Saturday, August 05, 2006


We remember a Transfiguration in glory

icon of the Transfiguration

when Peter, James, and John saw Jesus as he truly was, glorious with uncreated Light, conversing with Moses and Elijah. Flabbergasted, the threesome said some really silly things about pitching tents for all of them and staying there always, but were told they all had to go back down the mountain, back to "real life" ---- though what was at the top of the mountain was more real than any of the "real life" down below.

And we also remember a transfiguration in horror

the Cathedral of Hiroshima after Transfiguration morning

when the first of two cities, chosen because they had minimal military significance (therefore they had no previous bomb damage to complicate the analysis of the before-and-after photos), was utterly destroyed by a single bomb, its people transformed in an instant from living embodied ones to etched shadows on the pavements, and others left to slowly die over weeks and months from radiation-related illnesses unknown before. Those two cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were not chosen because they were the heart of Japanese Catholicism; that was accidental.

So, we celebrate this feast of our Lord, and remember our brothers and sisters who were doing the same in the Hiroshima Cathedral, and all the people of that city, when they themselves were transformed in a single instant, to see the Lord for eternity as he truly is.

May the perpetual Light, which we celebrate especially on this solemnity of Transfiguration, shine upon them all.