Monday, January 7, 2013

Dorothy (mon)Day QOTW: A King Without a Roof

"Those who cannot see Christ in the poor are atheists indeed." Dorothy Day

Here in the west, the Christmas season is drawing to a close, while our Ethiopian brethren are celebrating the birth of Christ today.

As I meditated on Sundays gospel, I wondered what the magi thought when they saw the king they were looking for was just some kid with his mother and father and barely a roof over their heads. Did they say to themselves, "Seriously? We came all this way to see these people with dirt on their faces and their scrawny child?" Did they ask themselves, "Who are these people?"

Their experience and knowledge of the stars told them that what they saw was true, despite outward appearances. They were humbled in front of a simple King. And they were not sentimental, either, because among the gifts they brought was a gift to be used in death--myrrh. It's a strange gift to bring a newborn, isn't it? But it's a very sober picture of life, I think. Life always includes death, even as much as I try to avoid it.

A few years ago, I bought a gold filigree cross as my Christmas tree topper. It's not the usual topper, I know, but it makes perfect sense to me. The tree is symbolic of eternal life in Christ. And yet we still have death and suffering. So, the cross on top of the tree then, for me, represents the full circle of life.

To be afraid of death is another kind of poverty.