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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

289: Determine to create another way, lighted by justice, peace, mercy, and compassion for all.

Day 289: December 30th, 2020

Determine to create another way, lighted by justice, peace, mercy, and compassion for all

What epiphanies have the Covid pandemic offered us?

Epiphany, upper-case E, Manifestation of Jesus the Christ; the treasured story of Magi (wise ones), a Star, journey from the East, Gifts offered to The Child, a warning obeyed. Each image holds an opportunity for deep reflection.

But this year, when the vicious coronavirus snakes its way into our homes, our communities, our workplaces, and our parishes, my thoughts turn to lower-case epiphanies: moments of sudden revelation, intuitive grasp of reality, a revealing scene or moment. All of us have experienced such epiphanies in our lives, moments when we deeply felt the rightness of an action or decision, or when we had a new insight into an old truth.

What epiphanies have the frightening pandemic

offered us?

  • Perhaps a greater appreciation of families and friends with whom we are unable to gather in person.

  • Perhaps an awakening to the beauties of Creation—winter sunsets, intricate designs of trees stripped bare of leaves, all that we more closely observe in walks in woods or parks or by lakes or on mountain trails.

  • Maybe invitations to spend quiet time in prayer and reflection, which may lead to insights about the real first Christmas, not the sanitized, Hallmark version, but the scriptural story of exclusion, odorous animals, dirty shepherds, bloody birth—made both glorious and challenging by God’s gift of Emmanuel.

  • Perhaps we have greater awareness of neighbors near and far who may need our generous assistance with food and shelter.

An epiphany that is needed by all of us is the realization that once we emerge from the menacing threat of this pandemic, we must not try to return to “normal.”

Normal was a country of severe economic inequality, of racism woven into the cultural and institutional fibers of our nation. Normal was corporate power in the hands of a few and political indifference to “the cries of the poor.” It was ecological devastation for short term economic gain—and more.

Once the biblical Magi realized that this particular star was different and unique, they acted; they set out on a journey that led them to the great Epiphany, the revelation of the Christ Child whom they worshipped and to whom they offered their gifts.

May we act on pandemic epiphanies to assure that we do not return to “normal.”

Warned in a dream, the Magi returned home “by another way.” May we have the wisdom to heed the warnings of a terrible virus in order to return to post-pandemic life determined to create “another way,” lighted by justice, peace, mercy, and compassion for ALL.

EPIPHANY and epiphanies

by Franciscan Action Network

Reflection for the Feast of the Epiphany

by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF


Journey of the Magi

- T. S. Eliot

“A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The ways deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter.”

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no information, and so we continued

And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we led all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.


Home by Another Way by James Taylor

We Three Kings of Orient Are

Carol of the Bells (for 12 cellos) - The Piano Guys

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