Ferial Day after the Epiphany
The statements are as follows:
1) Evolution as it is, IS unscientific.
2) Creation as it stands since time immemorial, IS scientific.
VIRTUES PRACTISED BY THE WISE MEN
1. For a long while the Wise Men remain prostrate before the King and His Mother, their hearts full of joy and gratitude. We admire the wonderful manner in which God has led them to Bethlehem. They have followed the divine guidance, and co-operated with God’s grace.
2. Petition: May we too, following their example, allow ourselves to be led by God’s grace. May we faithfully tread the path of virtue, even if for a while, the start disappears.
I. In the Beginning
We ought to remember two things: these Wise Men were godly men, and, God had given them a sign.
We know very little about them, just what is related in the Gospel: suddenly they emerge from the darkness, they hold the centre of the stage for a moment, and then they vanish never to appear again. For centuries there were in the East learned men who were given to the observation of the heavenly bodies; from the movements of the stars they hoped to learn about future events. We may rightly suppose that this new bright star had been noticed by other, but only these men read in it a sign from heaven, and an intimation that the great King had been born. God alone knows why they, and they alone, were privileged to understand this. Possible the reason was that they were godly men, “men of good will,” righteous, intent on serving God according to their lights, ready to follow the divine guidance.
To them this star was a heavenly sign that in the land of the Jews a new King had been born, not an ordinary prince, but the anointed of the Lord. Led by the star, they will go and adore Him.
God is with us always, discreetly guiding us by His grace, but we must be ready to heed to His promptings. A vocation, natural or supernatural, generally has its beginnings in a gentle whisper in the soul. If silence and recollection reign in that souls, and if the heart is ready to accept God’s grace when offered, the whisper will be heeded, and God may speak again and bestow further graces. Our disposition should ever be that of little Samuel, when he said: “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth” (1 Kings 3:9).
II. With and Without the Star
As long as the star pointed the way, they felt secure, even though they did not know whither it would lead them; every morning they set out with new courage, further away from home but closer to God. The Gospel does not tell us when and where the star disappeared, though we may surmise that this happened when they were close to Jerusalem. If they thought that they had reached the goal, and that the new King had been born in the capital, they must have been amazed when they found that no one had heard about the birth of a prince in the house of King Herod. The star had vanished, but their faith remained unshaken; therefore, in the absence of extraordinary help from above, they had recourse to the human means that were at their disposal, and made enquiries where they hoped to find further information. They made honest efforts, and were not discouraged when they discovered that Herod was troubled and all the city with him. The scribes appeared to have some information, but were not interested, and definitely determined to stay at home. At last, when they had gathered what information they could, they departed; but no sooner had they left Jerusalem than the star appeared again; and “they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Mt. 2:10). Though they had never yielded to doubt, the disappearance of the star had been a severe trial; but now the star shone again, and they knew that they had acted rightly when the Lord tried them, and that the goal of their long and weary journey was in sight. They “rejoiced with exceeding great joy”.
Here we receive salutary lessons, useful to all those who, in the midst of perils and temptations, seek the way to God; those above all to whom the Lord has shown the start of a religious or priestly vocation, can learn from the Wise Men that God may try them, but will never forsake them. They should be grateful for the light God is pleased to give them here and now’ even if they fail to see “the distant scene”, that is, what God may ask in future. Let us pray as Cardinal Newman prayed, when the surrounding gloom seemed to hide the path from his view:
Lead kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
Even without star, that is, without extraordinary light and special consolation, which God frequently vouchsafes to beginners, we must persevere, and ever struggle forward towards the goal that beckons us. At such times it is good to seek counsel from those whose office it is to guide us; and let us pray with greater fervour, especially to Mary, Star of the Sea.
Hail, Queen of Heav’n, the Ocean Star,
Guide of the wand’rer here below.
III. Till They Find Jesus
The star did not vanish again but stood “over where the child was”. Then they knew they had reached the end of their journey, “and entering the house, they found the child with Mary his mother”.
They “had seen his star in the East” and now they behold Him in person. Their faith does not falter. This little Child, so frail and so lowly, has summoned them, has guided their steps, has shown them a sign in the heavens, and has endowed them with unshakable faith. They behold Him, and “falling down they adored him”. Mary showed them Jesus, the Fruit of her womb.
O Holy Mother, when our star comes to a standstill in the heavens, be pleased to show us too the Fruit of thy womb.
Prayer: O God who, having guided them by a star, on this day didst manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who by faith already have knowledge of Thee, may be brought also to the full vision of Thy beauteous Majesty. Through our Lord (Collect, Mass of Epiphany).