The Way of Beauty
THEME: Being instruments of divine mercy
FOCUS OF THE MEDITATION: After meditating on the last things and our response to God, we shall now consider how God continues to deepen our lives in him. This prayer will help us grow in faith by trusting in God’s power as we attempt to live it with greater love throughout our days.
Vatican Museums’ Pinacoteca
"Raphael’s unique The Transfiguration depicts two stories from the Gospel of Matthew: (1) (above) the Transfiguration, with Christ glorified between the prophets Moses and Elijah, (2) (below) the apostle encountering the possess youth in the foreground.”
"The spiritual life is rich in contrasts—human and divine, grace and nature, sin and mercy."
"Two registers compose the artwork. Atop we have the heavenly glory of Christ enveloped in a magnificent aura of divine light, symbolizing Jesus' full Sonship. Transcendent experience leaves the disciples prostrate while two Old Testament figures, Moses and Elijah, are seen floating in suspended adoration. The remaining apostles are seen below, ineffectively dealing with a possessed boy."
"As we tune into our spiritual lives, we will also notice a contrast. We feel a call to the beauty of God's life, desiring wholeheartedly to follow the Lord day by day. But we also know that when we come down from the mountain into our daily lives, we struggle with confusion, temptation, and earthly concerns."
"Moments of glory or enlightenment elevate our spirits, but frequently we are called to enter the struggle of our daily lives. So faith and love, strengthened through prayer, are most needed in our everyday moments, experiences that can sometime be wrought with darkness. Yet our Lord lets us glimpse his glory so we might know how to follow him to the cross."
"Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli'jah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah" --not knowing what he said.
As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried, "Teacher, I beg you to look upon my son, for he is my only child; and behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him till he foams, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him.
And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not." Jesus answered, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here."
While he was coming, the demon tore him and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.
And all were astonished at the majesty of God."
PRAYER AND REFLECTION
"It is possible that the disciples tried many times to heal the boy, yet their faith was lacking. Faith is a gift from God, but we must nourish it so it will grow. What act of faith will you enact through prayer today?"
The comments above are taken from Meditations on Vatican Art by Fr. Mark Haydu. To truly enter into this Visio Divina, I suggest purchasing the book as each masterpiece comes with a complete description, prayer and reflection, and spiritual exercise.