Blog di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA – Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa MISSIONARY ONGOING FORMATION – A missionary look on the life of the world and the church
Authors place emphasis on the first page of their books to give the reader a bird’s-eye view of their work. The page does not only say that it is pleasant and attractive material to read but it also sets the tone and prepares the reader to comprehend what is to come. The first page should highlight the key features of the book to whet the interest and curiosity of the reader.
To introduce his Gospel, John composes a sublime hymn, so high as to merit him, rightly, the title of ‘eagle’among the evangelists. In this prologue, as in the overture of a symphony, we will try to identify the reasons (to be further developed in subsequent chapters): Jesus—sent by the Father, source of life, light of the world, full of grace and truth, the only Son in whom the glory of the Father is revealed.
In the first stanza (vv. 1-5), John seems to take off into an image dear to Wisdom and Rabbinic literature: The ‘Wisdom of God’ depicted as a beautiful and delightful woman. Here’s how ‘Wisdom’ introduces herself in the book of Proverbs: “The Lord created me first at the beginning of his works … The abyss did not exist when I was born … The mountains were not yet set in their place, nor the hills when I was born … I was there when he made the skies … when he made the sea with its limits … when he laid the foundation of the earth, I was close beside him” (Pro 8:22-29). This is personified in the book of Sirach, which states that Wisdom embodied herself in the Torah, the Law, and set up her tent in Israel (Sir 24:3-8,22).
John knew these texts well and—perhaps even with a little polemic against Judaism—adopts them and applies them to Jesus, who, according to him, is the ‘Wisdom of God’ who came to make his dwelling among us. It is Jesus, and not the Mosaic law, who reveals to the people the face of God and His will. He is the Word, the last and final Word of God. He is the same Word by which God, in the beginning, created the world.
Moreover, unlike the personified Wisdom (Sir 24:9), the Word of God—in that Jesus became flesh—has not been created, but ‘was’ with God, existed from eternity. For Israel, Wisdom is “a tree of life to those who claspit” (Pro 3:18). John makes it clear: The Wisdom of God manifested itself fully in the historical person of Jesus. He is no longer the law, but the source of life.
The coming of this Word into the world divides history into two eras—before and after Christ; darkness before (without him), light after (in his presence). The Word that, like a sword, penetrates deep into everyperson and separates within him the ‘son of light’ and the ‘child of darkness.’ The darkness will try tooverpower the light, but will not succeed. Even the negative human response will be suffocated and, eventually, the light will prevail in the hearts of each one of us.
The second stanza (vv. 6-8) is the first interlude introducing the figure of John the Baptist. It does not say that ‘he was with God.’ John is just a man raised up by God for a mission. He was to be a witness to the light. His role is so important that it is mentioned three times in just two verses. He was not that light, but was able to recognize the true light and to point out him to one and all.
The third stanza (vv. 9-13) develops the theme of Christ—the light and the people’s response to his appearance in the world. The hymn opens with a cry of joy: “The true light was coming to the world.” Jesus is the true light, as opposed to the illusory glitters, wisps, mirages, and the misleading glow projected by the wisdom of the people.
A lament immediately contradicts this enthusiastic cry: “The world did not know him.” It is the rejection, opposition, and shutting out of the light. People love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil (Jn3:19). Not even the Israelites— “his own people”—welcome him. Yet they would have recognized in Jesus the ultimate manifestation, the embodiment of the ‘Wisdom of God’, the wisdom that “among all the people had sought a resting place in which to settle,” and in Israel, she had found her home. The Creator of the universe had given her this order: “Pitch your tent in Jacob; Israel will be your homeland” (Sir 24:7-8).
The rejection of light and life by people, even the most prepared and well-disposed, is surprising. Jesus, too, will one day be surprised by his own countrymen’s incredulity (Mk 6:6). This means the light that comes from above is not imposed, does no violence, leaves free but places people before an inescapable decision: they must choose between “blessing and curse” (Dt 11:27-28), between “life and death” (Dt 30:15).
The verse ends with the joyful vision of those who believed in the light. Believing does not mean giving one’s own intellectual approval to a package of truths, but accepting a person, the ‘Wisdom of God’, who identifies himself with Jesus. To those who trust in him shall be granted an unheard of ‘right’: to become the children of God. It is the rebirth from above, of which Jesus will speak to Nicodemus (Jn 3:3), a rebirth that has nothing to do with natural birth linked to sexuality, to the will of man. In a nutshell, the generation that comes from God is of another order; it is the work of the Spirit.
The fourth stanza (v. 14) “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” is the highlight of this prologue. This is the Gospel’s words we will listen to on our knees. The first Christians are still full of admiration about the mystery of God, who for love strips himself of His glory, empties Himself, and takes up His abode under our tent.
‘Flesh’, in biblical language, connotes the human in his appearance of being weak, fragile, and perishable. One senses here the dramatic contrast between “flesh” and “Word of God,” expressed so effectively in the famous passage from Isaiah: “All flesh is grass and all its beauty as the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will forever stand” (Is 40:6-8).
When John says that the “Word” became flesh, he does not simply state that Jesus took a mortal body, overlaid with muscles, but that he became one of us. It means becoming like us in everything, including feelings, passions, emotions, cultural conditioning, fatigue, ignorance—yes, also temptation, and inner conflicts, exactly like us in all things but sin.
“And we have seen his glory.” The Biblical man was aware that the human eye is unable to see God. One may only contemplate his ‘glory’—that is, the signs of his presence, his works, his acts of power in favor of his people. “I will have glory at the expense of Pharaoh, his army, his chariots, and horsemen” (Ex 14:18).
The expressions filled with intense emotion in the First Letter of John are echoed in this phrase of the prologue: “That which has been from the beginning, and what we have heard and have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, I mean the Word who is life … The Life made itself known, we have seen Eternal Life and we bear witness, and we are telling you of it. It was with the Father and made himself known to us. So, we tell you what we have seen and heard, that you may be in fellowship with us, and us, with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. And we write this that our joy may be complete” (1 Jn1:1-4). Here, John speaks in the plural, because he intends to report the experience of the Christians of hiscommunity. With the eyes of faith, they are able to grasp—beyond the veil of the “flesh” of Jesus, humiliatedand crucified—the face of God.
The Lord has often manifested His glory with signs and wonders, but he never revealed himself so clearly as in his “only begotten Son, full of grace and truth.” “Grace and Truth” is a biblical expression to imply ‘faithful love’. We find it in the Old Testament, when the Lord appears to Moses as “the God full of pity and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in truth and loving kindness” (Ex 34:6). The fullness of God’s faithful love is present in Jesus. He is the irrefutable proof that nothing can overwhelm the goodness of God.
The fifth stanza (v. 15) is the second interlude. The Baptist reappears, and this time he speaks in the present. He ‘testifies’ on behalf of Jesus; he ‘shouts’ to people of all times that He is unique.
The sixth stanza (vv. 16-18) is a song of joy, representing the community’s overflowing gratitude to God for the incomparable gift received. The law of Moses was also a gift of God, but was not definitive. The external provisions it contained were not able to communicate the “grace and truth,” that is, the force that enables man to respond to the faithful love of God. “Grace and truth” are given through Jesus. His name appears here for the first time.
No one has ever seen God. It is a statement that John often recalled (5:37; 6:46; 1 Jn 4:12,20). It is already found in the Old Testament: “You cannot see my face—God says to Moses—because man cannot see me and live” (Ex 33:20). The events, apparitions, and visions of God, as told in the Old Testament, were not of material vision. They were a humane way of describing the revelations of the thoughts, the will, and the plans of the Lord.
However, now looking at Jesus, one can actually and concretely see God. To know the Father, one need not indulge in philosophical reasoning, or lose oneself in elaborate discussion. It is enough to contemplate Christ, to observe what he does, what he says, what he teaches, how he behaves, how he loves, whom he prefers, people he frequently associates with, with whom he goes to dinner, and whom he chooses, rebukes and defends. It is enough, above all, to contemplate him in the height of his ‘glory’, when he was lifted up on the cross. In that highest manifestation of love, the Father has said it all.
The fourth Gospel starts with a very special prologue. It’s a kind of hymn that, from the first centuries, decisively helped Christians to go deeper into the mystery encompassing Jesus. If we listen to it with simple faith, even today it can help us to grow in Jesus profoundly. We’ll only dwell on a few central affirmations.
«The Word of God became flesh». God isn’t mute. God hasn’t stayed silent, enclosed forever in Mystery. God has desired to communicate Self with us. God wants to speak with us, tell us of God’s love, explain God’s project. Jesus is simply the Project of God made flesh.
But God hasn’t communicated Self through concepts and sublime doctrines that only the learned can understand. God’s Word has become incarnate in the tender life of Jesus, so that even the most simple can understand, those who know how to be moved in the face of goodness, love and truth that makes up his life.
This Word of God «has lived among us». Distances have disappeared. God has become «flesh». God dwells with us. In order for us to meet with God we don’t need to leave the world behind, but come close to Jesus. In order to get to know God you don’t need to study theology, but live in harmony with Jesus, communion with him.
«No one has ever seen God». The prophets, priests, masters of the law spoke about God a lot, but have never seen God’s face. The same thing happens today among us: in the Church we talk a lot about God, but none of us have seen God. Only Jesus, «the Son of God, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made God known».
May we never forget it. Only Jesus has told us how God is. Only he is the source of coming close to God’s Mystery. How many meager and barely human ideas about God must we unlearn in order to allow ourselves to be attracted and seduced by that God who is revealed to us in Jesus.
How everything changes when we finally capture that Jesus is the human face of God. Everything becomes simpler and clearer. Now we know how God looks upon us when we suffer, how God seeks us when we’re lost, how God understands and forgives us when we deny God. In Jesus is revealed «the grace and the truth» of God
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf
The Evangelist Matthew tells us that the Magi, when they came to Bethlehem, “saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” (Mt 2:11). Worshiping the Lord is not easy; it does not just happen. It requires a certain spiritual maturity and is the fruit of an at times lengthy interior journey. Worshiping God is not something we do spontaneously. True, human beings have a need to worship, but we can risk missing the goal. Indeed, if we do not worship God, we will worship idols – there is no middle way, it is either God or idols; or, to use the words of a French writer: “Whoever does not worship God, worships the devil” (Léon Bloy) – and instead of becoming believers, we will become idolaters. It is just like that, aut aut.
In our day, it is particularly necessary for us, both as individuals and as communities, to devote more time to worship. We need to learn ever better how to contemplate the Lord. We have somewhat lost the meaning of the prayer of adoration, so we must take it up again, both in our communities and in our own spiritual life. Today, then, let us learn a few useful lessons from the Magi. Like them, we want to fall down and worship the Lord. To worship him seriously, not as Herod said: “Let me know where the place is and I will go to worship him”. No, that worship is not good. Ours must be serious!
The Liturgy of the Word offers us three phrases that can help us to understand more fully what it means to be worshipers of the Lord. They are: “to lift up our eyes”, “to set out on a journey” and “to see”. These three phrases can help us to understand what it means to be a worshiper of the Lord.
The first phrase, to lift up our eyes, comes to us from the prophet Isaiah. To the community of Jerusalem, recently returned from exile and disheartened by great challenges and hardships, the prophet addresses these powerful words of encouragement: “Lift up your eyes and look around” (60:4). He urges them to lay aside their weariness and complaints, to escape the bottleneck of a narrow way of seeing things, to cast off the dictatorship of the self, the constant temptation to withdraw into ourselves and our own concerns. To worship the Lord, we first have to “lift up our eyes”. In other words, not to let ourselves be imprisoned by those imaginary spectres that stifle hope, not to make our problems and difficulties the centre of our lives. This does not mean denying reality, or deluding ourselves into thinking that all is well. On the contrary, it is a matter of viewing problems and anxieties in a new way, knowing that the Lord is aware of our troubles, attentive to our prayers and not indifferent to the tears we shed.
This way of seeing things, which despite everything continues to trust in the Lord, gives rise to filial gratitude. When this happens, our hearts become open to worship. On the other hand, when we focus exclusively on problems, and refuse to lift up our eyes to God, fear and confusion creep into our hearts, giving rise to anger, bewilderment, anxiety and depression. Then it becomes difficult to worship the Lord. Once this happens, we need to find the courage to break out of the circle of our foregone conclusions and to recognize that reality is much greater than we imagine. Lift up your eyes, look around and see. The Lord asks us first to trust in him, because he truly cares for everyone. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he provide for us? (cf. Lk 12:28). If we lift up our eyes to the Lord, and consider all things in his light, we will see that he never abandons us. The Word became flesh (cf. Jn 1:14) and remains with us always, for all time (cf. Mt 28:20). Always.
When we lift up our eyes to God, life’s problems do not go away, no; instead we feel certain that the Lord grants us the strength to deal with them. The first step towards an attitude of worship, then, is to “lift up our eyes”. Our worship is that of disciples who have found in God a new and unexpected joy. Worldly joy is based on wealth, success or similar things, always with ourselves at the centre. The joy of Christ’s disciples, on the other hand, is based on the fidelity of God, whose promises never fail, whatever the crises we may face. Filial gratitude and joy awaken within us a desire to worship the Lord, who remains ever faithful and never abandons us.
The second helpful phrase is to set out on a journey. Before they could worship the Child in Bethlehem, the Magi had to undertake a lengthy journey. Matthew tells us that in those days “wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying: ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him’” (Mt 2:1-2). A journey always involves a transformation, a change. After a journey, we are no longer the same. There is always something new about those who have made a journey: they have learned new things, encountered new people and situations, and found inner strength amid the hardships and risks they met along the way. No one worships the Lord without first experiencing the interior growth that comes from embarking on a journey.
We become worshipers of the Lord through a gradual process. Experience teaches us, for example, that at fifty we worship differently than we did at thirty. Those who let themselves be shaped by grace usually improve with time: on the outside, we grow older – so Saint Paul tells us – while our inner nature is being renewed each day (cf. 2 Cor 4:16), as we grow in our understanding of how best to worship the Lord. From this point of view, our failures, crises and mistakes can become learning experiences: often they can help us to be more aware that the Lord alone is worthy of our worship, for only he can satisfy our innermost desire for life and eternity. With the passage of time, life’s trials and difficulties – experienced in faith – help to purify our hearts, making them humbler and thus more and more open to God. Even our sins, the awareness of being sinners, of experiencing such bad things. “But I did this… I did…”: if you approach it with faith and repentance, with contrition, it will help you to grow. Paul says that everything can help us to grow spiritually, to encounter Jesus, even our sins. And Saint Thomas adds: “etiam mortalia”, even the bad sins, the worst. But if you respond with repentance it will help you on this journey towards encountering the Lord and to worship him better.
Like the Magi, we too must allow ourselves to learn from the journey of life, marked by the inevitable inconveniences of travel. We cannot let our weariness, our falls and our failings discourage us. Instead, by humbly acknowledging them, we should make them opportunities to progress towards the Lord Jesus. Life is not about showing off our abilities, but a journey towards the One who loves us. We are not to show off our virtues in every step of our life; rather, with humility we should journey towards the Lord. By keeping our gaze fixed on the Lord, we will find the strength needed to persevere with renewed joy.
And so we come to the third phrase: to see. To lift up our eyes; to set out on a journey; to see. The Evangelist tells us that, “going into the house they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” (Mt 2:10-11). Worshiping was an act of homage reserved for sovereigns and high dignitaries. The Magi worshiped the One they knew was the king of the Jews (cf. Mt 2:2). But what did they actually see? They saw a poor child and his mother. Yet these wise men from far-off lands were able to look beyond those lowly surroundings and recognize in that Child a royal presence. They were able to “see” beyond appearances. Falling to their knees before the Babe of Bethlehem, they expressed a worship that was above all interior: the opening of the treasures they had brought as gifts symbolized the offering of their own hearts.
To worship the Lord we need to “see” beyond the veil of things visible, which often prove deceptive. Herod and the leading citizens of Jerusalem represent a worldliness enslaved to appearances and immediate attractions. They see, yet they cannot see. It is not that they do not believe, no; it is that they do not know how to see because they are slaves to appearances and seek what is attractive. They value only the sensational, the things that capture the attention of the masses. In the Magi, however, we see a very different approach, one we can define as theological realism – a very “high” word, yet helpful – a way of perceiving the objective reality of things and leads to the realization that God shuns all ostentation. The Lord is in humility, he is like that humble child, who shuns that ostentation which is precisely the product of worldliness. A way of “seeing” that transcends the visible and makes it possible for us to worship the Lord who is often hidden in everyday situations, in the poor and those on the fringes. A way of seeing things that is not impressed by sound and fury, but seeks in every situation the things that truly matter, and that seeks the Lord. With Saint Paul, then, let us “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18).
May the Lord Jesus make us true worshipers, capable of showing by our lives his loving plan for all humanity. Let us ask for the grace for each of us and for the whole Church, to learn to worship, to continue to worship, to exercise this prayer of adoration often, because only God is to be adored.
From the earliest days of the Church, the magi have aroused keen interest among the faithful. They were one of the favorite themes of the early Christian artists: sarcophagi and paintings appear more often with the same scene of the Nativity.
Christians were not satisfied with the limited information that can be found in the Gospel text. Too many details are missing: where they came from? How many were there? What were their names? What kind of transport did they use? What did they do after returning to their home countries? Where are they buried?
To answer these questions, many legends were born. It was said that they were kings. They were three: one came from Africa, one from Asia and one from Europe, and that one was black, one yellow and one white. Guided by the star , they met at the same point and then they walked together on the last stretch of the journey to Bethlehem. They were called Gaspar (the beardless youth and colorful) Melchiorre (the hoary old man with long beard), Balthasar (the mature man with beard). They were clearly the symbols of the three ages of life. For the trip they were served by camels and dromedaries. After returning home, when they had already reached the ripe old age of 120 years, one day they saw the star again. They departed and found themselves back together in a city of Anatolia, to celebrate the Christmas Mass. On the same day, they were happy and they died. Their remains went round the world: first in Constantinople, then to Milan until 1162, when they were transferred to the cathedral of Cologne, Germany.
It is about pleasant and touching stories, but must be kept accurately distinct from the Gospel story as not to compromise the message that the sacred text wants to communicate.
So let us begin to clarify some details that in our minds that are closely linked to the figure of the Magi, but which have nothing to do with what Matthew narrates.
First of all, it was not said that there were three, and that they were magi, not kings. They had to belong to the category of diviners, astrologers, well known and appreciated people in antiquity for their wisdom, ability to interpret dreams, predict the future and read the will of God through the ordinary or extraordinary events of life.
There is no wonder that Matthew has introduced the magi in his story. He has chosen them as a symbol of all the pagans that, before the Jews themselves, opened their eyes to the light of Christ.
With respect to the star, it was widely believed that the birth of a great person was accompanied by the appearance in the sky of his star: big for the wealthy, tiny for the poor, blurry for the weak. The appearance of a comet was thought to be a sign of the advent of a new emperor.
But did the wise men really saw a comet?
Many astronomers have devoted time and energy to check if two thousand years ago, there appeared in the heavens a very bright star in concurrency with the birth of Jesus. They found that in 12-11 BC and the comet ‘Halley’s passed. Then in the year 7a.C. three times the conjunction of Jupiter (the star of kingship) with Saturn (the star of the Jews – according to Tacitus) was verified.
They were admirable for their efforts. However, carried out in this way, the search of the comet of Bethlehem reminds me of the expedition to Ararat to find the ark of Noe.Reading the text of Matthew astronomers should easily realize that the evangelist does not allude to an astronomical phenomenon. The wise men saw the star that precedes them while they are going from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, then a star … from north to south. Really strange! All the celestial bodies move from east to west.
The star referred to by Matthew is not to be found in heaven, but in the Bible.
The evangelist writes for readers who are familiar with the Old Testament for centuries and are waiting to see the appearance of a star mentioned in a mysterious prophecy in the book of Numbers.
In Numbers 22-24 there was a curious story of Balaam and his talking donkey. Balaam was a soothsayer, a magi of the East, just like the ones mentioned in the Gospel today. One day he unwittingly makes a prophecy: “I see it but it is not an event that will happen shortly; I behold him but not near. A star shall come forth from Jacob, a king, born of Israel, rises…One of Jacob will dominate over his enemies” (Numbers 24, 17:19).
So Balaam, “the man penetrating eye” (Num. 24: 3) spoke, about 1200 years before the birth of Jesus. Since then, the Israelites began to anxioulsy wait for the rising of this star that was none other than the Messiah himself.
Presenting to us the wise men of the East who see the star, the evangelist wants to tell his readers: from the descendant of Jacob the expected deliverer rose. It is Jesus. He is the star.
Should we then remove the comet from our cribs? No! Let us contemplate the star and point it also to our children, but we must explain to them that the star is not a star in the sky, but it is Jesus. He is the light that enlightens every person (John 1 : 9). He is the brilliant morning star (Rev 22 , 16).
Matthew writes in the 80s AD and what does he verify? He notes that the heathens entered en masse in the church. They recognized and adored the star, while the Jews, who were waiting for so many centuries, refused him.
The story of the Magi is therefore a “parable” of what was happening in the Christian community at the end of the first century. The pagans who sought the truth with honesty and perseverance have received from God the light to find it.
Matthew highlights another particular: the magi (the symbol of the pagan peoples) would never have come to Christ if the Jews, with their Scripture, had not shown them the way. Israel may not have followed the star but accomplished her mission, She was the mediator of salvation for all peoples.
Now we try to connect today’s gospel with the first reading . The prophet said that when in Jerusalem the light of the Lord shined, all nations would be on their way to the holy city, bringing their gifts. With the story of the Magi , Matthew is telling us that this prophecy is fulfilled: guided by the light of the Messiah, the Gentiles (represented by the Magi) make their way to Jerusalem, to bring gold, frankincense and myrrh. The popular piety applied to each of these gifts a symbolic meaning: gold indicates the recognition of Jesus as king, incense represents the adoration in front of his divinity, myrrh recalls his humanity – this fragrant resin will be remembered during the passion (Mk 15, 23 , Jn 19 39).
Even the story of the mounts was not been invented for nothing. It is still the first reading today that speaks to us of “a troop of camels and dromedaries” that come from the East (Is 60: 6). Unlike the shepherds who contemplated and rejoiced in front of the salvation that the Lord had revealed to them, the magi prostrated themselves in worship (v.11). Their gesture recalls the court’s ceremony – the prostration and kissing of the feet of the king – or kissing the ground before the image of the deity. The pagans have therefore recognized as their king and their God, the child of Bethlehem and offered him their gifts.
They have become the symbol of people around the world who are led by the light of Christ. They are the image of the church, made up of people of every race, tribe, language and nation. Entering the church does not mean giving up one’s identity. It does not mean submitting to an unjust and false uniformity. Every person and every people maintain their cultural characteristics. With these, they enrich the universal church.
Today there’s much talk about the crisis of faith, but they hardly say anything about the crisis of religious sentiment. And yet, as one theologian points out, the drama of modern man isn’t as much our incapacity to believe, as our difficulty to feel God as God. Even those who declare themselves believers seem to be losing the capability of living out certain religious attitudes in the face of God.
A clear example is the difficulty of adoring God. In times not so far back it seemed easy to feel reverence and adoration before the immensity and the unfathomable mystery of God. Today it’s more difficult to adore the one whom we’ve reduced to a strange, uncomfortable and superfluous being.
In order to adore God it’s necessary to feel ourselves as creatures, infinitely small before God, but infinitely loved by God; we need to admire God’s unfathomable greatness and enjoy the near and loving presence of God that envelopes our whole being. Adoration is admiration. It’s love and self-giving. It’s handing our being over to God and remaining in grateful and joyful silence before God, admiring God’s mystery from our smallness.
Our difficulty in adoring comes from many roots. Whoever lives disturbed inside by all kinds of noise and rushing around through a thousand distractions, without ever stopping before what’s essential, that one will find «the adorable face» of God with difficulty.
On the other hand, to adore God it’s necessary to stand still in the presence of the mystery of the world and know how to look lovingly upon it. Whoever looks at life lovingly in its depths will begin to uncover the footprints of God before he suspects it.
Only God is adorable. Not the most valuable things nor the most loved persons are worthy of being adored as God is. That’s why only someone who is free within can adore God truly.
This adoration of God isn’t far from commitment. Whoever adores God fights against all that destroys the human being, who is God’s «sacred image». Whoever adores the Creator respects and defends God’s creation. Adoration and solidarity, adoration and ecology are intimately united. That’s how to understand the words of the great scientist and mystic Teilhard de Chardin: «The more human we become, the more we experience the need to adore».
The story of the Magi offers us a model of authentic adoration. These wise men know how to look at the cosmos in its depth, capture signs, come close to the Mystery, and offer their humble homage to the God incarnate in our existence.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf