e·piph·a·ny [ih-pif-uh-nee] noun, plural e·piph·a·nies.
“A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.”
The Feast Day of Epiphany on January the 6th commemorates the story in Matthew’s Gospel of Gentiles (or non-Jews) drawn to Christ through the guiding light of a star. But the story itself is filled with “sudden intuitive perceptions” that guide the Gentile Kings safely through deceptive encounters and deadly plans. These same “insights into the essential meaning” of dreams lead the Kings safely back to their foreign countries, and the Holy Family into and out of Egypt.
It is a common occurrence to experience epiphanies when you discuss their significance with someone on a regular basis. Many of you know that I am a Spiritual Director. One of the questions I always ask a directee is, “How do you experience God?” Do you find God with you on walks? In the Eucharist? In your dreams? With your grandchildren? When you have an “aha” moment with God do you write it down? Do you share it with someone?
Epiphanies come in all shapes and sizes. An inspired idea of what gift to give a special person in your life. A sudden understanding of how your parents loved you when you were a child. A feeling of deep connection with a stranger. An overwhelming desire to go somewhere, and when there have a “chance” or synchronicitous encounter with a long-lost friend.
If we sit and talk for awhile about these occurrences in our lives their frequency increases. Why is that? I have come to believe that the more we discuss the spiritual nature of our lives the more spiritual we become. It is like priming a pump. You pour a little water in, and then a little more, and the stream is drawn upward into your bucket.
Christ comes to us as Holy Spirit, Unbounded Love, and Intuitive Friend. If we learn what our own spiritual language is we have a much better chance of catching insights. We all have a personal prayer language. May this Epiphany Season enrich and multiply your epiphanies so that your experience of God can shine for someone else. And lead them on their way.