Translated by Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR
A. Invoking the Holy Spirit.
We invoke the Holy Spirit using the words of St. Augustine.
Come Holy Spirit, by whom every devout soul, who believes in Christ, is sanctified to become a citizen of the City of God! (en. Ps. 45:8) Come, Holy Spirit, grant that we receive the motions of God, put in us your flame, enlighten us and raise us up to God. (s. 128,4) Amen.
With hearts well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. 4 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.” 5 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.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. 7 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. 9 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.”
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Matthew.
“The Lord Jesus himself shone like the sun; his clothes became white as snow and he was speaking with Moses and Elijah. Jesus himself shone like the sun to signify that he is the light who comes into this world to enlighten every man. As this sun is for the eyes of flesh, so is he that sun for the eyes of the heart; and what this is for the flesh, that is he for the heart. In its turn, the clothes are the Church. Thus, the clothes, if not supported by the one who puts them on, falls to the ground. What value do Moses and Elijah have, i.e., the Law and the Prophets, if they put aside the conversation with the Lord? If not for the testimony they give in favor of the Lord, who would read the Law and the Prophets? Look how concisely the Apostle affirms what has been said: By the Law then we obtain knowledge of sin; but now without the Law the justice of God has been manifested: behold the sun. Witnessed to by the Law and the Prophets: behold its splendor.
Peter sees this and, judging the human in a human way, he says: Lord, it is good for us to be here. Sickened by the mob, he had found the solitude of the mountain. There he had Christ, bread for the spirit. Why go out there to the fatigue and the pain, if he possessed the holy love whose object was God and, therefore, good habits? He wanted that it be well with him: thus he added, If you wish, let us make three tents, one for you, another for Moses and the other for Elijah. To this the Lord gave no reply, but Peter received an answer. Since while he was saying this, a brilliant cloud came and covered them. He was seeking three tents. The answer from heaven manifested that for us it is only one thing that the human criterion wants to separate. Christ is the Word of God: the Word of God in the Law, the Word of God in the Prophets. Why do you want to separate, Peter? It is more convenient for you to unite. You seek three tents: know also that it is one.
Thus, when the cloud covered all of them and making in a way only one tent for them, there also sounded from heaven one voice that said: This is my Beloved Son. Moses was there, Elijah was there. It was not said: “These are my beloved sons.” Therefore, one thing is the Only Begotten Son, another are the adopted sons. He is emphasized in whom the Law and the Prophets gloried. He says: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him, because it is he, whom you heard of, in the Law and the Prophets. And, where do you not hear him? On hearing this, they fell prostrate to the ground. The Kingdom of God is now manifested to us in the Church. The Lord is here, here are the Law and the Prophets; the Lord as Lord; the Law, personified by Moses, the Prophets as personified by Elijah. But these are in condition of servants, of ministers: they, as vessels, he, as the source. Moses and the prophets spoke and wrote, but as it flowed through them, they took from him.
Descend, Peter. You wanted to rest on the mountain: come down, preach the word, insist in season and out of season, argue, exhort, rebuke with all patience, and teach. Incur fatigue, sweat, suffer some torments to possess in charity, for the whiteness and the beauty of good works, symbolized in the white garments of the Lord. Thus, when the Apostle was read, we heard him say in eulogy of charity: Do not look for his possession. Do not look for his things, because what he possessed he gave away (s. 78, 1-4, 6).
With the text, let us now pray from the depths of our heart. I suggest the following phrases and question that can awaken in you dialogue with God, and at the same time can give rise to affections and sentiments in your dialogue with God. Do not move to the next phrase or question if you can still continue dialoguing with God in one of them, It is not a matter of exhausting the list, but of helping you to pray with some points that better fit your personal experience.
- “Jesus himself shone like the sun to signify that he is the light who comes into the world to enlighten every man” (s. 78, 1).
- What does it mean to you that Christ is the light of your life?
- How do you reflect in your daily life the light that you receive from Christ?
b. “This is my Son, the Chosen One, listen to him” (Mt 17:5).
- What do you need to listen to the voice of Christ?
- At this moment of your life, what commitment does the voice of Christ ask of you?
c. Pray with this Phrase: “I am your beloved Son, in whom you are pleased” (Mt. 17:5).
I propose to you some points for affective interior contemplation. Once again, you need not follow all of it, rather you can choose what fits your personal experience.
a. Contemplate Christ in the Transfiguration. Contemplate his glory and splendor. Adore his divinity and majesty.
b. Contemplate Christ in the moment of Transfiguration and try to make real what is said in the Gospel, i.e., listen to him. Make your prayer a moment of adoration and loving listening to his word.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially as regards listening to the words of Christ. The following points can help you as guide to share with your community the experience of the lectio divina on this text.
- What have I discovered about God and about myself in this moment of prayer?
- How can I apply this text of Scripture at this moment of my life? What light does it give me? What challenges does it put before me?
- What concrete commitment does this text of Scripture ask of me in my spiritual life, in my community life?
- What has been my dominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?
G. Final Prayer of St. Augustine.
Turning towards the Lord: Lord God, Father Almighty, with pure heart, as far as our feebleness permits, allow us to give you our most devoted and sincere thanks, begging with all our strength from your particular goodness, that you deign to hear our petitions according to your good will, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thoughts and actions; that you increase our faith, govern our mind, and give us spiritual thoughts and bring us to your happiness, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with you lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen (en. Ps. 150:8).
“Moses speaks, but “listen to him.” Elijah speaks, but “listen to him.” The prophets speak, the Law speaks, but “listen to him,” voice of the Law and tongues of the prophets” (s. 79).