Most people correctly associate the Solemnity of the Epiphany with the three magi -- or kings -- who came from the east. In our Order, however, we have one more "person" who figures prominently at the Epiphany: the queen. In a time-tried French custom, we bury a bean (usually a jelly bean) in fruit cake on Epiphany night and, much like the traditional Mardi Gras celebrations, we draw pieces of the cake and wait for everyone to take a piece before we peek under our cake. The sister who draws the bean (the "Queen of the Bean") is our queen for the year. The queen has a few special privileges and responsibilities and she is usually inundated with requests from her "subjects." Once this year's queen has been selected (and has adjusted to her royal responsibilities) we shall feature her in a future blog post!
On a more serious note, the Epiphany is an invitation for all of us to extend the Christmas season, in our hearts, as we venture into Ordinary Time. It is a reminder for us to seek always the newborn king -- in all that we do. As daily life becomes "ordinary" again and work, school, home, etc., provide comfortable routines, let us remember that the journey to Bethlehem is an everyday affair for the pilgrim Church on earth. Several years ago, a company put out a button that said "Bethlehem or Bust!" What a wonderful motto for our everyday life.