We celebrate today the feast, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, the feast of the manifestation of the Lord to the entire world. The liturgy today is full of light, the light of Him who illuminates, who has illuminated the whole world.
Mary of the Passion helps us to recall the significance and the great impact that this liturgical feast has for us:
“The feast of the Epiphany is the anniversary of the Foundation of our Institute. It was on that day in 1877 that Pope Pius IX deigned to bless and authorize it.
Let us consider this as a grace from heaven. This feast is that of the conversion of the Gentiles, and none could be more suitable as a date for the foundation of a missionary Institute.” (CT/1, 74)
In the Directory for the feast of the Epiphany, Mary of the Passion invites us to render thanks to Our Blessed Lord for the foundation of our Institute (especially) for having sheltered us beneath the mantle of our Father Saint Francis. Let us remember Our Most Reverend Father General’s words of advice: “That as we increase in numbers, we should decrease in our own estimation, so as to be small enough to find place beneath the Seraphic and blessed mantle.” (CT/1, 75)
Epiphany: the feast of the manifestation of Jesus to men coming from the Orient: these personify the world of people, who since the very beginning of the world have been on a journey in search of a God who can fulfil their thirst for happiness and peace.
Epiphany: the feast of the journey: in today’s liturgy, everything is in movement, everything converges towards a God, small and humble, presented to people by his young mother, who knows how to transform the grotto where the child was born into a welcoming house full of tenderness.
Epiphany: a feast which is never ended because it is that of a Church which is always in movement, in action, is always on a journey; this is the desire and the dream of Pope Francis, namely to have a Church moving along the streets of the world (“una Chiesa sempre in uscita”) announcing the Good News of love to one and all, ready to change direction like the Magi, announcing everywhere, always and to everyone, that Jesus Christ is the light and strength of every person.
Epiphany: the celebration of the birth of our FMM Institute, its development in the world along the years, the beginning of that journey of love that Mary of the Passion spread in the world, in the various continents and countries, announcing Jesus to everyone, everywhere and always.
The Magi journeyed together facing the difficulties of the journey encountered along the way. The star that had led them so far, brought them to the place where they found the new-born child in the arms of his mother.
Like the Magi, let us undertake this same journey, seeking together God’s will for the Institute on our journey of transformation, without allowing ourselves to be blocked by failures or by fear. We shall always have a star to guide us: this star is Mary Immaculate, who through the Church, will always indicate for us the right road that we are to take.
A star had announced the Redeemer of the world. For the Christian, the true star is Mary. It is she who will lead us to Jesus, and in her arms, we shall find the Emmanuel, “the God with us”. If we are faithful, we shall be her messengers, her living stars, pointing the way which leads to Jesus.
On this happy day, Mary of the Passion discloses her heartfelt wish as she traces for us the full meaning of our universal mission in the Institute. She tells us:
“How much I desire
that we all become saints worthy of our divine call:
to be living “Epiphanies”
manifesting Jesus to the world
always, everywhere, in all things.” (Rome, 6 Jan. 1895)