I was born & raised ultra-orthodox catholic, w/mom being a born catholic & dad a convert. I was deeply religious/spiritual from a young age, but there were things in catholicism that just never made sense to me, like: virgin birth, Mary worship, gruesome obsession with 1 particular crucifixion, belief that they are actually ingesting blood & flesh from a guy dead 2,000 yrs. ago (blood prohibited in Torah), idolizing & wearing crosses, the role of the priest as mediator between person & G-d, & in particular the idea that G-d would make Himself into a human so that he could sacrifice himself TO Himself! How does that make any sense?
So, I gave it up & started a quest for "spiritual truths", which eventually led me to a study group learning Jewish Mysticism. THAT clicked. The techniques I learned WORKED. I learned to meditate & connect with G-d 1-on-1 (no priest, pope, etc.). I felt G-d pushing me towards attending synagogue, then to conversion class, & finally actually converting. That was in 1990 & no regrets.
What David says about having a Jewish soul - I totally agree! I feel certain that I have been Jewish in other lifetimes & that I DO have a Jewish soul. Oddly, my dad loved Al Jolson & I grew up hearing him sing the Kol Nidre, Hatikvah, "Cantor on the Sabbath", etc. He had a lot of respect for the Jewish people, so it must have been passed on to me as well. Now I get to sing with our High Holy Days choir & do the choral part for Kol Nidre!
It was the right decision for me, & I know that it was what G-d wanted me to do. Just listen for that "still, small voice" to guide you to where He wants you. Baruch Hashem!
Although not a Catholic I enjoy studying history and the Bible.
The Catholic Encyclopedia [newadvent] is one of my favorite sources for such things, and its take on the Magi is somewhat different from yours. [In my digital copy it’s in vol. 9, pp. 1342 ff.]
What do you think?
First, the Greek texts show “magoi”; CathEn adds, “pl. of L. magus”. My OED and other sources go on to show that it was first a loanword from Old Persian.
CathEn disagrees with “magician” as a good definition, while admitting that Justin, Origen and Jerome used it. For many Christians it is a ‘heat’ word; I’m interested in light, so I won’t use it.
CathEn shows that “wise men” [NJB] is apt, because of their great learning. It cites Herodotus [ca. 460 BCE] one of the few quality sources that far back, in saying that this learning was acquired in their role of “provid[ing] priests for Persia” and “ever [keeping] up their dominating religious influence.” As part of their practice they ‘read the stars’. This would be long before Alexander’s Persian victories ca. 330 BCE.
Why is this relevant? Because God’s Law to his people, 1513 BCE, forbade any contact with other religions and their practices. Cf. De 18:10-12, which ends, “For anyone who does these things is detestable to Yahweh your God”. Ibid.
Is it possible that Yahweh would entrust any part of the Messiah’s arrival to these men? And yet there they are in the record! Is the common belief that they are to be emulated true? Or is it another lesson that Matthew is giving us?