They looketh up
As a boy, I was never bored exploring the dark vast starlit night-vault. It sparked, and continues doing so, my imagination with stories, adventures and of course Heaven.
Today, there are lesser moments to contemplate this scenic nightscape in a light and chemically polluted city jungle like Manila. But the eternal unfolding night tapestry never ceases to captivate me.
When I would be out nature tripping with young boys (city-slickers I would amusingly call them), there would be more than a few who are curious about the stars and constellations. The sharper ones would ask where the North Star is and how to locate it. I gladly share with them a little of what I’ve learned in my Boy Scouting days.
Contemplating the stars always fills me with awe as it has occurred to others thousands of centuries before me. For example, I imagine the Three Wise Men who were rewarded not with astronomical fame, but with encountering and adoring the very Star of Justice, Christ himself.
Thus, St. John Chrysostom says:
“While the Magi were in Persia, they saw only a star. But when they left their homes behind, they saw the Sun of justice. We can say that they would not have continued to see the star if they had remained in their own country.” (Commentary Matthew 6:5)
In the light of these men’s example, many of us today have lost the capacity to look up to Heaven. Instead, more and more of us look down to other sources of light. These are worldly lights that fascinate us in our phones, tablets, laptops and other ever-advancing technological instruments.
We are helplessly glued to these twinkling and hypnotizing earthly glows. They make us want to become ‘stars’ by gaining as many hits, likes, points and shares. This becomes a difficult engagement to cut oneself from especially after having invested so many hours of “creative indulgence” in these colorful illusions.
Aren’t the effects of these dazzling illusions evidently taking a toll on us, our relationships and our ordinary duties? We easily lose our cool when there is no internet connectivity, wanting of a hotspot zone or a stronger cell signal? How do we react to our slightly misaligned selfie uploaded in social media, to not receiving any compliment for our comments or memes and to others who seem to be getting better cyberspace attention than we do?
May we also, like the Magi, look up and once again see the true star!
In life, without needing batteries or any sophisticated gadgets, we can find valuable stars. There is the star of prayer that opens us to a cosmos of grace that gives infinite healing lights and inspirations. The star of sacrifice that offers strengthening warmth for our tired souls, as virtues blossom forth when we learn to draw transforming lessons from the light of Christ’s cross. And the light of the Sacraments which are the unfading footprints of Christ that guide us here on earth towards Heaven.
It is through these stars that we can become stars for others as we sincerely strive for personal holiness. This was how the lives of the saints were: ignited by God’s love and mercy they became and continue to be brilliant beacons for us.
In Spes salvi, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wonderfully reflects:
“Human life is a journey. Towards what destination? How do we find the way? Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by—people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way. Who more than Mary could be a star of hope for us? With her ‘yes’ she opened the door of our world to God himself; she became the living Ark of the Covenant, in whom God took flesh, became one of us, and pitched his tent among us.”
Let us therefore look up, taking to heart St. Paul’s exhortation to the Colossians: “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
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