Praise God! This is my first post of 2013! I am so grateful to God for another year and eager to continue to be a part of the New Evangelization. I also deeply appreciate the kindness of those of you who have taken the time to offer an encouraging word about this blog, whether by comment or by word-or-mouth. Your support means more than you can ever imagine. Our family remembers all of you in daily prayer.
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany. We commemorate that glorious day when the Holy Family was visited by the Magi. This solemnity always has held a special place in my heart. We would do well to heed it’s striking message.
The Magi were men of great prosperity and power, they were probably even royalty. Yet the greatest treasure which they possessed was neither frankincense nor myrrh, nor even gold, but rather wisdom. The Magi understood that everything which they possessed: their kingdoms, their power, their affluence and yes, even their wisdom were gifts from God. With the enlightenment that wisdom brings, they knew that God deserved a “thank you.” The Magi followed Wisdom’s Holy Light, right up to the very rail of the crib of the Infant Jesus. There, they presented him with earthly tokens of their gratitude.
This ability to recognize that one’s talents and position in life have been benevolently bestowed from the Almighty, is itself a gift from God. The humility of this position is especially difficult to grasp when one’s level of authority and political status catapults him into the headlines of day-to-day news. Yet, the Magi were able to comprehend this and gave us a stellar example to emulate. They were able to subdue all the pride and the other temptations that accompanied their station in life. In all humility, the Magi were able to prostrate themselves before the Baby Jesus and thank him for His many gifts.
Their humility and generosity contrast sharply with the other powerful wealthy player in this account. King Herod was so consumed with his wealth and power that wisdom could find no place in him. His pride so stiffened his knees that he could not kneel before the Baby Jesus. With Lucifer, he too shouted “I will not serve.” Herod became a mad man and would stop at nothing, not even murder, to save what he perceived to be “his.”
The magi could have very easily gone down the same path, but they chose to seek and to follow rather than to lead and destroy. They allowed the wisdom of God and gratitude for His many gifts to consume them. As we celebrate the Epiphany this weekend, let us make note of the Magi’s example and seek to give thanks to God for His many gifts in our lives.
Most of us are not royalty, nor do we possess great power and wealth. We cannot present the Baby Jesus with gold, frankincense or myrrh. Still, as grand as those gifts may be, they simply are not what the Christ-Child asks of us. Putting in a kind word for a friend rather than gossiping behind his back, patiently putting up with fussing little children or grumpy older adults, always bearing a joyful, humble smile on our faces, these are the gifts we will present to the Baby Jesus. As St. Therese of the Child Jesus teaches, these little acts done with great love are valued beyond gold, silver, or riches by our mighty Infant Savior. So armed with these acts of love, above all, let us strive to welcome Him and the Light of His Wisdom into our souls on this Epiphany.