Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Signum Fidei

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI said in August 2005: "We can imagine the awe which the Magi experienced before the Child in swaddling clothes. Only faith enabled them to recognize in the face of that Child the King whom they were seeking, the God to whom the star had guided them. In him, crossing the abyss between the finite and the infinite, the visible and the invisible, the Eternal entered time, the Mystery became known by entrusting himself to us in the frail body of a small child."

As such, in these days before Epiphany, even as the figurines of our Nativity scenes make their journey across the room (!) to the Manger, let us make a spiritual journey with those men of faith who sought the Christ Child, "Light of the Nations, in whom [we] will find the fullest response to [our] hearts’ deepest desires". Let us orientate our lives to His ways and contemplate with awe the mystery of His saving birth.

The star, the signum fidei, as my La Sallian education indicated, led the Magi to the One who is the Morning Star which never sets. It occurred to me today just how ubiquitous a symbol the star is for the Christmas season. And yet, if that star does not lead to Christ or draw light from Him, it is just a meaningless symbol; just one of many spots of light in the nightsky. Without faith, we are like unskilled travellers, unable to navigate the sea of life and directionless; the stars mean nothing and lead nowhere. But with Christ-oriented faith in our hearts, the star has a saving significance, giving direction and leading us to the One who will save us, the One who gives Meaning and Direction to our lives:

"How bright appears the Morning Star,

with mercy beaming from afar;
the host of heaven rejoices;
O righteous Branch, O Jesse's Rod!
Thou Son of Man and Son of God!
We, too, will lift our voices:
Jesus, Jesus!
Holy, holy, yet most lowly,
draw thou near us;
great Emmanuel, come and hear us."

From the beautiful chorale, 'Wie schön leuchtet der morgenstern', by Philip Nicolai (1597).


Anonymous TheresaMF said...

Interesting! We stayed at the Casa La Salle in Rome for a semester, and wondered what a 5-point star was doing decorating the architecture. Perhaps our training to think of Constantine's victory at the Milvian bridge in the sign of the cross blinded us to the significance of the star. The star of the magi is a fitting sign of faith, though--after all, the magi travelled a great distance "by faith," believing the star would lead them to the Christ.

3:35 am  

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