These three wise men from the East, the Magi who hurried across the desert in search of a small boy, prefigure the march of Christianity to rediscover its innocence. That small boy was a king, albeit a king without lodgings. But they went anyway, walking in by starlight, guided by a star.
That is the miracle of the Christ, who forces people out from their fixed spots, peels away from their hearts the interests that turn them to stone, pushes them beyond the perceived boundaries of the sacred so as to have them recommence their search for unity among all people, in every circumstance. And so to his crib they come from every plague of prophet, Hebrew and Greek philosophes, art and literature, speculation and custom, stripping from themselves along the way whatever is particularly idolatrous and wrong, unreasonable and inhumane. And everything gathers around Christ, who is the reason for everything.
The Magi brought perfume and treasure from the far reaches of Arabia and Mesopotamia: affects and effects. Love drew them out from far away to bring them close to Christ, who was the poor person par excellence and is forever to be found in the poor.
That trek of the Magi represents the effort to draw near from every distance, to rise from the rubbish and with an offering of hearts and material goods, through the deserts of egoism, to arrive at unity with God, because “God became what we are so that we could become what God is,” as St Augustine would say: the one who descended so that others might ascend.
But it’s a long trek, and it happens at night, amid trials and tribulations: Truth is never achieved without effort. God is a prize for those who put the effort into finding him: but whoever seeks finds.
Igino Giordani, I Re magi, La Via n.97, January 6, 1951, p.4.