Stars and Dreams


By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

The word Epiphany comes from the Greek epiphainein, ‘to reveal.’ We use it – and its cousin, Theophany – on Sunday to describe the showing of the Messiah to the Gentiles.

It’s an important celebration, as God came not just to the Jewish community but to the whole world.

Matthew describes how the Magi find and respond to Jesus:

The star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Magi find Jesus following stars. They leave him following dreams.

How can we read this today? Are there lessons for us in the here and now?

Stars and dreams may be one. How else but by signs do we know our hearts, those soft, quiet places we feel but cannot see? Our intuition … our hunches … our love live there, wrapped in a mystery we cannot describe.

The Magi’s stars and dreams were their intuition. They followed it, bringing the gift of their attention to a homeless refugee. Bringing the gift of Love for a homeless refugee they neither recognized nor knew.

How do we watch for and listen to the signs that might guide us today? How do we give the gift of attention?

Your answer will be different from mine. We are different people. But the heart of the matter is: Be there.

Be the watcher, the listener. Be the one who brings gifts of thoughtfulness, kindness, affection.

Be the one who expresses love for everyone … no matter what they look like or who they are.


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