A very blessed, holy and peace-filled celebration of the Solemnity of the Epiphany to you this weekend.
In the last few days, I have been contemplating on how best to honour this holy feast by my attitude and actions.
And amidst all the routine annual "temptations" to make a 'to do' list of so-called New Year's resolutions [not that there's anything wrong with genuinely attempting to alter one's lifestyle for the better], I felt that perhaps first and foremost what is needed is an interior re-direction, or rather re-orientation to what one originally tries to focus on.
Deep down as I continue to ponder on the mystery of the Incarnation through the ongoing season of Christmastide, I know that it can only be the virtues of obedience, humility and above all gratitude as lived by the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph during those first troubled and challenging days and weeks of the life of Christ, that I must fully resolve to emulate.
And to do this, not just every day but every hour, every waking moment. In short to try ever harder to live in the moment, the eternal now, with a Christ-like mind and attitude.
The other day I came across the following quote from St. Catherine of Siena which encapsulates what I have been sensing and what by God's grace I pray and hope to aspire to more and more:
“We ought to be convinced that every burden that is laid on us, from whatever source it might come, is given us out of love, not hatred. It is given for our good so that we may achieve the good for which we were created. We must understand that our burdens are no greater or smaller than time and that our time on earth is as small as the point of a needle."
So as we begin 2017, we are reminded again that we all have a limited amount of time and space to make a difference in the world for the better. To love and respect ourselves and others to such a degree of intensity that we know that God can truly make use and purpose of it according to His Holy Will.
Sounds easy, doesn't it?
Well, it is a simple truth but of course not easy to fulfill except in the case of a daily sanctification through prayer, meditation and sacrifice that it then grows outwardly from within us and it becomes easier or less burdensome for us to do.
As no doubt countless people now embrace a resolution to diet and exercise more [all good in itself] with the interior motto rattling around their heads; "no pain, no gain" - we can apply that simple truth to our interior, spiritual life too, indeed we must.
And the pain of course is to knowingly, consciously unite every daily struggle, especially the really tough ones to the cross of Jesus, confident in hope that He can bring it to fruition and purpose not just for our sake but for the good of others somehow, somewhere even if our efforts are not seen directly connected to the circles of our immediate influence.
January is also the month dedicated to the Holy Name of "Jesus" - the Name which saves, the Name which, when we use it properly in prayer, devotion and thought, can truly dispel evil and any thoughts of anxiety and despair that we might feel overwhelmed.
So, to conclude, as we mark the event at which Three Wise and Holy Kings had to physically bow their heads and no doubt their upper bodies in order to enter a cave/stable where the Holy Family was residing in Bethlehem to adore [and I like to think, on their knees] the Infant Christ, let us also renew our belief in and efforts to honour Him by bowing at the Holy Name of Jesus whenever it is said in worship and prayer [and if we ever hear it uttered in blasphemy, to make an internal supplication in reparation] so as to stir continuous thoughts of obedience, humility and above all gratitude in our souls.