Since 1969, when Neil Armstrong took one small step on the moon, people worldwide have had a love affair with space travel – amid the stars. Who, if anyone, is out there? Is the water anywhere? What happens in the life cycle of a comet? Will space travel be available to the public in the 21st century?
Far distant places have an allure for people, especially if there are signs along the way to help us get to our destination. Though our reasons may differ, we are the kin of the Magi and they have given us tips for our journeys in life. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as we navigate our way through this unmapped year.
1. Keep your eye on the big picture. Details can confound us. Look up, look out to the horizon. Don’t watch your feet. They will know where to go. Watch the star. The star is a symbol of important realities beyond expectation. God is beyond expectation . We will find God as we recognize signs of divine presence, and interpret them together. Together, we’ll find clues to serving the larger community and in the process, become more authentically ourselves.
2. Travel with no more than a backpack, at least figuratively. If we have a camel to bear us on our way, how much can it carry? What’s more, how much do we need? Rinse your clothes at night, if you must. But don’t take more than you need. Leave behind your smart phones, sin, daily antagonisms and self-centered expectations. Let God dispose of them. Go empty handed, except for gifts to give others.
3. Go together. It’s doubtful that the magi knew each other. Somehow, they met, dared to trust each other, pooled their expertise, shared the messages God spoke to them about the dangers along the way, and got to their destination. The magi were strangers to one another until the journey made them companions.
4. Be risk-takers together. The magi left behind what their cultures valued. They found in themselves a confidence to seek the Lord with little except for the gifts they bore. The magi were examples of hope for us. They hoped they would get to their destination and that it would mean something life-giving for them.
This year, who will be the magi for you – unexpected companions whose hearts burn within them, whose desires to see God are akin to yours? Will you recognize them? Trust them? Honor their gifts? Trust that they have your back? Will you treasure the lessons you learned from traveling together and pass them on? Will you let go of them, when the time is right? Will you be a magus for others this year?
~Sister Joan Sobala