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Feast of the Epiphany

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany on the General Calendar of the Church. We celebrate God’s providence this day. He looked after the needs of the Holy Family, sending three strangers, Gentiles, bearing gifts and being the very first to proclaim Jesus Messiah and King.

The story is old and familiar to us, yet it’s power and beauty reside in what was not said.

Mary never asked the Angel, or God, how she was going to finance this little family. She never asked for her son to be seated on Herod’s throne, and for herself the honor and prestige of being Queen Mother. She never asked for the divine plan. None was offered. Mary didn’t get the divine plan up front. She was left to ponder so many events in her heart.

God made her to be a model for us in faith. Faith that He would indeed make all things possible. Faith that He would call others to action on our behalf. Faith that His divine purpose cannot be thwarted by the evil of men.

Who could have imagined that the long-awaited Messiah would have come as He did? Could Mary have imagined how her heart would be broken, as it was. Could Mary have imagined the ignominious fate of fleeing back to Egypt for safety from the Jewish King in the Promised Land?

How terribly strange for the Messiah and His parents. Mary never complained, as did her ancestors in the desert.

We do well to contemplate the example of Mary and share that in our pro-life witness, when so many parents want the assurances of a good life up front, with the baby’s life hanging in the balance.

Like Mary and Joseph, Regina and I came to rely on the kindness and ministrations of strangers. For us it was in those strangers saving our son from autism’s ravages, strangers who materialized on the other end of the phone, literally out of the blue, prompted by the Holy Spirit. We learned how powerless we were on our own, but that with God, all things are possible.

Like Mary, we didn’t get the divine plan up front.
Like Mary, our hearts have been broken over our son.
Like Mary, we’ve seen the power of God surround our son.
Like Mary, we’ve been made to walk by faith, not by sight.
Like Mary, we’ve pondered so many miraculous happenings in our hearts.
Like Mary, we’ve proclaimed how our souls magnify the Lord, and our spirits rejoice in God, our Savior.

No, Like Mary, many of us have not had it easy, even with children who are not special needs children. That’s because faith is not cheap, and does not come easy. Building faith requires the building of a human heart, beautifully described by Rev. Anthony T. Padovano in his poetic book, Dawn Without Darkness,

“The human heart is not built in a day. It takes a lifetime to make a human heart. It takes all: birth and learning how to talk, making wishes, living with hope, dreaming dreams. The human heart is nourished with yearning for tomorrow, with poetry and devotion, with contemplation and the incessant thought of home. The human heart prays, it strives to find a faithful lover; it does not love until it dies in fidelity for the mystery of another life.

“The human heart suffers, or else it does not grow; it exhausts itself or else it is empty; it waits and hopes, at dawn and dusk, in darkness and daylight.

“The human heart is not built in a day nor can it be built alone. The human heart loses its way unless it receives the promises of others and gives its trust in return… The human heart waits or else it does not live and yet it dies waiting. It breathes the air of hope…”

In waiting on the Lord, through trust in His Love and Mercy, Mary perfected her human heart. So on this night of the Epiphany, we sit contemplatively with Mary’s Immaculate Heart as we wait upon the Lord’s plan for our lives and ministry.

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