Summer 2007 - Vol. 10

Transfiguration by Raphael

Eternity's Bright Vision

poem and reflection on the transfiguration of Christ
by Jeanne Kun

And he was transfigured before them,
and his face shone like the sun,
and his garments became white as light.

My frail and fragile frame cannot contain you yet, O Lord.
Seeing but your shadow takes away my breath
and a glimpse of your splendor overwhelms me,
your burning beauty engulfing me like fire.

More of you I cannot bear to see,
though my heart longs for that day
when I shall gaze upon you face to face.

And so I ask you:
Pepare me for eternity's bright vision.

Purify my eyes
that I might behold your unveiled glory.

Cleanse me of my sin
that I might stand upon your holy mountain.

And fortify my soul
that I might endure the full force of your radiance
and wholly satisfy the claims you make on me.

Flashes of Glory
Jesus’ mysterious transfiguration took place shortly after Peter’s profession of faith and Jesus’ first prophecy of his death. Jesus went up to a high mountain to pray and took his three closest friends with him. (Luke 9:18-36)

Did Jesus allow Peter, James, and John to glimpse his glory so that they would be able to bear the adversities and dark times to come with greater fortitude? “The great reason for this transfiguration,” St. Leo the Great suggested, “was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of his disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of his voluntary suffering from disturbing the faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed” (Sermon 51).

Surely the memory of those moments with Jesus on the mountain must have comforted the bewildered apostles as they grieved after Jesus’ death – and later strengthened them as they passed through other difficult moments in their lives.Years afterward, Peter still vividly recalled this profound experience, writing to his fellow Christians, “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty …for we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18).

Peter, James, and John were weary after the long ascent up the mountain. In spite of their fatigue, they “kept awake” as Jesus prayed – and were blessed to see his transfiguration (Luke 9:32). We too must struggle against falling spiritually “asleep” so we don’t miss those “flashes of God’s glory,” as author Louise Perrotta calls them, which shine “into our ordinary surroundings.” While they may not be as spectacular as Jesus’ radiance on the mountain, they are “little transfigurations that God offers to anyone who is ‘fully awake’ to their transforming potential” (2004: A Book of Grace-Filled Days, Loyala Press). 

[Jeanne Kun is a noted author and a senior woman leader in the Word of Life Community, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. This poem and reflection are excerpted from Jeanne's book, God’s Promises Fulfilled, 2006, published by The Word Among Us Press. This book can be purchased from The Word Among Us. "Eternity's Bright Vision" Copyright 2006 by Jeanne Kun.  Used with permission.]

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