The Christmas—Epiphany Mystery

Reflection: The Epiphany

"For we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him."    Matthew 2:1-2

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The story of the coming of the Magi is a parable about the spiritual journey. The Gospel readings at Christmastime teach us about the various paths that lead to the divine child, the Absolute who became incarnate in the manger.

The Magi saw in the brilliant new star a personal revelation of God, his gracious reaching out to bring them to the Truth they were seeking. The path of science points to the mystery of the Ultimate Reality. The microscope as well as the telescope leads to infinity. The infinitesimal is as awe-inspiring as the infinite. On the human level of reality, the most insignificant activities, as well as the greatest, lead to eternal life. Obscurity is just as sure a path to Christ as the greatest apostolate. It is not the path so much as sincerity, submission to God's inner and outer signals, and perseverance, holding on in spite of difficulties, that lead step by step to the crib. It was only as they approached the end of their journey that the joy of the Magi became predominate.

The Magi returned to their homeland by a route different from the one by which they came. The parable may be hinting that once the Source has been found, the route itself no longer matters. In any case, in order to reach our destination, the route at a certain point has to be transcended, not necessarily by leaving it, but by the inward freedom that attaches itself to the Goal, rather than to the path.

Excerpt from And the Word was Made Flesh, by Fr. Thomas Keating

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