For Jesus, there was one.
For us, there are many, perhaps even hundreds or thousands.
I’m referring to the Epiphany.
An epiphany is a revelation, generally of great significance. In the Catholic tradition, Epiphany is the celebration of the Magi’s visit to the Holy Family. They came to adore the prophesied King who would save the world from its affliction. Epiphany takes place annually on January 6 and is observed on January 8 in Catholic churches across the United States.
The Magi were the first gentiles to pay homage to the Christ Child, thus revealing him to all peoples as the Chosen One. It’s an event of magnitude that I think often is pushed to the side along with the Christmas decorations.
The Magi had diligently watched the colliding of the stars, so to speak, to form the star – the Star of Bethlehem – that would lead them to the place of our Lord’s birth.
The story is fairly well-known. The Magi go first to Herod, thinking he’d be able to point them to the King of the Jews. Herod doesn’t know, but wants to so he tries to convince the Wise Men to figure out Jesus’ location and then return to tell him. In a dream, they’re warned not to return to Herod, so they return to their native land.When Herod discovers he’s been duped by the Magi, he gets so angry that he orders the slaughter of all male children age two and under among the Israelites.
What is not well-known is that Epiphany wasn’t just for the sake of the Magi but for the sake of all humankind. Additionally, we all experience epiphanies of our own.
In our Lord’s Epiphany, he was revealed to others.
In our own epiphanies, our Lord is revealed to us.
Our epiphanies are the moments when the divine One reveals himself to us in our daily lives. They’re the out-of-the-blue instances when we sense that there’s something more at work that human or natural activity.
It’s Him at work, reaching out and touching our lives with his Divine Power.
Our epiphanies aren’t single-occurrence events. They’re a colliding and re-colliding of the stars, pointing us to the One. They happen all the time, multiple times a day, countless times a year, whether we recognize them or not. I’d daresay we most often do not recognize them.
But they do happen, and in those moments he is there waiting for us to notice and accept his revelation. Sometimes, we experience that revelation on the spot. Other times, we have to think and pray about it for awhile before we get it. It even can take years for an epiphany’s revelation to surface. But it’s there, nonetheless. With practice and persistence, the revelations will come easier.
– An epiphany happens when you hear a song that reminds you of a loved one who has passed away or is distant from you for another reason. It’s our Lord, touching your heart and nudging you to pray for that person.
– It’s an epiphany when you’re having a terrible day and someone says something that makes you smile. It’s our Lord, touching your heart through another human being.
– Epiphanies happen when you feel the sudden urge to do a good deed, read Scripture, call a friend, write a letter, issue an apology, laugh, cry, or horse around with your kids.
– It’s an epiphany when you hear a homily or flip on a radio show and the content answers a question you’ve been grappling with.
– Of course, an epiphany happens ever time you attend holy Mass, participate in Eucharistic Adoration or receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation!
– It’s an epiphany when you avoid an accident at the last second or stop someone else from coming to harm.
– Believe it or not, it’s even an epiphany when you don’t avoid the accident or stop the harm.
All of the “Little Epiphanies” in our lives move us closer to our Lord and reveal his Divinity. The stars converge and the Holy One becomes apparent, if only we would take notice and accept his revelation.
Image: Abraham_Bloemaert_-_The_adoration_of_the_Magi_-_Google_Art_Project Wikimedia Commons