Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day on which we remember the story of the three Wise Men.
These Magi, or wise Kings, came from the east in order to pay homage to the newborn King, Jesus, whose birth had been foretold to them by the rising of a great star in the night sky.
In the midst of reading a beautiful reflection by Bishop Robert Barron, I realized that the Magi modeled 5 practices of the spiritual life, that if we do, too, we become wise like they were in regards to the spiritual life.
The Magi were living life on alert.
This doesn’t mean that they were continuously anxious or upset, but rather they were continuously open to how it might be that God was working in the world around them.
And it was their alertness that allowed them to take notice of the star when it arose in the sky.
Next, the Magi responded.
So often in our lives, we will be presented with a person or a situation that we should respond to, but we do not.
It might be because we are afraid, or simply because we don’t want to be bothered.
But the Magi teach us that we need to respond to the people and situations in our life.
(Oh, and by the way, not responding is a response, so don’t delude yourself into thinking that you are not responding simply because you are not taking action.)
The Magi teach us that we should expect obstacles in our life, especially when you are focused and set out on a particular path.
The Magi had to overcome the challenges of long distance travel, the doubts that must have plagued them interiorly that they might be pursuing a fool’s errand, and then in today’s Gospel, it shows them confronting worldly opposition in the form of King Herod.
But they were not deterred or discouraged from pursuing the path they had chosen, nor should we be deterred or discouraged when we are pursuing the path we need to follow.
The Magi show us that we should give the best we have to offer.
For the Magi, that was gifts of gold, frankincense and myrhh.
For many of us, we might not have physical gold to share, but who we are, alongside our talents, can be gold for someone else who is in need of what we have to offer, so be willing to offer what we have and can be and do for the benefit of others.
Finally, the Magi model the reality that any true encounter with Jesus will cause us to change.
Just like the Magi chose to return home by another way, so we, too, should be changed by our encounter with Jesus, and our lives should reflect as much.
Having Our Own Epiphanies
These 5 secrets modeled by the Magi can serve as keys to each of us having our own epiphanies in this Feast of the Epiphany.
As I look at my life, am I alert?
Am I responding to people and situations?
Do I expect opposition and refuse to be deterred from my path?
Am I offering my best gifts to others?
But the most significant question perhaps to ask is “How have I been changed by my encounter with Christ?”
It is in seeking the answers to these questions that can become the foundation for many epiphanies that will help us continue to grow closer to God and become more like Jesus with each passing day.
Christina Semmens is a Roman Catholic author, blogger, speaker and mentor. She currently lives in Fort Payne, Alabama where she strives to live out a life of authentic discipleship in the pursuit of holiness while empowering, teaching and accompanying others in striving to do the same.
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