Evelyn Waugh wrote a terrific little book, Helena. It is about the mother of the Emperor Constantine.
In our book, St. Helena, discoverer of the True Cross, prays to the Holy Magi.
This is a prayer by and for people who are talented, intellectuals, artists, who because of their intellectual gifts find it difficult to arrive at the same faith of simple people.
The prayer has two messages.
First, simple folk need far less ratiocination (e.g., exegesis, syllogisms, disputations, etc.) than those who are more gifted in order to adore the Baby in the manger. They come to the side of the Lord so much more quickly, willingly, with less hesitation.
Second, there is nevertheless hope for intellectuals, scientists, artist, who, in spite of the difficulties their intellects pose to the Faith, can arrive late at the manger and still by welcomed with open arms by the Holy Family.
This is my day, and these are my kind.
“Like me, you were late in coming. The shepherds were here long before, even the cattle. They had joined the chorus of angels before you were on your way.
How laboriously you came, taking sights and calculating, where the shepherds had run barefoot! How odd you looked on the road, attended by what outlandish liveries, laden with such preposterous gifts!
You finally came to the last stage of your pilgrimage and the great star stood still above you. What did you do? You stopped to call on King Herod. Deadly exchange of compliments in which began that unended war of mobs and magistrates against the innocent!
Yet you came and were not turned away. You too found room before the manger. Your gifts were not needed, but they were accepted and put carefully by, for they were brought with love. In that new order of charity that had just come to life, there was room for you, too. You were not lower in the eyes of the holy family than the ox or the ass.
You are my especial patrons, and patrons of all late-comers, of all who have a tedious journey to make to the truth, of all who are confused with knowledge and speculation, of all who through politeness make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talents.
Dear cousins, pray for me, and for my poor overloaded son. May he, too, before the end find kneeling space in the straw. Pray for the great, lest they perish utterly.
For His sake who did not reject your curious gifts, pray always for the learned, the oblique, the delicate. Let them not be quite forgotten at the Throne of God when the simple come into their kingdom.”