Saturday, January 03, 2009

Guiding Light

And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.
-Matthew 2:9
I took a decidely allegorical reading of this passage today, in the traditional, monkish sense. I saw the star as the initial, unmediated inspiration of God in the human heart. The untrained, uninitiated heart, I think, has some awareness of God (Romans 1:19). But it only gets us so far, and perhaps not even to the right place.

The gospel story says the wise men came seeking the King of the Jews because they saw his star. It doesn't say (yet) that the star led them. They had to stop and ask directions. And when they did that, they encountered the scriptures. Only after they received a Word from the scriptures are we told that the star that they had seen guided them to the Christ child.

So, rounding out my allegorical reading, the human heart receives the light of divine inspiration but needs help. Then, with a Word from the scriptures, that initial light becomes a guide which leads us to Christ.

This is the problem, I think, with seeking God directly and within. Too often we end up going to Herod (whom Gregory the Great says symbolizes false piety), asking him where we should go. Were it not for the grace of God, we would deceive ourselves. But the scriptures help us to see clearly the light of divine guidance and inspiration and to follow it to Christ.

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