I love that the Feast of the Epiphany falls so close to the beginning of a New Year. Epiphany celebrates, in part, a primitive pilgrimage to Jesus in response to Jesus’s journey to us in the Incarnation – both pilgrimages of love. The wise men, traditionally named Melchior, Balthasar, and Caspar, can serve as wonderful models for all those who are still seeking Jesus and offering Him their gifts.
I want to link their ancient offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh to three gifts that we can offer Jesus in a special way this year.
Day One: Melchior
Melchior is remembered as the bearer of gold, a treasure of great value, even today. I often think what a practical gift it must have been for the humble Holy Family who would soon be fleeing for their lives to a strange land (Mt. 2:13-15). They would likely need the capital to start a new life in a foreign place. What gift could we offer Jesus that would rival gold? In a word, his Word. It is “more to be desired than gold, yes, much more than fine gold; sweeter than honey” (Ps. 19:10). Like the Incarnation, it is first God’s gift to us, and we give it back to him by receiving it, and living it with love.
How might you receive this precious and invaluable gift more completely in 2014? There are many wonderful ways. For example, you could sign up for our 90 Day Bible reading plan or join (or even better, start) a parish Bible study. But, let me suggest another way, a way that opens the path for the Word to be a true dialogue of love. It’s called Lectio Divina. It means sacred reading and is a four-step process for praying the Word in a conversation with Christ.
According to Benedict XVI, Lectio Divina is the singular spiritual practice that can usher in the once-in-a-generation renewal that the Body of Christ so desperately needs. “I am convinced if this practice is effectively promoted and enthusiastically embraced it will bring a new spiritual springtime” (Benedict XVI on the Anniversary of Dei Verbum).
Think about it, one spiritual discipline, 20 minutes a day, to usher in a renewed spiritual life for you and the Church! What a deal! That’s one percent of your day. My goodness, can we give the Lord one percent of our day in 2014? If you are unfamiliar with Lectio Divina, check out Tim Gray’s very practical book, Praying Scripture for a Change.