They were, in a certain sense, restless; inspired by the dynamics of going beyond themselves. They were philosophers -- that is to say, “friends of wisdom” – who sought not only scientific knowledge, but to understand the meaning of all things. They were men who carried reason to its highest possibilities. Following Socrates, they went beyond official religion in search of the highest truth; following Abraham, they set out on a journey at the call of God.
These are some of the ways in which the Pope, in his latest book on Jesus’ childhood, tries to respond to the question: “What kind of men were the Magi?” And he continues: They are humanity making its way towards Christ; they represent the inner expectation of the human spirit, the movement of religions and of human reason towards Christ.
In this Year of Faith the Magi can and must accompany us – because the faith can never be taken for granted. Faith taken for granted is not faith. Faith is the soul of a pilgrimage and of an ever renewed search. Creation, the sciences, traditions, Scriptures; the struggles of reason and of life, dialogue with those we meet along the way – these are not foreign to the journey, as the Magi realised. Faith is a journey in hope in this world of ours, in the concrete situations we will face in the new year that has just begun. The Magi were rewarded with a surprising encounter, a source of great joy. Why shouldn’t we hope for the same?