Tuesday, August 04, 2009

To Mount Tabor

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo 1727 - 1804
Christ Leading Peter, James, and John to the High Mountain for the Transfiguration, 1770s/1780s
Pen and black ink, gray wash, and a variety of brown washes over black chalk on laid paper
Overall: 47.9 x 38.6 cm (18 7/8 x 15 3/16 in.)
The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (August 30, 1727 - March 3, 1804) was a painter and printmaker in etching, a son of the more famous artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and elder brother of Lorenzo Baldissera Tiepolo

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This Sunday, Mark the Evangelist recounts that Jesus took Peter, James and John with him up a high mountain and was transfigured before them, becoming so dazzlingly bright that they were "whiter than the work of any bleacher could make them" (Mk 9: 2-10).

Today, the liturgy invites us to focus our gaze on this mystery of light. On the transfigured face of Jesus a ray of light which he held within shines forth. This same light was to shine on Christ's face on the day of the Resurrection. In this sense, the Transfiguration appears as a foretaste of the Paschal Mystery.

The Transfiguration invites us to open the eyes of our hearts to the mystery of God's light, present throughout salvation history. At the beginning of creation, the Almighty had already said: "Fiat lux - let there be light!" (Gn 1: 2), and the light was separated from the darkness. Like the other created things, light is a sign that reveals something of God: it is, as it were, a reflection of his glory which accompanies its manifestations. When God appears, "his brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand" (Heb 3: 3ff.).

Light, it is said in the Psalms, is the mantle with which God covers himself (cf. Ps 104[103]: 2). In the Book of Wisdom, the symbolism of light is used to describe the very essence of God: wisdom, an outpouring of his glory, is "a reflection of eternal light" superior to any created light (cf. Wis 7: 27, 29ff.).

In the New Testament, it is Christ who constitutes the full manifestation of God's light. His Resurrection defeated the power of the darkness of evil forever. With the Risen Christ, truth and love triumph over deceit and sin. In him, God's light henceforth illumines definitively human life and the course of history: "I am the light of the world", he says in the Gospel, "he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (Jn 8: 12).

In our time too, we urgently need to emerge from the darkness of evil, to experience the joy of the children of light! May Mary, whom we commemorated yesterday with special devotion on the annual Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major, obtain this gift for us."

(From The Angelus by Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, 6 August 2006