Sunday, January 06, 2013

Reflections on Epiphany

A prayer:

Bright Morning Star,
You are both guidance and mystery,
Visit our rest with disturbing dreams,
and our journeys with strange companions.
Grace us with the hospitality
to open our hearts and homes
to visitors filled with unfamiliar wisdom
bearing profound and unusual gifts.

Your light has come,
and the birth of Jesus
has overwhelmed us with joy.
Like the magi of long ago,
may we be drawn to you
and offer you such gifts as we are able.
Amen.


On the Feast of the Epiphany. From James Joyce's "The Dead":
"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

Joyce believed that the meaning of "epiphany," is the moment when "the soul of the commonest object [...] seems to us radiant."

Radiance and light - drawing and following; finding and worshipping. The human condition is caught up in these things and the tension between them, within them, and with the forces and events that oppose them.


Yeats' "The Second Coming":

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"



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