Achard of St Victor: The Nine Transfigurations of Christ (3) – Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost Saturday, May 19 2012 

Continued from here…

The sixth transfiguration of the Lord was that of the resurrection, when he was transfigured from passion to impassibility, from death to immortality, and put on beauty and strength.

This was a vestige of what occurred on the mountain; that transfiguration was a foreshadowing of this one, as was noted above.

The seventh transfiguration was that of the appearance in which he showed himself to his disciples after his resurrection.

This appearance is called a transfiguration because he did not then show them the form of immortality, majesty, and glory which he then in fact had, but rather he appeared in the state, form, and shape he had when he was still mortal.

He did this so that they would recognize him, and believe that he had truly risen. If he had appeared in that glorious form they would not have recognized him, but would have thought he was someone else.

The eighth transfiguration is that of the ascension. Although it is not set down explicitly in writing, we should believe that in the ascension when, as the apostles were watching, ‘he was raised into heaven and a cloud received him’ (Acts 1:9-10), he revealed the form of his glory and majesty so that by doing so he could rouse the hearts of the disciples to follow him.

Hence it is also written: ‘As you have seen him going, so will he come’ (Acts 1:11).

Since he is to come in the form of majesty (Mt 25:31), we can conclude that he was seen to ascend in it as well.

His ninth transfiguration occurred on Pentecost day, in the spirit and hearts of his disciples, when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire and filled them with charity and love.

When they had received these endowments they no longer thought of Christ in the usual, fleshly way, but spiritually, even when they thought of his body.

They no longer thought about him as someone who worked miracles on earth in a mortal way, but as one seated in heaven at the right hand of Majesty.

We should describe this as a transfiguration of the apostles rather than of the Lord.

Achard of St Victor (c.1100- 1172): Sermon on the Transfiguration, from Works, tr. Hugh Feiss, OSB Cistercian Studies 165, (Cist. Publ., Kalamazoo, MI, 2001) pp. 191-200. 

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Achard of St Victor: The Nine Transfigurations of Christ (2) – Transfiguration, Eucharist, Passion and Death Saturday, May 19 2012 

Continued from here…

The third transfiguration is that which occurred on the mountain; we dealt with it earlier.

The fourth transfiguration is called sacramental. It first occurred when he revealed himself at the supper in the form of bread and wine and offered himself to his disciples to be eaten, saying: ‘This is my body, take it and eat’ (Mk 14:22).

The same transfiguration occurs each day on the altar at the hands of the priest. So he added at that time: ‘Do this in memory of me’ (1Cor 11:24).

This transfiguration was prefigured when David changed his appearance before Achish, and pretending to be a stupid lunatic, and so transfigured himself. Scripture says that because of his fear he carried himself in his hands.’ Similarly, the Lord carried himself in his hands, veiled under the appearance of bread and wine.

His fifth transfiguration is that of his passion and death, by which he was transformed from having the capacity to suffer and die to actually suffering and dying; then there was ‘neither beauty nor comeliness in him’ (Is 53:2).

This is more properly called a disfiguration; we read that ‘his soul was sorrowful even to death’ (Mt 26:38).

Doubt exists whether his sorrow was immediately laid aside at his death or stayed with him during the three days before his resurrection, not because of his passion but because of compassion for those whom he descended into the underworld to liberate.

However, it does seem that his sorrow was swallowed up at death, since he said: ‘My soul is sorrowful even to death’, as though it would not be sorrowful after death.

Therefore, only the virtue of compassion, without passion, was in Christ during those three days, just as it always is in God.

Achard of St Victor (c.1100- 1172): Sermon on the Transfiguration, from Works, tr. Hugh Feiss, OSB Cistercian Studies 165, (Cist. Publ., Kalamazoo, MI, 2001) pp. 191-200. 

Achard of St Victor: The Nine Transfigurations of Christ (1) – Incarnation and Life Saturday, May 19 2012 

The Lord was not transfigured just this one time: certain transfigurations preceded and followed this one.

He was first transfigured when he came into the world from the bosom of the Father (Jn 1:18). ‘Although he was in the form of God, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave’ (Ph 2:6-7).

The eternal became temporal; the immense became small; the Creator, a creature; God, man; the maker, what was made.

This transfiguration is as great as the distance between God and man; it is immense and infinite.

We should note very carefully that the Lord is not said to be transfigured in such a way that he laid aside or emptied out his previous divine form, or in some way changed it, when he accepted the form of a slave.

Rather, he is called ‘transfigured’ because he did not appear to us in the form of God but in the human form that he assumed for our sake.

His second transfiguration occurred when ‘he was found human in appearance’ (Ph 2:7).

He not only came in human likeness by truth of nature and by participation in punishment, though not in guilt, but he was also found human in appearance; that is, he appeared like other people.

He lived as if he were weak and sinful, eating and drinking with sinners so that he was called a drunkard (Mt 11:19).

This is called the transfiguration of association; by it he had compassion on the weak, and adapted himself to them, so that he could draw them to himself and impress his form upon them.

This second transfiguration is much less drastic than the first. The first was from the mountain of eternity into the vale of tears; the second occurs within that vale of misery.

Achard of St Victor (c.1100- 1172): Sermon on the Transfiguration, from Works, tr. Hugh Feiss, OSB Cistercian Studies 165, (Cist. Publ., Kalamazoo, MI, 2001) pp. 191-200.