“On the feast of the Epiphany, as we recall Jesus’ manifestation to humanity in the face of a Child, may we sense the Magi at our side, as wise companions on the way. Their example helps us to lift our gaze towards the star and to follow the great desires of our heart… They teach us not to be deceived by appearances, by what the world considers great, wise and powerful. We must not stop at that. It is necessary to guard the faith. Today this is of vital importance: to keep the faith. We must press on further, beyond the darkness, beyond the voices that raise alarm, beyond worldliness, beyond so many forms of modernity that exist today. We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe. By the example of the Magi, with our little lights, may we seek the Light and keep the faith. May it be so.”
This passage is the closing paragraph from last year’s Epiphany homily by our Holy Father, Pope Francis. It highlights a couple of themes that help us in our journey as seekers of the light that is Christ.
As we have just recently celebrated the Solemnities of the Nativity and Mary, the Mother of God, which points out for us the humanity and the divinity of Christ, respectively. In this feast we see the humility of His humanity and the glory of His divinity collide. The Magi show us that as we journey towards the Light we will encounter uncertainty and darkness. But He does not leave us to ourselves to “figure out” how to find Him. He gives us certain lights and revelations to lead us closer to him.
When the Magi finally reached the Child Jesus, they believed His divinity in spite of His ordinariness. How often do we doubt that God can work in our lives, or that He is really present in our situation? Do prevent Him from shattering our worldly perceptions of “success,” “greatness,” and even “holiness?”
I’ve found myself put limitations on the love of God, and my thoughts are often something like this:
- Well, now that I’m not a sister anymore, He doesn’t love me the same or look at me the same…or…
- I can’t trust my discernment anymore…or…
- My life doesn’t really mean anything since I don’t have a mission or purpose…etc.
It’s easy to doubt that God can work in the ordinary brokenness of life… except this is EXACTLY where He desires to dwell. He loves us the same, whether we are a religious or a lay person. Although our relationship may feel different, we are still the same Beloved Daughter in His Eyes.
Let us be like the Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany. Let us follow Him into lands unknown to us, to places too seemingly ordinary for the Presence of God. Most importantly, let us realize the Presence of God in our own hearts that dwells in us during our earthly pilgrimage.
We also celebrate today the Feast of Saint Andre Bessette, 9 August 1845, 6 January 1937: a Canadian religious brother and one of our Leonie’s Longing patrons. Saint Andre, pray for us!