The Epiphany


B. Esteban Murillo, Adoration of the Magi (17c.), [image source]

It is important more often than not to let a picture speak a thousand words. So, here is Murillo's Adoration of the Magi, the object of today's calendar feast day (the sixth day of January), which has been transferred through proximity to tomorrow (Sunday) in the Church in England and Wales. Two things may be noticed straight away, but do feel free to meditate at length on this depiction of the Epiphany of the Holy Infant to the 'wise men' from the East. The first point to be made refers to the Blessed Virgin presenting the Child to the World (represented by the Magi) for adoration, which is not unlike the presentation of the Blessed Sacrament during Holy Mass, when the priest raises it aloft after the moment of consecration, or the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration/Benediction. The old king naturally falls to his knees in adoration, as do we at Mass and also at Adoration/Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The other things to be noticed are the expressions placed on the faces of the two other kings: the dark-skinned, possibly south-Indian figure, is delighted, joyful; the other, Spanish-looking, Persian king, is more blank-faced, perhaps allowing for us (the viewers) to enter into the painting and participate in the event.