Monday, January 04, 2010

So many stars to follow.

Yesterday was the feast of the Epiphany. In the Gospel, the magi tell the king that a star has heralded the birth of the Messiah.

The priest, in his homily, pointed out that we have so many stars and so many lights around us. How can we find the one that beckons us toward our royal inheritance?

As he said this, my attention was drawn to the scenery of the church. The tree was lit up with lights. There were, of course, the candle lights, the overhead lights, and so on. It all gave a grand illustration of Father's homily.

Faith must be the first light, of course, but does that relegate all other stars to charlatans and swindlers? I think that the answer to this question is going to be somewhat different between Catholic and Evangelical traditions.

The sacramentality of the Catholic faith is about being surrounded with stars, stars that, far from pointing away from the Star, are constantly pointing towards it. The little stars remain with us sometimes when the big Star becomes obscured, and they lead us back, because they serve that greater Star. The fact that they are not the One Star does not detract from their own beauty.

The magi probably did not discern the heraldic star simply by its brightness, as is often shown in art in which it dominates the heavens. They probably, rather, used the machinations of astrology, which, without other stars to guide them, would have been powerless.

So the question of "what lights in your life are you following?" is not simply an exhortation to saving faith--though faith discerns best which lights to follow. For there are tangible stars in our lives that point the way. We mustn't be distracted by the odd meteorite or airplane. We mustn't assume that the sky isn't worth attention unless it has fireworks or other man-made delights.

Our great loves can be lights to follow. Sure, they are God's creatures, and struggle, like I do, under the effects of sin. But even so, their created brilliance is God's handiwork.

On a recent Muse album, a phrase that pops up from time to time is "guiding lightning strike". Lightning originates from the ground and strikes the heavens. So perhaps a guiding lightning strike is exactly such a good light to follow on my way to the heraldic star. I think I've seen mine. The pattern is permanently written onto my retinas. I think I'll follow her.

1 comment:

Matt of CG said...

I wonder if the example is corporeal or not? I don't know for certain, but the Muse referrence, plus the extended abscence leads me to believe she is corporeal. You know the love you're worth, Jeff. I envy you. Go for it.