramos muy difícil de entender también.

Seis días después Jesús toma a Pedro, a Santiago y a Juán a una montaña donde ellos tienen la experiencia de verlo a él glorificado, rodeado por Moisés y Elías. Esta parece ser una experiencia transitoria; después de postrarse en la tierra, ellos levantaron la cabeza y ” ya no vieron a nadie, sino a Jesús solo.” Pero esta experiencia los fortalece para el resto de la jornada que les espera.

“El propósito principal de la transfiguración de Jesús es de remover el escándolo de la cruz de los corazones de los discípulos de Cristo,” dice el Papa Leo el Grande. Diós no quiere que nosotros seamos oprimidos por el sufrimiento.

Así, como a Pedro, Santiago y Juán, Jesús nos lleva arriba a una montaña durante todas nuestras vidas mientras compartimos su cruz. ¿Qué montaña es la que ascendemos ? San Pablo de la Cruz y otros guías espirituales dicen que es la montaña de la oración, donde experimentamos intimaciones de la gloria de Diós, encuentros breves, y transfiguraciones pequeñas que nos fortalecen.

Nos dice San Pablo de la Cruz ; ” No créas que las pruebas y las cruces que experimentas te viran hacia otro camino. Las pruebas no son indicaciones de que te estás descarriando de Diós. Nosotros sabemos que lo opuesto es cierto basado en las Escrituras que leemos y los santos que veneramos. La ruta que tomar es el camino por donde Diós nos da la gracia para ir. San Bernardo no fue el primero en reconocer esta verdad cuando exclamó; ‘ La cruz es el camino a la vida, el camino a la gloria, el camino al Reino, y el camino a la Ciudad Habitada.’ ” (Carta 1194)

Señor Jesús,
guíame hacia ese lugar montañoso
de fuerte luz y sonido claro
donde pueda ver tu gloria.
Fortaléceme a través de la oración.

Luz y verdad, brillante como la nieve deslumbradora,
a quién Pedro, Santiago y Juán vieron.
” Tráeme a tu monte sagrado ,
al lugar de tu morada.”
Swahili
Lent

Tafakari ya jumapili ya pili
Kugeuka sura kwa Yesu kulitokea katika kipindi muhimu cha Enjili ya Mathayo, baada ya Yesu kuwatangazia wafuasi wake kwamba “atapaswa kwenda Yerusalem na kupitia mateso makali katika mikono ya wazee wa kanisa, makuhani wakuu na mafarisayo, atauwa na siku ya tatu atafufuka.”

Chukua msalaba wako na unifuate, anawaambia wafuasi wake. “Mungu apishe mbali, Bwana, “alisema Peter, ambae hakulielewa hili hata kidogo. Inakuwa vigumu kwetu pia kulielewa.

Siku sita baadae, Yesu akamchukua Petro, Yacobo na Yohana kwenye mlima ambapo waliuona utukufu wa Yesu, kando yake wakiwepo Musa na Elia. Ilionekana kuwa kipindi cha mpito ambacho wasingerefusha zaidi. Baada ya kuanguka chini, waliinua macho, na hawakumuona yeyote ila Yesu peke yake.” Hali hiyo iliwaimarisha kwa kipindi cha safari yote waliyoifanya.

Lengo kuu la kugeuka sura ilikuwa ni kuondoa uzushi juu ya msalaba katika mioyo ya wafuasi wa Kristo,” Anasema Papa Leo Mkuu.

Ni katika mlima gani yesu anatuchukua sisi ili kutuimarisha katika safari ya kuibeba misalaba yetu? Mt. Paulo Wa Msalaba pamoja na viongozi wengine wa kiroho wanasema ni mlima wa sala ambapo tunapata ukamilifu wa utukufu wa Mungu, kwa kifupi tunakutana na utukufu wa Mungu.

The Transfiguration of Jesus

DSC00070
Today’s Feast of the Transfiguration was celebrated as far back as the 4th century by the Syrian church. Then, it spread to other eastern churches, and finally in the 15th century came into our Roman liturgy, probably through western pilgrims to the Holy Land who visited the great mountain shrine of the Transfiguration in Galilee and brought the feast back to Europe. Some of our feasts have come to us like this– from pilgrims to the Holy Land.

All three synoptic gospels have the account of Jesus ascending the mountain with Peter, James and John after he has announced his passion and death. He’s transfigured before them. His face is changed in appearance,“dazzling like the sun,” Matthew’s gospel says. “His clothes are dazzling white;” the other gospels say, reflecting a body we can’t look at directly. It happens “while he was praying,” Luke says, who always sees prayer opening up the mysteries of God.

The mountain in the scriptures is a favorite place where God reveals himself. It’s where you can take in everything, everywhere. Later this week in our readings from Deuteronomy (4,32-40), Moses tells the children of Israel to remember that God’s voice came from the heavens and spoke to them from the mountain of Horeb and led them by a cloud to a land that was their heritage.

Now, God speaks from the Mount of Transfiguration. A cloud envelopes Jesus and his disciples. “This is my chosen Son; listen to him,” God says. “Keep this mystery in mind,” Peter says in his letter; it’s “like a lamp shining in a dark place, until the first streaks of dawn appear and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

Our liturgy today tells us that Jesus “revealed his glory to his disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the cross,” that’s the dark place God wishes to lighten. “His glory shone in a body like our own, to show that the Church, which is his body, would one day share his glory,” our liturgy says. So our bodies share this mystery with him.

Moses and Elijah are there speaking to him, Luke says, “about his passage, which he was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.” The passage from Egypt to the Promised Land will take place now through the mystery of his passion and resurrection.

The disciples fall silent after experiencing this mystery. They can’t explain it, even if they wanted to. So they fall back on the familiar stories of Moses and Elijah who spoke to God face to face. The mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus is a mystery we anticipate, we cannot explain. Later, his disciples will say simply: “We have seen the Lord. He is risen, as he said.”

The Transfiguration of Jesus

Feasts like the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain, which we celebrate today, are gifts from God, helping us to recall who we are and what we’re meant to be. We so easily forget.

Here’s a short excerpt from a sermon byAnastatius of Sinai from today’s Office of Readings.

“Let us run with confidence and joy to enter into the cloud like Moses and Elijah, or like James and John. Let us be caught up like Peter to behold the divine vision and to be transfigured by that glorious transfiguration. Let us retire from the world, stand aloof from the earth, rise above the body, detach ourselves from creatures and turn to the creator, to whom Peter in ecstasy exclaimed: Lord, it is good for us to be here.

It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter. It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater happiness or higher honour could we have than to be with God, to be made like him and to live in his light?

Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into his divine image, we also should cry out with joy: It is good for us to be here – here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness; where God is seen.

For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: Today salvation has come to this house. With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of his eternal blessings, and there where they are stored up for us in him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.”