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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Arise Jerusalem!

The readings for today, the Feast of the Epiphany are a joyous way for us to end our Christmas celebrations (although the official end is tomorrow with the celebration of the baptism of the Lord)!  Isaiah 60 1-6 should fill every heart with joy!  But how often our joy is mingled with sorrow, and it takes a prayerful heart not to let this world distract you from the only path that leads to this:

Rise up in splendor Jerusalem, your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.  Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.  Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you:  your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied our before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you . Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD

It is a reading that fills the heart with gladness and hope!  But, today as I was driving home from my adoration hour, listening to We Three Kings along the way, I was deeply moved by a jarring verse that magnifies the joyous mysteries of the Incarnation:

"Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume; Breaths of life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying, sealed in the stone cold tomb."

 How mysterious and how profound!  Who is this God, who not only shed his heavenly glory to encounter us in human flesh, but He will also endure "sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, sealed in the stone cold tomb."  Am I that entangled in this weary, sinful world that I need this glorious King, this beautiful child to sacrifice so much for me?  In fact, I am, and I often find that I have no idea how to break the hold that sin and fear have over me, so deeply it abides in me.  His love is deeper still, alleluia.  And I too, like the Magi desire to follow the beauty of his light were ever it will lead me, but how can I stay focused on the light of lights?

The Magi, listened and watched and followed the star.   When they reached the place where Jesus was they "prostrated themselves and did him homage".  They had been searching all this time and now they found Him and in joy, the first thing they do is adore Him.  That is the first and greatest gift we can give the Lord.  Our single-hearted adoration.  From that point we can offer him all the gifts we have, but even then, we must lay them down at his feet and listen, and let the Lord direct our paths. The Magi listened and returned home by a different route.

 The joy of the Magi in finding the Lord is tinged with sorrow at having learned that the rulers of this world do not wish to do Him homage, but to destroy Him and the salvation He has to offer us.  Each of us also knows that the joy of Christmas is tinged with the knowledge that this feasting and celebrating is only a dim foretaste of what is to come if, we persevere in the promise of this revelation of salvation.  But alas, we are still in this sinful world that distracts and contrives by force or our own folly to lead us away from salvation.  It takes great discernment and sacrifice to keep on following Jesus.  We must be prayerful and alert like the Magi so that we are led by the True King, and not the false kings of this world!

Glorious now behold him arise,  King and God and Sacrifice; Alleluia, Alleluia Earth to heav'n replies.
O Star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding Guide us to Thy perfect light

Merry Christmas to all,
Peace and Grace as well

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