Faith & Life


By JOAN PATTEN, AO     1/2/2024

This is the first article of a four-part series during January, which focuses on the “Manifestations of Christ’s Divinity.”

The Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove features four bronze bas-reliefs inspired by the revelations of the New Testament: Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord, the Wedding Feast at Cana and the Transfiguration. Readers are encouraged to visit the cathedral and contemplate these images this month.

“Where is God?” This question is the cry of our hearts, especially in confusing or difficult circumstances. This question may be in our restless minds and hearts as we enter the new year. The Church, as the Spouse of Christ, is the guardian of the mysteries of Christ and, in her maternal wisdom, guides us to deepen our knowledge of Christ throughout the liturgical year. During Advent, we are told, “The Lord is coming soon!”

The Christmas message consoles us that “God is with us!” The solemnity of Epiphany proclaims the truth that God has revealed Himself to all nations. Epiphany means to “manifest,” and what is revealed often leaves the recipient in wonder and awe. We believe in the God of revelation. Our God tells us who He is, completely revealing Himself in His Son Jesus Christ.

Although our capacity is limited in understanding what God reveals to us, we were created to increase our knowledge and love of God as we go deeper into our relationship with Him.

The solemnity of Epiphany commemorates the search of the magi for “the newborn king” to whom they desired to offer their homage (cf. Mt. 2:2).

The magi, guided by the light of a star in their search for truth, are led to Truth Himself, found in the simplicity of a baby of a poor family.

“Where is God?” He is found among the lowly and poor because, in His humility, He chose lowliness and poverty. For the magi, outward realities, such as the poverty of the holy family, were not an obstacle to their faith or a deterrent to their response. Instead, upon finding the child Jesus, the magi adore Him and offer their intended gifts.

“Where is God?” He is found in the guiding light of truth, because He is “full of grace and truth” (cf. Jn. 1:14).

The encounter of the magi with the Christ Child shows us how we too, are to love truth and seek the Source of all truth. The celebration of Epiphany helps us to recognize that when God reveals who He is to us, the truth of who we are with Him is also manifested.

“Where is God?” He is found in our hearts when we experience joy and gratitude. The magi were overjoyed when the star led them to Jesus and His mother, Mary (cf. Mt. 2:11), and afterward, they were guided away from Herod in a dream. We are also called to be still and listen to the Lord who resides in our hearts. To do so, we must cultivate external silence in our environment so we may listen to His “still, small voice” within (cf. 1 Kgs. 19:12).

When we contemplate the mysteries of Christ’s life, we are moved with gratitude, adoration and wonder. We have met Jesus once again this Christmas and are striving to follow Him as His disciples. This Epiphany, pray for the grace to find Christ before you: in the poor and simple, as well as in yourself by cultivating authentic humility and love for truth. When we are drawn closer to Jesus in prayer, we will draw others to Him. Be the guiding star for others and lead them to Truth by sharing what the Lord is doing in your heart and how you are aware of His particular love for you. “Then you shall be radiant at what you see” (Is. 60:5).