Excerpt From St Gregory Palamas Homily I On The Transfiguration

August 5, 2017

 

[Christ] possessed the splendor of the divine nature hidden under His flesh. This light, then, is the light of the Godhead, and it is uncreated. According to the theologians, when Christ was transfigured He neither received anything different, nor was changed into anything different, but was revealed to His disciples as He was, opening their eyes and giving sight to the blind. Take note that eyes with natural vision are blind to that light. It is invisible, and those who behold it do so not simply with their bodily eyes, but with eyes transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.


The apostles were transformed, therefore, and saw that transformation which our human clay had undergone, not at that time, but from the moment in which it had been assumed, when it was deified through union with the Word of God. That is why the Virgin, who mysteriously conceived and bore Him, recognized her child as God incarnate, as did Simeon, when he took Him up in his arms as an infant, and the aged Anna, who came to meet Him (Luke 2:25ff). The power of God shone out visibly as if through thin glass to people who “had had the eyes of their hearts purified”….


How could Christ come in that sort of glory and kingdom in the age to come, when there will be no need for air, light, place or anything of the sort, but God, according to the apostle, will be everything for us? (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28). Clearly if He will be everything for us, He will also be our light. Again this demonstrates that this light is the light of the Godhead, because John, the greatest theologian among the evangelists, shows in the Revelation that the everlasting future “city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23). Surely here he is also pointing us towards Jesus divinely transfigured on Tabor, whose light is His body, and who, instead of daylight, has the glory of divinity as revealed on the mountain to those who came up with Him. Of the inhabitants of that city John says, “They need no candle, neither light: and there shall be no night there” (cf. Rev. 22:5). What light is this, in which there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning? (James.1:17). What is this unchangeable and never-setting light? Is it not the divine light?”….

 

As we long for the beauty of unchanging glory, let us cleanse the eyes of our understanding from all earthly defilements, despising every delight and beauty that is not lasting, for sweet as it may be, it procures eternal suffering, and though it may enhance the body, it clothes the soul in that ugly robe of sin, on account of which the man without the garment of incorruptible union was bound and taken away into outer darkness (cf. Matt. 22:11–13).

 

May we all be delivered from such a fate by the illumination and knowledge of the pre-eternal, immaterial light of the Lord’s transfiguration, to His glory and the glory of His Father without beginning and the life-giving Spirit, whose radiance, divinity, glory, kingdom and power are one and the same, now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 

 

“Give me a word!”

Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you have suffered affliction, for without affliction virtue has not been tested.

-St Mark the Ascetic

 

Let there always be a preponderance of mercy with you, even though you don't feel such mercy in yourself, as God has for the world…. A cruel and merciless heart is never purified. A merciful man is the doctor of his own soul, because as it were a by a strong wind from is heart he drives out the darkness of the passions.

-St Isaac the Syrian

 

Thus, let us also be humbled a little, and we shall be saved. If we who are infirm cannot labor, then let us try to be humbled; and I believe in the mercy of God that for the little we do with humility, even we shall be in the place of the saints who have labored much and worked for God.

-St Dorotheos of Gaza

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