The feast of the Transfiguration (Mt. 17:1-9, Mk 9:2-12 Lk. 9:28-36,) has always been a proclamation that assures humanity that Jesus Christ is not some wise sage or teacher, but is truly God: “light of light, true God of true God”, (as we say in the Creed). What was experienced on that mountain by Peter, James and John, was not some perceptible phenomenon akin to a sound and light extravaganza, nor was it a “spiritual” demonstration for the mind alone; rather it was a revelation of Jesus’ perfect divinity and humanity.
The same uncreated light which overwhelmed those disciples, was the same uncreated light that both Moses (Ex. 33:19-23) and Elijah (1 Kings/ 3 Kingdoms LXX 19: 11-12) bore witness to. The difference is that the vision of the Lord, and the blinding light of His glory, that had inspired and enlivened (and most likely terrified) Moses and Elijah was granted only as a promise to them. For us, this vision and light is more than a promise. It is the realization of that promise manifested in our baptism where we are granted a “robe of light”.
Through, with, and in Christ, we are given the ability to participate in that divine light, and become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4) and granted the possibility of bearing that divine light to a world in darkness. St. Seraphim of Sarov who in his conversation with Nicholas Motovilov, asked him “:Why don’t you look at me?” Motovilov replied “I cannot look, Father, because your eyes are flashing like lightning. Your face has become brighter than the sun, and my eyes ache with pain.” Father (Saint) Seraphim said: “Don’t be alarmed, your Godliness! Now you yourself have become as bright as I am. You are now in the fullness of the Spirit of God yourself; otherwise you would not be able to see me as I am.”
In our life as Christians, it isn’t enough to accept and talk about this divine life and light; we have to become it. If we are willing to live out our baptism in every moment, we like St. Seraphim and all the Saints, can manifest a total transfiguration of our own darkness and mortal nature, and become through grace all that He is by nature.
May the Lord grant us the strength and purity of heart to not only see this light, but to become it.