St. Thomas, in his Summa Theologiae, has a wonderful meditation on today’s Solemnity of the Epiphany. He says that “Salvation was to be through Christ and apply to all sorts and conditions of men because in Christ Jesus there cannot be Greek or Jew, slave and free man. In order that this should be foreshadowed in Christ’s birth, he was made known to men and women of all conditions, because as St. Augustine says, the shepherds were Israelites, the Magi were Gentiles, the first were near, the latter from afar: both hastened to Christ the cornerstone…. The Magi were wise and powerful, the shepherds, simple and lowly. He was also manifested to the just, Simon and Anna, and to sinners, namely the Magi. And also both to men and to women… so as to show that no human condition was barred from His salvation.”
Dominican Father Andrew Carl Wisdom, OP adds to these observations the following prayer: “Newborn King, you show no partiality in your love for us. Young or old, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, you could not love us any more in the next moment than you do in this moment. But my witness wavers at times, Lord. I lose track of the real Star, caught up in becoming one myself. Help me to once again kneel before you like a little child and open up my treasuries of time and talent on behalf of the work which I was sent.”
As you know, this blog is dedicated to evangelizing the truth, goodness, and beauty of God through the study and creation of sacred art in His honor. As artists the meaning of the Epiphany is very important solemnity to us. Why? Because it reminds us and redirects our creative efforts away from following the supposed light and friendship of the secular world, the television, the political party, or the glow of the computer screen, to the true Light – the Light emanating from the face of Christ.
Yes, we have to exist within our particular culture. We have to make a living and provide for ourselves and our loved ones. Yet, as Christians, Jesus Christ’s manifestation to the Magi asks us to remember that we must live in the world but not have our souls be overcome or compromised by it. The shepherds and Magi were changed by the Light of Christ’s face – may His Light and Presence change us, too.
Image of Jesus Christ by Blessed Fra Angelico (1387 – 1455).
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