The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration: Or, the Outcome of History Placed in the Hands of Freedom

Jean-Pierre Batut

“It is at the Transfiguration that he received this power [over death]. Jesus, if he had wanted to, would have been able to delight in the fullness of his glory from this moment on—but in that case, his joy would not have included our salvation.”

A theological mode of thought that lacks a historical dimension, as our own still too often does, cannot help but feel somewhat uneasy when faced with miracles, and above all with the miracle of the Transfiguration: in the first place, the unease is due to the acknowledgment that miracles rest on the assumption of God’s right to intervene into our world; second, there is unease because taking the Transfiguration seriously forces us to admit that the incarnate Word, who took upon himself our earthly condition to the point of growing “in wisdom, stature, and in grace before God and man” (Lk 2:52), continued to evolve in his adult life, the beneficiary of decisive interventions by God on his behalf. If a certain scientistic and technologistic mentality rebels against the first point, resolved as it is to ban God from the world, the instinctive rejection of God’s entry into history comes to the same thing in the end: namely, the absence of genuine contact between him and our human condition, which is immersed in the future.

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