Epiphany First Manifestion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
Today, in our monastery, we celebrate the first of three epiphanies or manifestations of Jesus: the adoration of the magi, the baptism in the Jordan by John, and the miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. The figures of the kings and their trusty camel have finally arrived at the creche outside our chapel and taken the place first held by rustic shepherds.
Scripture scholars tell us that the infancy narratives of the Gospels are mythic fable-like stories communicating meaning and message; answering questions about the nature of this Jesus and offering guidance for the spiritual journey we undertake in our lives both to the stable in Bethlehem and to the foot of the Cross.
In her meditations on the Gospels of Advent and the Christmas Season our foundress, Maria Celeste Crostarosa (1696-1755), wrote about what the Magi have to teach us concerning the spiritual requirements of our journey.
Consider, soul of mine, how carefully the saintly Magi searched for Jesus. At once they left their own country and went looking, just because they saw a star which indicated that the Divine Saviour was born. They set out with precious gifts as offerings. They started on a long journey. Leaving their own land, they set out on a long journey to find Jesus. You go, my soul, and get out of the earthly land of your heart. Leave your senses, your cravings, your bad habits...Get out of yourself and go looking for the Beloved. Go along with the Magi and ask every creature where your Jesus is. Tell them you languish, you suffer you are dying of longing to possess His sweet presence. So therefore you, heart of mine...hurry up and travel along with these saintly Kings. They don't stop 'til they are at the cave of Bethlehem..and you, my soul, mustn't stop in any land...that is, do not dwell on any created thing, on personal fancies or pleasures, on any fondness for creatures, not even your own love of self. Do not rest until you have found your Beloved, the God of your heart. Entertain no other thoughts except of Him. Search, with great longing to love Him. Go into the darkest interior of your soul, into the stable of your heart. There you will find Him, poor and despised by men...scorning everything in order to possess your heart. Nothing but God Himself will satisfy you...