For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Christ. We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
In the month of August, the liturgy presents us with three feasts that focus on the glory of God, revealed in our human nature. Taken together, the three feasts form a profound progressive instruction. The foundational feast is The Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6), in which we see “the glory of God shining on the face of Christ.” Christ revealed himself in this way both to show the Apostles his divinity and to show us the glorious potential of our humanity. As we read in the Preface for the Transfiguration: “He revealed his glory in the presence of chosen witnesses and filled with the greatest splendor that bodily form which he shares with all humanity… that he might show how in the Body of the whole Church is to be fulfilled what so wonderfully shone forth first in its Head.”
The feast of the Transfiguration is followed by a “novena of glory,” preparing us for the solemnity of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15), in which we see the Virgin Mary shining with the same glory as we saw on the face of Christ. Mary is the first human person to be taken up body and soul into heaven. In her, the Church already shares fully in the glory of Christ. She shows us the goal of our own pilgrimage of life, and inspires us to persevere in the process of our own transformation in glory.
Eight days after the Assumption, as a kind of octave feast of glory, comes The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 22). With this feast (which is also the concluding mystery in the Rosary), the Church invites us to see Mary’s glory in light of her continuing role in heaven. United with her Son, she is not separated from us, but guides us in the way of glory. In the Mass on that day, we ask the Father in prayer: “Grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children.”
St. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that God has shone his light in our hearts, so that we may make known his glory shining on the face of Christ. In the month of August the liturgy helps us unlock the secret of how this amazing promise is to be fulfilled in us as earthen vessels possessing a glorious treasure.
Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 16, no. 6. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.