As the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on Friday, Pope Francis presided over Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, and reflected on the journey of the Magi.
He focused on three ways in which we can encounter the Lord in our daily lives: restless questioning, the risk of the journey, and the wonder of worship.
The first place we should seek the Lord, said the Pope, is in “restless questioning”, which helps us put aside our apathy and confront life’s important questions.
“The exciting adventure of the Wise Men from the East teaches us that faith is not born of our own merits, thoughts and theories.”
A probing mind, added Pope Francis, challenges us to yearn for the infinite and set out on a “quest for the transcendent that inspires the progress of civilizations”.
The journey of faith can only begin when—by God’s grace—we grow restless of our daily routine and begin to examine seriously our relationships with others, as well as our dreams and fears.
Daily life, said the Pope, offers us many “tranquilizers of the soul” that seek to drown out those questions.
Instead, he added, we turn our attention to creature comforts like the promises of pleasure, non-stop news coverage, and even the “idolatry of fitness”.
“Often we try to soothe our hearts with creature comforts. If the Magi had done that, they would never have encountered the Lord. God, however, is always there within our restless questioning.”
The second place we can encounter the Lord is in “the risk of journeying”, since every pilgrimage entails real risks that must be overcome to arrive at our destination.
“Questioning, including spiritual questioning, can lead to frustration and desolation,” he said, “unless we embark upon a journey, unless we turn ourselves, in the depths of our being, to the face of God and the beauty of His word.”
Our faith, said Pope Francis, is a “continuous journey in constant dialogue with the Lord”, as we bring every aspect of our lives to Him in prayer.
Personal devotion and even consistent Mass attendance are not enough to allow our faith to grow. “We need to bring it outside and to live it in a constant journey towards God and towards our brothers and sisters,” he said.
The third and final stage on our journey of faith, said the Pope, winds up in the “wonder of worship.”
“Our restlessness, our questioning, our spiritual journeys and the practice of our faith must all converge in worship of the Lord,” he said.
Adoration, added Pope Francis off-the-cuff, has fallen by the wayside in our modern world, and each of us needs to recover the wonder of adoring God.
“Everything starts and ends there,” he concluded, “because the purpose of everything is not to achieve a personal goal or to receive glory for ourselves, but to encounter God.”
“Then we will discover that a light shines even in the darkest nights: the light of Jesus, the radiant morning star, the sun of justice the merciful splendour of God, who loves every man and woman, and all the peoples of the earth.”