Dear sisters and brothers,
As we ponder the meaning of the Feast of Epiphany, here are two good Franciscans to guide our reflection: Francis Peacock, a Secular Franciscan writing in 1942, and St. Bonaventure, theologian, writing in the 1200’s. Like us, neither of them ever met Francis of Assisi. Yet like us, they followed his example and lived the Gospel of Christ Jesus as best they could.
Francis Peacock was a Tertiary of St. Elizabeth Fraternity in Oakland, CA. She wrote a little article for The Western Tertiary on praying the Franciscan Crown in church. She wrote of the great joy and peace she found in this. Here are her thoughts on the Fourth Joy:
… I begin the thoughts on the Adoration of the Magi. If we could adore as they adored, and become so filled with Him that no longer would we ever follow our old ways. One of the most unique things about the Franciscan Crown, is the commemoration of the coming of the Magi. Popular devotion rarely thinks about those Wise Men. The Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating it, is great in the scale of the Liturgy, but half forgotten in popular esteem. I like to think of them coming through the night on camel-back, so solemn and so silent, straight to the place where the Star stood still. They find only a Baby there, lying on some straw, and a tired, quiet man, and a sweet, young mother. … They fall down and worship Him and offer gifts … Here am I, also adoring Him. But what do I bring, coming to Mass with an empty soul, empty heart, and vacant mind?
What our sister Frances Peacock experienced has been described before, by St. Bonaventure in his meditations on spiritual motherhood in Bringing Forth Christ: Five Feasts of the Child Jesus. Here the saint shares his own feelings about this scene where Jesus is found by the Magi:
We find the Child Jesus with Mary (cf Matt. 2:11) when we taste the sweetness of divine contemplation, sometimes accompanied by abundant tears of consolation, after we have shed tears of sorrow and made fruitful confession of our sins. We find the Child when prayer, which at the outset saw us almost despairing, leaves us rejoicing and assured of forgiveness. How happy such a 'Mary' by whom Jesus is conceived, from whom he is born and with whom he is found in tenderness and delight.
Wise men and wise women are all around us. Let us notice their examples – but let us each find a unique way to adore Him. May we bring Him full, joyful souls, hearts and minds.
Secular Franciscan Order
Old Mission San Luis Rey
4050 Mission Avenue
Oceanside, CA 92057
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