Epiphany: God made manifest

Epiphany is a marvelous and rich feast. Delightfully, that richness lingers throughout this whole last week of the Christmas season as we approach the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. We see embers of that richness reflected in the prayers offered in the Church’s liturgy and in the readings proclaimed from Sacred Scripture. We hear declarations of the Kingship of Christ, manifestations of His marvelous glory, and his longing to claim His Bride.

Today the Bridegroom claims his bride, the Church, since Christ has washed her sins away in Jordan’s waters; the Magi hasten with their gifts to the royal wedding; and the wedding guests rejoice, for Christ has changed water into wine, alleluia. (Morning Prayer Antiphon)

God himself has taken on our human flesh in the Incarnation, but lest we forget in our gazing upon a sweet infant babe, the ensuing feasts quickly remind us that this sweet babe in the arms of Mary is the all-powerful King of the Universe who has broken into our world to bring light into dark places, to set captives free, and to draw not just a chosen few, but ALL, to himself.

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you… Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. (Isaiah 60:1-5)

In the early hours of Sunday morning the song God With Us by All Sons and Daughters began running through my mind. It is my Epiphany theme song! He has come to be so near to us; He is God with us. Come, stand in His glory; know His peace, hope, and light. And come as the Magi did, no matter how far you must travel, to lay all you are and all you have at His feet, even your costliest treasures. For you shall be radiant at what you see in this great king who comes to take you as His bride, and your heart shall overflow with more joy than you can imagine when His light floods your heart.

Examining the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 

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Behold the Heart of your Savior!

Engulfed in the burning fire of love. Not just any love, no, but a mature, fully committed, and unending love. This flame of love drove Him in the quest to save His beloved. This flame of love drove Him to die on the cross so that we may live. What a beautiful love!

Wrapped by the crown of thorns, which He, the King of Heaven, wore as His crown on earth. This crown of thorns made Him suffer immense pain, yet the flame of love pressed Him to endure it all for us. His suffering was transformed into great and powerful prayer: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

The wound below His crown, still bleeding His most sacred blood. Always bleeding His most sacred blood. It may seem as though it ought to run dry, but it will always bleed for us as a fountain of love and mercy. This bleeding Heart constantly pours out life into the Body of Christ, the Church.

The cross in the midst of the flame, as though this Heart knows how much it must sacrifice if the flame of love is to survive. The flame only grows when given the opportunity to embrace the wood of the cross, which ultimately means sacrificing the very life of the Heart. Yet the complete sacrifice only allows the Heart to reveal it’s true strength and power, for It lives even after Its death.

Finally, this entire Heart is surrounded by the Divine Light itself, revealing the supreme Love of God, who sent His only Son – the second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ – to dwell among men and die for the sake of their salvation. This Divine Light blocks out all darkness and does not allow sin to penetrate the Heart, but instead allows the Heart to spread the Light to all the corners of the world, constantly revealing the great love and mercy of God.

This Heart allows us to become children of God. This Heart allows us life in Heaven after death. Let’s all pray that our hearts may become more like this Heart everyday.

Sacre-CoeurHeart of Jesus, celestial flame, divine fire, destroy in us all that is not pure, and grant that our affections may be entirely yours. May we live only for love and die of love.

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