Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,
This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. The three Wise Men discover that the seeking of true wisdom leads them to Christ, who is Wisdom incarnate. Although they were pagans, their honest search for truth led them to discover that truth is not a concept, but a person. The ancient Greeks produced some of the greatest philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle. I was dumbfounded when I discovered that Aristotle, a pagan who lived hundreds of years before Christ, came close to expressing a trinitarian concept of God. The conclusion of St. Thomas Aquinas’ commentary on one of Aristotle’s works is simply, “Amen.” That is, what the pagan philosopher Aristotle said about God and the nature of the world was so true, it could have been written by a Christian.
Catholicism is true, because our religion possesses the fullness of truth. This doesn’t mean that other religions or philosophies are false, per se, but that they possess some aspects of the truth. The Catholic faith takes up all that is true, good, and beautiful in any religion. Another way of saying this is that anything that is true, good, or beautiful is therefore Catholic. Ancient cultures sought for truth and grasped in the darkness to obtain some aspect of it. But in the fullness of time, Truth revealed himself in Christ, and it is in his bright light that we now live. It humbles us to reflect on what St. Paul writes in this this Sunday’s second reading: “[t]he mystery was made known to me by revelation. It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” God has revealed himself fully in Christ, and there is no further revelation of himself to come. We possess the fullness of the truth now by faith, and we will see with faces unveiled in heaven as we behold his glory.
What a gift it is for us to be alive now and to have received the priceless inheritance of our Catholic faith! When I visit the first graders and hear them struggle to explain that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I realize that what they grasp, even so basically, is something that the wisest of our ancestors would have given anything to have revealed to them. Almost all of us are descendants of the Wise Men, that is, we are inheritors of their testimony that Truth himself is the babe in Bethlehem.
In Christ, Wisdom Incarnate,