August 10, 2022

Homily Three on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on August 6/19, 1952)

One of our greatest feasts has come - the Transfiguration of the Lord, and already yesterday at the Vespers you heard the troparion of this festival, and in it such words: “May Thy everlasting light shine on us sinners through the prayers of the Theotokos, Giver of Light, glory to Thee.”

Have you thought about what a great blessing we ask of God in these words, what joy - eternal, unceasing joy we ask - we ask that that divine light shine in us forever, which illuminated on Mount Tabor the whole body, all the clothes of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We boldly ask that this divine eternal everlasting light shine in us, so that we, sinful and unworthy, shine before the godless world with this divine light - we ask the prayers of the Mother of God.

The prayer of the Theotokos is great and powerful, but if we ourselves do not show all zeal for what we ask God for, then we cannot put all our hopes only on the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos, for in order for the ever-present light of Christ to shine in us, we need to get rid of darkness.

This applies not only to spiritual light and spiritual darkness, but directly to both physical light and material darkness.

Imagine a person living in a deep deep cave: he is always in darkness, darkness surrounds him, and the light of the sun cannot shine on him while he is surrounded by this darkness.

He must get out into the light, must go out of his dark cave to where the rays of the sun shine. He must go a long and difficult path leading to the exit of the cave; must feel with his hands the walls of the passage leading outside; he must overcome the difficulties that will meet on his way from the many stones lying in the cave - he must climb out of the cave with great difficulty.

After a long, long time and with difficulty he will get out, but when he sees a faint light ahead, he will go more cheerfully, more joyfully. And the light will become brighter and brighter, and finally he will come to such a fertile place where the sun's rays shine.

Imagine a person at the bottom of a deep abyss, where there is darkness, where it is always dark.

Imagine what a huge task he must undertake to get out of this abyss.

He must rise higher and higher up, clinging to the stones. And the stones will break under his feet, his feet will stumble. His hands and feet will be covered with blood before he climbs out into the light of God, into the light of the sun.

The same happens with people who live in spiritual darkness: they are like those unfortunates who live in a deep cave or in the abyss of the earth.

Bandits, robbers, drunkards, lechers, fornicators, adulterers and all the wicked live in deep spiritual darkness. They also need to gradually and with great difficulty get rid of the darkness that surrounds them.

But do not think that only thieves and adulterers are surrounded by darkness. There is a lot of it around each of us, and everyone needs great efforts to get rid of this darkness.

If only we place our hopes on the prayers of the Theotokos, but do nothing ourselves to get rid of the spiritual darkness that surrounds us, then we will not get out of it, we will remain in darkness forever.

What do we need to get rid of this darkness? Oh, much, much is required of us. It is required that our old man gradually decay, so that from day to day our inner man is renewed, as the Apostle Paul speaks of.

What is the outer man and what is the inner man? The outer man is the one who lives by the interests of this transient world. This is the one who perishes in lusts, in passions, in voluptuousness, who is immersed in the abyss of sins, who never thinks about the great, holy, eternal light - this is an external person.

What is our inner man? This is our heart, which lives only by hope in God; our heart, filled with great joy when we hear the words of Christ; our heart, arranging its life according to the law, which is prescribed by the Lord and our God Jesus Christ.

The inner man arranges and directs his whole life in the way that pleases the Lord Jesus Christ, lives according to His commandments, does His will.

Remember the words of Paul, that “even if our outer man smolders, then the inner one is renewed from day to day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Let it smolder, let it gradually decay, so that our inner man is renewed from day to day.

And in order for other words of Paul, close to these, to be fulfilled, it is necessary that we strive to “put aside the former way of life of the old man, corrupted in deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, created according to God, in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Eph. 4:22-24).

Put on the new man, the one created according to God, or, as Paul says elsewhere, put on Christ Himself — just like putting on a garment. Just as clothes are closely attached to the body, so everything that we hear, that we learn about Christ, should be close, near to us.

Only when we reach such a state, when our outer man decays, when our inner man, created according to God in righteousness and holiness of truth, is renewed, only then will His everlasting light shine in us, and we will become partakers of the divine light, that very divine light with which the Lord shone.

And if we shine, we will become forever bright, we will become forever beloved children of God, we will become citizens of that new Jerusalem descending from heaven, which was shown to the holy Apostle John the Theologian in his great Revelation on the island of Patmos.

He saw this city of Jerusalem, much was said to him about it; it is also said that there will be no more night in this city, “and they will not need a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God illuminates them; and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

This is the goal of our life, this is what we must strive for - so that the light of Christ's everlasting light shines on us, so that we become citizens of the new city of Jerusalem, where there is eternal light, where eternal joy, where holy love reigns. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.