About That Star

It's funny they used a star, I think.
Maybe this sounds strange but I think of the symbol of a star and I think of it as fanciful or simple or even childish.  I've never really thought about the meaning of the wise men following a star to meet the Lord.  

Of course, a star is anything but that.  I mean, the real ones.  They are complex and mysterious and in many ways beyond our understanding.  We modern layfolk don't quite grasp (me especially) the importance of the stars before there were detailed maps and GPS and compasses you could buy for a buck.  Looking to the heavens, once you learn how, you can locate where you are and discern where you are going and how to get there.  You can use them to know what season and month you are in with nary a glance at a cell phone calendar.  
At least, so I'm told.

I received the Eucharist the other day at Epiphany Mass.  As I made my way back to my pew and hunched down cradling the Lord within me, the voices of our music ministry carried the words of We Three Kings into the air.  And I became a manger.

I don't recall ever realizing that before.  That in consuming the very Body of our Lord I was transformed into that humble yet unbelievably privileged manger, responsible for cradling His precious Body within me.  As He is placed inside me, He first transforms me, my very self, from something ordinary, humble, probably a bit dirty and scarred into something holy.  And then He allows me the opportunity to present Him to those who seek.  Yes, I am little.  I am ordinary.  I am scarred, my wood is rough, and often I am a mess.  He chooses and lives in me anyway.

But that star.  What about that?

Have you ever been around someone who radiates Christ?  
I think many of us have.  They have that…that thing…that glow around them.  Saint John Paul II comes to mind.  Several beautiful holy women I know.  We read that Mother Theresa had that 'aura' about her.  Those people who seem to just have that radiance, who draw you in, and through whom we see and feel His Presence.  It's what is represented by the saintly halos of sacred art.

It's their star.

I want that.  I want that light above and around me that directs others to find Him.
When others see me, I want them to see Him.  I want His Presence to be so completely in me that people can feel that Presence just by being around me.  But do they?  Do they feel His Presence?  Do they know without a doubt that they are valued and loved?  Or is my star darkened by self-consciousness and fear, judgement and distrust?  I have so far to go.  My star, if I can even call it that, is faded and clouded by wounds and pride, selfishness and just plain ol' concupiscence.  But, Lord, every time I receive You into me, I pray that the star grows a little brighter.  That I can get out of the way so that You can shine within me and that any wounds that may be keeping me in the shadows may be healed by Your Presence.    

Shine through me, Lord.
Simple, rough, and messy manger though I be, let others who seek find You in me.

Happy Epiphany!


  1. Beautiful Mary- I love your idea of us as a manger for our Lord- so beautiful!

  2. Never thought about the halos of saints as stars before, but it makes absolutely perfect sense. This is a beautiful post; thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for writing and sharing it!

  4. Oh, Mary! Such a beautiful reflection! I love this so much and grasp so much of what you wrote. I know a number of holy men and women that have that aura and I pray, grace by grace, I may some day be able to radiate and share Christ as they do! But, alas, God definitely has his work cut out for him in little me! Thank you for giving sweet meaning to the beautiful mystical star I honestly started thinking about more this particular season. :)


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