Sunday, January 6, 2019
Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the great feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, a day which commemorates Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles.
Perhaps on this day, as little children, some of us placed the Three Kings in the crèche, fascinated by their journey and their majesty. These figures represented all nations bringing their gifts to the newborn Savior. In their humble generosity, the journeyers eyes were opened and they recognized Divinity in the most unlikely of places.
An epiphany is a special kind of vision. It is an insight to see something amazingly deeper in what we thought we had already perceived.
We might walk by a tree, a house, a person day after day taking them completely for granted. We see them – but don’t really see them. Then, one day, a certain turn of sun on leaves might let us see that tree differently. An open window with its curtains billowing might transform that house into a home. A caring exchange might change that person into a friend.
And we say things like, “Gosh, why had I never noticed that before…”
The Three Kings were given the grace of Epiphany to see God where others saw only a poor newborn. They were given the wisdom to see Herod’s treachery where he pretended to offer only homage.
This feast reminds us that a sacred dimension exists beneath the surface of all appearances. Every reality contains the capacity for holiness, for goodness, for wisdom, for love. The more we are attuned to Grace, the more we recognize the presence (or the absence, as with Herod) of this capacity. The more we begin to live in deeper relationship with the seemingly ordinary in our lives.
Nothing is ordinary! Everything that comes to us is fraught with grace and divine possibility. We just need to live intentionally – to ask for and respond to the gift of Epiphany as it is given in our particular circumstances.
I think the sentiments of today’s feast thread through a beautiful poem by William Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood – particularly in these lines:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Poetry lovers might like to read the entire poem here:
Music: Please enjoy this gentle music as you pray your Epiphanies:
Walking through Clouds – Bernward Koch