Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Love the Epiphany

The Lord's Epiphany, I realize, is a favourite feast to me, dearer perhaps than Christmas! - being more spiritual, more mystical, the older of the two feasts, more easily solemnized, not dumbed down, not commercialized, not kiddified, not just a feast at table, not dominated by considerations of cooking turkeys and hams and puddings, nor of giving and receiving gifts (good, very good, though such are).

I love Christmas, the Lord's Nativity; I love Epiphany almost more, what with its triple mystery - Magi adoring, falling down in worship upon entering the House to find the Christ-Child with Mary His Divine Mother, first-fruits of the Gentiles foreshadowing our own entry into the Church; and the echo resounds also of the Lord's Baptism in the Jordan, sanctifying its waters by His All-Sanctifying, Holy Flesh; and yet a second echo rings out, telling of the first of His signs, wrought at Cana of Galilee, at His Mother's mediation, His disciples believing in Him, when He reddened water into finest wine, foretaste of the Eucharist, His Blood shed and given for us, Itself a foretaste of the nuptial feast of the Lamb forever celebrated in the Kingdom, without any end.

Just to-night, in my parish, we had a splendid vigil Mass for this Solemnity (which is kept in Australia in the Ordinary Form on the Sunday after the 6th, hence it falls on Sunday the 8th this year).  Something about singing "We three kings of Orient are" to begin and end, and Father's use of the Roman Canon in its revealed beauty in the new translation, made everything more exalted...  Dinner to-night was a simple but delicious affair, to match the solemnity: chicken kiev with potatoes baked in their jackets, then a peach for dessert.

But with to-day's particular date, the 7th of January, I associate many happy memories: last year, I travelled on this day on a tour from Queenstown to the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand; and two years ago, in 2010, on this day I flew from Edinburgh to Florence, and had the unexpected privilege of attending a Ukrainian Catholic Divine Liturgy for Christmas (according to the Julian calendar), having kept Epiphany that year in both Oxford (a wonderful Latin OF, at the Oratory) and Edinburgh (EF), which helped make up for the fact that I completely missed Epiphany in 2011, first in the OF (as I was flying across the Tasman) and then in the EF (as the Sunday Mass in Christchurch was of the Holy Family)!  Truly, I am blessed.

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