Adoration of the Kings

 

The Season of Epiphany, PPS, Vol 7

Have you ever heard of Epiphanytide? If you haven’t, you are not alone. This beautiful season was recognized for centuries and still is by Catholics who participate in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite as well as those within the Anglican Ordinariate.  This joyful season deserves our awareness. During the lifetime of St. John Henry Newman and until recently, Epiphanytide was considered part of the “Christmas Cycle” which began at the end of November and extended through the end of January. Within this Christmas cycle fell three distinct seasons:  Advent, which we still celebrate; Christmastide, or the 12 Days of Christmas ending on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing forth,” that is, “making known.” Epiphany is the first time Christ made Himself known to the world, emphasized by the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the newborn King. Epiphany begins the final and third portion of the Christmas Cycle, called “Epiphanytide.” The Feast of the Epiphany and Epiphanytide are a radiant time of the liturgical year, and Newman clearly teaches at the beginning of this sermon why this season is special. He writes: 

“THE Epiphany is a season especially set apart for adoring the glory of Christ. The word may be taken to mean the manifestation of His glory, and leads us to the contemplation of Him as a King upon His throne in the midst of His court, with His servants around Him, and His guards in attendance. At Christmas we commemorate His grace; and in Lent His temptation; and on Good Friday His sufferings and death; and on Easter Day His victory; and on Holy Thursday His return to the Father; and in Advent we anticipate His second coming. And in all of these seasons He does something, or suffers something: but in the Epiphany and the weeks after it, we celebrate Him, not as on His field of battle, or in His solitary retreat, but as . . .  [a] glorious King; we view Him as the Object of our worship. Then only, during His whole earthly history . . . . [was He] declared to be the Son of God Most High, the Father of Ages, and the Prince of Peace, by His star; a wonderful appearance which had guided the wise men all the way from the East, even unto Bethlehem.”

After this insightful explanation of Christ as infant king upon the throne of His Mother’s arms, St. John Henry then instructs how the Church should properly acknowledge and celebrate the Sundays in this season of Epiphany. 

“There is no thought of war, or of strife, or of suffering, or of triumph, or of vengeance connected with the Epiphany, but of . . . majesty, of power, of prosperity, of splendour, of serenity, of [kindness]. Now, if at any time, it is fit to say, ‘The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him’. . . .  ‘O come, let us worship, and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker’ . . . . [and] ‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; bring presents, and come into His courts.’”

This thoughtful consideration of the time after the feast of Epiphany should be contemplated and prayerfully considered, for the time of Lent will come soon enough.  Epiphany Season is a happy time for us to keep the bright lights about our homes, to remember the miraculous birth and the guiding star.

Newman invites us to draw strength for trials and battles to come. We should take his conclusion to heart: “ . . . let us thankfully cherish all seasons of peace and joy which are vouchsafed us here below . . . Trial is our portion here . . . . Still God mercifully does grant a respite now and then. . . . When then Christ gives us what is pleasant, let us take it as a refreshment by the way, that we may, when God calls, go in the strength of that . . . [into the] forty days and forty nights. . . . Let us rejoice in Epiphany with trembling, that at Septuagesima we may go into the vineyard with the labourers with cheerfulness. . . .”

How can we better celebrate this season of Epiphanytide? Do you hurry to put away all the Christmas decorations and reminders of Christ’s birth as soon as possible, like the secular world does? Do you rush to box up the  crèche and store away all the lights from the mantle until next year? Perhaps this year, instead, take down the wilting greenery but keep up as many lights and candles as possible. In this way, all can be reminded that Christ is the light of this world! We should marvel at the Child who is King, and praise the Father in the Holy Spirit. Let us slow down and enjoy this season of cheerfulness and worship, gazing upon the Christ Child in His humble splendor. Come let us adore Him!

 

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The world which sees only appearances cannot comprehend the hidden reality of a heart captive to Christ. 

With this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the indwelling of Christ in our souls. Christ is born in us. The Holy Spirit makes us children of God, crying out Abba Father, and restores in us the likeness of Christ.

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About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

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Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

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Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
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