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The Saints of Christmas-The Wise Men

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As we continue with our series on the saints of Christmas it would be amiss if we did not take some time to learn from the wise men.  They were the latecomers to the manger scene and they travelled the farthest distance to see the newborn king.  There journey was certainly difficult and confusing…what can we learn from them?

The wisemen or the magi are iconic figures in our Christmas story.  In fact, my ten-year-old son prayed that he could be one of the wisemen in his Christmas program this year.  These magi are likely the most interesting and mysterious characters of this story.  What do we know about these three men?  We know that they journeyed far.  We know they followed a star to find Jesus.  We know they came from the east.  We know they brought those mysterious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  We know they traveled together and along the way visited King Herod.  We know that they then warned Mary and Joseph about King Herod’s intentions.  With these pieces of the puzzle…what can we learn from them? 

The magi were saints on a journey…we can all identify with that, right?  This journey that they set out on was one of complete and utter faith.  These men followed a star in the sky for a long distance.  My guess is that there were likely some cloudy nights where the star was difficult to see and follow.  They didn’t take the easy way out and jump on an airplane and fly to see the newborn king, did they?  Instead, they rode camels for weeks, and my guess is riding a camel for several weeks would be a bit uncomfortable!  In the end, they found Jesus, and not only did they find Jesus, but they were also instrumental in warning Mary and Joseph to return home another way.  Sometimes on our journey we run into setbacks and Herod was a setback for them that gave us a positive result. 

Secondly, the magi were not just saints on a journey by themselves, they journeyed together!  They had a common goal and worked as community to find Jesus.  It is our mission too…we work together to bring Jesus into the world.  There are several ways we do this…as a domestic church, a parish family, and even our colleagues in our workplaces.  We are meant to live and work in community to motivate one another to not give up and to always move forward together to reach Christ. 

One of my favorite paintings of the wisemen is Jacob Jordaens’ “Adoration of the Magi” from the 1600s. This image shows so many interesting characters and emotions. The center of the painting shows one of the Magi, overwhelmed with emotion, and giving baby Jesus an affectionate hug. I can only imagine the overwhelming sense of joy these men had to have had after their long journey to find Christ. This image points me towards heaven and what it will be like when we finally come face to face with our Lord. It reminds me of so many men and women who have conversions and encounter Christ later in life. The joy of finding God is incomparable. Today we are able to encounter Christ each day in the Eucharist…may we imitate the joy and gratitude in our own lives each time we receive that special gift.

This Christmas and Advent hopefully we can all try to learn from the wisemen and persevere in our journey towards Christ and motivating those who journey with us.

For Reflection

“If we approach with faith, we too will see Jesus….; for the Eucharistic table takes the place of the crib. Here the Body of the Lord is present, wrapped not in swaddling clothes but in the rays of the Holy Spirit.”- St John Chrysostom

Novena Prayer to the Magi Before the Epiphany

This Novena begins on December 28th and ends on January 5th -the Vigil of the Epiphany.

December 28: O holy Magi!You were living in continual expectation of the rising of the Star of Jacob,which would announce the birth of the true Sun of justice;obtain for us an increase of faith and charity,and the grace to live in continual hopeof beholding one day the light of heavenly glory and eternal joy.Glory be…

December 29: O holy Magi!who at the first appearance of the wondrous starleft your native country to goand seek the newborn King of the Jews;obtain for us the grace of correspondingwith alacrity to every divine inspiration. Glory be…

December 30: O holy Magi!who regarded neither the severity of the season,nor the inconveniences of the journey that you might find the newborn Messiah;obtain for us the grace not to allow ourselvesto be discouraged by any of the difficultieswhich may meet us on the way of salvation. Glory Be…

December 31: O holy Magi, who, when deserted by the star in the city of Jerusalem, sought humbly, and without human respect, from the rulers of the Church, the place where you might discover the object of your journey; obtain for us grace to have recourse, in faith and humility, in all our doubts and perplexities to the counsel of our superiors, who hold the place of God on earth. Glory Be…

January 1:O holy Magi, who were gladdened by the reappearance of the star which led you to Bethlehem; obtain for us from God the grace, that, remaining always faithful to Him in afflictions,we may be consoled in time by His grace, and in eternity by His glory. Glory Be…

January 2:  O holy Magi, who, entering full of faith into the stable of Bethlehem, prostrated yourselves on the earth, to adore the newborn King of the Jews, though he was surrounded only by signs of poverty and weakness; obtain from the Lord for us a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus in the blessed Sacrament, the true spirit of poverty, and a Christ-like charity for the poor and suffering. Glory Be…

January 3: O holy Magi,who offered to Jesus Christ gold, incense, and myrrh,thereby recognizing Him to be at once King, God, and Man;obtain from the Lord for usthe grace never to present ourselves before Him with empty hands;but that we may continually offer to Him the gold of charity,the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance and mortification. Glory Be …

January 4:  O holy Magi, who, when warned by an angel not to return to Herod, traveled back to your country be another road; obtain for us from the Lord, the grace that, after having found Him in true repentance, we may avoid all danger of losing Him again. Glory Be…

January 5:  O holy Magi, who were first among the Gentiles called to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and who persevered in the faith till your deaths, obtain for us of the Lord the grace of living always in conformity to our baptismal vows, ever leading to a life of faith; that like you we may attain to the beatific vision of that God Who now is the object of our faith. Glory be…

 

 


 

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