November 1999Reveal Your Presence to us.   St. John of the Cross


We learned from him all about how to wish upon a star, and what happens when one tosses a walnut along the lane on a summer's day. Secretly, we always surmised that Grandpa John had traveled with the Magi. His personal goodness and holiness of life annoyed us at times, mostly because our own behavior usually suffered from the contrast.

One late autumn evening, we sat with him, gazing upwards at a spectacular star lit sky. It happened right before our eyes. The star did not simply drop to the earth, as it sometimes does, but instead skipped across the darkness to another star. Grandpa John told us that when this happens, we should make a wish, and added that he always wished he would go to heaven. Our eyes got bigger, and our mouths stayed open, as we pondered all the many wishes in our young hearts. Besides, it sounded like these wishes would come true.

With that, Grandpa John stood up, stroked his long white beard and straightened his suspenders. He said that it was becoming chilly and that he would be going to bed. That night, this other Magi of ours joined the stars.

The ancients believed that we all carry a star within us, that if we follow that star, it will take us where we should go and will bring us happiness and fulfillment.

I have often thought about this personal star. What is it, really, and what is its character? It seems like our heart's yearnings could be a star, as also the continual quest for life's meaning. Then, too, some people have the sense that we all carry a wound inside of us. While the wound certainly could come from one of life's happenings, it could also be a natural God-given wound. The mystics, like St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila wrote about such a wound. This wound, often painful, keeps us on our pilgrimage to God.

As we follow the star within us, a star sometimes reflected in the sky, our feet may grow tired and, at times, our hearts will be heavy, or may even seem empty. Also, it could appear that we are hearing a different message from those around us.

In the end, the Magi of old found much more than the gifts they brought with them. At that sacred moment of worship, they experienced themselves fully at the same instant that they experienced God. And then, they disappeared from the scene, returning home by a different way, forever changed.

We are left with the story and the mystery. We are left with the star- our star. No matter how faint the glow, no matter how small or far away, this star keeps on shining. It is still in our skies.

By: Sr. Mary Jo Loebig