Saturday, August 06, 2011

Atop Mount Tabor: Peter, James, John... and Paul

“Dearest Sons and Daughters,
The Transfiguration of the Lord, recalled in today's liturgy, shines a dazzling light into our daily lives and calls us to remember the immortal destiny it foreshadows.

For an instant on the summit of Tabor, Christ unveils the splendor of his divinity, manifesting to his chosen witnesses what he really is: the Son of God, "the radiance of the glory of the Father and the imprint of his substance"; but he also makes visible the transcendent destiny of our human nature, which he took on to save us as something likewise destined, because it is redeemed by his sacrifice of irrevocable love, that we too might participate in fullness of life in the "fellowship of the saints in light." That body, transfigured before the astonished eyes of the apostles, is the body of Christ our brother, but it's also that of our body called to glory; the light which floods inside of it is and will be our inheritance and our splendor. We are called to share that glory because we are "partakers of the divine nature." An incomparable lot awaits us if we have honored our Christian vocation: if we have lived in the logical consequences of word and deed what the responsibilities of our Baptism demand of us.

May the ongoing vacation season be to everyone a fruitful reflection on these stupendous realities of our faith…. Yet also this Sunday, we can't forget the many who are suffering in difficult conditions. We need to speak of the unemployed, who strive to provide for the growing needs of their loved ones with adequate work for their skills and abilities; the starving, whose ranks grow daily in dangerous proportions; and all those, in general, who seek to find a fitting accommodation in economic and social terms.

For all these intentions let us fervently lift our prayer, that it might also grow in us an ever greater fraternal solidarity. Mary, our caring and thoughtful mother, give to everyone your gaze and protection.
* * *
Pope Paul VI prepared the above Angelus for 6 August 1978, only to never deliver it.

Later that Transfiguration Day brought the death of the gentle, misunderstood Giovanni Battista Montini at 80... and, with it, the end of the 20th century's most tumultuous, yet often most "forgotten," pontificate.