“Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord” (Isaiah 60:6).
“A star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17).
“Epiphany or Theophany, means the Manifestation of God; today it is realized in Jesus who manifests Himself as God and Lord of the world. Already a prodigy has revealed His divinity–the extraordinary star which appeared in the East…
A star often appears in the heaven of our souls; it is an inspiration from God, clear and intimate, urging us to greater generosity and calling us to a life of closer union with Him…with faith, promptness and selfless generosity…[that we may] place before the manger the gifts of the Wise Men: the incense of prayer, the myrrh of mortification and suffering borne with generosity out of love for [Christ], and…the gold of charity.”*
Pope Benedict XVI tells us that “we know from Tacitus and Suetonius that speculation was rife at the time that the ruler of the world would emerge from Judah…”**
But, “no one arrives at Bethlehem with only the star as a guide, or rather, merely with the light of natural revelation…one cannot arrive at Bethlehem by skipping over Jerusalem, or rather, without taking into account what the Scriptures say. The star–in the heavens and in one’s heart–confirms that the Messiah is born, but where and why are revealed by the prophets.” ***
That star guiding us to Christ, that whisper of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, needs to be submitted to a spiritual director who tests the authenticity of such against the authenticity of the Scriptures. Let us pray that all who hear the cry of the newborn Jesus will, this year, be more and more open to receive not just the idea of Him whose birth the angels sing, but the reality of Him and His love by going deeper in ongoing spiritual direction. Won’t you let Him enter your heart more fully this year? Won’t you give yourself fully to Him in thanksgiving for the gift of Himself to you?
Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and happy new year!
*Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., Baronius Press, London, 2008.
**Jesus of Nazareth- The Infancy Narratives, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano, 2012.
***Matthew-The Journey toward Hope, A Contemplative Reading of the Gospel, Sr. Elena Bosetti, SJBP, Pauline Books & Media, Boston, 1997. Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M. says as much in Authenticity – A Biblical Theology of Discernment, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1997.
Art for this post on the Epiphany of the Lord: Birth of Jesus with visiting Magi [Epiphany], undated ca. 1900, Postcards thebiblerevival.com, Heinrich Hofmann, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons.