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(Matthew 2:1-12)

God created man in the garden of paradise possessed of a rational nature and in the image and likeness of God. But, because of man's disobedience, he fell lower than the beasts. This degradation shows in two ways: firstly, in his incapacity to develop normal human relationships and, secondly,  in his inability to reason out sensibly or logically. 

The disappearance of normal family relationships is evident even among Catholic families, between spouses, and between parents and children. Infidelity and separations are common among Catholics, and their children never run to their parents anymore when they are in trouble. 

Man's inability to reason out rationally is sadly evident in an age where the information highways are filled with knowledge. He has settled down into a senseless reasoning ruled more by his likes and dislikes, his passions and his vices. 

The first step in the redemption and eventual salvation of man consists, therefore, in restoring him to his natural state to make him rational and, secondly, in starting to polish the image and likeness of God in him. When Christ came, He gave us the solution to both, and these are found in His commandments--to deny oneself, take up one's cross and follow Him. 

The whole process is God's work, thus, we have to take our instructions from Him. 

God gives us His instruction, firstly, through nature. We have to see the existence of God through His creatures. When God speaks to us through His creatures, we call this diaphany. The first proofs of God's existence are, in fact, from nature. This will be more effective if we are close to nature. One would, however, hear God's voice through nature if he is truly seeking God. Sadly, we see many who are close to nature, like in Africa, but who have gone to devil worship instead. 

If there is fidelity to God's messages through nature, then God speaks to us through Scriptures, preachers, angels, confessors, prophets, writings of the Fathers and the Saints. This is theophany. And, if we are faithful to God's theophany, then God manifests Himself to us and talks to us directly, and this is Epiphany, "I will manifest myself to you..." 

Thus, we have the example of the shepherds who were close to nature. Their consciousness of God's presence in nature made them deserving of a theophany through the angels. And, being obedient to the angels, they saw Christ--Epiphany. The Magi, likewise, studied the stars. God spoke to them through the stars, announcing the birth of Christ. Since they were obedient to God's diaphany, God spoke to them through the Scribes who mentioned the written prophecies about the Christ -- theophany. And obedience to the prophecy made them deserving to find Christ -- Epiphany. 



(updated 03-16-02)

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