Come, Let Us Adore Him

  1. Share
34 10

Reading the stars is something my people have done for ages. It is in our history. It is in our blood. 

The stars tell us many things, but recently, they have been telling us something new, yet not completely unexpected. 

This is why I am packing my things...

A new star in the west beckons. I and two other men of my community are going on a journey to see where it leads. 

We are on a mission to find the One Whose birth this star in the West announces ...

The Long Expected of the Nations. 


Our people have known the prophesy of the Long Expected One for centuries.

I remember hearing of it as a child.

My whole life, it seems, I have studied the stars. I have often dreamed that this event would occur during my lifetime. My companions have done the same.

But never would I have imagined...


As I prepare my camel and pack for the journey, thoughts swirl in my mind.

Who is this child?

Why is he so important?

What will I do when I see Him?

What shall I say?

What can I offer Him?


I decide on frankincense--a gift truly worthy of a king.

Precious, pleasant, and useful.

As we make our way in the dark, its smell wafts up from my bag, and I feel confident in my choice. The gold and myrrh of my companions are nice, but this... this is a treasure unlike any other.

I am pleased to offer it.


The star shines brighter and more steadfastly than all the rest, making our way easy, albeit uncertain.

Where is it leading us?

We discuss our many expectations and questions along the way.

How will we find this child?

What will He be like?

Surely, the entire world be there, welcoming Him. This prophesy is of old. We can't be the only ones who know it and have waited...

Will He be surrounded by sumptuous riches?

Will we even have an opportunity to get close, to give the gifts we bring? 


There is bound to be a crowd.

I suspect it will be difficult to get close, but not impossible.

We are not nobodies.


The sandy dunes we traverse are familiar, as are the stars. 

All but the One. 

We are a nomadic people. Travel is what we do. The stars have always led us. Our camels are our trusty companions.

More than anything, we trust in the stars.

They do not lie.


My seat is high and my camel is warm. From this height, I can see quite far.  The stars light the way.

But the One... it beckons unlike the others.

I feel an unfamiliar tug at my heart.

What is this feeling?

What is calling me?

What awaits me there?

As we near the city of Jerusalem, the star mysteriously goes dark. Perhaps He is here, in the city...

And yet... the city's inhabitants all seem to all be completely unawares, going about their daily lives.

Do these people know what occurs in their midst?

Perhaps we are late.

I feel a sinking feeling that everyone has already seen Him and welcomed Him...


But no...

The stars do not lie. 

We need directions. Who would know better than the King?

To Herod's palace we go.

Melchior is not desirous of asking directions--he feels it beneath him.

I do see his point--we are a nomadic people after all... If we don't know the way, who does?!

But I refuse to waste time on my pride. 

I have to find this Child.

Nothing will stop me.


I feel an urgency now.

An ache in my heart that I've never felt before. As though my life would be wasted if I did not find this child whose birth is announced by a Star.


Despite the prophecy, Herod seems taken aback by our news.

How could he not know?

His men... have they been asleep?

Is this not the birth of their King, after all?

Do they not care?


I refuse to waste time marveling at their blindness.

To Bethlehem we go--the House of Bread.

There is no time to waste.


Outside, we see The Star!

It shines brightly in the South.


I knew it would return. I felt it in my bones.

I feel it tug at my heart.

It whispers to me.

Come... come... come.


The tightness in my chest is unfamiliar to me. 

What is this emotion?

This is not my king, yet I journey to meet Him while His own people sleep.

Is it madness?

Or is it in the stars...?


Why is the world not abuzz with the excitement that shouts from my heart?


My companions and I ride in silence, each of us enveloped in our own thoughts.

I will admit, when I began this journey, I felt confident and proud, excited to meet the Long Expected One, and confident that I was chosen for this. 

I was made for this.

And yet, as we near Bethlehem, and the star seems steady in its place, I feel uncertain,


like a tiny child.


But the Star beckons.

The bustle of Bethlehem is a bit of a surprise; a little town full of people. 

Then I remember the Census. Of course. 

I look around...

Small homes.


Could there be a palace fit for a King in this tiny town?

I don't see anything like one...

The Star seems to pulsate gently now.

We are close.


Lo! It stops just above...

A cave.

Is it, could it be a stable?


Not a cave...


My companions and I look at one another.

What is this?


We slowly dismount and gather our gifts.

Is this it? our puzzled faces say.

The Star directly above sparkles and glows with an intensity we have not seen during our entire journey.

This must be it.


And yet, this is no other cave.

A warm light emanates from its mouth.

My nose expects manure and damp.

Instead I smell a heavenly fragrance unlike anything I've ever smelled before.



It is more magnificent than anything I could have ever dreamed...


I am shaking.


It occurs to me that the fragrance of my frankincense pales in comparison to the aroma coming from the the cave, I am still grateful that it doesn't clink loudly like Melchior's gold.

Normally, I wouldn't shy away from making an entrance, but now...

I know that we are unworthy.

Why am I here?

Why did I come?


Inside, a few shepherds kneel, hats in hand, heads bowed. 

The animals seem to kneel and bow their heads as well.

We timidly make our way closer and my heart begins to pound in my chest.

I lower my eyes and bow my head.







In the periphery, I see a glow, and I know that it comes from Him. 

I am afraid to raise my head.

I am afraid to raise my eyes.

The light is so bright.

Will it blind me?

No. It beckons.

Its warmth draws me in.

Like a gentle hand on my shoulder,

and another under my chin, raising my head,

raising my eyes...

to see...



I look upon His little face and His eyes rest on mine.

It is as if He knows me.

As if He knew I would come, and He is glad to see me.

How is this possible?

I feel frozen inside, and yet somehow manage to drop to my knees.


A feeling of unworthiness washes over me and my eyes cloud with tears.

And then, a rush of love.

The Babe smiles.

Laughs even.

I think it was a laugh. Maybe it was a hiccup.

Newborns do not laugh... do they?


I see his mother and his father.

She is so beautiful.

He is so loving.

Both look down in adoration

at Him.


His eyes do not move from mine.

Is He reading my mind?

Reading my heart?

I am certain that He sees inside my soul.


In the depths of my heart, I can hear Him whisper,

"I have known you since before you were in your mother's womb."


Never have I felt so seen.

Never have I felt such warmth.

Never have I felt so loved.


Somehow, I manage to present my gift.

The Lady's smile is almost as radiant as the Babe's.

I can see where He gets His beauty.

She is radiant and more beautiful than any woman I've ever seen.


Out of the corner of my eye, I see Melchior and Balthasar kneel and present their gifts as well, and I see that I am not the only one with tears in his eyes. 

Time seems to stand still.

How long were we there?

I cannot say.

But in those silent moments, 

For the first time in my life, my heart loved as it was made to love.

And I know that my soul was loved as it had never been loved by any other.

I rested in His warmth,

her beauty,

His gaze.


Time loses all meaning in this cave.

Is this Babe outside of time?

Who can say?


Eventually, we must make our way back. 


We must leave this warmth.

We must leave His gaze.



How can I leave that face?

How can I look away from that smile?


But just as I felt beckoned by the star, I suddenly feel commissioned by the smile.

Go, it says, and tell the world.

Tell them about Me.

Everyone except Herod, of course.


One last look.

One last smile.

A bow to the Lady.

I cannot resist embracing her husband--what a man to be entrusted with these two!

There is strength in his face, and I know that they are in good hands. 


Outside of the cave, we come alive again, our hearts filled with a joy and purpose that makes the long and arduous way home seem like nothing.


What a Star!

What a Journey!

What a Family!

What a King!


The world must know!

This is our mission.

Let us begin right away and never rest

until we rest in the warmth and love that filled that cave,

which, I know, came from the heart of the little Babe

whose look and smile lit my heart on fire.




IMAGES: August von Wörndle: Journey of the Magi with their Retinue (1852); The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage) - James Tissot; Velázquez - Adoración de los Reyes (Museo del Prado, 1619); Adoration of the Magi, Abraham Bloemaert (1623-24); Adoration of the Magi by Corrado Giaquinto (1703–1765); Leonaert Bramer, The Adoration of the Magi (1630 - 1635)


To view comments or leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

Piercing the Heart of a Saint
On August 26th, Discalced Carmelites and the community of Apostoli Viae celebrate the feast of the Transverberation (or Transpierecing of the Heart) of St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin, Doctor, and Reformer of the Carmelite Order. The transverberation is a mystical grace wherein the Saint’s heart was pierced with a “dart of love” by an angel. St Teresa describes this experience in the Book of her Life: “Our Lord was pleased that I should have at times a vision of this kind: I saw an angel close by me, on my left side, in bodily form. This I am not accustomed to see, unless very rarely. Though I have visions of angels frequently, yet I see them only by an intellectual vision, such as I have spoken of before. It was our Lord’s will that in this vision I should see the angel in this wise. He was not large, but small of stature, and most beautiful—his face burning, as if he were one of the highest angels, who seem to be all of fire: they must be those whom we call cherubim. Their names they never tell me; but I see very well that there is in heaven so great a difference between one angel and another, and between these and the others, that I cannot explain it. “I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it, even a large one. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying. “During the days that this lasted, I went about as if beside myself. I wished to see, or speak with, no one, but only to cherish my pain, which was to me a greater bliss than all created things could give me. “I was in this state from time to time, whenever it was our Lord’s pleasure to throw me into those deep trances, which I could not prevent even when I was in the company of others, and which, to my deep vexation, came to be publicly known. Since then, I do not feel that pain so much, but only that which I spoke of before—I do not remember the chapter —which is in many ways very different from it, and of greater worth. On the other hand, when this pain, of which I am now speaking, begins, our Lord seems to lay hold of the soul, and to throw it into a trance, so that there is no time for me to have any sense of pain or suffering, because fruition ensues at once. May He be blessed for ever, who hath bestowed such great graces on one who has responded so ill to blessings so great!” (ST. TERESA OF AVILA, THE BOOK OF HER LIFE, CHAPTER XXIX.) St. John of the Cross explains that this kind of experience happens “while the soul is inflamed with the Love of God, it will feel that a seraph is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraph pierces and in an instant cauterizes this soul, which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. The soul is converted into an immense fire of Love. Few persons have reached these heights.” As God is good, this one act that literally touched the heart of St Teresa of Avila has gone on to spiritually touch the hearts of millions of people since. One person, also named Teresa, today, also, a Carmelite saint, is St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (aka Edith Stein). In 1940, she wrote this sonnet on the occasion of this feast day: From Heaven’s heights a beam of light here flashes, He came into the dark depths of my heart, The soul was wounded by Love’s flaming dart, Which penetrated all my limbs like lashes. Transformed since then is my entire being. Am I no more the same one that I was? That light has cleared away the dark, because I am like one who was once blind now seeing. Deep under me in unsubstantial distance, I see the world and all the rage of its states, Its buzzing noise does not reach me in this place. Eternal stars glow over my existence, And wondrously a bow of peace radiates, A gentle sign of God’s great mercy and grace.                              * * * The ray of heaven’s light allows me rest not, Thus what is lighted must become a light. The Light eternal sends me to earth’s plight: And so I turn to bear the world now so fraught. The love of God within my heart burns so deep, It gladly set the world in whole aflame. That love is homeless and attracts no fame, This causes pain and makes the faithful soul weep. It loves to let the golden stars shine brightly Into the deepest depths of earth’s darkest vale, With gentle light to penetrate the dark night. It wants to join both Heav’n and earth so tightly, And carry by the Holy Spirit’s strong gale The world aloft upon His wings into light. After St Teresa of Avila died in 1582, her body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt. Later, when it was decided that her heart should be removed from her body and placed in a jeweled silver reliquary, it was revealed that her heart had a visible wound from the angel's dart. This heart, wounded by Christ's love, can be seen today at the Carmelite Monastery of Alba de Tormes in Spain.  Members of Apostoli Viae and Carmelites around the world are clothed in the Holy Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. May God cover us in the mantle of Our Lady and guide us all along the way that is everlasting, the way tread by our holy sisters in Christ--Saints Teresa of Avila, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and so many others.  May our hearts never rest until they rest in Him. May our hearts be a light to others. May they burn with His flame, and set the world on fire with His love.   Images: Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gerard Seghers; La Transverbération de sainte Thérèse by Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich; The Ecstasy of St Teresa, by Francesco Fontebasso.
In the Desert with Jesus and Mary
Today, we begin our journey following Jesus into the desert.   Can you imagine?   He was just baptized in the Jordan, when, suddenly, the Holy Spirit led Him into the desert. He looks back and beckons. Not with His hands. Just a look.   Come.   We set out, uncertain, but not entirely.  We know Who we're following, after all. We trust Him. We thank God for Septuagesimatide. It's nice to prepare for an outing like this. But there is no other outing like this. How can we prepare? By shutting our minds to the distractions. By pulling away from the world. By centering ourselves in Him.   The walk through the desert is arduous. The sun is hot. We knew this walk wouldn't be easy. But God has a way of making His yoke manageable. Thank Him for the breeze that cools the brow. The farther we move, the quieter it becomes.  There are no birds here to sing.  It's so quiet, you can almost hear the sun sizzling in the sky. The sand baking. The sound of sandals dig, dig, dig into the sand. The walk itself becomes meditative. The sound of our feet has a rhythm that quiets the mind. We are going deep into the heart of God's creation to find Him there; Him and nothing more.  What more could we ever need? What more could we ever want? Our Lord is there, waiting for us.   Imagine. We leave behind the notifications, tings, rings, beeps and boops. Leave behind the music that bores itself into our consciousness and haunts our subconscious; the videos and tv shows that usurp valuable chunks of our memories with less-than-holy images and ideas.  Here in the desert, we don't need to, nay, we can't even concern ourselves with what we're going to eat. There's no food here to obsess over or gorge on mindlessly. Here, we must rely on Our Heavenly Father to feed us with the sweet bread of everlasting life. Gone are the comfy and soft blankets and pillows that cushion our comfortable lives. Gone are the heaters and fans and air conditioners that keep us all at a comfortable level of temperature.  Why are we so afraid of being uncomfortable? This walk isn't that bad. We are at the mercy of God now. In the desert. His mercy is everlasting.   A dark night of the senses. Forty of them. We shut them down to hear Him better. To follow Him better. Leave behind the baggage of the senses, of the memory, and the wounds and scars. Follow Him into the desert. Will you?   But without all that baggage we carry around each day...  What do we do with our time? What do we do with our memories? Our monkey thoughts?   We focus. Focus them on God. Focus on His will. On His word. What a simple time.   Can you see it? Can you imagine?   Our Lady has joined us in the desert, as well, but her retreat is spiritual. She is with Jesus in her mind, in her heart. She is always close to Him. Watching. Praying. Our Lady of Silence. She speaks only when necessary, so that she can better hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. She holds all things in her heart. All things worth keeping, that is. Her heart has no room for anything that is not of God. Why do ours? Why do we make room for anything else?   She knows the journey that we're on and she prays for us. She knows, in the desert, we will be closer to Him than ever before.   Let us ask for her help as we make our way and follow the only Leader we should ever know. Let us ask the Father...   Loving Father, I seek nothing more than to please You and grow closer to You. Purify my heart and my intentions this Lent, Heavenly Father. Bring me closer to You, to Your Son. Prepare a place in my heart and home for silence and solitude, so I can hear Your voice and know Your will for me. Help me fast from the things that threaten the health of my soul and body, which keep me attached to this world, and which create noise to prevent me from hearing and knowing You. Enlarge my heart so I can be generous, like Zacchaeus. Open my eyes, so I can see, like Bartimaeus. Open my ears, like you did for the deaf man. Heal me, like You healed the paralytic. Dispel the demons that surround me, as you did for the Gerasene. Bring me back from death, as You did to Lazarus. I seek nothing but Your will, Lord. I know that I can do all things in You.     Image: Christ in the Wilderness, by Ivan Kramskoy (c. 1872, public domain), with icon of Our Lady of Silence (artist unknown)