Monday, January 5, 2009


It’s still Christmas. Yesterday morning, Sister Cecilia asked the Sunday assembly to leave their holiday lights on. Christmas, as a liturgical season, doesn’t end until next Sunday – the Baptism of the LORD. So, with my prioress, I urge you to keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart – keep wishing one another a “merry Christmas.” Don’t worry if folks don’t get it. It’s the wish from your heart that carries the blessing.

Today, I’m thinking on the Epiphany. American Catholics celebrated this feast yesterday, but the rest of the Catholic world will celebrate tomorrow, January 6th. In many countries it’s called, tres reyes, or “three kings.” This feast is multi-layered and a never-ending source for our contemplation. Three foreign visitors bring gifts to the Christ child – the long-awaited “king” who has entered the world to redeem us. The Christ comes for all peoples everywhere. The star that guides their way indicates some primordial plan for our salvation. The heavens obey the cycles of time and space yet, therein, lay a plan for that night so long ago.

The word “epiphany” has several meanings. Miriam-Webster says:
1capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ2: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being3 a (1): a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b: a revealing scene or moment

The first definition refers specifically to the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem, but an “epiphany” can be any revelation of the divine to the human. Our Eastern brothers and sisters emphasize the Baptism of the LORD in the river Jordan as the ultimate revelation of Jesus as Son of God. Both feasts cast a glorious light. Both astound the on-lookers and confirm the faith of those who have followed the breadcrumbs scattered in the long history of the Chosen People.

Epiphanies can be personal, too. The GOD who came a homeless baby, who humbly knelt in the waters of the Jordan – this same GOD – comes to each of us. Those indescribable moments of grace and illumination, the unexplained knowing that we are undeniably loved, these small, personal epiphanies are the stuff of our faith. The ordinary journey is punctuated with more than we can count. If we could be always attuned to the grace that surrounds our days…what would we see? Whose voice would we hear? He still comes in the flesh of our sisters and brothers, in the winter sunset of purple and blue and at the last breath of one whom we love. For these Christmas mysteries and for all the epiphanies in our lives, we must give thanks. “I play for my drum for Him, ba-rum-pa-pum-pum, I play my best for Him, ba-rum-pa-pum-pum, rum-pa-pum-pum, rum-pa-pum-pum.”

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki