From the word magi we have the words magician and magic. That’s because all three refer to occult or hidden arts. Occult need not mean something evil, though modern usage carries that meaning primarily: those dark, secret beliefs and practices privy only to the initiated. Before and at the time of Christ those who knew not the true faith of the Jews were held captive to various forms of paganism. Saint Paul identified the gods of the pagans as demons. Surely there were at that time men of sincere and upright intention who, though ignorant in many ways, sought truth through the occult means of reading the stars and other like things. A few gifted others found light for the intellect through philosophy (but often mixed with errors).
Our Epiphany heroes were pagans but sincere seekers of wisdom and truth through reading the stars. To these men the good God manifested the heavenly light which led them to Bethlehem. God used such means to bring good and honest men from the half-truths of their primitive sciences and superstitions to the supernatural truth of Christ. Note carefully, however: these men were unlike today’s erstwhile Christians who, having found the truth of Christ tedious, have cast aside Truth Incarnate and embraced the fascinatingly bizarre, the weird, the perverse, and a legion of false practices proposed by demons in astrology, fortune telling, ouija boards, seances, new age movements, secret societies (e.g. freemasons) and other such occult things. Even this small sampling of the litany of occult things indicates how multiform error is and how singular is truth. There is no other truth but Christ who is Truth. There is no other way to God or transcendent life but through Him who is the Way. To the growing multitude of people forsaking Christ for these demonic lies one might say, as Paul did to the Galatians, “O ye foolish (people)! who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publically portrayed?”
We’re seeing in our day a rapid progression of occultism enabled by modern technological means and popular culture (films, music, etc.) and with a concomitant retreat from orthodox Christian faith. Future prospects for the Church do not look promising. Added to this is the strong arm of political and legislative pressures poised against those who uphold the irreversible norms of morality which the Church has always safeguarded. (Here another itemized litany of evils might be listed, but I’ll pass up the temptation.) Saint Paul in Romans showed the consequences for deliberately turning away from the truth to false religions and occultism to be unnatural–that is, deviant–sexual activity (read Romans 1:18-32 to get the full story). This depravity, it should be noted, is considered a divine punishment for willfully turning away from truth and, in its stead, daring to assent to and act
contrary to it.
To say this more simply, in what has been happening in the world we’re getting a lickin’, a thrashing, for impiety and sexual perversity. God is just. People are getting what they are asking for and thus deserve: fitting retribution. In the event, all are made to suffer on account of the wickedness of the few whose numbers, however, grow steadily.
Returning to the magi. We see that they who turned to God in a humble, obedient and honest quest for truth found it in Christ. Epiphany day is a triumph of truth over the many demonic propositions that cause men to grope in intellectual and moral darkness. On this very day of truth’s triumph, we lament the deliberate regression of man to occultism, paganism, atheism and homosexuality.
In an increasingly insane world we laud the wise men who insist on adhering to manifest, reveled truth. We ourselves must stand fast with them against the powerful pressures to turn from light to darkness. Epiphany is the feast day of all who champion the singular way of truth in faith and morals. You will find this way in its fullness only in one place in the universe: in Christ’s holy, Catholic Church.
Sunday, January 03, 2016
Fr. Perrone on the difference between Christ-seeking pagan Magi and occult-seeking lapsed Christians
Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, January 3, 2016):