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A Prayer to the Magi by St. Helena (from Evelyn Waugh's novel Helena) - Light One Candle

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January 8th, 2013


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12:24 pm - A Prayer to the Magi by St. Helena (from Evelyn Waugh's novel Helena)
This was included in our order of service at church this week; many thanks to my priest, because I needed to hear this.

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 through 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 their politeness make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talents.

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.

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From:feliciakw
Date:January 8th, 2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
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This is only tangentially related, but I've been told that those gifts were very important, and not just as symbolic gestures. Those gifts financed the flight to Egypt.

Or so I'm told.

This is a good meditation.
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 8th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I think they were far more useful than a lot of us moderns suppose. :)

But I like the reminder that there is room even for the "unneeded" gifts; the too-fancy, detailed, or obscure gifts.
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From:feliciakw
Date:January 9th, 2013 12:20 am (UTC)
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But that's what I mean, I guess. Even the gifts that seem "unneeded" . . . actually are more useful than one might imagine.

Yes, there is room for all gifts.
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 9th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
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Ah, yes, I see.
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From:travels_in_time
Date:January 9th, 2013 02:43 am (UTC)
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I just heard that this Christmas, for the first time ever. Don't know why that never dawned on me before.
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From:travels_in_time
Date:January 9th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
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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 their politeness make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talents.

I'm...not quite sure why some stand in danger by reason of their talents? Is it referring to people who are "too smart" (can't believe the simplicity of a baby in a manger) or "too rich" (can't believe a king could be born in a stable)?

But all the rest of that...yes. I have been a Christian all my life, and still I feel like I am wandering around searching for the truth, definitely confused with knowledge and speculation, and, yes, sometimes a partner in guilt through politeness.
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 9th, 2013 02:55 am (UTC)
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I think "in danger by reason of their talents" is a nod to pride; if we have much, we may not know how much we are yet missing, or worse, we may be arrogant enough to dismiss the very idea.

Isn't this striking, though?
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From:kerravonsen
Date:January 9th, 2013 06:00 am (UTC)
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Amen.

Yeah, it does seem often that the simple are considered... more pure, more worthy, more something... than the thinky people.
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From:izhilzha
Date:January 9th, 2013 06:50 am (UTC)
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My husband--a latecomer himself to faith--and I were both moved to tears by this prayer, for precisely the reason you state.

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