Lesson from the Magi

January Sunrise (2019)

Tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, when God revealed God’s self to the Wise Men in a small vulnerable child – and, by extension to all of us.

What do we know about these Wise Men or Magi? We know that they

  • Were outsiders from different cultures
  • Believed in science
  • Followed a star
  • Recognized God in a helpless dependent baby
  • Brought the best of what they had as gifts, and
  • Listened to their heart (dreams) about finding a better path home.

It is this last statement that I want to reflect on today.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. (Matthew 2:12)

After encountering God in the child, the Magi went home in another way, that is, changed. They allowed the encounter with God to change them. This insight causes me to reflect on two questions:

  1. Where and when did I encounter God in 2018?
  2. In what ways have I allowed these encounters to change me?
Nativity at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Osprey, Florida (2018)

I’m sure that there were daily opportunities for me to encounter God, but these stand out for me:

  • Meeting Grandniece Mckinley Rose for the first time
  • Greeting Tim on the street corner, where he was hoping to find work
  • Leading the women of my church in a daylong retreat
  • Getting to hear Ilia Delio, Heidi Russell, and John Haught in person at a conference
  • Sauntering through Scripture with Genevieve Glen, OSB
  • Taking part in a memorial service for the Tree of Life congregation at a synagogue in Sarasota
  • Seeing the sunrise from my east-facing lanai every morning.

Q. Where and when did you encounter God in 2018?

I can’t say how each individual encounter changed me. However, overall, I learned these lessons that I take with me now into 2019.


  • Even when I don’t know what to say in prayer, I make myself available to the Word; it is enough for now.
  • I am not my own savior, despite my actions that suggest I think I am.
  • I can lower my expectations, and give others the benefit of the doubt.
  • I believe in a divine plan of goodness for me.

I actually learned this last one more than 20 years ago. Still, I have to keep repeating it until I truly believe it.

Q. In what ways have you allowed encounters with God to change you in the past year?

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