Transfiguration of Jesus: The feast of real knowledge

We struggle to learn various things and slowly try to understand their meanings in order to gain knowledge.

However real knowledge is something else.

When Saint Peter was witnessing the Jesus’s transfiguration, he did not try to learn the names of the ones who were with Christ. He just said: “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

So Peter, being under the influence of grace, and infused with the Holy Spirit, said that it is “good for them to be there”, in other words “let us stop here and forget everything”. Being full of grace, he did not take his ego into account, and therefore didn’t say make four shelters (including himself) but only three for the three men in front of him which he recognized immediately as holy. He also was instantly enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to the identities of Moses and Elijah without any external indications about the unknown men which appeared in front of him. As we see, real knowledge is simple and immediate.

However Peter’s capacity at that time was not enough to acquire all the knowledge which God’s grace can bestow – so he couldn’t understand that it was not God’s will to remain on the mountain, even if he felt “very good there” and even though Jesus conversed with Moses and Elijah about His Crucifixion before his very eyes. His capacity for perfect knowledge stopped at his soul’s capacity of understanding.

In fact, this is the aim of asceticism: to expand the vessel of our soul and to keep ourselves ready for the Jesus’s transfiguration which takes place in our hearts.

Based on Saint Ephraim the Syrian, Mark 9:5-6

This photo depicts the moment of the blessing of the grapes at the feast of Transfiguration of Jesus.