Transfiguration Arthur Middleton
To see the life of prayer as a re-enactment of the Transfiguration is not to project a fantasy. The reality of what the Transfiguration professes is what we experience in prayer over a long, gradual process of being transfigured in Christ as we partake of the divine nature. It is to let the self, the real and true self, be transformed and transfigured in the milieu of divine life God invites us to share. Prayer and life become integrated as we bring the personal and communal life in which we participate into the larger context of the divine milieu.
There is always the temptation to return into the security of life’s earlier experience or escape into pseudo-reality The implications of the Transfiguration mean taking the total, real and actual circumstances of life, as they are being lived and experienced, into the glory that will give meaning to it all. The experience will not be in terms of some other world, but of life as it is, renewed and transformed in Christ.
A new reality
It is an experience radically new, because it is ‘not of this world’, but whose gift and presence, continuity and fulfilment in this world is the Church. So it is not a private experience in the subjectivism of individual religious experience. What one is concerned to describe here is the unique experience of the Church as
new reality, new creation, new life.
Each of us in baptism becomes a seed implanted into this new reality that we might grow to full maturity as children of God. We are endowed with the power of the Trinitarian life, whereby God’s interior activity in us and our cooperation with him leads us into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Such growth is a movement in assimilating love, which prayer deepens, as it leads us into a long, gradual process of transfiguration in Christ.
As prayer and life are integrated, and we begin to respond to the re-integration of our inner being, so we become more sensitive to God’s dynamic presence breathing his life into us, that faith be deepened and ourselves purified. In the words of St Irenaeus, ‘the two hands of God’, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, are continuously touching the soul. This loving presence of God penetrates our whole being, creating, redeeming and transforming us into a greater oneness with Christ. ‘The light which is the life of men is experienced as a transfiguring power.’ In this experience of the fullness of baptism, we are moving out from the darkness of self-centredness into the light of God’s presence.
The discipline of Christian life is like climbing a mountain and is never easy. Yet the conviction of that ‘loving presence’, that Our Lord is leading, has always been certain. His concern is to lead us into following him, that we might imitate him, put him on in the sense of representing him; to follow him that we might worship him and find in him that he is always the Way, the Truth and the Life. [ND\
From his Prayer in the Workaday World