The epiphany is the light of God’s salvation breaking into our heart and soul by the realization of our participation in the divine life of Jesus Christ.
As Isaiah notes: Darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines. Isaiah 60:2
In our First Reading, the only evidence the people had was the prophetic word when they returned to their ancient city after Exile and saw collapsed walls and rubble, but Isaiah tells them,
“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
Thus, the first characteristic of an epiphany is light radiating from a divine source which is Jesus Christ in your soul so that you are illuminated in your intellect.
And you will know it because the words that describe an epiphany are: “Your light has come.” Grammatically, this is in the past perfect tense known as the prophetic perfect. It’s already happened and it continues to happen.
E.g. ideally when a Catholic dies, it’s like going into the light; a divine enlightenment of your security of salvation in Jesus Christ, without any presumption, and I belief that it is like passing from one star lit chamber to another on the threshold of eternal glory.
Of course, in antiquity, many thought the stars ruled our fates, but Catholic Christian thinkers said this was not compatible with free will.
Speaking about the sin against the First Commandment, which is reading horoscopes, wearing any pagan superstitious jewelry, astrology, etc., a woman name Hae Jun Jeon serves as a psychic advisor to major financial and technology firms in New York City. She advises her clients on major decisions and investments based on their tarot card readings. Reading about this reminds me of an interview someone did with a New York City detective. She said, “I’ve gone into hundreds of [fortune-teller’s parlors], and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her.
There are some things psychics don’t foresee.
The Magi found the star that ended astrology. It took the scriptures to bring the Magi to the knowledge that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem.
Worship is the second part of an epiphany.
“On entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” Matthew 2:11
The Magi saw the child with Mary his mother. No mention of St. Joseph because he was not Jesus’ biological father, although he was protector and hugely important. The Christmas scriptures are demonstrating that wherever Mary is, there is the real Jesus.
At Epiphany we can say, “This will be a sign for you; you shall find a bit of bread in a gold ciborium.”
The third constitutive element of an epiphany is that it will spill out into the world around you by your actions. The Magi “were overjoyed at seeing the star,” and Isaiah says “your heart shall throb and overflow.”
We minister by the overflow of Christ’s abundant glory, and return to contemplative prayer on the Word frequently to keep the illumination.
At Epiphany, we can ask where is God’s light shining in our own world? And how are we, like the disciples, being invited to share that divine light with a world in need?
The Lord is our light and our salvation. Of whom shall we be afraid?”