Following Mary’s example, the contemplative is a person centred in God. (VDQ 10)

The Epiphany of the Lord

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"They saw the child with Mary, his mother, and bowed down to adore ..." (Matt. 2,11)

« εἶδον τὸ παιδίον μετὰ Μαρίας τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ, καὶ πεσόντες προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ… »

On January 6th we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord,his manifestation. It is a feast that has a different meaning for Western Christians and Eastern (Orthodox) Christians. In the West, Epiphany is the adoration of Jesus by the Magi. In Eastern rites, followed by our Orthodox brothers and sisters with whom we live in the Holy Land, the feast is called Theophany, and has as its object the baptism of Christ which sanctified the Jordan's waters. So, the Eastern Church does not mention the adoration of the Magi, it has gathered this mystery to that of the Birth of the Savior in the Offices for Christmas Day.

For us who follow the Latin rite, the feast takes its name from the Greek Ἐπιφάνια, which means in the language of the New Testament "appear from above". As we know the birth of Jesus is mention by two evangelists: Matthew and Luke. According to Luke, they are the shepherds who come to pay homage to Jesus; according to Matthew, they are magi (μάγος).

We want to follow the way of the Magi, because they represent in some way the march of humanity towards Christ, we are part of this unfinished procession that still goes on through history, religions, civilizations, to an encounter that changes life. We do this in prayer to grasp what Scripture teaches us today.

First of all, the gospel does not say who the magi are, but for the context we can deduce that they are astrologers accustomed to look at the heavens, to study the courses of the stars. They are contemplatives, people who are aware that reality bears in it something more, a meaning that we must try to find. They follow a star: in the East the belief that someone is born under a star is normal. In this way the universe reveals the mystery of a presence. They walk towards the encounter with a face until now unknown, based on the hope of "a star shall come forth our of Jacob" (Nm 24,17).

The whole tradition of the Church highlights the extraordinary character of this star, able to put the wise men on the way, see Ignatius of Antioch, John Chrysostome ... The star leads them to Jerusalem, but for finding the "King of the Jews" the star is not enough, It is the scriptures that are going to give them the key: ""Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?" ... - ""In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel."(Matt. 2, 5-6). The wise men humbly listened to Scripture.

So it is not the star that says where the child is, it is the Child - Eternal Word of the Father, who guides the star to the house where He is in the arms of his mother, and he does that even through the contrary circumstances (Herod), for God is the Lord of history and events.

"They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy... they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh" (Matt. 2, 10-11)

Let us do the same, let us be travelers, contemplatives in the way of history, going to search, questioning the scriptures, moving from the realities of the earth to the face of someone. By passing from the science that swells to an epiphanic life that goes always higher and we will find the prophetic sign already announced by Isaiah, "the Virgin will conceived and give birth to a son" (Matt. 1,23).

Carmel Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Dites à l’Esprit Saint que vous l’aimez, dites-lui : Esprit Saint, je t’aime !
On ne dit pas beaucoup, pas assez, à l’Esprit Saint que nous l’aimons. Nous le disons à Jésus, à la Vierge Marie …

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