Each month on the second Sunday, Roses for Our Lady, a group of lay people committed to promoting Marian and Eucharistic devotion in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, prays a beautiful Holy Hour for an increase in good and holy vocations to the priesthood and religious life at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. This past Sunday we were joined by the effervescent and holy Fr. Christopher Klusman, a priest for whom we prayed while he was still in the seminary. Fr. Christopher was ordained to the priesthood last May and since that time he has been a tremendous blessing not only to his parish and the Deaf community in Milwaukee, but also to Roses for Our Lady and all of those who have a deep and sincere devotion to the Blessed Mother.
Fr. Christopher's gospel reflection at our Holy Hour was so touching that I asked him if I could share it on this blog and of course, he agreed. What most moved me was his remark that the wise men didn't just bow or kneel to the infant Christ, but that they prostrated themselves; they worshiped the Lord in the most profound manner possible. I was also inspired by his words about our true vocation: that of a saint.
What follows is Fr. Christopher's moving words to those gathered at the Roses for Our Lady Holy Hour on the Solemnity of the Epiphany:
Reflection on the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12
Solemnity of the Epiphany by Fr. Christopher Klusman
Thank you so much for having me and I always keep you in my prayers for the wonderful ministry that you all do in “Roses for Our Lady.” Your title, “Roses for Our Lady” is beautiful: I often ponder about the famous quote by our dearly beloved saint and doctor of the Catholic Church: St. Therese of Lisieux: “After my death, I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my Heaven doing good upon Earth.”
This is why we are here… we ask St. Therese, all the saints, and Mary, who is the Queen of Saints, to intercede for us to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And this brings us to today’s gospel for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord: today’s readings remind us of a “journey.” All of us here are at various parts of our journey here… different vocations, such as sisters, mothers, fathers, teachers, and so forth with their own challenges and joys… To this they would say, “That is wonderful.” But, the one thing that saints aspire you to say (as they would say themselves), is “I want to be a saint!” Many people may think that is not what we should say because they may think you are “conceited.” But, that is what the devil wants you to think. The whole meaning of you wanting to become a saint is that it tells people you (and them too) want to be exclusively God’s. This is a great joy… a great journey… a great vocation within our vocations. We desire that all that you say and do sends up a sweet smell of frankincense to God.
Now, the Magi were on their journey and, when they came to see the “newborn King of the Jews,” a remarkable thing that they did was that they didn’t bow or genuflect… they prostrated themselves! Their laying on the ground is a sign of complete obedience, submission, and reverence to Jesus, as priests, sisters, and professed people would do!
Their prostration tells us their message that Jesus is our King, our Everything. You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no other. King Herod told them before seeing Jesus that they are to come back to my way. The fact that the Magi avoided Herod’s way proved that what the Magi saw in Jesus is real, profound, and worth the sacrifice!
St. Ambrose, who was one of the people responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine (changing his way), beautifully said, “The star is the way, and the way is Christ; and according to the mystery of the incarnation, Christ is a star. He is a blazing and a morning-star. Thus where Herod is, the star is not seen; where Christ is, there it is again seen, and points out the way.”
As from Mary, at Fatima on a rainy day, she gave the message to pray the rosary every day. Then, she rose toward the east and turned the palms of her hands to the dark sky: the rains stopped and the dark clouds obscured the sun, which is also a big star. Then, the sun burst through and the “Miracle of the Dancing Sun” happened in front of about 70,000 people. Then, St. Joseph appeared with the Child Jesus with Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. Which is almost like today’s Nativity!
So, as a result, thousands were converted to the Way, Who is Jesus. Following the ways of King Herod makes the Sun/Son of God disappear. Following Jesus at all times keeps the Sun/Son of God with us always. In all that we do and say in our journey here on Earth, we aspire to say, “I want to be a saint.” I want to be able to send down a shower of roses because like St. Paul said, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Jesus, the Sun, the Star, the Light of our lives, gave Himself up for us and we pray for the same desire to give up ourselves by prostrating to Him that any journey that leads us to Christ through Mary is all the worthwhile. As it is said, to have Jesus is to have Everything. God bless you.