Consider Kempis’s message above as it relates to the undoubtedly long and arduous journey of the Magi highlighted in today’s Gospel for the Feast of the Epiphany (Mt 2:1-12). The Catholic Bible Dictionary (on page 565) tells us that the Magi were “[a]ncient wise men who were specialists in dream interpretation, astrology, and sometimes magic…On the basis of the Old Testament (cf. Ps 72;10; Isa 49:7; 60:3, 6) the tradition arose that the Magi were three kings.” (Scott Hahn, Gen. Ed. New York: Doubleday, 2009).
Certainly, these men from afar were learned, respected, and of high status in the regions from which they came; many persons must have come to them for help or advice. Yet, they hungered for more knowledge, so in all humility came to do homage to an infant only recently born. A sign in the sky indicated a momentous event and they must learn all about it. Who can say what conversations they may have had with Jesus’ mother? What gaps in their knowledge and understanding of divinity must have been filled! Here were the first Gentiles to witness the Messiah. Would it be any surprise if they were the first Gentiles to witness of the Messiah in their respective towns?
So it should be with us. We should acknowledge our ignorance but not remain willfully in it. Prayer, study, and contemplation fill in our gaps in knowledge of the Lord and, by their nature, require us to share the Good News. The first spiritual work of mercy is to “instruct the ignorant.” We are the first targets of this admonition but should not be the final ones. We should come to a deeper knowledge and appreciation of Scripture every day. And who doesn’t like to share good news?