|pic credit: hzmre.com|
It's the Epiphany! The Magi visit our Baby Jesus, having followed the star from above, laying gifts at his feet. And for this blog post, I thought it interesting to post the definitions listed for the word 'Epiphany'.....thanks http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/epiphany
1. ( initial capital letter ) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
2. an appearance or manifestation, esp. of a deity.
3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.
Interesting reading, especially number 1, 2 and 3.
So back to Thinker's question during Mass. Paying careful attention, as she almost always does, to Father's homily, a question came to her mind, and she whispered her profound question in my ear, "Was the devil happy when Jesus was born?"
Immediately, I answered, "Oh, I doubt it, honey. No, I don't really think he was happy. God came to earth when Jesus was born. And perhaps the devil thought he was in charge on earth trapping people into sin and death. Jesus was to break those traps. So I am sure he wasn't happy about it."
Her response was interesting to me. She said, "So was he happy during the cruxifiction? Even though Jesus was to rise from the dead?"
I sat for a good moment. Oh, geez another question that challenges my own Catholic teaching and training. I looked back at her, then, and those innocent eyes, that questioning in her face, told me to think of something that made good sense and had some good logic to it.
I admit, I feel as though I am still learning about our rich and vast Faith. I am not an apologist. I only know a few bible passages by heart. I should go back to my Catechism and look it over again, and again as I am always confronted with these spiritually challenging questions by my children....and it's tough.
At times, I can defer questions to HH, as he is much more well versed. But, at times, my kids look to me, wait for me, and I've got to have something on hand to assist them in their journey.
We then moved into probably the most profound theological discussion thus far in her short 10 years. "I imagine the devil delighting in Christ's death. I imagine him being happy to see God suffer. The devil should have known that Christ would rise from the dead, and conquer death and sin, thus conquering the devil, himself. Using clear logic, the devil probably should have been frustrated at seeing Christ die on the cross, knowing that this was God's plan all along, to save us from the devil and his snares. But, I'll tell you something.....when pride takes over....and we know the devil's chief problem is his pride....then you can't really think clearly. When you are revealing or rejoicing in someone else's pain, suffering or anguish, you can't see the good, you can't do good. Pride takes over. That sin takes over, and the devil probably couldn't see past his own pride to see that three short days later, Christ would win in the end.
"I imagine the devil knew his scripture to know what would happen. But pride and sin is a powerful thing, and the devil stays in that pride and sin always. He can't see past it."
I picture those moments of pride taking over and not allowing any thoughts of hope or promise to be a twisted, tangled web of self-absorption, self-love, self-centeredness, which spirals to the depths of a being, swallowing you from the inside out, a tornado reeking havoc in one's soul.
Mass continued then, and Thinker seemed to have an understanding, but further conversations will need to take place, I am sure, after a re-read of my Catechism! Father's homily ended with the theme of how the Magi were probably changed significantly after their visit with Our Lord and the Holy Family.
They left changed men. I never thought of that before. But I can imagine how that's true. Who wasn't changed after being with Christ? Very few....I can only think of the rich man, who walked away sad, after Christ offered to have him follow, and the rich man declined, having, probably too much attachment to his material things, and Christ telling him to leave it behind.
Father challenged us as a congregation, to be like the Magi. We come to the table of the Lord, be with Christ in the Eucharist, and we are supposed to emulate the Magi, let Him change us. Let us leave this church, having spent time in the presence of Christ. Let us leave, changed men and women.
It was beautiful. Having just completed our discussion about the devil and his possible reactions to Christ's birth, death and resurrection, Father asked us to allow God to change us. I couldn't have asked for a bigger sign from above.
Yes, Lord, I'm listening. Help me allow you to change me. Help me to see the areas I need change. Help me to see my own pride swallowing me, and avoiding the needs of others. I want to be a changed woman, Lord, like the Magi.