Tuesday, January 2, 2007

For Wise Men (and Wise Women) Everywhere
...but especially in the U.S.

The star was like a glimmering, a pulsing…a throbbing, thought Caspar who had studied the medical arts. By the next night it had moved farther toward the West: We are being summoned to a far off land ”to pay homage” read Balthazar from an ancient text.

to pay ransom, thought Melchior, knotting closed the sacks of gold and wondering where that strange notion had come from. Servants loaded the gifts onto the backs of beasts and the caravan set out.

Balthazar made corrections to his maps as they went along and noted in a journal the customs of the peoples they encountered. Humans are the same everywhere, he thought: brutal or kind, fearful or trusting, selfish or generous. He recorded words he learned in their languages:
wik / bread …mau / mother…cmou /to bless.

They had already traveled much farther than expected, yet the star beckoned them on. Perhaps there was some error interpreting the portents? wondered Melchior.

No error, Balthazar replied.

I am too old. I fear I shall not finish this journey, groaned Melchior.

We will rest more often, said Caspar. Would we have made this journey without you, without your wisdom? Gazing into the distance from atop his camel, he announced: We’ve come to the great sea. We will need a ship to continue. Opening one of the sacks of gold, he hired a vessel and crew.

Just as the star became stationary in the sky at long last, the ship landed on an island. The camels laden again with gifts, trod easily on the sandy beach. They came upon a fortified place resembling a great farm with hundreds of cramped pens, each occupied not by a chicken but by a man.

These men too are from the East, said Caspar, but many are very ill and have painful wounds. Opening a jar of myrrh he prepared a balm….

Listen! said Balthazar. I think I can understand their language: they are praying, begging God to let them die rather than spend another day in this place of torment, far from their homes! He took some of the frankincense and began to burn it. Then he bowed his head and prayed to God to give the prisoners hope.

Paying homage to the new King would indeed have been a worthy act, but… said Melchior. I will find the words to persuade their captors, and with our gold we shall ransom these men. I will see them set free before I die.

As the men were released from their prison, Melchior’s soul was released from its earthly home. His companions used the last bit of myrrh to anoint his body and the last bit of frankincense to give thanks to God for his energy and wisdom. Then they placed a gold coin over his heart and on his lips and buried his body beneath the sands.

They realized that by keeping their gaze ever fixed upon the star, by remaining open hearted and steadfastugh weary, they had discovered a more urgent need and a better use for their abundant gifts.

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Lk 4: 18-19)


  1. "We aren't here to make the world evolve. We are here to evolve as individuals and then to spread that influence."
    Oh, i love that quote, it's a really good reminder. I found your site through Ray's blog Dharmakara’s Prayer. Your site looke very interesting, and i look forward to reading more.

  2. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for stopping by. I'm enjoying reading about Amida-shu, thanks to all the links from Ray's blog.

    I love the Mary Oliver poem on your blog!



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