The Joy of the Magi

“They were overjoyed at seeing the star”  – Matthew 2: 10

 What was the joy that seized the hearts of the Magi? The joy that was proclaimed by Mary in her Magnificat? The joy that was radiated by the saints? It was the joy of knowing they were loved. In coming to encounter Christ, in adoring Him, the magi came to know Love. They knew they were loved through this encounter: God drew near to them. God became Man for each one of the magi, just like He became Man for you. He became Man because He loves you. “God loves you for you, not for your talents, not for your works, not for your salary, nor for your educational experience” (John Cardinal O’ Connor). God loves you for you – you who are made in His image.

But why is joy so important? Because joy is at the very Heart of Jesus.  Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete” (John 14:11). Just think of the delight Jesus has for each human being. Think of the joy He finds in you! Part of the Prayer of the Co-Workers of Life is “to receive each vulnerable pregnant in need with the Heart of Christ”.  If we are to receive the most vulnerable with the Heart of Christ, we must have His joy when we do. Joy is central to the Charism of Life, so much so, that Cardinal O’ Connor wanted the quote: “There can be no Sisters of Life without JOY” in each room of the Sisters. The joy that we have experienced cannot be kept to ourselves. It must be passed on to those who do not have it.

This month marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in our country. We are not the first ones who faced a culture of death. The magi faced the culture of death: Herod ordered for the killing of innocent children. We face a culture of death where images of broken relationships, power, and riches are displayed as the way to true happiness. But we do not have to buy into the lies. We can go by “another way” like the Magi did. We can follow the way of Christ, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”.  In prayer, in adoring Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the same Face the magi adored on that night, we come to know who we are – we come to know that we are made for more than this earthly life, we are made for Eternal Life: Communion with the Trinity.

Inspired by this love we can give praise and thanks to God, “I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works. You know me through and through” (Ps 139:14).  We can give the highest honor to Almighty God by living gladly and joyfully because of the knowledge of His love (St. Julian ofNorwich). We can look to Mary, Our Mother, in this New Year, as our model of joy. It was she who sang the great praise of joy to the Father in her “Magnificat”. Let us ask her to intercede for us that we too may be “overjoyed at seeing the star” (Matthew 2:10). 

“If all the marches, all the prayers, the speeches, the encyclicals, the entire effort of each of you – saved but one human life, would not the Lord of life say to each one of us and to each individual who has ever made the effort on behalf of human life: “Well done, good and faithful servant, receive the kingdom the Lord has prepared for you from eternity. For you not only fed me and clothed me and confirmed and consoled me and visited me in prison. You saved my life.”     –  John Cardinal O’ Connor