Thursday, August 14, 2014

What is reality?

Is there a connection between the Transfiguration and the Assumption? The Assumption is of course not the Octave day of  the Transfiguration, but is it an accident the two feasts are so proximate?

The Transfiguration makes us question the nature of reality. The disciples are used to seeing Jesus doing ordinary human things, yes there are miracles but it is easy to see them as a human action, a wonder, rather than a divine revelation. The Transfiguration forces them to question this basic perception, on the holy mountain they experience Jesus as being quite unlike them. What they glimpse is directly linked to Jesus' death, it is supposed to strengthen them for his death, presumably they are supposed to look beyond  the very human aspects of his suffering, death and burial.

They are left to struggle with the question of what is more real, the humiliation of Jesus in his passion or his exaltation and the reconciliation of God and man, what they are called to see is what God sees.
There are earthly and heavenly realities, both these feasts invite us to look beyond the veil.

The ancient way of portraying the the Assumption is the Apostles gathering for the Blessed Virgin's funeral after she appears to die, but like the synagogue officials daughter she appears to be dead but to God she merely sleeps. The disciples are focused on her body, they do not see Christ who also stands behind them who comes to receive her soul with two (some times more) saintly bishops, there are two planes of reality in this icon, what is happening perceived by physical eyes in the city of Jerusalem (or Ephesus) and what is happening under the watchful eye of the seraph, which is perceived by the eyes of faith alone.

The Christian faith calls us to look beyond what appears to the senses to what is revealed by faith, to see with eyes of God.

The Assumption or Dormition invites to see human death with the eyes of faith, just as the Transfiguration invites us to view Jesus suffering from the perspective of Heaven. Death and corruption, pain and suffering melt away in the presence of God's glory. Christians are called to look beyond the veil to the heavenly reality.


Wynn said...

Interesting post, Father. I have long seen the two feasts as linked. Unfortunately, though, the Assumption is not the Octave day of the Transfiguration – that's the 13th, not the 15th.

Pablo the Mexican said...

The Transfiguration was the literal seeing of Christ as He appears as the Blessed Sacrament; that Priests may believe at the moment they kneel in adoration during the consecration, Christ is present.

Simon Platt said...

Surely, Father, if the Transfiguration had an octave it would be on the 13th?

viterbo said...

in my country the Assumption of Our Lady is the only extra Sunday day of obligation bar Christmas day and Easter Sunday - realities-truths that are 'unusual' are easily dismissed - because they are inconvenient. God gives us more than enough proof. It's a shame we spend so much energy dismissing it.

Supertradmum said...

Fr., I love this feast day tomorrow. It reminds us of the love of Christ for His perfect Mother. And, it gives us all hope of the Resurrected, as we say in the Creed.

Thank you.

John Vasc said...

For me the Assumption seems to belong to a trio of feasts together with the Transfiguration and the Ascension - transcendant events in which there is a Divine magnetic pull from earth to heaven.
Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven is preceded by the revelation to the apostles on Mount Tabor of His heavenly Nature and Kingship; and later followed by the Assumption, His renewed promise of our own intended destination, with His and Our Blessed Mother - the pure symbol of the Church - leading us heavenwards.

NBW said...

Thank you for the wonderful post Father.

Jacobi said...

We cannot know what Reality is. It is of the Spiritual World, the Real World, and we will not understand it until we get there.

God created the Natural World in which we live, some time back. When, 13.7 the power x or what, is still being argued. And it weighs a lot, but it would de-materialise in less than a Plank Time Unit if God were to stop thinking of it.

Time and matter do not exist in the Spiritual World, and indeed can be relative and even non-existent in this world as in Entanglement and Post Selection. Enough said since although a scientist, I am not a physicist.

The Triune God can step between Reality and the Natural World, just as Christ did when He stood in the upper room. We will when we die.

The Transfiguration and Assumption are examples of this stepping over. Our Lady did not die, “for the wages of sin is death”, and since she was without sin she could not have died, but was Assumed into the Real World of Heaven.

Yes Father. Reality is the Spiritual World towards which we must look and aspire.