Natural and supernatural - Page 7
So St Paul compared the present with the future by declaring, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Catholic edition RSV, Romans 8:18, our emphasis). But significantly he also pointed out that the sincere Christian is already being inwardly transfigured now: “And we all,…beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another…” (Catholic edition RSV, 2 Corinthians 3:18).
As to the fullness of that glory which finally awaits the Christian as a faithful child of God, the transfiguration of the Son of God enables us to catch a glimpse. More than that we cannot say, except to echo the words of St John the Apostle: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (Catholic edition RSV, 1 John 3:2,3, our emphasis).
According to one tradition the Transfiguration took place on Mount Tabor, and the Church of the Transfiguration is located there. However, Daniel-Rops points out that Mount Tabor, a round hump in the middle of the Galilean plain, does not match the Gospel description of a “high mountain” and, at the time of Christ, it carried a Roman fortress and garrison. Moreover, Mark tells us that after coming down from the mountain, Jesus and his disciples went on and passed through Galilee. Mount Tabor is in the middle of Galilee whereas Mount Hermon is to the north and is much higher. Luke tells us that Jesus and his disciples did not return from the mountain until the following day, which suggests a long journey on the mountain. These factors support the belief, evident in this short talk, that Mount Hermon was the site of the Transfiguration. (2)
1. Daniel-Rops, H. (translated by Millar, R.W.) (1955) Jesus in his time, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.
2. Daniel-Rops, H. (translated by Millar, R.W.) (1955) Jesus in his time, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.