«What for are the graces I grant you?»
Tell me, tell me, what did I deny you when you asked for it? Did I close the door when you knocked?
What good are the graces I grant you if you are not able to use them to become as the Father wants you?
If you allow yourselves to be surrounded by the straw that overshadows you and makes you rebellious, the weak spirit and the rebellious flesh, how can I remain inert, passive?
Should I abandon you and beat you, to make you understand that you are My Truth, the Truth of the Father, His leaven, and salt? in the world?
When, when will you be convinced that choice has fallen upon you, that this choice is the most coveted privilege a living spirit could wish for?
If the Father were to abandon you, I would fall into the thickest darkness of despair and you would lose forever the immense joy of sitting at his table and looking at his divine face.
Is there a greater happiness than this? Tell me! Tell me!
Can Father rejoice if you have not yet established peace, wisdom, and conscience in your hearts and spirits to be consciously free? Tell me! Tell me!
From Heaven to Earth
Nicolosi, January 12th., 1977, at 10:25 am
The Epiphany celebrates the event of God’s manifestation to the whole world.
The Gospel of Matthew invites us to meditate on this event by proposing the episode of the Kings; We don’t know much concretely about them, but we only know where they’re going; they go in search of the King of the Universe; they are a group of learned, rich and foreign men, who thirsty for infinity, travel day and night, through cities and deserts and after overcoming stormy difficulties, find the one they seek.
The history of the Kings is, therefore, the history of searching, the search for a truth, the only one that can give meaning to life and death; the search for a Good that can only satisfy the desire for happiness, which inside the man is even greater than man himself and the whole world, the search for a God who has become next and accessible.
Reflecting on the King´s knowledge, their search for God is courageous and tenacious, crowned with happy success and contrasts with the behavior of other men of their time and ours, who do not seek God, or seek Him badly and therefore do not find Him.
The Kings walking among men who do not dream of having someone to look for, appear as people moved by a wind of madness, crossing countries where people busy in the temporal affairs of each day are devoid of longings for a different and higher life, they are seen as strange and incomprehensible people.
Let´s think of those who neglect to seek God because they say they don’t feel the need; They live in fortune, they pay for earthly realities, without aspirations that go beyond the horizons of this world; it is true that their calm is often more ostentatious than really lived, and in moments of sincerity they recognize that no experience can give everyone the hope of joy, and one after another only increased the sense of dissatisfaction and emptiness that are hidden in the heart.
But if they were really someone who, extinguished within themselves all restlessness of conscience, had attained a squalid and inert peace, then we should remember the saying of Christ.
«Woe to the satiated!» (Lk 6:25). Woe to those who have tried to convince themselves that they already have everything; woe to those who have suffocated in themselves the inherent longing for a truer and more lasting happiness!
There are others and not a few who not only show no interest in the search for God, but reject it as absurd.
Scientific explorations without barriers, increasingly developed and refined technical applications, the conception of unlimited and arrogant human autonomy, have invaded the space that the cultures of the past, more «backward», had left to God.
There is no longer any place for Him in a world where science and social and political organization are considered able to illuminate every problem, to fulfill every request, to satisfy every need.
Today man even thinks that he must announce the «death of God» and therefore feel free to fill the universe with himself, alone; but his heart is perhaps less empty than before and his anxieties less stinging?!
The world that thought it was free from God’s presence and therefore more just and more human?! Or is it rather a world where individual freedom is dying and violence is unstoppable?
If man learned to read correctly the signs of the times, he could become disenchanted with his illusion of absolute autonomy, he would recognize along with his greatness and also his inadequacy; and the awareness of both his own greatness and his own inadequacy would become an incentive for him to seek the One of whom he is a child, living image, without he cannot truly grow in freedom and peace.
In the episode narrated by the Gospel, the Kings are not the only ones seeking Jesus; However, they are the only ones who find Him.
Herod seeks him and does not find him; the chief priests and scribes of the people seek him and do not find him; not even the inhabitants of Jerusalem find him, although they were surprised and disturbed by the questions the Kings had addressed to them: «Where is the King of the Jews who was born? We have seen his star rise and we have come to adore him.» Mt 2:2)
Even these fruitless pursuits have something to teach us.
God does not allow Himself to be found by those who do not seek Him with a righteous and sincere heart !!!
Herod does not find him; He would like to find him, but to kill him, annihilate a rival power in the cradle, eliminate at the first appearance, a force capable of opposing his despotic selfishness and unmasking his fierce hypocrisy.
The child escapes from all those whose search, like that of Herod, is contaminated by secret fears: fear that his greatness will force him to recognize his own fragility and limitations, fear that his disturbing love will ask him for a radical change of life; he wants to break the bonds loved; he will force them to renounce the bonds; he will force them to renounce the selfish comforts and conceited ambitions; He fears that his plans will alter his own and ambitions. pushing down unknown paths, which intimidate his pusillanimity.
The high priests and scribes of the people do not find him and even the experts in the Holy Scriptures know the precise passage that refers to the place of the Messiah’s birth.
Not even the inhabitants of Jerusalem find Him, even if they are a few kilometers away from Him; they are waiting for an Epiphany of power, a manifestation of strength, a Messiah capable of overthrowing the political and social order that oppresses the country; not a helpless little child in need of everything. Therefore, no star shines in their sky that can lead them to Bethlehem, for them enlightenment is the sign of salvation offered by God, it is illegible and unacceptable.»
Like those citizens of Jerusalem, they do not find God in the child of Bethlehem, those who expect to meet, not the living and true God, but the arbitrary and complacent image they make of him at will.
Those who seek a God modeled by their tastes, those who seek a child of God to enlist under their social and political banners, can only end up far from the goal, like a walker walking the wrong path.
The Kings, who «came to Bethlehem and entered a house, saw the child with Mary, his mother, and prostrated themselves and adored him and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh as a gift.» (Mt 2:11) they are the image and hope of all the true seekers by whom God always allows himself to be found.
Who find God are all those who, like the Kings, have the courage to leave the country of dear company and quiet habits, to leave a lazy superficial life, without renewal, to obey the voice of conscience to follow an inner illumination; all those who, like the Kings, know how to look to the sky and open their hearts to a light and a force that can be found in the light and in a higher force, which are seen and given to those who ask for them with a sincere heart.
Faith is not the fruit of reasoning, even if reason can and must prove that belief is reasonable.
To recognize in the Child of Bethlehem the «giant of the two natures» as Saint Ambrose said – human nature and divine nature – is not possible for any man, without grace.
Only God can make us believers, but He does not make us believers without our collaboration.
God is found by those who, like the Kings, for the sake of truth, are not afraid to challenge the oppression of the dominant mentality and are not intimidated by the mockery and oppression of those who live exclusively bent over the earth and cannot tolerate the work of those who, even from above, inspire in the promotion of human values for the service of a pluralistic society, and is also found by many who are not clearly aware that they have found Him.
Man does not know everything about himself, neither all the good nor all the bad; sometimes under the affirmation of unbelief beats a heart open to faith; there are people that foreigners like the Kings, at the external orders of the «Promised People» cannot be counted sociologically among its members and, However,
their belonging is invisible to the eyes ofall and to their own eyes, but it is no less real, indeed, it is more real than that of many others who, not without levity, incoherence, and hypocrisy, have manufactured the certainty of being believers.
They find God through their own clear and firmly decision to serve the truth, wherever it appears; it doesn’t matter if for the moment they «ignore that the truth is Someone.» Jn 14:6).
They find God through their firm resolve to never shirk their duty at all costs, no matter if they do not know that doing their duty is the true way to love the One who for them remains as an «unknown God.»
They find Him through their attitude of solidarity, justice, brotherhood with all and especially with those in need, even if they do not think that there is One who has identified with the humble and with the least.
They also find Him in the fact of their own tireless pursuit. One of these encouraging seekers of God writes:
«I always look for him, I will look for him again for ten years, for twenty years, as long as I have to live. I’m afraid I’ll never find Him, but that doesn’t mean I can stop looking for Him! Perhaps God, if He exists, will please my effort.
St. Augustine said to them, «You wouldn’t look for Him if you hadn’t already found Him.»
Christ had to think of all anonymous and unconscious believers when He said:
«Many will come from East and West and will sit at table with Abraham» (Mt 8:11) and «it will be a surprise and a discovery for themselves» Mt 25:40.
And so, all the lesson that comes to us from the episode of the Kings, can be summarized as follows: we must seek God to find him and after finding him we must seek him again, to find him more deeply.
With Love in His Light
Isa of the Sun
for The Eugenio Siragusa´s Study Centre