This is the last gift of the Magi to Jesus. Just as frankincense, myrrh is a gum resin from trees in the Middle East. The name in Arabic means “bitter.” It was a gift at the beginning of Jesus’ life, to become one at the end—the gift of a Roman soldier to soothe Jesus’ pain while hanging on the cross. While the gift was accepted at the beginning of Jesus’ life, it was refused at the end—no anesthesia to diminish the pain that transformed death into the beginning of resurrected life for Jesus and for us.
Myrrh is a symbol of suffering. Pain has within it, the power to transform. We often seek to mask suffering through activity. Resist this anesthesia⎯or any other addiction that seeks to bury the pain. Receive and accept suffering—don’t recoil from it. May suffering be a creative force to purify and transfigure our lives.
Alphabytes are object meditations
that move through the alphabet two times
in the course of the fifty-two weeks in the year.
“Myrrh” introduces the Eighth Week in Epiphany:
winter in the north, summer in the south.
To view all of them, see the menu option Alphabytes.