Sunday, January 8, 2012

"The great star, the true supernova that leads us on, is Christ himself" - Blogpost #1000 and a New Look!


O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we, who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Sandro Botticelli, Adoration of the Magi (1470-75), Florence: Uffizi


The wise men followed the star. Through the language of creation, they discovered the God of history. To be sure – the language of creation alone is not enough. Only God’s word, which we encounter in sacred Scripture, was able to mark out their path definitively. Creation and Scripture, reason and faith, must come together, so as to lead us forward to the living God.

There has been much discussion over what kind of star it was that the wise men were following. Some suggest a planetary constellation, or a supernova, that is to say one of those stars that is initially quite weak, in which an inner explosion releases a brilliant light for a certain time, or a comet, etc. This debate we may leave to the experts.

The great star, the true supernova that leads us on, is Christ himself. He is as it were the explosion of God’s love, which causes the great white light of his heart to shine upon the world. And we may add: the wise men from the East, who feature in today’s Gospel, like all the saints, have themselves gradually become constellations of God that mark out the path. In all these people, being touched by God’s word has, as it were, released an explosion of light, through which God’s radiance shines upon our world and shows us the path. The saints are stars of God, by whom we let ourselves be led to him for whom our whole being longs.

--Pope Benedict XVI, Solemnity of the Epiphany 2012

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I never tire of this poem by Eliot and love re-reading it every year at the Epiphany. An autobiographical reflection on his conversion to faith in Christ, it speaks for every disciple's transformation through the encounter with the Christ Child.

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times when we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

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Blog-post #1000
and a New Look

Blogger has a counter that tells how many posts have been published and this morning's presentation is listed as the thousandth since April 2009.  To mark the occasion, a new look has been chosen from among the many options the blogsite offers, my consultant Ted Hurley and I have come up with a slightly new look, hoping it is legible and interesting.

For your information, Ted also tracks the number of persons who have recently logged on and where they come from on a recent analytical listing:

179 Hits 35.80% Canada
145 Hits 29.00% United States
57 Hits 11.40% Italy
15 Hits 3.00% France
14 Hits 2.80% India
9 Hits 1.80% United Kingdom
9 Hits 1.80% Israel
7 Hits 1.40% Germany
7 Hits 1.40% Netherlands
6 Hits 1.20% Philippines
5 Hits 1.00% Australia
4 Hits 0.80% Pakistan
3 Hits 0.60% Japan
3 Hits 0.60% Mexico
3 Hits 0.60% Bulgaria
2 Hits 0.40% Venezuela
2 Hits 0.40% United Arab Emirates
2 Hits 0.40% Panama
2 Hits 0.40% Switzerland
2 Hits 0.40% Spain

In a recent month the statistics were:

 Page Loads          Unique Visits    First Time Visits       Returning Visits
Total     22,593                   16,100                12,709                          3,391
Average  706                         503                    397                              106


  1. I like the new layout!

  2. I'm not sure whether Google Analytics picks up an RSS feed and records it as a hit. In any event, that is how I follow your blog. I pull the latest post onto my BB. I do the same for, a hopeful initiative.

  3. Oops... That should be