Wednesday 16th January 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

The Quest Of The Magi And Our Own In 2019

January 11, 2019 Featured Today No Comments

By JAMES MONTI

How truly fitting it is that the celebration of the Epiphany, the visit of the Magi, should come at the beginning of January. For just as the Magi set out on a quest “into the unknown” to find and pay homage to a Newborn King they as yet knew not, scarcely imagining that their journey would lead them to an encounter with the God of the Universe Incarnate, so too, the beginning of a new year in January sets us on a quest into the unknown, none of us really knowing for sure what the year will bring. In this new year there is heightened anxiety as the Church finds herself in particularly uncertain and dangerous waters.
The journey of the Magi could be said to be the first great Christian pilgrimage, the prototype for the pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Rome, and Compostela over the centuries that followed. Acting under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, St. Matthew gives us just the bare essentials regarding these “wise men” and their expedition to find the Christ Child.
Clearly the star of Bethlehem caught their attention because it was somehow unprecedented, not like the other stars, but what was it that led them to recognize in the star a divine message announcing the birth of a new king of Israel? Did they find this star prophesied in some ancient text, now lost? And why would this have been of so much interest to them as Gentiles that they would set out on a quest to find this royal Infant and salute him with costly gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh?
Were they all from the very same country or from different places, and if from different places, what led them to make the journey together? Did they perhaps individually discover the star and then meet the others along the way, deciding subsequently to proceed together? And were they indeed kings, even though St. Matthew does not mention this?
I personally believe that the tradition concerning the Magi as kings three in number deserves respect. Modern culture habitually assumes that nearly everything our forefathers believed was somehow fabricated, invented to fool credulous minds, but modern scientific and archaeological findings, such as those examining the most revered relics of Christendom, have increasingly vindicated the beliefs of our forebears. The Magi as they have been described and depicted for centuries can be found in a twelfth-century scriptural commentary, the Collectanea et Flores of Pseudo-Bede:
“They are the Magi who gave gifts to the Lord: the first is said to have been Melchior, old and gray, in a long beard and hair, clothed in a crimson tunic, and a black mantle, and shoes with mingled crimson and white handiwork, as well as a turban of varied composition; he offered gold to the Lord King. The second, with the name Gaspar, a beardless young man, ruddy, clothed in a black tunic, a red mantle, crimson shoes; with frankincense as a worthy oblation to God, he honored God. The third, black, entirely bearded, with the name Balthasar, having a red tunic, clothed in a white embroidered garment, with black shoes. By the myrrh he is professed the Son of Man going to die. But all of their clothes are Syrian” (text in Patrologia Latina, volume 94, column 541).
Even with a tradition as detailed as this, so much of the “why” and “how” of the journey of the Magi remains totally hidden in the mists of history. Like so much that is sacred, it is wrapped in wondrous mystery. But so is that other pilgrimage we are all making — the pilgrimage of our own lives toward the Heavenly Jerusalem.
In a fallen world, it was inevitable that the pilgrimage of the Magi would encounter evil along the way. This came when they were close to their destination, and in the holy city of Jerusalem, no less. For it was there that they came face to face with a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Herod the king, who feigned that he wanted to go worship the Christ Child when in fact he wanted to slaughter Him. The Magi at first took Herod at his word, but when they were later warned in a dream to steer clear of him, they changed their plans and “departed to their own country by another way” (Matt. 2:12).
In our own pilgrimage to eternity we also encounter evils that are ultimately the handiwork of Satan. Among the lessons to be learned from the recent scandal in the Church is just how extremely dangerous heresies are, for often enough they are the breeding ground of moral depravity.
The great twentieth-century Catholic writer Dom Anscar Vonier (1875-1938) observed, “Heresies . . . are each one a yawning abyss ready to swallow up the army of God” (The Spirit and the Bride, London, Burns, Oates and Washbourne, 1935, p. 161).
Explaining that “the hatred of heresy is the adoring love of God’s ever-blessed truth,” the English Oratorian Fr. Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) comments:
“I have another unpopular complaint to make. The old-fashioned hatred of heresy is becoming scarce. God is not habitually looked at as the sole truth; and so the existence of heresies no longer appalls the mind. It is assumed that God must do nothing painful, and His dominion must not allow itself to take the shape of an inconvenience or a trammel to the liberty of His creatures….What the many want they must have at last” (“Heaven and Hell,” in Fr. Frederick Faber, Spiritual Conferences, London, 1860, pp. 374, 372, respectively).
Modern heresies are driven by a desire to bring the spirit of the world into the Church, but this is a lethal error. For years now, the annual celebration of New Year’s Eve in New York’s Times Square has been marred by the playing of an all too famous pop song — just moments before the New Year begins — that exhorts the listener to imagine a world without God and without religion, in which the only thing to live for is the here and now. It presents this as a dream devoutly to be hoped for, a dream of secular salvation for the New Year — but it is fact a dream of Hell on Earth.
In an exhortation to his fellow English Catholics suffering imprisonment and death for their faith during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the Jesuit martyr St. Robert Southwell (1561-1595) warns that succumbing to the spirit of the world brings a fate worse than bodily incarceration:
“Greater darkness hath the world, which inveighs and blinds not only the eyes, but the hearts of men. Heavier chains and shackles doth the world lay on us, which do fetter and entangle our very souls. Far worse odor and stench doth the world breathe out, I mean, ribaldry, carnality, and all kind of brutish behavior” (An Epistle of Comfort to the Reverend Priests, and to the Honorable, Worshipful, and other of the Lay Sort restrained in Durance for the Catholic Faith, Paris, 1588, fol. 102v).
Having the courage to stand tall against the spirit of the world, to part company with the world just as the Magi turned away from Herod, is for a believing Catholic the only true path forward: “. . . for a Catholic, who has Christ for his auctor [author], the Apostles for his witness, all former saints for testimonies, how honorable it is to suffer in God’s quarrel” (St. Robert Southwell, in ibid., fol. 103r).
Upon learning that the high and the mighty of Jerusalem knew nothing of a Newborn King of the Jews, the Magi did not lose faith. And when at their journey’s end they discovered this Newborn King living in dire poverty and obscurity, they were not scandalized. Rather, they prostrated themselves before Him and went ahead with offering Him their most precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Our Lord said, “…blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Matt. 11:6).
To all too many modern biblical scholars, the Infancy narratives are such a “scandal” that they tell us not to believe them. They seem “scandalized” that our Lady conceived virginally and remained a perpetual virgin, scandalized that God would set a special star in the sky to announce the birth of His Son, scandalized that He would summon wise men from afar with this star to come and worship His Son.

Beautiful Gifts

But their hermeneutic of doubt is itself a myth. A new generation of faithful Catholic Scripture scholars is supplanting these skeptics and reaffirming the veracity of the Gospels.
It is worth noting that the Holy Family does not refuse the costly gifts of the Magi nor do they rebuke them for their presentation. The idea that Christ refuses to have anything precious or magnificent built, sung, painted, sculpted, sewn, or molten in His honor because He lived in poverty needs to be consigned to the trash bin of history.
Our Lord’s birth in the poorest of surroundings doesn’t mean that He is merely “one of us” and wants to be treated as such. It does testify that He wants to draw us into the closest communion with Him by sharing in our human condition, and that He has come to serve, in humility, for our salvation. But His birth in a lowly manger also affirms how infinitely He transcends everything created — that He is so infinitely above all He has made that by comparison, gold is scarcely better than hay as His bed and princes scarcely better than barnyard animals as His attendants.
Yet like a father who gladly receives the best of what His child is able to give Him as a present, our Lord welcomes our strivings to offer Him the most excellent and beautiful gifts we have to offer.
With a star as their guide, the Magi would have had to rely upon the cover of darkness, the coming of the night, to see their way forward, to see and follow the star. Is our journey forward in life any different? Does not the hand of the Lord steer us under the cover of darkness, directly forward into an uncertain future of unforeseen events? But He steers us with the same loving hand with which He upheld St. Peter when he began to sink into the water (Matt. 14:31).
God sees what we cannot see, for as Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890) observed, “He knows what He is about” (Meditations and Devotions of the Late Cardinal Newman, New York, Longmans, Green and Co., 1903, p. 302). So let us trust in God’s plan for the new year: Procedamus in pace.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Right now the most likely path toward reform in the Church-- intervention of government authority-- could lead to disaster. If only a “morally intrepid few” bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger.

Cardinal Burke, in two interviews, calls current Vatican response to abuse crisis "more confusing than anything"; calls upon those responsible for the McCarrick scandal to resign. Speaks about a group in USCCB pushing for LGBT agenda. @TheWandererNews

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

Cardinal Burke said that Pope Benedict was 'very clear' on the matter of abuse.

www.lifesitenews.com

Load More...

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading

CARDINAL CUPICH KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR DISSIDENT PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…Continue Reading

Priest: Pro-LGBT rainbow rosary promoted by Fr. Martin ‘comes from the pit of hell’

December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – During a radio interview about the pro-homosexual “social justice” rosary that Fr. James Martin has been promoting, Fr. Donald Calloway prayed for Martin’s “radical conversion” and that the Jesuit might “repent of the things he has…Continue Reading

President Trump’s Decision to Defund Planned Parenthood of $50-60 Million Likely to Win in Court

President Donald Trump appears likely to win a court battle against the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. At issue are new guidelines for Title X grants, which fund family planning programs across the country. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and…Continue Reading

Pro-LGBT priest promotes ‘rainbow’ rosary with prayers for ‘full acceptance’ of gay couples

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is promoting on social media a rosary with “rainbow” beads for one of the decades which are to be used, the rosary’s creators say, to pray for the “full…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò denies claims he defrauded his brother

ROME, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has denied claims he defrauded his brother, and has sought to clarify an October court ruling ordering him to pay his brother €1.8 million in inheritance. Many believe the ruling is being…Continue Reading

Vatican’s former doctrine chief: ‘LGBT’ has ‘no place’ in Church documents

VATICAN CITY, November 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential cardinal says that pro-homosexual terminology such as “LGBT” has no place in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church. In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, formerly the Prefect of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Archbishop Viganò urges McCarrick to publicly repent in new open letter

ROME, January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — With a tone of fraternal and priestly charity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open letter to former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, encouraging him to publicly repent of his sins and thus to save his soul. In the brief letter, dated January 13, 2019 and published in English and Italian (see full text below), Archbishop Viganò has also sought to persuade McCarrick that he has a unique opportunity to greatly benefit the Churc

U.S. Catholics losing trust in clergy, survey finds

Washington D.C., Jan 11, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Trust in the clergy has declined sharply over the last year, a new Gallup poll shows. Only 31 percent of American Catholics now rate the honesty or ethical standards of the clergy as “high” or “very high.” The figures, released Friday, show a drop of 18 points since 2017. Among American Protestants, the same question produced a relatively stable number of 48 percent, a drop of…Continue Reading

Vatican News pays tribute to Cuba’s brutal communist revolution, then deletes post

ROME, January 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An article at Vatican News, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, disappeared from the Holy See’s website just one day after it appeared on January 1. No explanation was offered for the self-censorship of the article, which marked the rise to power of Fidel Castro and his anti-clerical Marxist government, which has long been marked by grievous human rights violations. The Vatican News article, in…Continue Reading

Wuerl knew McCarrick abuse allegations in 2004

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2019 / 05:13 pm (CNA).- An allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was reported to Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2004, despite Wuerl’s insistence he knew nothing about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct until 2018. Wuerl forwarded the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington confirmed to CNA that an allegation against McCarrick was presented to Wuerl while…Continue Reading

Analysis: The non-trial of Theodore McCarrick

Vatican City, Jan 7, 2019 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- While recent media reports suggest that a trial of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick is underway, Vatican sources have told CNA that his case is not being handled by a full judicial process. Sources at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have confirmed that allegations against McCarrick are being considered through an abbreviated approach called an “administrative penal process.” That decision gives insight into the strengt

Advertisement(2)

The Case Against The Sign Of Peace At Mass

By REY FLORES O Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to Your Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you,” regarda not my sins but the faith of your Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Your will: Who live and reign God, world without end. Amen. — At…Continue Reading

Candor Is Not The Enemy Of Love

By DONALD DeMARCO Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, in his book Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World, makes two most important points when he reminds all those who love life that “candor is not the enemy of love” and that “real hope begins in honesty.” Candor may disturb one’s…Continue Reading

No, This Is Not JFK’s Democratic Party

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House has more women, persons of color, and LGBT members than any House in history — and fewer white males. And Thursday, January 3, the day Rashida Tlaib was sworn in, her hand on a Koran, our first Palestinian-American congresswoman showed us what we may expect. As a…Continue Reading

Are The Knights Of Columbus A Hate Group Now?

By SHAUN KENNEY Democratic Senators Kamala Harris and Maize Hirono have chosen to make membership within the Knights of Columbus a variant of a hate crime. Judicial nominee Brian Buescher’s pro-life bona fides notwithstanding, his cardinal sin against the bureaucracy isn’t his judicial temperament, but rather the fact that he is a practicing Catholic. The…Continue Reading

The Quest Of The Magi And Our Own In 2019

By JAMES MONTI How truly fitting it is that the celebration of the Epiphany, the visit of the Magi, should come at the beginning of January. For just as the Magi set out on a quest “into the unknown” to find and pay homage to a Newborn King they as yet knew not, scarcely imagining…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

His Bride Is The Church

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Cor. 12:4-11 John 2:1-11 In the readings for the past three weeks, the Church has given us the three traditional events which manifested our Lord’s divinity. The word Epiphany means manifestation. These manifestations took place thirty years apart, but were celebrated together because they point…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Wall And Abortion: No Moral Equivalency

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The March for Life event each January draws thousands of pro-life Americans to Washington, D.C., to witness for the weakest and most defenseless among us, preborn boys and girls who cannot speak on behalf of the sacredness of their lives in the face of legalized abortion which, in some cases, threatens their existence at every…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops . . . The Hierarchy Of Orders In The Catholic Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 It is a well-known fact that the Church today is going through a crisis, especially in faith, as can be seen as early as 1985 when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger allowed the publication of The Ratzinger Report. I believe that Benedict XVI was the only Pope in Church history whose mind was already well-known…Continue Reading

The Crisis Of Hope In The Modern World

By DON FIER Two opposing vices were identified last week as contrary to the theological virtue of hope: despair and presumption. Despair, on the one hand, goes against Divine Mercy; presumption, on the other hand, goes against Divine Justice. To explain, the renowned Thomist philosopher Dr. Josef Pieper describes hope as “preeminently the virtue of the status viatoris [condition or…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent reply about the appropriateness of giving blessings to those coming to Holy Communion, we said that the practice was an unauthorized innovation that should be discouraged. We have since learned that Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., has instructed his priests and deacons not to give such blessings. Here is his rationale: “I do not…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Servant Of God Walter Ciszek

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 After living 23 years in Russia in prison camps and various towns in northern Russia, Fr. Walter Ciszek was suddenly given orders to be prepared to go to Moscow. He was never told why he was being transferred to the capital of Russia. When he first arrived, he wondered what was happening. For once, he…Continue Reading