The word ‘desire’ means ‘of the stars’’de-siderum’. That’s a good description of desire — hitching our hearts to a star.’ Only our deepest desires are ones our hearts have already been hitched to and are hard-wired for from the first moment we were made. The hearts of the wisest men and women that have ever made the longest, most important journeys, are hitched to a desire which is written into the fabric of the universe, a desire which is the desire of God. And that desire is unity, union, oneness, or ‘’one-li-ness ’as I heard one man in Malawi once say.
So this feast of the Epiphany is one on which we can get in touch with the deep desiring of God to which by grace our hearts have been hitched. It’s a day to acknowledge and consent to being drawn by that desire wherever it leads, like those wise men, across whatever borders it may take us, into whatever as yet alien, unfamiliar territory.
In Isaiah’s prophecy…all are assembling and the result of seeing this great regathering is a heart ‘throbbing and full’. Literally a heart ‘enlarged’. So this Epiphany of God’s great desire — broadening the embrace of love to the utmost limit — has its equivalent in our hearts. Our extended, swollen, throbbing and full hearts are called to take on the dimensions of his. That’s what happened to the magi on their journey: the broadening of their whole being, mind and heart and a stretching of their soul to accept and embrace something huge that was happening beyond what had been hitherto their horizon. Something to which as St. Paul says they discovered they were now actually heirs, even though they came from way beyond its borders.
With the arrival of the wise men we see the curtains of the tent under which God is gathering us getting wider and wider. And that must be true of the tent which is my heart too.
Therese of the Child Jesus likens herself in one place to an iron bar being drawn into a furnace. Like the magi being drawn by their desire. She allows herself to be drawn by love into the Love which is God. The piece of iron being drawn into that fire — expands.
With that Therese image let’s pray that this coming year people may be drawn here by that desire, perhaps some from far away. And that what they find here on this holy hill may help to expand their hearts.