The Adoration of the Kings

excerpted from 'In Conversation with God' by Francis Fernandez

Today the Church celebrates Jesus being made known to the whole world. Epiphany means 'manifestation', and in the Kings are represented all peoples of every language and nation who set out, called by god, to adore Jesus.

How great is the joy of these wise men who have come from so far away to see a King and are led to a little house in a village! How much is there for us to learn here!

We are perhaps in danger of not realizing fully how close Our Lord is to our lives because God presents Himself to us under the insignificant appearance of a piece of bread, because He does not reveal Himself in His glory, because He does not impose Himself irresistibly, because He slips into our life like a shadow, instead of making His power resound at the summit of all things.

We have to be attentive, because Our Lord also shows Himself in the normal events of every day. May we know how to recover this interior light, which for us breaks through the monotony of days which are all the same, and find Jesus in our ordinary life!

The Kings opening their store of treasures, offered Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. We also offer Him the precious gold we receive when in spirit we are detached from money and material goods. Let us not forget that these things are good, for they come from God. But the Lord has laid down that we should use them, without allowing our hearts to become attached to them, by putting them to good use for the benefit of all mankind.

Incense is our desire to live a noble life which give off the 'aroma of Christ' (2 Cor 2:15). To impregnate our words and actions with His aroma is to sow understanding and friendship. We should accompany others so that no one is left, or can feel, abandoned.

The sweet fragrance of Christ noticed among men - not in a sudden burst of flame, but in the constant red-hot embers of virtues such as justice, loyalty, faithfulness, understanding and cheerfulness.

Myrrh is the spirit of sacrifice that can never be lacking in a Christian life. Myrrh reminds us of the Passion of Our Lord. Do not think that to meditate on the need for sacrifice and mortification means to add a note of sadness to this joyful feast we celebrate today.

Mortification is not pessimism or bitterness. Mortification, on the contrary is very closely related to joy, to charity, to making life pleasant for others. Mortification does not usually consist of great renunciations, for situations requiring great self-denial seldom occur. Mortification is made up of small conquests, such as smiling at those who annoy us, denying the body some superfluous fancy, getting accustomed to listening to others, making full use of the time God allots us...and so many other details. We find it in the apparently trifling problems, difficulties and worries which arise without our looking for them in the course of each day.

When we finish our prayer today we don't ask these holy Kings to give us gold, frankincense or myrrh. It seems more natural to ask them to teach us the way which leads to Christ, so that every day we can take Him our own gold, our own incense and our own myrrh.

The three Kings had their star. We have Mary, Stella Maris, Stella Orientis, Star of the Sea, Star of the East.

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