St Leo the Great, among others, tells us that the disciples were allowed to see Our Lord transfigured in order to strengthen their minds and hearts, so that when they would see Him in agony and handed over to evildoers, they would not lose faith and hope.
The Lord deals with His faithful souls in a similar way. Consolations are given to establish us solidly in His love, and when we meet with hard times we should be reminded of those moments of grace, lest we despair and think that all is lost.
What is true of souls is true of the life of the Church. There are periods of fervour and expansion in which the Church is seen truly as the city set on the mountain, the light on the lamp-stand that shares Her treasures with all nations and receives homage from them. Then there are other periods in which the beauty of the Church is obscured, when She is overrun by pagans, persecuted from without by the sword, or from within by heresies and evil members.
It’s nothing new, but it is always hard when one is in the midst of it, when everything that we know and love appears to be collapsing, and the enemies of the Church shout victory.
In such times, let us contemplate Our Lord transfigured on the Mount. He is the Eternal Son, the Word of the Father, the One who holds all things in His hand. “My sheep hear my voice. And I know them: and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting: and they shall not perish for ever. And no man shall pluck them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father” (Jn 10:27-29).
The horizon is dark today. W find ourselves in the midst of a dreadful winter in which the faithful rarely find the warmth of solid doctrine and truth to nourish their souls. Let us not lose hope. Jesus is Lord, and we are in His hands. The Lord knows His own. The Transfiguration as not a dream.