St Maximus on how Christ may be transfigured in our reading of Scripture

EVEN unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:15-18

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A lady reading a Bible and holding a prayer rope

Reading and praying the Scripture. “He who through contemplation has raised his intellect to the angelic state possesses the power of the second advent.”

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(97) TO the more diligent students of Holy Scripture the Lord is clearly shown as having two forms.

The first is common and more popular, and it can be perceived by many. The text ‘We saw Him and He had no comeliness or beauty’ (Isa 53:2 LXX) refers to this form.

The second is more hidden, and it can be perceived only by a few, that is, by those who have already become like the holy apostles Peter and John, before whom the Lord was transfigured with a glory that overwhelmed the senses (cf. Matt 17:2). The text ‘Thou art fairer than the children of men’ (Ps 45:2) refers to this form.

The first of these two forms is consonant to beginners; the second to those perfected in spiritual knowledge, in so far as such perfection is possible.

The first is an image of the Lord’s initial advent, to which the literal meaning of the Gospel refers, and which by means of  suffering purifies those practicing the virtues.

The second prefigures the second and glorious advent, in which the spirit of the Gospel is apprehended, and which by means of wisdom transfigures and deifies those imbued with spiritual knowledge: because of the transfiguration of the Logos within them ‘they reflect with unveiled face the glory of the Lord’ (2 Cor 3:18).

St Maximus the Confessor

St Maximus the Confessor (+662)

(98) HE who endures suffering for the sake of virtue, without being shaken in his resolve, is inspired by the first advent of the Logos, which cleanses him from all defilement.

He who through contemplation has raised his intellect to the angelic state possesses the power of the second advent, which produces in him dispassion and incorruptibility.

St Maximus the Confessor (+662), “Two Hundred Texts on Theology and the Incarnate Dispensation of the Son of God, Written for Thalassios”, First Century, §§97-98. Translated by Sherrard, Palmer and Ware.

It is St Maximus’s feast day on August 13.

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WHEN thou wast transfigured upon Mount Tabor, O Jesus, a bright cloud, unfurled upon them like a canvas, shielded the Apostles from thy glory.

Wherefore they cast their eyes upon the earth, not able to bear the sight of the brilliance of the unapproachable glory of thy countenance, Christ God, Saviour without beginning.

O thou who at that time didst shine thy light upon them, flood our souls with light.

Kathisma at Matins on the Feast of the Transfiguration. Text at Analogion.

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