8th January

Today as I was praying the Office, I was struck by this line in the Concluding Prayer: “May hetransformation transform us inwardly until we bear his likeness”.

Perhaps this inner transformation is related to a recent commentary by Pope Francis on the journey of the Magi.

Along the way, the wise men encountered many difficulties. “Once they reached Jerusalem, they went to the king’s palace, for they thought it obvious that the new king would be born in the royal palace. There they lost sight of the star. How often sight of the star is lost! And, having lost sight of the star, they met with a temptation, placed there by the devil: it was the deception of Herod. King Herod was interested in the child, not to worship Him but to eliminate Him. Herod is the powerful man who sees others only as rivals. Deep down, he also considers God a rival, indeed the most dangerous rival of all. In the palace the wise men experience a moment of obscurity, of desolation, which they manage to overcome thanks to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, who speaks through the prophecies of sacred Scripture. These indicate that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David”.
At that point “they resume their journey, and once more they see the star; the evangelist says that they ‘rejoiced exceedingly’. Coming to Bethlehem, they found ‘the child with Mary His mother’. After that of Jerusalem, this was their second great temptation: to reject this smallness. But instead, ‘they fell down and worshipped Him’, offering him their precious symbolic gifts. Again, it is the grace of the Holy Spirit which assists them. That grace, which through the star had called them and led them along the way, now lets them enter into the mystery. The star which led them on the journey allows them to enter into the mystery. Led by the Spirit, they come to realise that God’s criteria are quite different from those of men, that God does not manifest himself in the power of this world, but speaks to us in the humbleness of His love. God’s love is great. God’s love is powerful. But the love of God is humble, very humble. The wise men are thus models of conversion to the true faith, since they believed more in the goodness of God than in the apparent splendour of power”.

Garfield isn’t into transformations or journeys at present!