Epiphany 2014

Adoration of the Magi

Epiphany dawns cold and grey here in England. There is a ‘Constable sky’ overhead, entirely lacking stars or sunlight. It is a useful paradigm of our search for truth and meaning. We would like everything to be either as plain as day, illumined by dazzling sunshine, or enveloped in shimmering mystery into which we could plunge deeper and deeper without ever finding an end. Instead, we spend most of our lives plodding through the drabness of the cold grey dawn, often stumbling over Truth without realising it or battling against God rather than surrendering to him. I suspect that the Magi’s own journey was rather like that: dull, tiring, full of wrong turns, seemingly hopeless at times.

But we know that the Magi are eventually led to the Child they are seeking and lay their treasures before him. We too must bring our gifts — the gold of generosity, the frankincense of prayer, the myrrh of service — and lay them before our Lord and Saviour. However dull the day, however out of sorts we may be feeling, we know we are confronting a great mystery. Today the gentiles are admitted into the family of God, and the Church heightens our sense of this by commemorating three great miracles or signs: the Magi are led by a star, Christ is baptized in the Jordan and water is turned into wine at the wedding-feast of Cana. In other words, today salvation has come to us all. How can we be gloomy knowing that?

Note on the illustration:
Andrea Mantegna (Italian (Paduan), about 1431 – 1506)
Adoration of the Magi, about 1495 – 1505, Distemper on linen. 
Unframed: 48.6 x 65.6 cm (19 1/8 x 25 13/16 in.)
 Framed: 71.8 x 86.8 x 3.5 cm (28 1/4 x 34 3/16 x 1 3/8 in.) Stretcher: 54.6 x 69.2 cm (21 1/2 x 27 3/8 in.)
 The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Used by permission under the Open Content programme — with thanks.

Personal note:
I’m scheduled to have some surgery this week and will be taking time for convalescence afterwards, so blogging is likely to be irregular for a while. I’m sorry, but I can’t enter into any personal correspondence at this time so please don’t take it amiss if I don’t respond to emails or messages.


19 thoughts on “Epiphany 2014”

  1. Thank you for your beautiful comments today which I will take with me to Mass this morning. May God be with you and grant you a speedy recovery. Prayers and thoughts are with you.

  2. As I read your words tears flowed as I realised how important what you have said applies to where I am on my spiritual journey. Thank you for these revelations and may your operation be a success and your return to health complete.

  3. Reading your blog is very reassuring. The muddle of my life often makes me forget how close God really is. Hope everything goes well. God speed your recovery xx

  4. My first Catholic Epiphany – and it’s all wonderful. Dear Sister Catherine: your part in my Mystagogia is very important.

    I am praying for your surgery and for the light shining from you in the hospital. X

  5. Saying prayers for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. Also, prayers for Bro. Duncan and QuietSis as they take over while you recuperate.

  6. Thank you for all your comments, good wishes and prayers. They are much appreciated. Quietnun will be VERY busy while I’m hors de combat, so please remember ‘no news is good news’.

  7. Dear D. Catherine, you are in my prayers always but this week I will also wish you an excellent experience in hospital and the speediest of recoveries.

  8. Thank you for that beautiful blog.

    Prayers are with you for your surgery and recovery and also for you community and for Brother Duncan, who will be missing his sister .

  9. I echo above comments.
    I will remember you in my prayers as you prepare for surgery, and I too wish you a speedy and uneventful recovery.
    Best wishes,
    maryclare 🙂

  10. Your wise words never to fail to give pause for thought and gratitude. Thank you.

    You and your community will be in my prayers, and I wish you well in your surgery and convalescence.

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