Today’s entry in The Celtic Book of Days, is titled, “Wise Kings on a Long Journey.” And, as one might anticipate, since today’s the Feast of the Epiphany, the entry’s about the Magi and their gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh.
The first gift, the gift of gold, represents wealth. But Simpson notes that the person bringing this gift realized that wealth couldn’t buy the most important things in life “love, truth, eternity;” that it can’t “fill the heart.” And so, humbly, it’s given to the Holy Family.
The second gift, the gift of incense, represents the rituals of religion and scholarship. And while these thing can be good, too, they can often leave one empty and unfulfilled. They can represent cold repetition and logic, and lose their sense of mystery. When this gift was given, the person recognized all ritual should lead to a sense of “wonder at the smallest things, and all life becomes a sign of God’s Presence.”
The final gift, the gift of myrrh, Simpson explains, was used in burial rites. This person realized that all of life is fleeting and intuitively knew of the “early death that was to mark Jesus’ life.” This gift shows us that we can approach our mortality with acceptance and dignity.
What I love about these thoughts is that they’re of “heaven” and “earth.” They don’t separate the into the sacred and the profane but we can see that, even in the birth of a child, the sacred and the secular are intertwined, that there really isn’t a separation of the two. In the story of the Magi we see that all life is sacred, even the most human parts.
Finally, Simpson ends with this prayer:
High King of the universe,
we offer you our possessions, make them all your own.
We offer you our mindsets and we place them at your feet.
May we be filled with your Presence as incense fills a holy place.
We offer you the shadows of our lives, the things that are crushed;
our little deaths and our final death.
May these be like the straw in the stable.
May something beautiful for you be born in all this straw.
I really like the line, “May we be filled with your Presence as incense fills a holy place.” This is my prayer on this Feast day of the Epiphany.
In the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC