celebrating the satisfying mystery
“The Visit of the Magi.[a] 1 When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod,[b] behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star[c] at its rising and have come to do him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.[d] 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” 9 After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 11 [e]and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.” ( Matthew 2: 1-12)
Epiphany is the traditional day of the Feast of the Manifestation, the recognition of Christ’s Divinity following the celebration in Christmas of Christ’s Humanity! Indeed, it is the day in which we also celebrate several things of mystery: the Divine Manifestation, the Royal Kingship, the Light that has come, and the marriage of Christ to the Church:
“The Epiphany antiphon for the hour of Lauds brings out strikingly this theme of the divine marriage of Christ with humanity, and at the same time shows the deep mystical significance behind the historical events surrounding the feast. Perhaps nowhere more clearly than in this antiphon do we see that on Epiphany we do not commemorate a set of historical facts as much as we celebrate a great mystery: “This day the Church is joined to her heavenly Spouse, for Christ has cleansed her crimes in the Jordan. With gifts the Magi hasten to the royal nuptials, and the guests are gladdened with wine made from water.”” – Elsa Chaney, Twelve Days of Christmas, 1955
This is also a journey that paradoxically has an end in our Feast Day, but never comes to an end for each Christian in their faith journey. It is a satisfying mystery within the Great Mystery of the Church! Chesterton himself notes this in The Everlasting Man:
“The Magicians were gazing at the strange pentacle with the human triangle reversed; and they have never come to the end of their calculations about it. For it is the paradox of that group in the cave, that while our emotions about it are of childish simplicity, our thoughts about it can branch with a never-ending complexity. And we can never reach the end even of our own ideas about the child who was a father and the mother who was a child.”
Indeed, Chesterton, drives this point of satisfying mystery home in his Introduction to the Book of Job by stating such:
“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”
Are you and I satisfied to have found the mystery of our Lord who deigned to come down from Heaven to this earth to teach us how to live and how to die that we might live forever with Him? May the blessing of our Lord and Savior be upon you this day! Hallelujah!
Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes
To roar to the resounding plain.
And the whole heaven shouts and shakes,
For God Himself is born again,
And we are little children walking
Through the snow and rain.
–G. K. Chesterton, The Three Wise Men