Today’s Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the revelation of the Incarnation of God, as the child Jesus, to the gentile nations. The Gospel of Mathew (Mt 2: 1-12) speaks of distinguished foreigners Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior, as they traveled to the home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Three travelers bearing gifts to a Child whose future mission they cannot comprehend. A mission which resulted in excruciating death and glorious resurrection.
The beautiful Church of the Incarnation in Montefrio, Spain was the setting for Ms. Malinda K. Reese’s singing of the 1300 year old Latin Rite monastic hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The church was empty at the time of her visit and the natural acoustics of its design beautifully enhanced her voice. Ms. Reese is a singer/songwriter, actress, and YouTube vlogger.
Please listen to her very short performance twice (click on the link below). In the first viewing it will be natural to watch the foreground, listen to her sing and notice her reactions to the church’s acoustics. In your second viewing, concentrate only on the background – the church’s interior.
The hymn begins with a large life-size crucifix behind her and the camera then circles the interior, the video ending with a direct view of the altar and tabernacle. It is a view which presents us with an explanation of the mission of the Christ Child for it simply points to the Cross. It leads us to our faith in His resurrection, the truth of His words in the Scriptures, and our belief that He is present in the Holy Eucharist at every Mass and in every tabernacle in the world.
Emmanuel: “God is with us.” Let us raise our eyes and offer Him the gifts of our hearts, minds, and souls.
“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…bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.” (Isaiah 60:1-6)
Painting: detail – Christ Child from the Madonna delle Ombre (Madonna of the Shadows), 1450, fresco by Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro, c.1387-1455). Museo di San Marco dell’Angelico, Florence, Italy.
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