Pause to wonder

Daily Reading for January 6 • The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

May the blessed Kings pray for you in the Mystical Body of our Lord, may they impart to you something of the faith that sent them on their mysterious journey, and of the joy which they found when they knelt before the Lord of Heaven made Man. It seems to me that no one has ever adequately portrayed in words the beauty of this season. Of course, it cannot be portrayed adequately, but it has always seemed to me to be possible to do more with it than has been done. But there is, on the other hand, a great advantage in not seeking to expose the mystery, even if it could be set forth.

It is something like the light; at early dawn when it is dim, it presents a mystery of earth and sky that is wholly lost when it shines in its fullness and rawness at high noon. I remember years ago driving across the desert in the west, and being impressed with the glory of the early morning and of the late afternoon, in comparison with the hardness of the noonday sun. There is a new anthology recently published called Pause to Wonder. The title is taken from a saying of Einstein’s, which is on the title page, to the effect that the most beautiful and thrilling thing in the world is the mysterious, and goes on to say that the man who never feels called upon to “pause and wonder” is as good as dead.

So there is something great and full in the deep mysteries of life, which is utterly lost when life is explained. The lure of the mysterious is that which has enabled men to follow after truth, and the fact that the truth always lies beyond us would seem to be a reflection of the infinite life of God Himself who is the fullness of truth. We can never compass the infinite, although through all time and eternity we shall be penetrating more deeply into it.

From a letter written in January 1944 by Shirley Carter Hughson, OHC, quoted in Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness, compiled by Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson, and Rowan Williams (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

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