Tag Archives: Theophany

The Importance of Epiphany

theophanyAsked why is Epiphany/Theophany important is answered only by looking at the sacred Liturgy? This feast is one of the oldest of the Christians even predating the December 25th observance of the Lord’s Nativity. This is a good exercise in doing liturgical theology: reflecting on the texts of the Liturgy as a way of understanding why do and believe what we do. This is theologia prima.

First things first. The title of this feast speaks volumes; this feast manifests, or you can say, reveals God to us. The Liturgical hymns inviting us to rejoice at God’s appearance in human history. Here are 20 reasons taken from the Prologue chanted by the celebrant as he prepares to chant the ancient prayer, “Great are You”:

Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for he has regarded and redeemed his people: for behold, the time of the feast has drawn near to us: angels with men celebrate and a choir of saints draws near to us.

1) Today the grace of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying the waters, appears to these.
2) Today the heavens delight in raining dew upon the earth.
3) Today the never-setting sun appears and the world is illuminated.
4) Today the moon shines on the world with the brightness of its rays.
5) Today the luminous stars beautify the world.
6) Today the clouds give the dew of righteousness to mankind from the heavens.
7) Today all of the waters spread their back to the feet of the master.
8) Today the invisible one becomes visible in order to manifest himself to us.
9) Today the uncreated one by his own will receives the laying on of hands from his own creation.
10) Today he who does not bow down bows his neck before his servant so that he might release us from slavery.
11) Today we have been delivered from darkness and we are being illuminated with the light of the knowledge of God.
12) Today the master reforms the archetype through the regeneration of the image.
13) Today the whole creation is watered by breathing streams.
14) Today the errors of men are wiped away by the waters of Jordan.
15) Today the bitter waters of the sea are transformed into sweet by the manifestation of their own master.
16) Today paradise has been opened for men, and righteous people congregate with us.
17) Today we have been released from our ancient lamentation, and as the new Israel we have found salvation.
18) Today we have cast off the old garments of sin and have been clothed in the vesture of incorruption.
19) Today is the holy and luminous celebration of the right-worshipping Christian.
20) Today we have received the kingdom of heaven from the heights, and of the Lord’s kingdom there is no end.


Baptism of LordThe Catholic liturgical calendar may be confusing for some people since it is not well articulated by churchmen. Today is the 12th day of Christmas, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord (or the Theophany in the Eastern Churches). The word “epiphany” means manifestation, or revelation of God. Divine Revelation reveals that God the Father claims Jesus as his own son and commands that we listen to him. The voice from the heavens sets the drama. Epiphany, therefore, is the day on which we celebrate three things: the adoration of the Magi, the baptism of the Lord in River Jordan and the Wedding Feast at Cana.

On the point about the Lord’s baptism by his cousin John, Saint John of Damascus explains that Christ was not baptized because He had need of purification, “but to identify Himself with our purification.” Saint Hilary of Poiters follows upon the teaching of the Damascene but saying gate Lord did not need the baptism of repentance, but we do, and therefore Jesus sanctified the waters of baptism by his own. Thus the Lord’s own baptism became a model for our own baptism.

Let us look in awe at the revelation of God.

Epiphany – Theophany: we cannot fail to read the eternal rationality, Pope said

Pope Benedict Epiphany 2011.jpgSadly, the bishops in the USA moved the celebration of Epiphany to a Sunday but in other dioceses, particularly Rome, the traditional Epiphany Mass is celebrated. How much is lost when we monkey around with the sacred Liturgy!!! At Mass today, the Pope preached, given in part:

“In the beauty of the world, in its mystery, its
greatness and rationality,” said Pope Benedict, “we cannot fail to read the
eternal rationality
; we can not help but be guided by it to the one God,
Creator of heaven and earth.”

“Herod is a
character whom we do not like, whom we instinctively judge in a negative way
for his brutality. But we should ask ourselves: maybe there is something of
Herod in us
? Perhaps we, too, on occasion, see God as a kind of rival? Perhaps
we too
are blind to his signs, deaf to his words, because we think they put
limits on our lives and do not allow us to dispose of our existence howsoever we

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The Epiphany Proclamation

Magi Aldighieri da Zevio.jpg

The Epiphany Proclamation


Dear brothers and sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.


Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the 9th of April and the evening of the 12th of April.


Each Easter – as on each Sunday – the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.


From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.


Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the 25th of February.

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the 21st of May.

Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the 31st of May.


Corpus Christi will be celebrated on the 11th of June.


The First Sunday of Advent will be celebrated on the 29th of November.


Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.


To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.


R. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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