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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Happy Epiphany

The traditional icon of the Epiphany is that of the baptism of Jesus because one of the most ancient dimensions of this feast is the baptism of Our Lord, which now in the Western Church is celebrated on the Sunday following the Epiphany. In that event, in a mystical and unique way, the Holy Trinity itself is made manifest: the Father speaks a word "this is my Son, the beloved", the Spirit descends like a dove, and of course the presence of Christ the Son, identifying completely with humanity, as he, the sinless one accepts the baptism for repentance.

Epiphany is a feast of light even though it is the day when in the West, the Christmas lights traditionally come down. One of the treasures of Western Christianity is the Ambrosian rite, still used in the Archdiocese of Milan. I find it much more poetic than the starker Roman rite which is the basis of Anglican liturgy. This introit from the eucharist of the day, and this prayer from evensong, help capture the motif of light for this feast.
A blessed Epiphany to all readers of this blog!
La città celeste no è illuminata né da sole né da luna, ma le dà luce la gloria di dio. Al suo splendore camminerano le nazioni, e verranno i re della terra a portarle i loro tesori.
The heavenly city is not illuminated either by sun or moon, but by the light of God’s glory. To its radiant splendour the nations will walk and the kings of the earth will bring their treasures. (cf Revelation 21.23-24).

Padre onnipotente, al popolo che giaceva nelle tenebre hai donato una grande luce; fa’ che ricerchiamo sempre il Signore Gesù e lo conosciamo ogni giorno più intimamente accrescendo la fede del nostro battesimo. Per lui che vive e regna nei secoli dei secoli.
Father Almighty, you gave a great light to the people who lay in darkness; grant that we may always seek the Lord Jesus and know him more intimately every day, growing in the faith of our baptism. Through him who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

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