Feast Of The Transfiguration 2012 Mass and Reflections

Scripture readings for today's Mass are here.

A previous post on the Transfiguration here,  and a post when this Gospel was part of Lent 2012 from here.

Fine reflection on the Gospel of the Transfiguration from here.


One of the phrases that particularly catches me today is this line from the Gospel:

"You will do well to be attentive to this,
 until the day dawns
 and the morning star rises in your hearts."

The transfiguration seems to be prefigured by the first reading's suggestions that dark nights of the soul are still necessary for dream visions.

As this type of darkness and energy is associated more with the second half of life it is indicative of the movement we need to make in this phase of life to make space for transcendence to occur. 

We need these as a way of stripping our jaded perceptions to clear space to rid us of our many projections and illusions and to allow contemplation, to see things as they really are.

"As the visions during the night continued, I saw:
One like a Son of man coming,

on the clouds of heaven"

  As Morning Breaks by Michael Joncas.
                                                           A beautiful hymn.

These poems below by Goethe are wonderful gateways into the sense of what a new and purified awareness of Christs' motivation involves as we struggle to meet it in our lives.

But if we have experienced even a glimpse of the light of God's love, beauty. truth and goodness it is enough to "sweep us forward" and it is as if we are then "insane" to be returned to the source of this light.

The Holy Longing 
by Goethe

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
Because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
What longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of love nights,
Where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
A strange feeling comes over you
When you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught
In the obsession with darkness,
And a desire for higher lovemaking
Sweeps you forward.
Distance does not make you falter
Now, arriving in magic, flying
And finally insane for the light,
You are the butterfly, and you are gone.
And so long as you haven't experienced this:
To die, and so to grow,
You are only a troubled guest
On the dark earth.

The Moth 

This is a great poem about the second half of life .

The whole point of Light
The point along the way
That guides the moth unto it's death --
And life in Thee.
It's wings are spread, it flutters by
In confusion sweet
It turns away in darkest fear
And turns again in fright.
And so without choice it seems
It is drawn unto My Light
Ever closer, ever still, the centre of the flame.
Then all at once a sizzle and a snap
And low --
The moth is but part of the flame
That liveth in it's heart.
Now it flies in silent night
But --still --within this world!

Human Beings

To Be or not to Be?
Therein the answer lies
The question is which?
You choose!
But in choosing, think of Being
Not just human being!

Christ as Light
John Michael Talbot


Christ as a Light
llumine and guide me
Christ as a Shield
Overshadow me
Christ under me
Christ over me
Christ beside me
On my left
And my right

This day be with Him and without me

Lowly and meek
Yet all powerful

Be in the heart

Of each to whom I speak
In the mouth of each who speak unto me

This day be with Him and without me

Lowly and weak
Yet all powerful

Christ as a Light

Christ as a Shield
Christ beside me
On my left
And my right 

As Morning Breaks 
John Michael Talbot

 Starry starry night by Van Gogh

Image source

Oscar Wilde' s recognition that "All of us are in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars " is truly one that befits the second half of life !

Image source

Click here for more explanation on these wonderful paintings by 
Jyoti Sahi based on the gospel phrase 

 "You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”

Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord

These two quotes from Anne Lamott depict well the oscillating movements many experience in our faith at different times.

“I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me--that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. 

Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” 

 from Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

But we can believe that the light of the Transfiguration and the Resurrection do meet us somewhere and sometimes, as Anne Lamott's quote here eloquently concludes:

 "I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us."

 We all need the light of God to transfigure and reinvigorate our everyday lives. 

 This great poem below by John O'Donohue shows how we are all artists of the everyday.

 Imagination and the mind can be quickened through the unintended gaze of  just being present to the awe and wonder of God's momentous love.

The eros of God cuts right through all the pains, the losses and the hurts and brings us to our true source.

For the Artist at the Start of Day
May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,

Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.
May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear

Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,
A Morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,
May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved
Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses

And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,

That calls space to
A different shape.
May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light
To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits

About its secret loss.

John O'Donohue

 As I move towards the second half of life I know that I am longing for that experience of God's condensed concentrated light " in a clean line of form ", so bright that when it  appears it will reveal the whole truth and answer all my questions.

The second half of life is a time for the complexities and the struggles of the first half of life be simplified. It is time when as the poem says, 

"It will call space to a different shape" 
 That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,

 It reminds me too of this phrase from Galatians which speaks of how different eternal life will be:

"neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for we will all be one in Christ Jesus."

Meanwhile there are occasional glimpses of what life is all about here.

There are moments of simplicity and transcendence and then we find ourselves at the bottom of the mountain again
but what is left is testament from those who have gone before to keep us in hope.

From the second reading:

 "We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable."

 "This song below, the Deer's Cry", attributed to St Patrick, is known by several names: "The Breastplate of St Patrick" and "Lorica" to mention two.

It is a beautiful prayer celebrating the awesome power of  God who lives among us, guiding, sheltering and protecting, enfolding and strengthening us, even when we feel unable to see.

This is a God who is always with us, and in us, through the transfiguring  power of His Resurrection and creation and the Holy Spirit.

This is the God who is still the morning star rising in our hearts.

This version is sung by Rita Connolly, and it was the communion song at Maeve Binchy's recent funeral.

I Arise Today

I arise today through the strength of heaven 
Light of sun, radiance of moon
Splendour of fire, speed of lightning 
Swiftness of wind, depth of the sea
Stability of earth, firmness of rock

I arise today through God's strength to pilot me
God's eye to look before me 
God's wisdom to guide me
God's way to lie before me
God's shield to protect me 

From all who shall wish me ill 
Afar and a-near 
Alone and in a multitude
Against every cruel, merciless power
That may oppose my body and soul 

Christ with me,
Christ before me
Christ behind me, 

Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,

Christ on my right, 
Christ on my left 
Christ when I lie down,

Christ when I sit down 
Christ when I arise, 
Christ to shield me 

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me

I arise today

and when it all goes pear shaped, as life has a habit of frequently doing(!), remember :

God Is By My Side

Without Seeing You

1 comment:

claire said...

What a beautiful beautiful post, Phil. I love your reflections, the poems and texts and videos you have chosen. All this feeds me and brings me closer to the One I am longing to meet. Thank you!