January 6th, A.D. 2014 The Epiphany of our Lord Meditation The Gospel St. Matthew, Chapter 2, Verses 1 - 12 ( 1928 Book of Common Prayer, Pages 108 - 109 ) ( People's Anglican Missal, Page A 40 ) “ O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. “ - The Collect for The Feast of the Epiphany 2.) Today, Sunday, January 5th, the Kalendar obliges us to celebrate The Vigil of the Epiphany of our Lord plus, we also commemorate the Second Sunday After Christmas. The greater feast of the Epiphany falls on the 'morrow, Monday the 6th of January. As the Feast of the Epiphany takes precedence over the two listed observances for today, the meditation for today will be on the Feast of the Epiphany, and so the proper pages are given for you to reference in either your Bible, Book of Common Prayer ( 1928), or People's Anglican Missal. A blessed Epiphany to all ! - Fr. k.l.l. + GIFTS FOR THE KING This feast we celebrate called the Epiphany is a very mysterious event. Wealthy Magi ( Sages, Wise Men, Astrologers, even Kings... as they have been called ), coming from the region of Persia ( present day Iran and Iraq ) have been guided by a star to the residence of a child in Bethlehem. Scholars have long-debated whether this residence was the stable where Jesus was born, or took place sometime later, as the Gospel account speaks of Jesus as a child. That part is best left to them to hash out, if it ever will be, for we seek to glean the finer point of this account in the life of our Blessed Lord and what it means to us and to all mankind. These “Men from the East” have been drawn to the Christ-Child. They have been compelled to find Him. We have to admit that this is certainly not an every day incident, and furthermore, these men have gone to a lot of trouble to make the trip to find little Jesus. We can deduce that they don't seem to mind all of this, however. Searching for, and finally finding this prophesied King, as well as His Mother and Foster-Father has been their mission, one of great joy that had not happened in the history of the world. These men know this, for they have not only studied all the ancient texts, they have been told this by a Heavenly event that they could confirm through their calculations. When these men arrive at their destination in Bethlehem, they do not at all seem surprised at the surroundings of this “newly born King of the Jews.” The humble circumstances merely confirm what they expected to find. The star that has been guiding them to where this King is, brings them to the location of the Christ-Child; they get off their camels or horses, enter the place where Jesus is, and prostrate themselves before Him in worship. One of the Magi breaks the sacred silence for the first time. He says, “ We have brought you some gifts.” They give the Child gold, incense, and myrrh. The Little One is to young to receive the gifts into His arms, so Joseph accepts them and lays them at the Child's feet. The Child is not too young to receive the obedience, the love, the complete self-dedication with which the Magi offer the gifts. He is a child, He loves to receive presents as any child would. He is God...who loves to receive love. The giving has not been all one-sided however, there has been an exchange. A Marvelous Exchange...a Divine Exchange. They give, and the Child gives. He rewards the generosity and the perseverance of the Magi by opening their eyes to what and who this Child is. He reveals Himself to them as their King, their God, their Savior. It would be safe to say that the travelers don't want to leave (who could blame them), but they have work to do back home. They who have come to the Light, guided by a light, now must bear responsibility of the great gift they have received. Enlightened by the loveliness of the divinity of the Christ-Child, they now must return to carry the Light to their people. They have come seeking, and they have found. So, in truth, they don't really leave the Christ at all. 3.) MAKE CAREFUL INQUIRY It isn't only the divinity and the kingship that our Lord manifests to us on this feast. It is also the way of life that He would have us to live. He could just as easily have enlightened the Magi back in their own country. But He wanted them to motivate themselves and to come to Him at Bethlehem. He wants us to be motivated as well. He wants us to actively seek Him with our human frailties of mind and body. He wants us to come to Him bearing our hearts, our devotion, our lives, and our labor. He insists upon our seeking Him. That is the condition of His giving. Where is the new-born King of the Jews? Where are you, O lord Jesus? You are in this great feast and every feast. You are in today's Mass and in every Mass. You are in the epistles and above all in the gospels. Surprisingly, Herod said something that we can be grateful for ( I can't imagine that he ever thought of himself as a spiritual director, but..it shows you how God works! ); “ Go, and make careful inquiry concerning the Child” ( Douay Version ). That is exactly what we should always try to do, for the end is so mysteriously rich. It is the same end for us as it was for the Magi: Christ is the end. “ Mercifully grant, that we who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead.” - from the Collect of the day. Look up, sweet Babe, look up and see For love of Thee Thus far from home The East is come. To seek herself in Thy sweet eyes; We, who strangely went astray, Lost in a bright Meridian night A darkness made of too much day, Beckon'd from afar By Thy fair star, Lo, at last have found our way. - Richard Crashaw: The Glorious Epiphany of Our Lord, a Hymn. ( 17th cent.) A short Prayer for the Week Today, O Lord, Thou didst manifest Thyself to the whole world, and Thy light hath come upon us who in understanding sing to Thee, Thou didst come, Thou didst appear, O Light inaccessible. - - - From the Byzantine Menaea, Theophany, Kontakion. ( c. 6th century) 4.) In A Nutshell The Gospel narrative on which this festival is founded; ( St. Matthew, Ch. 2, Vss. 1-12 ) has three rather folkloric elements in it: A star which precedes the birth of a great man; A king who attempts by trickery to discover the location of a hidden rival; and the supernatural frustration of the plan to kill the child. In the Greek texts the Wise Men who come to Jerusalem inquiring of the new-born King of the Jews are called magoi, in Latin, it's magi ; 'magicians', or 'astrologers'. An early fourth-century painting on an arch in the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome shows them wearing Phrygian caps, fullsleeved belted tunics and trousers, the garb of the priests of Zoroaster, the Persian Prophet, who watched the heavens for the appearance of the star which would herald the birth of the savior-god. Painting at the tomb of Priscilla in Rome depicting the magi. Roman sarcophagus also depicting the magi. 5.) Conical caps in other depictions identify the magi as Jews, possibly descendents of the captives who remained in Babylon , the ancient center of astrological studies, who looked for the star in Balaam's prophecy (Numbers; Ch. 24, Vs. 17), which would announce the coming of the Messiah. Isiah had prophesied; “ and kings shall be thy foster-fathers … they shall bow down to thee with their faces toward the earth.” ( Is. Ch. 49, Vs. 23). In a psalm it was foretold that, “ The kings of Tarshish and the lsles shall bring presents...the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.” ( Psalm 72, Vs. 10). From these texts it was assumed that the Wise Men were also kings, and it is in this latter guise that they appear in art from about the tenth century onwards. They are three in number in accordance with their three gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and the three kingdoms named in the psalm. The kings were also understood to represent the three races of mankind, descendents from Noah's sons, Ham, Shem, and Japeth, and their encounter with the Christ Child, “ the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles” as the subtitle for the Feast of the Epiphany added in 1662 to the Book of Common Prayer. Herod's cunning plan to find his potential rival and then to dispose of him was thwarted when the Wise Men were warned in a dream not to go back to Jerusalem. An angel also appeared to Joseph to tell him to take the Child and His mother to Egypt because Herod was searching for Jesus to kill him. The writer of the Gospel of Matthew perceived that this was foreseen in the prophecy, “ When Israel was a child … and called my son out of Egypt.” (Hosea, Ch. 11, Vs. 1), in which son, in the first instance, meant 'Israel'... the people of the old dispensation (Israelites under Moses), but Jesus, God's Son, in the new dispensation. As the Wise Men “ returned to their own country by a different way”, they are sometimes shown in medieval art aboard a ship, in contrast to their arrival on horse or camelback. In the East, January 6th, was the festival commemorating Jesus' birth and baptism. To these manifestations of His divinity were added two other revelations of himself; to the Wise Men, and at Cana when He changed water into wine. To avoid a double celebration of the Nativity, December 25th in the West, January 6th in Rome and elsewhere in Europe became the festival of Christ's manifestation to the Three Kings. The other fore-mentioned manifestations being referred to in the antiphons at the monastic offices of Lauds and Vespers, with the Baptism of Christ on the Following Sunday. The Wise Men are known by a variety of names, standardized in the Middle Ages as, Melchior, Balthasar, and Caspar. Their gifts, which in the old dispensation had a messianic significance, were also given symbolic values by the Fathers of the church; gold being the tribute to Christ's kingship, frankincense, to His divinity, and myrrh, the forecast of His death. In England, following the example of the Three kings, the sovereign presents gifts in the Chapel Royal of one of the palaces. Epiphany came to be regarded as the climax and conclusion of the merrymaking associated with the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas. We can read of entries in the diary of Samuel Pepys ( 1633 – 1703 ) describing the revels which lasted till midnight, with music and dancing, and the division of the Twelfth Night cake so that the man who got the concealed bean and the woman the pea became respectively king and queen for the evening. Although in many places the greenery and foliage were left up until February 2nd, The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( also known as Candlemas), it is now customary to take down decorations at Epiphany, marking the end of Christmastide. The period between Epiphany and the Pre-Lenten season ( beginning with Septuagessima Sunday) is known as Epiphanytide, with the liturgical colors varying ( according to the feast) from white to green for the regular Sundays. This year of 2014 we will have five (5) Sundays in Epiphanytide, going from January 12th to February 9th. – - - From The Chipmunks Nutshell Library, By Br. A. Chip Monk, O.S.B. 6.) Br. Chip wishes all our readers a very happy, healthy, and blessed 2014 ! (A rare photo taken of him on New Year's Day feasting on a peanut! ) Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Priory 4 Shaw Road Raymond, Maine 04071 PLEASE NOTE: PUBLIC SUNDAY MASSES WILL RESUME IN THE SPRING. CONVENTUAL MASSES ONLY FOR THE WINTER. KALENDAR Holy days and Saints days for the week of January 5th to January 12th A.D. 2014 as observed at the Priory. Sunday, January 5th ... The Vigil of the Epiphany … comm. 2nd Sunday After Christmas. Monday, January 6th ….The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ Tuesday, January 7th ….........Keys of Septuagessima (1.)....................................in the Octave of The Epiphany. Wednesday, January 8th …......................St. Lucian, P. (memorial)...........................in the Octave. Thursday, January 9th ….................................................................................in the Octave. Friday, January, January 10th ….....................................................................in the Octave. Saturday, January 11th ….......................( Note 2. ) …..............................................in the Octave.. Sunday, January 12th …The First Sunday After the Epiphany ( 3.) …......in the Octave. KEY: Ab. = Abbot, Ap. = Apostle, Bp. = Bishop, C. or Conf. = Confessor, Doct. = Doctor of the Church, M. = Monk, Myr. = Martyr, P= Priest Po. = Pope, Vir. = Virgin, NOTES: 1. The earliest date on which Septuagessima may occur. 2. Traditional commemoration day for all Holy Bishops & Abbots of the Cistercian Order. 3. St. Benedict Biscop. Abbot of Wearmouth & Jarrow, England. Active in reconciling the Anglo-Saxon and Roman elements in the English Benedictine Order. 7th cent. The Calendarium To be announced on the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ The 6th Day of January Like the great feast of Christmas, the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord occurs on a fixed day, January 6th and has an octave. At the reading of the Holy Gospel for the Mass of the Epiphany, the Celebrant or the Deacon of the Mass, when the following words of the Gospel are read; “ fell down and worshipped Him”, a genuflection or profound bow shall be made. After the reading of the Holy Gospel, the traditional announcement of the moveable holy days of the church year may be read in the following ancient form: Dearly beloved brethren in Christ, ye shall know that as we have rejoiced in the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, so there is announced to you by the mercy of God the joyous observance of the Resurrection of the same our Savior: February 16th is Septuagessima Sunday. On March 5th Ash Wednesday begins the most holy season of Lent. On April 20th we shall celebrate with great rejoicing the holy Easter festival of our Lord Jesus Christ. May 29th is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. June 8th is the Feast of Pentecost. November 30th is the First Sunday in the Advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be ascribed all honor, power, majesty, dominion, and glory, world without end. Amen. This annual, and venerable proclamation is most worthy of a restoration in our parishes and dioceses … let us do so and reclaim one of the many treasures of our great Anglo-Catholic liturgical inheritance! 8.) MISCELLENIA: SUBSCRIPTIONS; If you know of anyone who would like to be on our e-mailing list to receive this weekly offering, please either feel free to copy and pass this along to them, or have them send us their e-mail address and we will gladly add it to our mailing list. CANDLE OFFERING: HELP ! Our supply of altar candles is nearly exhausted. We would gratefully welcome all monetary offerings to help us replenish our supply in time for Candlemas ( Feb. 2nd ) ...the traditional date for the blessing of candles to be used in the new year. Please send your donations to our address: Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Priory, 4 Shaw Road, Raymond, Maine 04071 , marked “Candle Offering”. If you would like to make your offering as a memorial, please include the name(s) of those you want remembered. Thank You !!!!! THE ANIMALS: We are always looking for benefactors to help us with the upkeep of the animals in our care. We are grateful for our animal angels as are our animals. If you would like to help, or know of someone who would. please send your donation to the address above marked “For the animals” Thank you !
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