“in eternal felicity we will know each other”

Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
but becoming fully awake,
they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
‘Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’
But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
‘This is my chosen Son; listen to him.’
After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time
tell anyone what they had seen.

today’s Gospel, Luke 9:28-36

There’s a little something in here that I had not noticed until St. Francis de Sales pointed it out to me:

“The three disciples recognized Moses and Elias even though they had never seen them before, one having retaken his body, or a body formed of air, and the other being in the same body in which he was carried away in the triumphal chariot. …

“Let me remark first of all that in eternal felicity we will know each other, since in this little spark of it which the Savior gave to His Apostles He willed that they recognize Moses and Elias, whom they had never seen. If this is true, O my God, what contentment will we receive in seeing again those whom we have so dearly loved in this life! Yes, we will even know the new Christians who are only now being converted to our holy Faith in the Indies, Japan, and the Antipodes. The good friendships of this life will continue eternally in the other. We will love each person with a special love, but these particular friendships will not cause partiality because all our affections will draw their strength from the charity of God which, ordering them all will make us love each of the blessed with that eternal love with which we are loved by the Divine Majesty.”

I love this image of heaven: the way we look at our friends and just know them, that recognition we have when we see people we love, that soul-sight for lack of a better word, that’s going to be our relationship with everyone. It’s an expansive love, one that stems from loving God the creator, and seeing Him all around. I love that this is hiding in this Gospel on the Transfiguration, a glory that can seem so overwhelming and distant. God takes the time to let us know that His glory provides the light by which we can see everyone, that heaven makes us most ourselves, so that people can recognize us in all our particularity without ever having seen us before.

Published by Catherine Addington

I am a translator from Spanish to English and a writer on saints, myths, and icons in both religious and secular contexts.

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