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Ordinary Time: August 6th
Feast of the Transfiguration
Other Commemorations: St. Anna Maria Rubatto, religious (RM)
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This feast became widespread in the West in the 11th century and was introduced into the Roman calendar in 1457 to commemorate the victory over Islam in Belgrade. Before that, the Transfiguration of the Lord was celebrated in the Syrian, Byzantine, and Coptic rites. The Transfiguration foretells the glory of the Lord as God, and His Ascension into heaven. It anticipates the glory of heaven, where we shall see God face to face. Through grace, we already share in the divine promise of eternal life.
According to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, in addition to the Feast of the Transfiguration; today is also the feast Sts. Sixtus II and Felicissimus & Agapitus who were martyred during the persecution of Valerian.
Our divine Redeemer, being in Galilee about a year before His sacred Passion, took with him St. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, Sts. James and John, and led them to a retired mountain. Tradition assures us that this was Mount Thabor, which is exceedingly high and beautiful, and was anciently covered with green trees and shrubs, and was very fruitful. It rises something like a sugar-loaf, in a vast plain in the middle of Galilee. This was the place in which the Man-God appeared in His glory.
Whilst Jesus prayed, he suffered that glory which was always due to his sacred humility, and of which, for our sake, He deprived it, to diffuse a ray over His whole body. His face was altered and shone as the sun, and his garments became white as snow. Moses and Elias were seen by the three apostles in his company on this occasion, and were heard discoursing with him of the death which he was to suffer in Jerusalem.
The three apostles were wonderfully delighted with this glorious vision, and St. Peter cried out to Christ, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. Let us make three tents: one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias" Whilst St. Peter was speaking, there came, on a sudden, a bright shining cloud from heaven, an emblem of the presence of God's majesty, and from out of this cloud was heard a voice which said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" The apostles that were present, upon hearing this voice, were seized with a sudden fear, and fell upon the ground; but Jesus, going to them, touched them, and bade them to rise. They immediately did so, and saw no one but Jesus standing in his ordinary state.
This vision happened in the night. As they went down the mountain early the next morning, Jesus bade them not to tell any one what they had seen till he should be risen from the dead.
—Excerpted from Butler's Lives of the Saints,
Benziger Bros. ed. 
In the Transfiguration Christ enjoyed for a short while that glorified state which was to be permanently His after His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. The splendor of His inward Divinity and of the Beatific Vision of His soul overflowed on His body, and permeated His garments so that Christ stood before Peter, James, and John in a snow-white brightness. The purpose of the Transfiguration was to encourage and strengthen the Apostles who were depressed by their Master's prediction of His own Passion and Death. The Apostles were made to understand that His redeeming work has two phases: The Cross, and glory—that we shall be glorified with Him only if we first suffer with Him.
—Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. BandasPatron:
pork butchers; Borgomasino, Italy.Things to Do:
- In the Russian Orthodox church, honey, pears, apples, plums and other fruits are brought to the church for blessing. This feast is also referred to as "Metamorphosis" in the Eastern church.
- The Transfiguration was another "firstfruits" harvest feast, particularly of grapes and wheat. The older Roman Ritual has a blessing of grapes and blessing of the harvest for this feast.
- Playing up on the brilliant white of the garments, decorating with white (tablecloth, candles, etc.) and serving some white foods (mashed potatoes, vanilla ice cream, Mexican wedding cookies, meringues, etc.) can bring to mind that dazzling white.
- This is one of the harvest feasts of the Church. Katherine Burton in her Feast Day Cookbook explains the grape and wine connection for the Transfiguration: "Traditionally on the Feast of the Transfiguration, the Pope presses a bunch of ripe grapes into the chalice at Mass or uses new wine. Also in Rome raisins are blessed on the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the Greek and Russian Churches too conduct a special ceremony for blessing grapes and other fruits. See the recipe for spiced grape jelly and Toasting Through the Liturgical Year for more details.
- Having Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration is a reminder of the Old Testament. Bring in some Jewish recipes or foods to highlight this aspect of the feast day.
- View some paintings of the Transfiguration here.
St. Maria Domenica Mantovani
Blessed Maria Francesca was born Anna Maria Rubatto in Carmagnola, Italy on St. Valentine’s day, February 14, 1844. She was only four years old when her father died, and when she was a teenager, Anna Maria received an offer of what would have been a comfortable marriage to a local notary. She turned him down, however, because as a child, she had made a vow of virginity and was determined to keep it.
When she was 19, her mother also died and Anna Maria, now alone, moved about 18 miles south to the city of Turin. There she befriended an Italian noblewoman named Marianna Scoffone, who recognized the girl’s goodness and soon became her patroness. Though Anna Maria had received little formal education, she was nonetheless an intellectually gifted individual and, with the support of Scoffone, began to teach catechism to the children in the local parishes. She also visited the sick in the Cottolengo Hospital and generally tended to the needs of the suffering and neglected in Turin.
Anna Maria remained with Scoffone for the next 19 years until the latter died in 1882. Now 38 years old, Anna Maria’s next vocation would make itself known in a rather unusual way. One morning after Mass at the Capuchin church in Loano, Italy, Anna Maria was startled by a cry from a nearby convent that was under construction. A stone had fallen on the head of a young worker and, because of her experience helping with the sick, Anna Maria was able to clean the wound and tend to the young man.
As it happened, the religious sisters who were to live in the building were looking for a spiritual guide and leader. They discerned that the incident with the young man was the sign they were looking for and a Capuchin priest convinced Anna Maria to enter their community. A year later she did and took the name Sister Maria Francesca of Jesus. The local bishop, Bishop Filippo Allegro, soon made her the superior of the order, which became known as the Institute of the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto.
Under her leadership, the congregation grew, both in Italy and in the New World. In 1892, they established a mission in Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as in Argentina and deep within the rain forests of Brazil. In all, Mother Rubatto crossed the Atlantic seven times in order to support her sisters in both Europe and South America and was responsible for opening 18 Capuchin houses in 20 years.
Mother Maria Francesca Rubatto died of natural causes in Uruguay in 1904. She is buried in Montevideo where she had given so much of herself to the poor.
—Excerpted from the Roman Catholic Diocese of BurlingtonThings to Do: