From Evelyn Waugh — a Meditation for Epiphany

From Evelyn Waugh -- a Meditation for Epiphany

A fitting first entry for the new year, this, from a dear friend who sent it to me with a prayer. And is it not for us all? Us latecomers. Tedious ones. “Learned” ones (having been confused by knowledge). And Polite ones. Now, under the great star, how about some New Year’s resolutions? The meditation suggests a few —  I will not make the search for God so laborious, but I shall run barefoot with the shepherds; no more compliments for the Herods in high places, however awkward I may appear; never lose my place in the new order of charity; always give thanks.

 A meditation for Epiphany From Evelyn Waugh, Helena. As St. Helen sees the three monks approaching representing the three magi she says “This is my day and these are my kind.”

“Like me, you were late in coming. The shepherds were here long before. Even the cattle. They had joined the chorus of angels before you were on your way. For you, the primordial discipline of the heavens was relaxed, and a new defiant light blazed amid the disconcerted stars. How laboriously you came, taking sights and calculating where the shepherds had run barefoot! How odd you looked on the road attended by what outlandish liveries laden with such preposterous gifts. You came at length to the final stage of your pilgrimage and the great star stood still above you, and what did you do? You stopped to call on King Herod with a deadly exchange of compliments which there began that unending war of mobs and magistrates against the innocent. Yet, you came and were not turned away. You, too, found room before the manger. Your gifts were not exactly needed, but they were accepted and put carefully by, for they were brought with love. In that new order of charity that had just come to life, there was room for you, too. You were not lower in the eyes of the holy family than the ox or the ass. You are my special patrons and the patrons of all latecomers, of all who have a tedious journey to make to the truth, of all who are confused with knowledge and speculation, of all who, through politeness, make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talent. For his sake, who did not reject your curious gifts, pray always for all the learned, the oblique, the delicate. Let them not quite be forgotten at the throne of God when the simple come into their kingdom.” (Loyola Classics edition, pp. 208-210).

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