This Sunday marked the end of the Christmas season with the Gospel detailing how the three kings traveled, following a star, to find the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. I feel like this piece of the Christmas season is almost tagged on and given little thought to but offers us an important lesson when it comes to seeking Christ.
I would be willing to guess that the journey from the Orient, from Africa, from wherever the kings came, was not an easy journey. Without even knowing exactly what they were seeking, these three men went on a long, perilous journey so that they could find this great King, the Wonder Counselor, and worship him. How far are you willing to travel to worship God and God’s Son?
Are you willing to leave your comfort zone, your home, and go somewhere new? Are you dedicated enough to follow instructions that may seem difficult or unclear? They were! They navigated by a star, for goodness sakes!
But their journey is only part of what makes them important to understanding how to follow Christ. The three wise men met with Herod, who was the king of the region and he ordered them to return to him and tell him where this new king was, but with different intentions. And after finding Jesus, they listened to God’s instructions and defied the orders of Herod. They were willing to risk themselves to defy the worldly orders they had been given to strive towards heavenly ones.
Are you willing to participate in orders, in beliefs, in a posture that is not of this world? Willing to defy what those in charge have dictated to do what is right, in an effort to strive to better serve Christ?
Don’t discredit the work that these men put into reaching our Lord.
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For those of you who don’t know me, my confirmation saint is someone very near, and very dear to my heart. I picked St. Therese of Lisieux as my confirmation saint on a whim. After spending what felt like ages scouring books of Catholic saints to try and find the one with whom I felt most connected, I felt like I had turned up empty. Finally, I saw a picture of Therese standing amongst a plethora of roses. With my desperation to pick a saint, I took the connection between this image and my middle name, Rose, to be a good enough reason to pick her. So I did.
In the years since, I’ve started to learn more about the Little Flower, and I feel as though we have built up a real friendship. I’ve found that this whim that led me to choose her as my confirmation saint wasn’t really such a whim at all; it was a true sign from God. St. Therese of Lisieux was a young girl like myself. And in her life, she really saw her littleness as a child of God. She knew God destined each of us for greatness, but she recognized that that greatness doesn’t always have to be a big thing. She realized that her own greatness would be unleashed in simple, ordinary, little things. This idea of hers is something that I greatly take to heart. I strive to live each action of mine with intent to glorify God, whether it is a big or small action. While I could continue on and on about my love for Therese, I’m going to save that for another day. Today I want to focus on one specific gift that my friendship with Therese has led me to find: a friendship with another saint.
One evening, as I was scrolling through Netflix titles, searching for something to distract me from my homework, I selected a random documentary that I had never heard of before about a saint that nearly everyone is familiar with: St. Teresa of Calcutta. As a young girl, I was given a rosary with Mother Teresa on it as a gift from my PSR teacher. It smelled like roses, which I connected with, again, because of my middle name. Besides this and my limited understanding of her service to the poorest of poor, I knew very little about this woman. I quickly learned that she and I had much more in common than I expected. The moment that caught me most was when she signed her name as “Mary Teresa,” which I soon learned was due to her devotion to none other than St. Therese of Lisieux. I realized that I needed to learn more about her and to build a relationship with this saint that I felt connected to in a different way.
Shortly after, I left for camp; a place that has always been a piece of heaven on Earth for me. My new role at camp was one that I was extremely excited about, but also incredibly nervous to take on. I knew that this place that I loved would take a new form for me, and would bring on some new challenges in the weeks that would follow. In preparation, I asked St. Therese of Lisieux to be with me and to give me what I needed to make the summer a great one. However, no matter how much I prepared myself beforehand, there was no way to be prepared in every aspect of this new experience. While I wouldn’t trade those 5 weeks for anything, I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was incredibly challenging, and there were times where I felt like I was a failure. There were moments of great stress, spiritual disconnect, and even some moments when I would explode on my best friends.
It was in these moments that St. Therese sent me what I had prayed for. In these moments, she brought me to Mother Teresa. St. Teresa of Calcutta spent her life following a “call within a call” by leaving the peace and safety of her convent to spend her life living amongst and serving the people of Calcutta. In all the hustle and bustle of her call, she desperately searched for the relationship that she once had with God. She felt abandoned and alone. She knew that she was where she was meant to be, but in her humanness, she felt so disconnected from the Lord. Even though she felt lost and alone, she refused to let go of her faith. St. Teresa lived a life in full service of those around her, and in this service, she sacrificed her peace for a relationship with God that would challenge her greatly but would allow her to deepen the faiths of those around her.
As the summer went on, I started to feel St. Teresa of Calcutta’s presence in my life. I related to her suffering in my own way. I realized that my new role at camp meant that it wouldn’t feel the same way that it always did to me as a camper and staffer. It would be a different and more challenging experience, but still a faithful one in its own way. I was no longer in a place to be absorbing the overwhelming feeling, but in the place to be giving it to those I loved most--my camp family.
God is there in all moments. There are some moments and places that you really feel Him; His presence is overwhelmingly present. But it’s important to remember that He is still there, calling to you and shaping you in those moments when you feel alone. St. Teresa once said that although we may feel alone at times, “suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you.” Embrace these moments, because they are between you and Him alone.
About the Author
Meagan Moore is one semester from graduating with a degree in education and plans to continue learning and earn her Master's degree as well She loves Jesus, coffee, and pizza in that order. Her favorite Disney princess is Rapunzel and she loves to pray for her friends and family. Her patron saints are St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Calcutta, but she is always open to more saintly friends.