Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Epiphany Manifestations

       This past Sunday, January 6, we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany: the coming of the Magi to visit the newborn King. On January 13, we will celebrate the epiphany of this King’s Baptism. Let’s investigate this use of the word epiphany. It has been described as a mysterious term. The first known use of the word’s use was noted in the 14th century. Its use in a liturgical settting only  appeared in the 16th century.

Greek meaning:  Manifestation of the Divine or refers to a moment of revelation.
Other meanings or descriptions of the term of epiphany include:
              1.   A new insight
               2.  An intuitive grasp of reality through something [as an event] usually simple giving a striking or illuminating discovery.
               3.  A moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way.

       In the liturgical setting an epiphany refers to the celebration of Jesus revelation to the  people of the world. The focus is on the actual mission of Jesus’  arrival on as earth one of salvation and peace.  These ‘epiphanies’ point to Jesus mystery and majestic glory as the Son of the Father.

       The Incarnation shows the humble newborn babe being sung to by choirs of angels on high proclaiming his glory and majesty. The Magi came from afar revealing this newborn king to all people. Mt.2:11  “ Upon seeing the babe they were filled with joy and prostrated themselves and did him homage presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They were warned to go  home by a different route.

Jesus Baptism:  Mk; 1:11   The clouds opened and a voice thundered down from abvove proclaiming  “you are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”

Wedding Feast at Cana:  Here Jesus transforms copious amounts of water in to choice wines. Jn. 2:11 : Jesus did this at the beginning of his signs in Galilee and so revealed his glory. His disciples began to believe in him.

Jesus Transfiguration:  Lk.9:28-35  “From the cloud a voice said:  ‘This is my beloved son, Listen to Him..the disciples fell prostrate and said ‘we have seen his glory.’

       There are many other manifestations or epiphanies in the bible search them out. The Roman Catholic Church has separated each manifestation and kept January 6 as associated with the ‘Epiphany.’ The Eastern Orthodox Church primarily celebrates the Baptism of Jesus.

A few other thoughts:
      Karl  Rahner notes that the Incarnation shows the potential to be completely inhabited  by the Word made Flesh.
      Thomas Merton writes about the point of pure truth, the spark of the Divine Presence that like a pure diamond blazing with invisible light is the pure glory of God within us.

Having been touched by these epiphanies, are we prepared to examine the route we have chosen  on our way to our heavenly home?

                   Sr. Joan Gripshover, OSB

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A New Year to Go to Jesus through Mary

       I was happy to discover that my blog was due the day after New Year’s Day because it sounded like an easy and quick blog to write. Many associations came to my mind—party, countdown, dropping of the ball, big dinner followed by  a party, midnight, New Year’s eve, ring in the New Year, tradition, and of course resolutions, and lastly an important Holy Day.  I shocked and embarrassed myself that the most meaningful and important association came last. This made all the previous associations fade from my thoughts.
       January 1 is the feast of the Motherhood of Mary, our Holy Mother. Just typing these words astounded me. Mary, Child of the Father, Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church, whose members are the body of Christ, Mary, mother of us all. How Awesome!
       Mary is also the Queen of heaven, Queen of all the saints, both living and deceased. Now I am overcome with yet another emotion—that I, so sinful, so poor, so ordinary, am a descendant of such royalty including the Holy Spirit who lives and breathes in me and all creation!
       How appropriate that Mary, queen of all saints and Mother of our Savior was chosen by the Church to be celebrated on January 1, the first day of each year, reminding us to honor her above all saints in heaven.
       When we are sad we can find consolation remembering Our Lady of Sorrows who will send comfort to us just as her Son comforted her by giving her John as her son. We likewise can find comfort in sorrow by praying to Mary by a personal prayer to her or by praying some of the beautiful prayers that have been composed in her honor—the Memorare, Hail Holy Queen, the Rosary, Hail Mary or one of your own favorite.
       By reflecting on this feast of Mary, I feel called to pray more often to her throughout the day and to thank God for sharing His Mother with all God’s children.  

                                Sr. Victoria Eisenman, OSB