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Maximus the Confessor

on the Transfiguration

(c) translated by George Berthold

Paulist Press, New York

Excerpt from Chapters on Knowledge

97. To those who apply themselves with the utmost zeal to the divine Scriptures the Word as Lord appears under two forms: first, a general and public sight not reserved to a small number of which it is is said, "We have seen him, he had neither form nor beauty"; the second is more hidden and accessible to a small number, to those who have already become as Peter, James, and John, the holy apostles before whom the Lord was transfigured in a glory overpowering the senses, in which "he is beautiful in appearance before the sons of men."  Of these two forms, the first is fitting for beginners, the second is proportioned to those who have become perfect in knowledge, insofar as this is attainable.  The former is the image of the first coming of the Lord to which the letter of the Gospel refers and which purifies by sufferings those who are in the stage of striving.  The latter is a prefiguring of the second and glorious coming in which is understood the Spirit.  It transfigures the gnostics by wisdom with a view toward their deification.  By this transfiguration of the Word in them, they behold with unveiled faces the Lord's glory.