”O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance shall they walk, and in Thy, Name shall they rejoice all the day long.”
St. John Chrysostom, in preaching a homily about the Transfiguration, says that if (with God’s grace) we transform ourselves and put on the armor of light, the glory of God will enfold us.
At Vespers on the eve of Transfiguration, we sing this hymn: “ Come, let us rejoice, mounting up from the earth to the highest contemplation of the virtues: Let us be transformed this day into a better condition and direct our minds to heavenly things, having been shaped anew in piety according to the form of Christ; for in His mercy, the Savior of our souls has transfigured disfigured humanity and let it shine with Light on Mount Tabor.”
Where have we been? We’ve been up Mt. Tabor. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).”
Bishop Kallistos Ware often tells stories in his articles, lectures and books. Here is one story of his stories taken from the Desert Fathers: When St Arsenios the Great was praying in his cell, a disciple looked through the window and saw the old man “entirely as fire.” A similar story is told of Abba Joseph of Panepho: “The old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten torches, and he said, ‘If you wish, you can become entirely as fire.” Just as Moses was aglow with the radiance of the Father’s uncreated light when he descended form Sinai, so too, us all. And finally, we recall the story about St. Seraphim of Sarov and the storyteller, Motovilov himself, who on a snowy day in deep the Russian forest both became transfigured with the shekinah of God. Not just for monks and saints, but for all mankind.
Before the Transfiguration, Jesus predicts His Passion and adds that the condition for being a follower of Jesus, one must renounce himself and take up his cross. This renunciation is exactly the method (on our part) of transfiguration. Change. Metamorphosis.
Father George Gray
…Inestimable are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Every true gift is none other than a flame of love. But for our hearts to become capable of receiving the love of Christ in its glowing manifestations we must all, every one of us, endure many trials.
Elder Sophrony (1896-1993; Orthodox): We Shall See Him As He Is (Stavropegic Monastery of St John the Baptist, Essex, UK, 1988), pp. 19-20.
— Come, O true light!
— Come, O eternal life!
— Come, O hidden mystery!
— Come, O indescribable treasure!
— Come, O ineffable thing!
— Come, O inconceivable person!
— Come, O endless delight!
— Come, O unsetting light!…
— Come, you who have separated me from everything and made me solitary in this world!
— Yea, O Master, just as you remembered me, when I was in the world and, in the midst of my ignorance, you chose me and separated me from this world and set me before your glorious face, so now keep me, sealed within my essence, by your dwelling within me, forever upright, resolute; that by perpetually seeing you, I, the dying flesh, may live; that by possessing you, I, the beggar, may always be rich, richer than the wealthy; that by eating you and by drinking you, by putting you on at each moment, I go from delight to delight in inexpressible blessings; for it is You, who are all good and all glory and all delight and it is to you, holy, consubstantial, and life-creating Trinity that the glory belongs, you whom all faithful venerate, confess, adore, and serve in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.
– Saint Symeon, the New Theologian (949-1022 CE)