The Wise Men were drawn to God by the light of a star. Can you see it? Sit quietly under the light of this star for a few moments. Allow the star to shine on you, illuminate your path and your innermost being.
As we prepare for our final session we will focus on stilling the mind. Become aware of the noises around you. Perhaps you can hear traffic in the background or the sounds of nature, maybe the hum of technology in your house or surroundings. Whatever you hear, notice these noises and then let them go. Begin to focus on the simple, life-giving breath given to you by God. Take some deep breaths, breathing in all that is life giving and breathing out all that disturbs. The Wise Men were drawn to God by the light of a star. Can you see it? Sit quietly under the light of this star for a few moments. Allow the star to shine on you, illuminate your path and your innermost being. Gratefully receive all it has to offer you now.
‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
“And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel".
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
As I reach the final days of my retreat, can I see the path of a new beginning open out in front of me?
We don’t know who these Wise Men were. Tradition refers to them as kings, but the Gospel merely calls them wise men. Whoever they were, they saw a star, and left family and home and all their ordinary preoccupations behind them, and followed it. They believed that the star signified the birth of a great king, and they wished to pay homage to him. They must surely have been astonished when the star finally stopped and stood over a humble dwelling. They must surely have expected a palace. But they never for a moment doubted that they had come to the right place. They were filled with joy, the Gospel tells us, and they knelt down and paid homage to the baby. They trusted their star, even when it surprised them with the unexpected.
As I reach the final days of my retreat, can I see the path of a new beginning open out in front of me? Can I see the star that shines over it? What is the star in my life? What is it that excites me and gives me energy and joy? Can I trust it enough to follow it, or am I held back by fear? Can I trust it even when it leads me to a place I was not expecting?
Can I embark on a new beginning?
Talk to God
• In God’s presence, I reflect once again on my life and consider whether there is a star beckoning me somewhere. It might take the form of some person who inspires me, or of some life-changing event that indicates another possible path for me, or some encounter. Or it may be none of these, but just some gentle inner urge that will not go away. I can be sure of one thing. If I follow it, it will lead me to God in the end. I ask God to help me to recognise the stars in my life (sometimes there are more than one!)
• I recognise the star by the joy that it causes. However, that joy is sometimes almost smothered by the fear of the unknown. I ask God to show me where my true joy lies, to show me where I can find what is most life-giving for me, and then to help me to trust it and set out on the adventure in spite of my fears. I recall that the Lord is my shepherd, and that I am never alone on the journey.
• I ask God to show me those things in my life that hold me back from following my star – things like my desire for security, for control, for the esteem of others. I ask God to help me let go of anything that holds me back, so that, free and joyful, I can set out on the path of my new beginning.
• And finally, I sit quietly and allow God to speak to me.