Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How is it Possible?

Dear Parish Faithful,

Tomorrow evening we will celebrate the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord with a Vesperal Liturgy (6:00 p.m.). Following the Liturgy, we will bless the traditional fruit baskets. So please remember to bring them along tomorrow. The Feast is on August 6, but as we often do, we will serve the Vesperal Liturgy to allow for more parish participation. Hopefully, many of you will be here for this remarkable Feast, a Feast that reveals divine Beauty, as it reveals Truth and Goodness. Christ ascends Mt. Tabor, is transfigured in "unapproachable light," and reveals His true nature as the Son of God incarnate to His overwhelmed disciples. Christ anticipates His own resurrection and the beauty of the "world to come" that will be bathed in the eternal and uncreated light of the Triune God.

This is a Feast to look forward to. As Orthodox Christians, we are blessed with the inclusion of the Transfiguration in the annual liturgical cycle of the Twelve Great Feast Days. This is not the case in other churches, where it tends to be neglected. But that brings to mind an interesting personal reminiscence I once heard from a parishioner. Someone once told me of how devoted her mother was to Christ, and how much she enjoyed the feast of the Transfiguration as celebrated in her church for the very reasons we make so much of it as Orthodox, even though she herself was not Orthodox. What stayed in my mind were her words - spoken with a definite sadness, I was told - when the day of the Transfiguration's celebration came around: "Today is the Transfiguration and no one cares!" How is it possible "not to care" when we can actually celebrate Jesus shining with light brighter than the sun on the mount? How is it possible "not to care" when we can carry our fruit to church to be blessed as a sign of the transfiguration of the material world in "the life of the world to come?" How is it possible "not to care" when all will be prepared for the celebration of the Feast and we simply have to bring our tired and over-heated bodies to the church for the spiritual renewal that awaits us there?

Bearing such rhetorical questions in mind, I look forward to a church full of "caring" parishioners who anticipate this "Feast of Divine Beauty" as an event not to be missed if at all possible.

In Christ,

Fr. Steven

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