SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - The Journey of the Magi
meaning in life--concepts that would later become known as logotherapy. When he arrived in Auschwitz, the infamous death camp, even the manuscript hidden in the lining of his coat was taken away.
"I had to undergo and overcome the loss of my spiritual child," Frankl wrote. "Now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me; neither a physical nor a spiritual child of my own! I found myself confronted with the question of whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning."
He was still wrestling with that question a few days later when the Nazis forced the prisoners to give up their clothes.
"I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn-out rags of an inmate who had been sent to the gas chamber," said Frankl. "Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in the pocket of the newly acquired coat a single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, which contained the main Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael (Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one God. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.)
"How should I have interpreted such a 'coincidence' other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?"
Later, as Frankl reflected on his ordeal, he wrote in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, "There is nothing in the world that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one's life . . .'He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.'"
Thornton Wilder's famous novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, ends with these words: "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning."
Love is the why.
"And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother" (Matthew 2: 10-11).
The quest of the Magi reminds us that God is truly with us. Sometimes during our journey, clarity disappears and we begin to doubt. Let us remember that Jesus is always with us. He is Emmanuel, God with us. He is present in the tabernacle, just as he was present in the manger of Bethlehem.
The Solemnity of the Epiphany is not only about three wise men that visited the manger. Instead, this Biblical event speaks to us about the plan of God for the entire human race. "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you."
Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Benedict XVI
The Star of Bethlehem by Donald DeMarco
Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Epiphany, Magi, Three Kings, Sunday homily, homilies, homily, Father James Farfaglia, purpose, meaning, mystery, transcendent
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