Pope at Angelus: God surprises us with His presence

Ahead of the Angelus prayer on the feast of the Epiphany, Pope Francis reflects on the gifts God gives the Magi as they persevere in seeking His Son Jesus.

By Devin Watkins

Pope Francis prayed the traditional Marian prayer of the Angelus on Friday, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

In his remarks ahead of the Angelus, the Pope noted that the three Magi who sought the Child Jesus not only brought Him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but also received three precious gifts from Him.

Stepping out of our comfort zones

God’s first gift to the Magi was “the call”, in which He employed their search and study of the stars to invite them to set out on a journey toward God’s Son.

Pope Francis pointed out that they were “wise and educated” men whose fascination with what they did not know urged them to “go beyond”.

“We are called not to be satisfied, to seek the Lord by stepping out of our comfort zone, journeying toward Him with others, immersing ourselves in reality. For God calls every day, here and now, in our world.”

Discerning goal of life’s journey

The second gift the Magi received was the spirit of discernment. Since they sought a king, they met first with King Herod in Jerusalem.

Yet, they saw through his hunger for power and avoided the temptation he offered them to give up the newborn Messiah.

“They knew how to distinguish between the goal of their journey and the temptations they found along the way,” said the Pope.

We, too, he added, must learn how to “renounce what seduces” and choose God’s ways through the gift of discernment.

Welcoming surprise of God’s presence

Next, God surprises the three Magi at the end of their lengthy journey.

They find a baby with His mother, even though they were seeking “a powerful and prodigious Messiah”.

Rather than thinking they made a mistake, the Magi know how to recognize Him, welcome God’s surprise, and adore Him.

“We are all inclined to seek greatness, but it is a gift to know how to truly find it—to know how to find greatness in the littleness that God loves.”

Astounded by our gifts from God

In conclusion, Pope Francis urged everyone to recognize our call to discern God’s presence and enjoy His surprises.

“Today, it would be beautiful to remember these gifts which we have already received,” he said, “to think back to when we sensed God’s call in life; or even when, perhaps after quite a struggle, we succeeded in discerning His voice; or even still, of an unforgettable surprise He gave us, astounding us.”

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06 January 2023, 12:07

The Angelus is a special prayer recited by Catholics three times a day, at 6am, noon, and 6pm and is accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell. The name comes from the Latin word for Angel and the prayer itself reminds us of how Jesus Christ assumed our human nature through the Mystery of the Incarnation.
The Pope recites the Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square every Sunday at midday.
He also gives a brief reflection on the Gospel of the day and often comments on some issue of international concern. The Pope’s words are broadcast all over the world on radio and television and widely shared on social media.
From Easter to Pentecost the Regina Coeli is prayed instead of the Angelus. This prayer commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and, like the Angelus, concludes with the recitation of the Gloria three times.

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