“Men and women are on a journey of discovery which is humanly unstoppable - a search for the truth and a search for a person to whom they might entrust themselves. The Magi found both of these realities in the Child of Bethlehem.”- Pope John Paul II (Fides et Ratio)
The Magi followed that wondrous star, leaving their native country to seek the newborn king. Through Sacred tradition, we believe the Magi to be Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. In our own spiritual journey, how can we emulate the Magi to bring Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh? St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, or simply known to many as the “Little Flower” realized early on in life that the most authentic gift we can bring to the Christ child is the gift of self. Through her “Little Way”, a path of trust, we learn that as we humble ourselves before the Lord, our selfish desires decrease, and we allow the “grace of God” in us to increase. She points out “What we ask of him is to work for his glory, to love him, and to make him loved” (Letter 220). Finding Him, the babe in swaddling clothes is sometimes difficult. We must sacrifice, and often leave our native country or comfort zone. Traveling with the magi through a dry, barren desert: we are guided by the ‘wondrous’ star that clearly illuminates our path to Him. Seeking truth in the words of the Gospel is a brilliant light that shines, and available to all of humanity. On our journey of discovery, there are many inconveniences. However, perplexities in life always remain secondary to genuinely finding and “adoring” the Christ child. In the refrain of Adeste, fideles a popular, 18th century Christmas Hymn we hear: R. Venite, adoremus, venite, adoremus, venite, adoremus Dominum.
R. O come let us adore Him; O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
How can we truly adore Him? We need to bring Him our “gift of self”. Following on a ‘path of trust” requires self-abandonment. It asks us to prostrate ourselves in humble veneration before the Lord. Seeking to please the Lord often means losing human respect from the world. The Magi did not let this lack of humanly affection impede their arduous journey to visit the Christ child, nor should we.
Leaving St. Joseph, Our Lady and “baby Jesus” in the quiet and comfortable surroundings of the stable to go back into the world is something the Magi had to face. This is a challenge for all Catholic men and women of faith. Where do we go and “adore” Him now? Did the Magi leave the stable never to adore Our Lord every again?
Practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Acts of Mercy in our lives allows us to follow Christ’s call to be the “light of the world” for all in darkness, especially for the poor and suffering. They depend on our prayers and good works. What better way is there to perfect our good works for the poor and suffering then through prayer? We too can adore” Our Lord by spending time in prayer with Him in the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Let us now bring Him gifts: the gold of charity, incense of prayer and myrrh of penance and mortification. May our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI be the “wondrous” star that faithfully illuminates our path to Him.