What Star Is This? by Anthony Esolen

Column: Illuminations

What Star Is This?

Several years before he died, Pope John Paul II added a new devotion to the Catholic rosary: the Luminous Mysteries. These are moments when Christ shows himself for the first time, in a special outpouring of light for us who have walked in darkness. As with the other sets of mysteries, there are five, all related: the Baptism, when first he is first greeted by the mysterious words of John, "Behold the Lamb of God"; the Wedding at Cana, when he works his first miracle; the Preaching of the Kingdom, when he appears to the people as a teacher who possesses his own authority; the Transfiguration, that time-gathering and time-bursting moment of ecstasy; and the Last Supper, when he gives to his disciples the bread of heaven.

Yet in each of these there is also a kind of quiet and fostering darkness. A bruised reed he shall not break, said the prophet, and indeed, Jesus himself is like the invisible leaven or that smallest of seeds, to whom we look in vain for voluble theology or political garishness. Every revelation leads us deeper into the life of his life, where there is more, and ever more, to know and to love and to worship. Jesus is obvious only to those who find him in the way, a stumbling stone. To the Christian, he is ever new, and so we stand as it were in darkness before him, waiting upon his time, and his light.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

31.4—July/August 2018

Listening to Eve

on the Brevity & Theology of Her Recorded Words by Judith Anderson

30.6—Nov/Dec 2017

The Great Divorce

Christianity & the Liberal Society by James Hitchcock

29.4—July/August 2016

Naked Truth

on Noticing That Modern Science Has Rendered Atheism Irrational by Harry Biltz

00