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Sunday, December 11, 2011

THE MAGI ARE MOVING

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"The Journey of the Magi"
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Sir Alec Guiness
reads the poem by T.S. Eliot (1808-1965),
a Nobel Prize in Literature winner with a bent toward
the religious and the philosophical. It's from a
1961 recording on the Folkways label, titled:
Christian Poetry and Prose:
 Selected and Read by Alec Guiness.
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video
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A cold coming we had of it, just the worst of time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbert.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women.
And the night fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel at night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
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Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
 Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued.
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (as you may say) satisfactory.
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All this was a long time ago, I remember,
 And I would do it again,
 but set down This set down
This : were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt.
I had seen birth and death.
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
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THE FOURTH WISE MAN
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The video clip below is a three-minute segment of a film based on Henry van Dyke's classic, The Story of the Other Wise Man, a fictional story set in Biblical times, told in gently comic terms. It concerns a Magi named Artaban (Martin Sheen) who studies the prophecies and witnesses a sign in the heavens that he hopes will lead him and his faithful servant, Orantes (Alan Arkin), to the Messiah. Artaban takes with him three precious gifts to present to the Messiah. For 33 years, Artaban and Orantes pursue Jesus, only to miss Him at every turn. Along the way, Artaban uses his gifts to help people in dire need. He now has nothing to present to the Messiah when he finds Him. The story culminates on Easter Sunday as Artaban, old and dying, finally encounters the new King, bringing peace to his final moments of life. A deeply moving tale, examining what
 true faith really means. 
Produced by PAULIST PICTURES
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