POETRY: Epiphany Poem by George Mackay Brown

January 16, 2019

The red king Came to a great water. He said, Here the journey ends. No keel or skipper on this shore. The yellow king Halted under a hill. He said, Turn the camels round. Beyond, ice summits only. The black king Knocked on a city gate. He said, All roads stop here. These are gravestones, no inn. The three kings Met under a dry star. There, at midnight, The star began its singing. The three kings Suffered salt, snow, skulls. They suffered the silence Before the first [...]

POETRY: The Magi by William Butler Yeats

January 10, 2018

Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye, In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones, And all their helms of silver hovering side by side, And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more, Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied, The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial [...]

POETRY: The Magus by James Dickey

January 6, 2017

It is time for the others to come. This child is no more than a god. No cars are moving this night. The lights in the houses go out. I put these out with the rest. From his crib, the child begins To shine, letting forth one ray Through the twelve simple bars of his bed Down into the trees, where two Long-lost other men shall be drawn Slowly up to the bring of the house, Slowly in through the breath on the window. But how did I get in this room? Is this my son, or another’s? Where is the woman to tell me How my face is lit up by his body? It is time for the others to come. An event more miraculous yet Is the thing I am shining to tell you. This child is no more than a child. [...]


January 6, 2017

From The School of Charity The story of the Magi shows the new life which has appeared within the rich texture of our normal experience, casting its purifying radiance upon the whole existence of man, the Light of the world, not the sanctuary lamp of a well-appointed church.  Cozy religious exclusiveness is condemned in this mystery.  It is easy for the pious to join the shepherds, and feel in place at the crib, and look out into the surrounding darkness saying, Look at those extraordinary intellectuals wandering about after a star; they seem to have no religious sense.  Look what curious gifts and odd types of self-consecration they are bringing; not at all the sort of people one sees in church.  Yet the child who began by receiving [...]


January 5, 2017

From Light of Christ You know how sometimes on a pitch black night in the country, you see far off one glimmer of light and you follow it and it turns out to be just a candle in a cottage window – but it was enough to assure you of life ahead, to give you the lead you wanted in the dark.  In the same way, when the Magi turned from their abstruse calculations in search of Heaven and followed a star, they did not arrive at a great mathematical result or revelation of the cosmic mind.  They found a poor little family party and were brought to their knees – because, like the truly wise, they were really humble-minded – before a baby born under most unfortunate circumstances, a mystery of human life, a little living growing thing. [...]


January 4, 2017

From The School of Charity Look at the story of the Magi: those scholars of the ancient world, turning from their abstruse calculations and searching of the heavens because they saw a new star, and driven to seek along fresh paths for a clue to the mystery of life.  What they found does not seem at first sight what we should now call “intellectually satisfying.”  It was not a revelation of the Cosmic Mind, but a poor little family party; yet there they were brought to their knees – because, like the truly wise, they were really humble-minded – before a little, living, growing thing.  The utmost man can achieve on his own here capitulates before the unspeakable and mysterious simplicity of the method of God; his [...]


January 3, 2017

From Light of Christ Now to accept historical Christianity as God’s supreme self-revelation does not mean some elaborate philosophy of the spirit.  It means accepting the gospel story as touching our lives significantly at every point, because it is conveying God.  If we are ever to learn all that this record can mean for us, we must never forget that these, beyond all other facts of history, are indwelt, molded, brought into being by the Living Spirit of God, while plastic to his creative thought.  And if we thus feel God within these events, some so strange and some so homely, inspiring this action and record, then we also accept all these incidents as conveying something of his overruling will and thought, having something in [...]


January 2, 2017

From Light of Christ The Christmas Mystery has two parts: the Nativity and the Epiphany.  A deep instinct made the church separate these two feasts.  In the first, we commemorate God’s humble entrance into human life, the emergence and birth of the Holy, and in the second its manifestation to the world, the revelation of the supernatural made in that life.  And the two phases concern our inner lives very closely, too.  The first only happens in order that the second may happen; and the second cannot happen without the first.  Christ is a light to lighten the Gentiles as well as the glory of his people, Israel.  Think of what the Gentile was when these words were written – an absolute outsider.  All cozy religious [...]

STATIONS OF THE NATIVITY: Magi by Raymond Chapman

December 30, 2016

From Stations of the Nativity: Meditations on the Incarnation of Christ Before the Stations Almighty God, whose blessed Son took our human nature so that we might regain our lost innocence and be restored to the divine image that was disfigured by sin, grant that as we meditate on the mystery of his humanity we may share the glory of his divinity, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen. A hymn may be sung: the familiar Christmas hymns tell of the wonder of the Incarnation and the following is particularly suitable (click on hymn title to be directed to the YouTube video of its performance): We Three Kings Of Orient Are 10: Magi V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless [...]

POETRY: A Sonnet For Epiphany by Malcolm Guite

January 6, 2016

It might have been just someone else’s story, Some chosen people get a special king. We leave them to their own peculiar glory, We don’t belong, it doesn’t mean a thing. But when these three arrive they bring us with them, Gentiles like us, their wisdom might be ours; A steady step that finds an inner rhythm, A  pilgrim’s eye that sees beyond the stars. They did not know his name but still they sought him, They came from otherwhere but still they found; In temples they found those who sold and bought him, But in the filthy stable, hallowed ground. Their courage gives our questing hearts a voice To seek, to find, to worship, to [...]

CHRISTMAS STORY: The Night Of The Magi by Leo Rosten

January 5, 2016

When Mr. Parkhill noticed that Miss Mitnick, Mr. Bloom, and Mr. Kaplan were absent and heard a mysterious humming beneath the ordinary sounds which preceded the start of a class session, he realized that it was indeed the last meeting of the year and that Christmas was but a few days off. Every grade in the American Night Preparatory School for Adults each year presented a Christmas gift to its teacher.  By now, Mr. Parkhill was quite familiar with the ritual.  Several nights ago, there must have been a concerted dunning of those who had not yet contributed to the collection.  Now the Gift Committee was probably engaged in last-minute shopping in Mickey Goldstein’s Arcade, debating the propriety of a pair of pajamas, examining the [...]

POETRY: The Magi In Europe, by Khalīl Hāwī

January 10, 2014

(Lebanon; translated from the Arabic by Diana Der Hovanessian and Lena Jayyusi.) And it came to pass that the Magi, led by the Star of the East, found the Child, and fell on their knees before him. O Magi of the East, did you continue? Did you follow the ocean flood and civilization to the new lands? Did you find what God reveals himself now again in the cave? Come. The road starts here. The star shines here. And here again provisions for your travel. Let the star of the adventurous lead you to Paris where you can try the doors of the laboratories of thought and where you can discard thinking for celebrations with buffoons. And in Rome you may watch the star shroud itself and be extinguished by the glow of censers swung by eager priests. [...]

POETRY: Wise Men

January 8, 2014

The Magi William Butler Yeats Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye, In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones, And all their helms of silver hovering side by side, And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more, Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied, The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor. The Gift William Carlos Williams As the wise men of old brought gifts guided by a star to the humble birthplace of the god of love, the devils as an old print shows retreated in confusion. What could a baby know of gold ornaments or frankincense and myrrh, of priestly robes and devout [...]

POETRY: The Three Kings, by Muriel Spark

January 6, 2014

(In 2008 The Times newspaper named Spark in its list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.”) Where do we go from here? We left our country, Bore gifts, Followed a star. We were questioned. We answered. We reached our objective. We enjoyed the trip. Then we came back by a different way. And now the people are demonstrating in the streets. They say they don’t need the Kings any more. They did very well in our absence. Everything was all right without us. They are out on the streets with placards: Wise Men? What’s wise about them? There are plenty of Wise Men, And who needs them?—and so on. Perhaps they will be better off without us, But where do we go from [...]

POETRY: Fellow Hymn by Sidney Godolphin

January 1, 2014

(Sidney Goldolphin died fighting in the Royalist army in the English Civil War.) Lord, when the wise men came from afar Led to thy cradle by a star, Then did the shepherds too rejoice Instructed by thy angel’s voice. Blessed were the wise men in their skill; And shepherds in their harmless will. Wise men in tracing nature’s laws Ascend unto the highest cause. Shepherds with humble fearfulness Walk safely though their light be less; Though wise men better know the way, It seems no honest heart can stray. There is no merit in the wise, But love, the shepherds’ sacrifice. Wise men always of knowledge past To the shepherds’ wonder come at last. To know can only wonder breed; And not to know is wonder’s seed. A [...]

HOMILY: A Cold Coming by Lancelot Andrewes

December 31, 2013

(Preached between 1605 and 1624 before the court of Saint James) Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2) Now, for venimus, their coming itself.  And it follows well.  For, it is not a star only, but a load-star, and whither should stella Ejus ducere, but ad Eum?  Wither leads us, but to Him, whose the star is?  To the Stars Master. All this while we have been at dicentes, saying and seeing.  Now we shall come to facientes, see them do somewhat upon it.  It is [...]

POETRY: The Journey of the Magi by T. S. Eliot

January 5, 2013

“A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.” And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That [...]