Feast of the Epiphany
The people that walked in darkness…
them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death…
have seen a GREAT LIGHT
God left the heavens to remake the hearts of men which, disordered by Original Sin in its desires and affections, have gone after those goods proposed to it by a mind darkened and prone to error as the first and the highest to which everything else must be duly subordinated – the spiraling chaos of the day. There is not any man just. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. All have turned out of the way: there is none that doth good… (Ps. 13.3: Rom. 3.10-12). The Savior and Eternal Word (cf., Jn. 1.1) made flesh (Jn. 1.14), in [Whom] was life and the life was the light of men and the light shineth in darkness (Jn. 1.4), would put things in the right order: Why asketh thou me concerning good? One is good, God (Mt. 19.17).
God seeks the first and the center of everything – not the second or third place and not the peripheral; God seeks the whole and the entire – not a mere share. But the darkness did not comprehend It” (Jn. 1.5). Therefore, in varying degrees a great mass of people (the merrying unbelievers and pretended Christians) miss the full import of Christmas. And to this mass we are to add even those who were supposed to be marching under the banner of Sacred Tradition who, [j]ealous of their position to be at the first and at the center of restoration-‘command’, now have actually started arbitrating*, nay arrogating** things which the fingers of the Divine Infant has traced and compassed; exaggerating their “[Theological] scaffolding” (Fr. Reginald-Garrigou Lagrange, O.P.) to be the whole and the entire edifice of the great Spiritual battle of the times!
* Appallingly substituting their ‘hierarchical’ [or personal] expediencies for the requirements of the basic sense of justice and fairness and the canonical requirements in the conferment of the sacred Orders and in the administration of Holy Communion: those who everyday stand before God at the foot of the altar praying “Judica me Deus…” while at the high altar “offer up [before the face of God] the Sacrifice of justice” (Ps. 4.6).
** Pretending to be the infallible Catholic authority – whereas in the 4th century the claim was simply to be “the voice of orthodoxy” – by whose words and emergency arrangement things must be established, delimited and circumscribed (but with it at the hub).
Our Lord was found only by two classes: those who know, and those who do not know – but never by those who think they know. Divinity is so profound that it can be grasped only by the ‘extremes’ of simplicity and wisdom. There is something in common between the wise and the simple, and that is humility. The wise man is humble because he knows that regardless of how deep he digs, Divinity is always deeper; the simple man is humble, because he knows Divinity is so deep there is no use of him digging. But that self-wise inquirer, with a sophomoric mind stuffed with the pride of his little learning and of his sense of whatever vain little ‘best’ in possession, is so convinced of his knowledge (his little light)and position (his guiding light) that he will not dig because he thinks nothing can be deeper than himself.
There is only one way to discover God manifesting Himself – and that is by being little, which is another word for being humble. There is only one way in which we discover anything big, and that is by being little. There is only one spirit by which we can discover the immense God, and that is the spirit of little children. But the proud man, he is so big that he thinks there is nothing wiser than himself, and so self-sufficient that nothing could ever add to his sufficiency. He is so big – and indispensable – mentally, that to him everything else is little – and therefore ‘disposable’.
Only the humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a Babe (and the true God of our holy Catholic Tradition much bigger than Tradition itself), therefore, are the ones who will ever understand the reason of His Manifestation. He came to this poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange; to say to us, as only a good God could say: “You give Me your humanity and I will give you a participation in My divinity; you give Me your time and I will give you My eternity; you give Me your weary body and I will give you redemption; you give Me all your love, affections, and desires, I will give you My Heart; you give Me your nothingness and I will give you My All.”
His law then must be our law. As He Who Is God descended even to the lowness of childhood, as the first step to everlasting triumph, so we must descend from our ignorant pride to the level of what we are in His eyes. The Great Light is risen upon us to dispel the darkness of our own, as always, little light. [Taken, with adaptations, from the addresses given by Abp. F. Sheen on December 24,31 in 1933.]
A most blessed Feast to all!
Related post: “True Humility“