Posted January 04, 2013 in The Pope's Corner:
Feast for Restless Souls

by Pope Benedict XVI.

The journey of the wise men from the East was just the beginning of a great procession that continues throughout history.

With the Magi, humanity’s pilgrimage to Jesus Christ began—to the God who was born in a stable, who died on the Cross, and who, having risen from the dead, remains with us always, until the consummation of the world (cf. Mt 28:20)… .

Before them came the shepherds—simple souls who dwelt closer to the God who became a child, and could more easily "go over" to him (Lk 2:15) and recognize him as Lord. But after that, the wise of this world also came. Great and small, kings and slaves, men of all cultures and all peoples continued to come and still come… .

What kind of people were the Magi? The experts tell us that they belonged to the great astronomical tradition that had developed in Mesopotamia over the centuries and continued to flourish. But this information in itself is not enough.

No doubt there were many astronomers in ancient Babylon, but only these few set off to follow the star that they recognized as the star of the promise, pointing them along the path towards the true King and Savior… .

These were men with restless hearts, not satisfied with the superficial and the ordinary. They were men in search of the promise, in search of God. And they were watchful men, capable of reading God’s signs, his soft and penetrating language.

But they were also courageous, yet humble: we can imagine them having to endure a certain amount of mockery for setting off to find the King of the Jews, at the cost of so much effort… .

But for them it was a matter of truth itself, not of human opinion. Hence they took upon themselves the sacrifices and the effort of a long and uncertain journey.

And their humble courage was what enabled them to bend down before the child of poor people and to recognize in him the promised King, the one they had set out, on both their outward and their inward journey, to seek and to know… .

The restless heart of which we spoke, echoing St. Augustine, is the heart that is ultimately satisfied with nothing less than God, and in this way becomes a loving heart.

Our hearts are restless for God and remain so, even if every effort is made today, by means of the most effective anaesthetizing methods, to deliver people from this unrest.

But not only are we restless for God: God’s heart is restless for us. God is waiting for us. He is looking for us. He knows no rest either, until he finds us.

God’s heart is restless, and that is why he set out on the path towards us—to Bethlehem, to Calvary, from Jerusalem to Galilee and on to the very ends of the earth.

God is restless for us. He looks out for people willing to "catch" his unrest, his passion for us—people who carry within them the searching of their own hearts and at the same time open themselves to be touched by God’s search for us… .

The wise men followed the star. Through the language of creation, they discovered the God of history. But the language of creation alone is not enough.

Only God’s word, which we encounter in sacred Scripture, was able to mark out their path definitively. Creation and Scripture, reason and faith, must come together, so as to lead us forward to the living God.

There has been much discussion over what kind of star it was that the wise men were following…. This debate we may leave to the experts. The great star, the true supernova that leads us on, is Christ himself. He is, as it were, the explosion of God’s love, which causes the great white light of his heart to shine upon the world… .

Excerpted from the pope’s homily for the feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 2012.


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