The Arena
The Arena

Episode 577 · 3 months ago

It is Good for Us to Be Here | Holy Transfiguration 2022


The Arena Podcast is the flagship of Patristic Nectar Publications and contains the Sunday Sermons and other theological reflections by Father Josiah Trenham delivered from the ambon of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, California and begun in 2010. Currently there are more than 550 sermons and lectures covering ten years worth of preaching through the liturgical calendar.

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Heaven Our True Home | 7 Lectures

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Now available at patristic nectar dot Org. patristic nectar publications is pleased to present a seven part lecture series by Father Josiah Trenham entitled Heaven, our True Home. One of the most shocking realities of the preaching and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ to his early first century Judean audience was his fervent, expansive and repetitive teaching on Heaven. Heaven literally permeates the sermon on the mount and our Savior's parabolic instruction. The Holy Apostles received this single eyed focus upon the next life from the Lord Christ and passed this teaching on to their disciples in the early church. Sacred tradition has vivified and animated the discipleship of Christians in their race toward heaven ever since. In these lectures, Father Josiah opens the scriptures...

...and the writings of the church fathers on the subject of Heaven in an effort to plant a deep impression of the future life for God's children and to stir up a great desire for obtaining it. For these and other available titles, please visit our website at patristic nectar dot org and now the arena with Father Josiah Trenna, the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, the reading from the Synaxarian for the sixth of August, on which we commemorate the holy transfiguration of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, six days after having declared to his disciples. There be some of them that stand here. We shall not taste death until they have seen the Kingdom of God come with power. Jesus took with him his closest disciples and led them up on a high mountain, apart Mount Tabor, in Galilee, to pray. It was fitting that those who were to be present at his...

...agony and get semone, and would be the most important witnesses of his passion, should be prepared for these trials by seeing his glory. Peter, for he had just confessed his faith in Christ's divinity, James, who was to be the first to die for him, and John, who had witnessed to his experience of the divine glory by proclaiming with all the force of a son of thunder the theology of the word made flesh. He had them climbed the mountain as a sign of the spiritual ascent that, step by step, from virtue to virtue, leads to true charity, the Supreme Virtue that gives access to the contemplation of God. This ascent was in fact a summary of the whole life of the Lord who, clothed in our weakness, opened for us, in his own person, the way to the father, teaching us that is Sihea is the mother of prayer and that it is in prayer that the glory of God has manifested to us. As he prayed, the aspect of his face suddenly changed and it was transfigured and shown like the Sun, and his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow, such as no fuller on... can whiten them. The incarnate word of God thus manifested the Natural Splendor of the divine glory which he possessed in himself, in which he had kept at his incarnation, but which had remained hidden under the veil of the flesh. From the moment of his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. His divinity had been united without confusion, with the human nature of his flesh, and the divine glory had become hypostatically the glory of the body he assumed. What Christ revealed to his disciples on the summit of the mountain was not, therefore, something new, but the resplendent manifestation of the divinization in him, of the whole of the human being, including the body, and of its union with the divine splendor. Whereas the face of Moses had shown with a glory that came from outside it, after the revelation on Mount Sinai, Christ's face appeared on Tabor as a source of light, the source of the divine life, rendered accessible to mankind, which also spread to his raiment, that is to say to the external world and the fruits of human activity and...

...civilization. He was transfigured, St John Damascene assures us, not by assuming what he was not, but in revealing to his disciples what he was, opening their blind eyes and making them see. Christ opened the eyes of his disciples, and it was with sight transfigured by the power of the Holy Spirit, that they saw the divine light indissolubly united to his body. They were therefore transformed themselves, and it was in prayer that they were able to see and understand the change that had taken place in our nature through its union with the word. As the sun is to external realities, so god is to spiritual ones. This is why the evangelists report that the face of the God man, who is the true light that enlightens every person coming into the world, shone like the Sun. Yet this light was incomparably superior to all perceived light, so that the disciples, unable to bear its overwhelming splendor, fell to the ground immaterial, timeless and uncreated light. This light was the Kingdom...

...of God, coming in the power of the Holy Spirit which the Lord had promised to his disciples. Then seen for a brief moment, this light will become the permanent inheritance of the chosen in the kingdom. When Christ comes again, resplendent with the whole splendor of his glory, he will come again in light and in the light which shone on Tabor and which shone forth from the tomb on the day of his resurrection, and which, penetrating the souls and bodies of the elect will make them also shine forth like the Sun. God is light and his sight is light. In the same way as the disciples were as on the summit of Tabor, many saints have been witnessed of the revelation of God in light. Yet this light is not simply an object of contemplation for them, but is also deifying grace that allows them to see God, thus fulfilling the words of the PSALMIST. In Thy Light shall we see light. At the heart of this Glorious Vision, Moses and Elias appeared on either side of the Lord, representing respectively the heights of the Old Testament law...

...and the prophetic tradition. They bore witness to him as master of the living and the dead. They spoke with him in the light, for it was by his passion and crossed that this glory would be given to men. Taken out of themselves, ravished by the contemplation of the divine light, the apostles were as though overcome with sleep and, not knowing what he was saying, Peter said to Jesus, master, it is good for us to be here, and if Thou willest, let us make three tabernacles, one for thee one for Moses and one for Elias. Yet, guiding his disciples away from too human a desire which longed for and earthly enjoyment of the light, the Lord then showed them a better tent, a much greater tabernacle in which to shelter his glory. A luminous cloud covered them with its shadow and the voice of the father was heard from its midst, bearing witness to the Lord. This is my beloved son and whom I am well pleased hear him. The cloud represented the grace of the spirit of adoption and, just as at Christ's baptism in the Jordan, the father's voice for witness to the sun and showed...

...that all three persons of the Holy Trinity Always worked together in the salvation of the human race. God's light, which had first allowed the disciples to see Christ, gave them access to a state above human vision and knowledge. In its more intense shining, leaving everything visible and also coming out of themselves, they entered into the luminous darkness in which God makes his dwelling and, closing the door of their senses, received the revelation of the trinitarian mystery which transcends all affirmation and all negation. Still insufficiently prepared for the revelation of such mysteries, for they had not yet undergone the trial of the cross, the disciples were greatly afraid, yet when they raised their heads, they saw only Jesus, who looked once more as he always had, and who went across to them and reassured them. And as they were going down the mountain, he told them to keep silence about what they had seen until the son of men had risen from the dead. Today's feast is therefore that of the divinization of our human nature and the part anticipation of our corruptible body and those eternal blessings...

...that are beyond nature. Even before accomplishing our salvation through his passion, the Savior showed that the goal of his incarnation was precisely to lead the whole of mankind to the contemplation of his divine glory. It is for this reason that the feast of transfiguration has been particularly dear to monks and nuns, as those who have consecrated the whole of their lives to seeking this light. Here ends the reading from the synox Arian Wow. Dear ones, in my judgment, there's two feasts, two feasts of the Lord, that are so sadly neglected by Christians and that are so important to live a Christian life today. Those two feasts are the feast today of the transfiguration and the Feast of the ascent...

...that we celebrate forty days after Jesus is rising from the dead. There's lots of reasons, I think, that those feasts are so compromised, so unknown, so unmeditated upon. transfiguration always falls on the sixth, which means only one out of seven years are you going to have it on a Sunday, and if you're the type of Christian that only goes to church on Sunday, if that, you're not going to hear about the transfiguration that much. And it's the same with the ascension. It falls on a Thursday, in the middle of the week. The consequences of not understanding the transfiguration means you have no concept of human destiny. And what more does our society need today than a concept of human destiny? We have no vision at all for the glory of a human being. The great ones who lead US think that fulfilling every weird desire and passion is the aid to human fulfillment, when in fact it's...

...a path to slavery, misery and death. We don't have any help there those who are thinking outside of the box, like some of the great titans. They think the way to human glory is to make the brain work better and move faster. Today you see the destiny of a human being. Far beyond those things, far beyond those things, you know Moses and Elias, the great ones, were there with the Lord on the top of Mount Tabor. The text of the synoxarian says one of the reasons that they were there were to bear witness that Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the Prophetic tradition, which he is. There's other reasons, though, that they were there. They also were on a mountain to seek God in glory. Moses was there on Sinai Elias and horrible they both met God there. For Moses... was catastrophic. It was glorious. His face was transfigured, but he himself was shaking in utter terror. It's described by St Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews what it was like on the top of Sinai. Elias was complaining. When he was on the top of Horeb and seeing God, he was not in a great condition and God, in His mercy, met with him. Do you notice what the difference is? Today, though? There is with the apostles fear. But the overwhelming sense of the apostles is clear from what Peter said. Lord, it's so good to be here. Let... make tense. He was so happy, joy burst out so magnificently that he did not want to leave. He thought, we'll just make this our new house here, we'll just tabernacle here. Why? What was the difference between Moses's experience on Sinai Elias is on Horreb? Why was it that the glory that was seen by the apostles produced such overwhelming joy? I think, and I'm following Saint Philarette of Moscow in this, I think it's because Moses and Elias they saw the glory of God, they saw the light. Elias saw the fire, but they didn't see it in human flesh. The Apostles...

...saw the glory of God in Jesus's face. They saw that the magnificence of God's light is completely united in Christ, in humanity, and therefore this is our future, this is our destiny, that union with God, their savior, who had taught them, who had loved them, who had stroke their head and wiped their tears and given them clear instructions. He was the one through whom that glory shone and when they saw they recognized this is good, this is us, this is our future. Don't settle for anything less. Don't listen to any visions. What a destiny we have. Glory to God...

...and are happy. Please, to you all. We hope that you have enjoyed and have been edified by this presentation offered to you by Patristic Nectar Publications, a nonprofit organization committed to nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers. If you are interested in other available titles or if you would like more information on patristic nectar publications, please visit our website at www dot patristic nectar dot org. Again, that's www dot patristic nectar dot org.

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