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  • Sarah Raad

Stars

When the Magi followed the Star to the Stable, they were doing so much more than walking – they were on Pilgrimage to the Blessed Sacrament…

The Adoration of the Kings (Jan Gossaert)

It will soon be Christmas – sooner than we may think in fact. And in light of this, I have been thinking very much about the advent of Christmas...


These days, I have been thinking particularly about the Magi, because they travelled so far in following a star to reach my Beloved and really what they did was undertake the first PILGRIMAGE to visit the Blessed Sacrament – hidden as He was in the BODY of an Infant...


Saint Bonaventure explained – in his homily on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany – that there were in fact three stars (and not one) above that Stable that night … There is the external star, which is the Gospel; a superior star, which is Our Blessed Mother; and the interior star, which is the Holy Spirit.

For the Star above the Stable represents our Christian VOCATION… And our Earthly life should be a journey to fulfil that VOCATION so that we may be pleasing to God.

And in following our vocation, Saint Josemaria explains the joy of the Magi in reaching that stable in Bethlehem… “Those who never doubted receive proof from the Lord that the star had not disappeared. They ceased to contemplate it visibly, but they kept it always in their soul. Such is the Christian’s vocation. If we do not lose faith, if we keep our hope in Jesus Christ who will be with us until the end of the world, then the star reappears. And with confirmation, once more, of the reality of the vocation, we experience a greater joy that increases our faith, hope and love.”


You see, those Magi travelled following that star despite all the misgivings they may have had, despite criticism, ridicule and misunderstanding by the world at large. Just as I am supposed to follow my vocation ordained by God by living according to His Holy Will…


The American realist poet, T.S. Eliot, wrote about this experience of the Magi in his short poem, “Journey of the Magi” during the months of their pilgrimage... In that poem, Eliot beautifully explains that the Magi were having a “hard time” during the “most difficult time of the year” for a journey such as theirs, with the “voices ringing in our ears saying that this was all folly”. But his poem goes even further in considering the experience of these three wise men of the East. In the poem, Eliot writes of the result of the journey – of the Magi never feeling at home again among their own people upon their return to the East… “an alien people clutching their gods” because the Magi – having seen the ONE TRUE GOD and failing to embrace Him – had failed to embrace their true vocation and thus had no way of being at home in the world. In this way, they could not grow in faith, hope or love – which are the cardinal virtues…


And I have been reflecting on this experience, because one thing I am sure of is that God knows us even better than we know ourselves… “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5).

And for me – and for my benefit – God gives me all things that I will need for my vocation to Heaven, even when I react with ingratitude to the gifts He bestows.

And what do I do about it?


Do I look to Saint Francis of Assisi and say, “I weep over the sorrows and ignominies of my Lord, and what makes me weep still more is that the men for whom He has suffered so much, live in forgetfulness of Him.”?


No.


No. I do not weep. Not as I should…


But over time, with prayer and through the Grace granted to me by my Beloved – through no merit of my own – I can learn to know that “I am who I am before God, no more and no less.” (Saint Francis of Assisi).


And knowing that, I can start to see the star – the physical, the superior and the interior star… So that one day – perhaps, with Grace, I can be pleasing to my Lord…


And in pleasing Him – through Grace – perhaps I shall one day be held by the Holy Hands that created me…


And I dream of such a day, when I stand as a pilgrim at the end of my journey – in the glory of Heaven, not in the humble little Stable in Bethleham – before the God of the Universe, who humbled Himself, lowering Himself to become one of us – for LOVE of us…


And who am I to be held by such a one as He?


Who am I?


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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