Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Magi and Our Journey to Christ

In his contribution to the anthology Human Survival and Consciousness Evolution, John White reminds us that Jesus “taught and demonstrated cosmic consciousness, the Christic state of mind, the peace that surpasses understanding, the direct experience of divinity dwelling in us and all things, now and forever; creating us, living us, preserving us, urging us to ever more inclusive states of being.”

I find the story of the searching magi to be a fitting and powerful metaphor for our journey to Christic consciousness. I picture the magi as a caravan – one comprised of people of all races, genders, colors and orientations, bearing their gifts of self; encouraged and empowered by a deep longing for consciousness and wholeness. It is this desire which ultimately protects us from the unconscious, life-numbing states of being that fear and resist growth and change; states of being that are ultimately egocentric, corrupt and greedy. In today’s gospel reading, King Herod serves to illustrate such a state of being and its destructive and life-denying characteristics.

But let’s not forget that just as there's a part of us that yearns to journey, like the magi, to find and claim Christ, there’s also another part of us which, like Herod, wants things forever comfortable, forever under control, forever stagnant. Yet we can and must overcome such desires – within ourselves and within our church – if we are to follow in the example of our brother Jesus and be daily, living epiphanies.

– Michael J. Bayly
Excerpted from "What We Can Learn from the Story of the Magi"
(a homily delivered January 2, 2000 at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Minneapolis)

See also the related Wild Reed posts:
The Feast of the Epiphany
Our Story Too
We Three . . . Queens
A Story of Searching and Discovery
The Onward Call
In the Footsteps of Spring

Left: Earlier this afternoon my housemate Tim and I marked and blessed our home. Since the Middle Ages there has been a tradition that on (or near) the feast of the Epiphany, Christians pray for God’s blessing on their homes, marking the entrance with chalk (an ordinary substance put to holy use). The front entrance of the home is marked with the initials of the legendary names of the Magi – Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar – written between the numerals of the new year. All the symbols are connected with crosses. Some suggest that the letters C M B may also stand for Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless this house.”

Following is the Epiphanytide doorway blessing from the book Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers (2012).

Welcoming God, bless this door.
May all who come through it find in our home
welcome, love and friendship.

Welcoming God, help us keep the door of our heart open.
Do not let fear, prejudice or hatred lock our door.
May we be hospitable to all as you are.

Welcoming God, bless our comings and our goings.
Teach us not to hurry through life's doorways
lest we miss You who beckon us at the threshold.
Never let us forget that where You are, God,
the door is always open.


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