January 2003the star which they had seen in the East went before them, (Mt 2.9)

A Message in the Sky

     Every year, around this time, a “star” appears in the southeastern sky near dawn.   It can be seen from the deck near our kitchen window.   A friend, who lives a few miles down the road, feels that this star has been placed there just for our monastery.   Actually, the “star” is Venus.   Often, the beauty of the “star” is enhanced by the presence of a crescent moon, which appears to be looking up.   Given a chance, it seems like the star would like to say something to the world.

     Pearl Buck, in many of her writings, often weaves into them the theme of a star.   In one of the stories, a son overhears his father speaking lovingly and quietly about the son to his mother.   A star was in prominence that night. This not only surprised the son, but moved him deeply. Upon hearing this, the son realized for the first time that his father really loved him.   Up to this time, he figured that his parents were generally too busy raising a family to give much attention to expressing the love they might have for their children.

     As a follow-up to this event, the son initiated a good deed that enabled the father to know that he, too, was loved.   The story ends years later.   The father is now gone and the son is home alone with his wife, who has gone to bed early, a bit sad realizing that their own children now had homes and families of their own. Entranced by a star outside the window, (possibly the same star of years past,) and recalling the event of being loved in childhood, the son wraps up a small but dainty gift for his wife, who will discover it when she awakes.   To the gift, he attaches a note that starts with: “My dearest love,” a letter she will be able to read again and again and keep forever.

     It occurs to me that every once in awhile it is good to recall a moment when we felt loved and then, in some creative way, to pass this love on to another. Truly, the act of recalling carries new love and energy with it. Perhaps, this is what the star in the southeastern sky is trying to tell us.

     When I was a youngster, my own mother was fond of quoting inspirational sayings at just the right time.   One such event had to do with telling us that those who lead others on to goodness will shine like the stars for all eternity.   Most likely, she was not even aware that this was a biblical quote.   Through the years, this little saying has been a source of inspiration to me.   The other day, I found myself wondering who told my mother about goodness of life and stars in the sky.   Possibly it first began in some little kitchen in Ireland.

Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.

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