Because an Epiphany is an experience of sudden and striking realisation, the term can be used to describe a scientific breakthrough, a religious or philosophical discovery, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realisation allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. For this reason, Epiphanies are studied by psychologists and other scholars, particularly those attempting to study the process of innovation.
In the Church, the word Epiphany describes experiences in which God Himself somehow speaks to us or which lead to God.
The readings chosen for the month-long season of Epiphany explore the ways God makes Himself known. A constructive use of the readings will help create a mindset in which our meditations make is easier to understand when a revelation or discovery is indeed of God.
The Church’s season of Epiphany ends on 2 February when we celebrate Candlemas—itself a moment of Epiphany, as we remember two old people (Simeon and Anna) who saw the baby Jesus and discerned in him the Messiah.