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adoration of the magi peter paul reubens for website

...Let us now follow the Magi to Bethlehem: it is there that we shall especially see the manifestation of the depth of their faith.

The marvellous star leads them to the place where they were at last to find Him Whom they had so long sought. And what do they find ? A palace, a royal cradle, a long train of attentive servants ? No, but a poor dwelling. They seek a king, a God, and they see only a Babe on His Mother’s knee; not a Babe transfigured by Divine rays as the Apostles were later to see the God-Man, but a little Child, a poor weak little Child.

However, from this Little One so frail in appearance, invisibly went forth a divine power : Virtus de illo exibat. He, Who had made the star arise to lead the Magi to His cradle, now Himself enlightened them. He inwardly filled their minds with light and their hearts with love. And so it was that in this Child, they recognised their God.

The Gospel tells us nothing of their words, but it makes known to us the sublime act of their perfect faith: “And falling down they adored Him”: Et procidentes adoraverunt eum (Ibid. 2:2).

The Church would have us associate ourselves with this adoration of the Magi. When, during the Mass, she gives us these words of the Gospel narrative to read, she causes us to kneel down, to show that we, too, believe in the Divinity of the Babe of Bethlehem.

Let us adore Him with deep faith. God requires of us that, as long as we are here below, all the activity of our inner life should lead to union with Him by faith. Faith is the light which enables us to see God in the Virgin’s Child, to hear God’s voice in the words of the Incarnate Word, to follow the example of a God in the actions of Jesus, to appropriate to ourselves the infinite merits of a God in the sorrows and satisfactions of a Man suffering like ourselves.

Through the veil of a humble and passible Humanity, the soul enlightened by a living faith ever discovers God; whereever she encounters this Humanity-whether it be in the humiliations of Bethlehem, upon the roads of Judea, on the gibbet of Calvary, or under the Eucharistic species- the faithful soul falls in adoration because it is the Humanity of a God. At the feet of Jesus she listens to Him, in order to obey and follow Him until it shall please Him to reveal Himself in the beauty of His Infinite Majesty, in the holy splendours of the Beatific Vision.

The attitude of adoration in the Magi translates in eloquent language the depth of their faith; the presents that they offer are likewise full of signification. The Fathers of the Church have laid stress on the symbolism of the gifts brought to Christ by the Magi. In ending this conference, let us stay to consider the depth of this symbolism: it will be a joy for our souls and food for our devotion.

As you know, the Gospel tells us that having found the Child with Mary His Mother, “opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:2). It is evident that, in the intentions of the Magi, these gifts were meant to express the feelings of their hearts as well as to honour Him to Whom they were brought.

EWTN: The Ephiphany, Authored by Dom Columba Marmion

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PSR 2021   June 7th-18th