New Year 2024 blessings!
This season of hope always brings me back to reflect on my favorite Christmas story, The Story of the Other Wise Man, by Henry Van Dyke. Van Dyke weaves the tale of Artaban, a fourth Wise Man, who set out to meet with the three others to find the promised Prince. Artaban has saved three precious jewels as his gifts for the newborn king. Along the way, he has three encounters with three desperate people, and he does not hesitate to help them. The result is that he misses the caravan to Bethlehem. He spends his life seeking the Prince he missed in the manger. His travels lead him to Jerusalem, where he learns the "king of the Jews" will be crucified. He is sure this is the one he has been seeking. Yet on the journey to Calvary, Artaban makes one last great act of charity, he gives the final jewel in ransom for another person. In the end, Artaban experiences a fatal accident. As he lay on the ground, he can be heard saying, "Lord, when did I see thee hungry and fed thee? Or naked and clothed thee? Three and thirty years have I looked for thee, but I have never seen thy face or ministered to thee, my King." Artaban's journey is over, and he has found the King he served by serving Him in other's his entire life. In his book, Starlight, Beholding the Christmas Miracle All Year Long, John Shea reminds us that "The search may be its own reward, the struggle may be the goal. In the search for Christ, we are already experiencing him but in an incognito form. The task may not be to gauge the distance we have still to travel to find what we are looking for, but to be attentive to what is happening to us as we travel."
As we begin this new year and continue our search for Jesus, may God bless you in 2024 with the graces you need to realize the unlimited possibilities of bringing more kindness and compassion to those you encounter.
Sister Mary Sue, IHM