Saturday, January 05, 2008

Meditation for January 6, The Epiphany

The gifts of the Magi are preserved, it is believed, at the monas­tery of Mount Athos in Greece. Whether it be fact or legend does not matter here; let us consider now their symbolic value. We are shown twelve little triangles in gold filigree work and seventy­-two grains of incense and myrrh.

Twelve and seventy-two, may that not have been a figure of the twelve Apostles and the seventy-two disciples? For us, however, the interest of these eighty-four little objects lies elsewhere; they are not massive ingots or great quantities of perfume, but simply thin filigree and tiny grains.

We dream sometimes of giving Our Lord substantial worth­while gifts, but certainly, the three vows which are symbolized by the gold, incense and myrrh, are not negligible. How we ought to bless God for having allowed us to offer them to Him. But the sacrifices God asks of us through our Rule and vows are slight in themselves. Is it just because it is a question of little things that we often sin by omission? While waiting for important occa­sions that never come, we neglect the little offerings. The filigree is too fine, the grains of myrrh and incense almost imperceptible!

Poor tactics! Therefore the lesson that comes to us from Mount Athos is very significant.

"O Jesus, You wished to appear in Your crib as a Tiny Babe in order not to frighten me, but to make me understand that if I have only little things to offer, You will not be offended. You understand my nothingness and my inability to offer You anything but trifles. Grant me enough simplicity to dare to offer You these trifles, enough gener­osity not to refuse them to You and enough love to make these trifles really valuable.

"Divine Little One, grant me the virtue of fidelity in little things and deign to see in it my thirst for a greater love of You."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

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