Thursday, August 06, 2009
The King in all his beauty
O GOD, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.
St. Luke tells us Jesus was transfigured after Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus informs them the Son of Man must suffer and die and be raised up again. To follow Jesus means to take up your own cross and go to Jerusalem.
On the mountaintop, God says from the cloud, “Listen to him.” The cost of love is great, but the glory is ever greater. Only by participating in that love can we come to know God. What is the cross, but a sign that God is truly love? To behold the king in all his beauty is to see the glory of God manifested in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the cross of Jesus Christ we can see the glory and the beauty of sacrificial love—a love that does not count the cost, a love that knows no end,a love that is unmistakably beautiful. For some people in this world, to see Jesus in all his glory and to behold the radiant beauty of Jesus’ cross, is too much to bear. Instead of drawing them closer, they feel pushed away.
It was almost too much for Peter, James, and John. They were beside themselves. They became like dead men. “They were afraid as they entered the cloud” of God’s presence. If it had gone on longer, I could see them running back down the mountain, screaming and yelling, never to return. But at the very moment they might have fled at such a sight, at the very moment they encountered the terrible holiness of the living God, there was a voice from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” And there they saw Jesus again as they had always known him.
When the cloud overshadows you, and you become afraid, open your eyes and behold the king in all his beauty.