Today, January 6, is the Feast of the Epiphany, the Manifestation of God. “And the gentiles shall walk in Thy light, and Kings in the brightness of Thy rising … all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense, and showing forth praise to the Lord.”
Journey of the Magi
by T. S. Eliot
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
The Journey of the Magi represents, with Eliot’s other Ariel poems, the transition he made in his own life and one that we too must make, between the Waste Land of post-modern society and the perennial truths of the faith. A hard time we all have of it. But unlike the old Magus who, under the old dispensation would be glad of another death, we rejoice at the Divine Infant, in His Mother’s arms. We, like this Holy Infant, now know that we too are born to die. He, to die for our sins, we, to die to our sins, so that with Him, we will rise to life everlasting.
Holy Scripture tells us that the Magi “found the child with Mary His mother”. And thus we know that this is where we shall always find Him, “with Mary, His Mother”. The Magi, by kneeling before this poor Infant show us the way to spiritual childhood. Although accustomed to great honor for their vast learning and intellect, they set all of this aside, and knelt before this humble king, Who in turn, submitted Himself docilely to Mary and Joseph. Let’s think on these things as we begin this new year of faith, in which we shall surely see once again, the Manifestation of the Son of God.
Today, we are all surrounded by “an alien people clutching their gods.” All the more reason to rededicate ourselves to the Holy Family in spiritual childhood, submitting ourselves to the Mother God and to St. Joseph as Christ our Savior did. By this way, we shall be secure in our faith as we face the dangers ahead.
Today is also the day to mark the lintels of your doors with the Epiphany Blessing. See how here.
Remember, Pray the Rosary and confound the devil!
Viva Cristo Rey!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!