Vidimus stellam eius in Oriente et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum.
“We have seen His star in the East, and have come with gifts to adore the Lord (Epiphany Mass, Communion Antiphon, Mt 2:2).”
Each one of us has been endowed with extraordinary gifts from Our Creator. We are immeasurably loved, and out of Love Itself, God had deigned to create each and every one of us just the way we are. Each of us possesses a unique collection of talents that God has ordained be directed to achieving the unique purpose for which He has planned our existence from all eternity. To some, God has granted musical ability, to others intellect; some are athletes, or artists, great listeners, or contemplative pray-ers.
This is the time of the year for New Year’s resolutions. Traditionally we take stock of ourselves, examine our flaws and endeavor to change those areas that are defective. While on the whole this process can be beneficial if it is directed to improving our spiritual well-being and embracing a closer relationship with God and those others with whom He has placed us on this earth, it can also be problematic. For if as our process of introspection focuses only upon superficialities – like appearance, weight, wealth, possessions, then instead of deepening our relationship with God, we may actually be tempted to lose sight of the enormous depth of God’s love for us. While concentrating on trivialities, we may ignore the spiritual reality, and inadvertently neglect to take advantage of opportunity for true growth.
Comprehending that we are immeasurably loved is essential. When we truly take time to consider that God loves us as we are – fat, skinny, bald, toothless, cranky – whatever – a profound change takes place. Superficialities become less important –not only in ourselves, but in others as well. God Loves us! He created us as we are for a reason. Yes, we are expected to strive to make the best use of the gifts we have been given, and ultimately to render the greatest honor and glory to Him through appropriate use of those gifts. We are called, with His grace, to perfect the work He has begun in us. Yet, to do that efficiently, we must gratefully acknowledge the gifts we have been given.
To some degree that means not only accepting what we have, but also realizing that certain gifts are not part of His plan for us. I have a hard time imagining that Balthazar, Caspar and Melchior squabbled over their gifts. As I contemplate the journey of the Magi, I just don’t hear Melchior saying to himself, “I wanted to present the Christ-Child with the Frankincense, and now I’m just stuck with the Myrrh.” Part of the lesson of the Epiphany lies in accepting the gifts we are given to lay before the crib of the Divine Infant. For like the Magi, each of us is following a Divine Light, and one day that journey will in fact end. When it does, we will be asked to open our coffers and present the gifts with which we have been entrusted from all eternity.
As we embark upon this new year, let us resolve to make good use of those gifts in the service of God and our neighbor. In so doing we will adore the King of Kings in the way He has ordained for each of us from the beginning of time, and render unto Him the Glory that He is due.
Adorabunt te, Domine, omnes gentes terrae.
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Ad Jesum Per Mariam,
Mary Anne, this is wonderful! I love the bit about Melchior being stuck with the myrrh. You make a great point about accepting our gifts and realizing our differences. Thank you!
Thank you for the kind words, Anne. As I place myself at Christ’s crib, I hope that I would have the grace to be satisfied with the gifts I had to bring. But, as I reflected to write this piece, I realize how often I grumble about the spiritual gifts I lack, and aspire to more than I have been given. It is so difficult to realize the magnitude of what we possess and to turn it to good use. I know in my heart that the Lord pours copious graces upon each of us daily. I have a growing awareness of how many of those graces I waste while wishing for others. My prayer lately has been for the grace turn these to good account and to render the greatest honor and glory to God possible within the limits His Wisdom has ordained. Thank you again!