Publicat de: leonard oprea | 6 Ianuarie 2012

January 6 – The FEAST of EPIPHANY – SON of GOD, SON of MAN /a tale and history/ by leonard oprea


leonard oprea

The FEAST of EPIPHANY – SON of GOD, SON of MAN / a tale and history /

***

The  TALE:

 

OUR TALE

 

The Heaven and the Earth shall pass, but My words shall not pass

… Thomas spoke slowly, clearly and crisply, there, in the Bengal Gulf, and it was as if the sunset pulsed with a white-golden light, and the sand swished long and silky; the ocean waves themselves seemed to beat the shores in silence.

The jungle nearby gave a short murmur, then fell silent too, as if with a new, unknown, and mild comfort.

Thomas stood there for a while, head raised at the heavens, eyes shut, lips half-open, erect and with his arms open wide.

He prayed silently for the Word of his Lord and Master. He prayed passionately, yet trustful and humble. For, he was at the gates of the great India, with its countless people of whom he knew almost nothing.

And he alone had been chosen to share the Gospel with them. All he had on him was the Holy Ghost, a long linen shirt and a cedar wood walking stick. In his goatskin bag he kept enclosed in a sycamore box the scroll on which God had asked him to mark down His words.

The night before, one of God’s Angels came to him in a dream. It commanded him to come to this place at this time of the day. He was to meet the three Magi from the East who worshipped the Infant and offered him gold, incense and myrrh in that holy hour in Bethlehem. They would put him to the test and he would be victorious. Then he, Thomas, was to baptize them, and the Magi were to assist him in the work that God commanded of him there, in the great and unknown India.

Though the prayer had filled his heart and mind with serenity, comfort, and hope, Thomas quivered with fear as he sat waiting on the warm sand. ‘I am still human’, he admitted.

***

‘Awake’, said a voice inside Thomas, as if God were by his side.

He started and opened his eyes wide.

It was dusk.

He saw the camp, the fretting servants, the fires and the tents.

The horses gave subdued neighs, the kneeling camels snorted.

‘May the Angels watch over you, may God protect you, may Jesus guide your heart’, the deep whisper sounded in the break of night.

Thomas gave thanks by crossing himself and it was then that he saw the three Magi, Gaspar, Balthazar, and Melhior, standing in a circle…

The Magi looked like ageless old people, and they smiled gently, as their eyes cast secret sparkles like the celebrated gems of India.

‘Thank you for coming. I await and honor your wisdom’, Thomas said.

‘Thomas’, Melhior spoke for the Magi, ‘the Word is everywhere and it is alive.

In Bethany you said: “Let us go and die with Him!” And you received Word: “I am the Resurrection and the life.” At the Easter Supper you said: “Lord, we know not whither you are gone; how may we learn the way?” And you received Word: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. None shall come to the Father but by Me.”

Then, what is the truth you are hiding, Thomas?’

Thomas breathed, seized by an unseen fire, then slowly, slowly he came to himself. The Holy Ghost filled him completely. His eyes opened wide, wide – and when he finally saw Him, he spoke:

‘O My Lord and Master, if this be Your wish, I witness the cross you gave me.’

Unflinching in their gentle smiles, their eyes glowing, palms pressed to their hearts, the Eastern Magi listened. And it seemed like the heaven and the earth passed at that very moment.

‘Behold, O Lord, what was, and You know well that thus it all came to pass. You rose, O Lord, for You died on the cross. And they all learned it. Jerusalem was up on its feet. The Sadducees and the Pharisees went mad. And I, Thomas, pure and humble and faithful as you had found me in Lazarus’ Bethany, and whom You anointed with Your Word at that Last Supper on Easter Day, I knew from You that it was to be like that. For I was commanded by You to preserve Your Words in eternity. Amen.

‘And remember, O Lord, when I saw the countenance of Mary Magdalene come out of the house where my brethren were hiding, I knew Your promise was true that You shall never suffer us to become orphans. I was speechless with joy. Yet I went in. I saw my brethren. I saw with my heart the inside of their hearts.

‘And then I asked: Lord, I happily take upon myself their sin, as You did to redeem us. Lord, help their lack of faith and come back into your frame of flesh that I may thrust my finger into their unfaithfulness and Your wounds, saving them, for they loved You best and shall witness with their lives their love for You.

‘Happily I say: Lord, may my name be Doubting Thomas, in eternity and until I shall pass from this world, if that may help me love my brethren as my self. Help me, my Lord and Master, teach me.’

Then fell silent Thomas, alias the Twin, alias the Doubting.

Melhior spoke for the Magi:

‘Let it be ours, the story of your brethren, let it be our story.

Baptize us, Thomas.’

And Doubting Thomas baptized them.

In the name of our Lord.

With water of the Indian Ocean and with the Holy Spirit.

***

from:

Trilogy of Theophil Magus – the Truth (“Xlibris”/Random House Ventures, 2008, USA /Library of Congress Control Number: 2008901520/ ISBN: Hardcover 978-1-4363-2366-6/Softcover 978-1-4363-2365-9)(In Trilogy of Theophil Magus’ 40 Tales about Man, a great variety of sacred and profane themes, archaic, mythical, contemporary /Moses, Gandhi, Christmas, children, journalism, pilgrimage etc./serves as vivid stimulation for this literary adventure, written with humor, knowledge and wit…in an inviting dialogue with the reader. /Norman Manea – American novelist, essayist);(The Truth, the second book of Trilogy of Theophil Magus is situated in the strange no man’s land where everyday life becomes truly magical. I consider these writings as splendid expressions of a unique vision of our fragmented but marvelously exciting world. Leonard Oprea’s style combines a discovery of hidden meanings of words with a fabulous sense of secret humor. His works received the highest praises from the most influential critics, who rightly compared his vision to works by Thomas Mann, Borges or Paulo Coelho./Vladimir Tismăneanu – American philosopher, author, essayist);(Leonard Oprea’s 40 Tales of Trilogy of Theophil Magus – The Truth, range from the depiction of the everyday to the mythological and Borgesian to the religious. Honored with numbers of prizes in his native Romania, this writer is a true iconoclast and a true talent./ Adam J.Sorkin – American author, essayist, editor)

***

HISTORY:

 

http://catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/p/Epiphany.htm?r=facebook

Introduction to the Epiphany of Our Lord:

The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the oldest Christian feasts, though, throughout the centuries, it has celebrated a variety of things. Epiphany comes from a Greek verb meaning „to reveal,” and all of the various events celebrated by the Feast of the Epiphany are revelations of Christ to man.

Quick Facts:

  • Date: January 6. (In most countries and dioceses, the celebration is transferred to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8, inclusive. See When Is Epiphany? to find the date Epiphany is celebrated this year.)
  • Type of Feast: Solemnity. (See Is Epiphany a Holy Day of Obligation? for more details.)
  • Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13; Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12 (full text here)
  • Prayers: Collect for the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ (from the Mass of St. Pius V): „O God, Who by the guidance of a star didst this day reveal Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we, who know Thee now by faith, may be so led as to behold with our eyes the beauty of Thy majesty. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.”
  • Other Names for the Feast: Theophany, Three Kings Day

History:

Like many of the most ancient Christian feasts, Epiphany was first celebrated in the East, where it has been held from the beginning almost universally on January 6. Today, among both Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, the feast is known as Theophany—the revelation of God to man.

Epiphany originally celebrated four different events, in the following order of importance: the Baptism of the Lord; Christ’s first miracle, the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana; the Nativity of Christ; and the visitation of the Wise Men or Magi. Each of these is a revelation of God to man: At Christ’s Baptism, the Holy Spirit descends and the voice of God the Father is heard, declaring that Jesus is His Son; at the wedding in Cana, the miracle reveals Christ’s divinity; at the Nativity, the angels bear witness to Christ, and the shepherds, representing the people of Israel, bow down before Him; and at the visitation of the Magi, Christ’s divinity is revealed to the Gentiles—the other nations of the earth.

Eventually, the celebration of the Nativity was separated out, in the West, into Christmas; and shortly thereafter, Western Christians adopted the Eastern feast of the Epiphany, still celebrating the Baptism, the first miracle, and the visit from the Wise Men. Thus, Epiphany came to mark the end of Christmastide—the Twelve Days of Christmas, which began with the revelation of Christ to Israel in His Birth and ended with the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles at Epiphany.

Over the centuries, the various celebrations were further separated in the West, and now the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Sunday after January 6, and the wedding at Cana is commemorated on the Sunday after the Baptism of the Lord.

In many parts of Europe, the celebration of Epiphany is at least as important as the celebration of Christmas. In Italy and other Mediterranean countries, Christians exchange gifts on Epiphany—the day on which the Wise Men brought their gifts to the Christ Child—while in Northern Europe, it’s not unusual to give gifts on both Christmas and Epiphany (often with smaller gifts on each of the twelve days of Christmas in between).

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