Saturday, August 06, 2011

Pope St. Leo the Great on the Purpose of the Transfiguration


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From Matins (2nd Nocturn) of the Feast of the Transfiguration
Online Source: www.breviary.net

Lesson iv
Sermo sancti Leónis Papæ The Lesson is taken from a Sermon by St. Leo the Pope
Sermo de Transfiguratione, ante medium
Aperit Dóminus coram eléctis téstibus glóriam suam, et commúnem illam cum céteris córporis formam tanto splendóre claríficat, ut et fácies ejus solis fulgóri símilis, et vestítus candóri nívium esset æquális.  In qua transfiguratióne illud quidem principáliter agebátur, ut de córdibus discipulórum crucis scándalum tollerétur ; nec conturbáret eórum fidem voluntáriæ humílitas passiónis, quibus reveláta esset abscónditæ excelléntia dignitátis.  Sed non minóre providéntia spes sanctæ Ecclésiæ fundabátur, ut totum Christi corpus agnósceret quali esset commutatióne donándum, ut ejus sibi honóris consórtium membra promítterent, qui in cápite præfulsísset.
The Lord took chosen witnesses and in their presence revealed his glory.  That is to say, the form of body which he had in common with other men, he so transfigured  with light, that his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became exceeding white, even as snow.  Now the chief purpose of this Transfiguration was to remove from the hearts of the disciples their fear of the Cross.  So, before their eyes, was unveiled the splendour of his hidden majesty, that the lowliness of his freely-chosen suffering might not confound their faith.  But nonetheless there was also thus set forth, by the providence of God, a sure and certain hope for holy Church, whereby the whole Body of Christ should know with what great a change it is yet to be honoured.  For the members of that Body whose Head hath already been transfigured in light may promise themselves a share in his glory.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.
R.  Inebriáti sunt ab ubertáte domus tuæ : * Et torrénte voluptátis tuæ potásti eos.
V.  Quóniam apud te est fons vitæ, et in lúmine tuo vidébimus lumen.
R.  Et torrénte voluptátis tuæ potásti eos.
R.  They shall be satisfied with the plenteousness of thy house, *  And thou shalt give them drink of thy pleasures, as out of the river.
V.  For with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light.
R.  And thou shalt give them drink of thy pleasures, as out of the river.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 5: Christus perpétuæ det nobis gáudia vitæ.
R.  Amen.
Benediction 5: May Christ bestow upon us the joys of life eternal.
R.  Amen.
Lesson v
Confirmándis vero Apóstolis et ad omnem sciéntiam provehéndis, ália quoque in illo miráculo accéssit instrúctio.  Móyses enim et Elías, lex scílicet et prophétæ apparuérunt cum Dómino loquéntes ; ut veríssime in illa quinque virórum præséntia complerétur quod dictum est : in duóbus vel tribus téstibus stat omne verbum.  Quid hoc stabílius, quid fírmius verbo, in cujus prædicatióne véteris et novi Testaménti cóncinit tuba, et cum evangélica doctrína, antiquárum protestatiónum instruménta concúrrunt?  Astipulántur enim sibi ínvicem utriúsque Fœderis páginæ ; et, quem sub velámine mysteriórum præcedéntia signa promíserant, maniféstum atque perspícuum præséntis glóriæ splendor osténdit.
Also, that the Apostles might be strengthened, and brought forward into all knowledge, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias (that is, the Law and the Prophets), talking with him.  This glorification of Christ took place before five witnesses, as though to fulfil that which is written : At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.  What can be more certain, or better attested, than this matter which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both the Old and the New Testament, and concerning which the witness of ancient testimony uniteth with the teaching of the Gospel?  The pages of either Covenant strengthen one another, and the brightness of open glory maketh manifest and distinct him whom the former prophecies had promised under the veil of mysteries.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.
R.  Præcéptor, bonum est nos hic esse : * Faciámus hic tria tabernácula ; tibi unum, Móysi unum et Elíæ unum.
V.  Non enim sciébat quid díceret.
R.  Faciámus hic tria tabernácula ; tibi unum, Móysi unum et Elíæ unum.
R.  Master, it is good for us to be here : * Let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
V.  For he wist not what to say.
R.  Let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

V.  Jube domne, (Dómine) benedícere.
V.  Vouchsafe, Reverend Father (O Lord), thy blessing.
Benedíctio 6: Ignem sui amóris accéndat Deus in córdibus nostris.
R.  Amen.
Benediction 6: May God enkindle in our hearts the fire of his holy love.
R.  Amen.
Lesson vi

The Church of the Transfiguration
at Mount Tabor
His ergo sacramentórum revelatiónibus Petrus Apóstolus incitátus, mundána spernens et terréna fastídiens, in æternórum desidérium quodam mentis rapiebátur excéssu ; et, gáudio totíus visiónis implétus, ibi cum Jesu optábat habitáre, ubi manifésta ejus glória lætabátur.  Unde et ait : Dómine, bonum est nos hic esse : si vis, faciámus hic tria tabernácula ; tibi unum, Móyse unum et Elíæ unum.  Sed huic suggestióni Dóminus non respóndit, signíficans, non quidem ímprobum, sed inordinátum esse quod cúperet ; cum salvári mundus, nisi Christi morte, non posset, et exémplo Dómini in hoc vocarétur credéntium fides, ut licet non oportéret de beatitúdinis promissiónibus dubitári, intelligerémus tamen inter tentatiónes hujus vitæ prius nobis tolerántiam postulándam esse quam glóriam.
The unveiling of such mysteries roused the mind of the Apostle Peter to an outburst of longing for the things eternal, which despised and disdained things worldly and earthly.  Overflowing with gladness at the vision, he yearned to dwell with Jesus there, where the revelation of his glory had rejoiced him.  And so he said : Master, it is good for us to be here ; if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one Elias.  To this proposal the Lord answered nothing, signifying that what Peter wished was not wrong, but out of place, since the world could not be saved but by the death of Christ.  And the Lord's example was to call the faith of believers to this, that although we should have no doubts concerning the promise of eternal blessedness, yet we are to understand that, amid the trials of this life, we are to seek for power to endure rather than for glory.
V.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R.  Deo grátias.
V.  But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R.  Thanks be to God.
R.  Si ministrátio mortis, lítteris deformáta in lapídibus, fuit in glória, ita ut non possent inténdere fílii Israël in fáciem Móysi propter glóriam vultus ejus, quæ evacuátur : * Multo magis ministrátio spíritus, quæ manet, erit in glória.
V.  Amplióris enim glóriæ Christus præ Móyse dignus est hábitus, quanto ampliórem honórem habet domo, qui fabricávit eam.
R.  Multo magis ministrátio spíritus, quæ manet, erit in glória.
V.  Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R.  Multo magis ministrátio spíritus, quæ manet, erit in glória.
R.  If the ministration of death written and engraven in stones was glorious, so that the Children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away : * So much the more shall the ministration of the Spirit which abideth be glorious.
V.  For Christ was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
R.  So much the more shall the ministration of the Spirit which abideth be glorious.
V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R.  So much the more shall the ministration of the Spirit which abideth be glorious.
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