— Council of Vienne ♰♰♰

Sunday, January 5, 2020

☆彡"We have seen His star, and are come to adore Him."--Matt, 2: 2

“We have come from the East to worship the King ”

Their names are in the Martirologio mention to St Gaspar the first of January, St Melchor on the sixth and St Baltasar the eleven (Acta SS., I, 8, 323, 664).

The mystic Ana Catalina Emmerick says that after this divine revelation they left their pagan customs and began to worship God and offered their kingdoms and their peoples to the true God.
She tells us that they were three kings but arrived in caravans accompanied by 200 people.

Pseudo-Chrysostom, opus imperfectum super Matthaeum, hom. two

"If the magi had looked for the Savior as an earthly king, once they had found him, they would never have left him. But it was not like that, but they adored him and they went back. After returning to their country, they were more faithful to God than before, and with their preaching they converted many. Later, when Thomas came to those regions, they joined him, and after being baptized they were his companions in the preaching of the Gospel. "

Rabanus (Catena Aurea): The Magi are men who enquire into the nature of things philosophically, but common speech uses Magi for wizards. In their own country, however, they are held in other repute, being the philosophers of the Chaldaeans, in whose lore kings and princes of that nation are taught, and by which themselves knew the birth of the Lord.

Gloss: These Magi were kings, and though their gifts were three, it is not to be thence inferred that themselves were only three in number, but in them was prefigured the coming to the faith of the nations sprung from the three sons of Noah. Or, the princes were only three, but each brought a large company with him. They came not after a year's end, for He would then have been found in Egypt, not in the manger, but on the thirteenth day. To shew whence they came it is said, "from the East." 

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, whence the day springs, thence came the first-fruits of the faith; for faith is the light of the soul. Therefore they came from the East, but to Jerusalem. 

Remigius: Yet was not the Lord born there; thus they knew the time but not the place of His birth. Jerusalem being the royal city, they believed that such a child could not be born in any other. Or it was to fulfil that Scripture, "The Law shall go out of Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." [Isa 2:3] And there Christ was first preached. Or it was to condemn the backwardness of the Jews. 

Pseudo-Augustine, Append. Serm. 132: Many kings of Judaea had been born and died before, yet had Magi ever sought out any of them for adoration? No, for they had not been taught that any of these spoke from heaven. To no ordinary King of Judaea had these men, aliens from the land of Judaea, ever thought such honour due. But they had been taught that this Child was one, in worshipping whom they would certainly secure that salvation which is of God. Neither His age was such as attracts men's flattery; His limbs not robed in purple, His brow not crowned with a diamond, no pompous train, no awful army, no glorious fame of battles, attracted these men to Him from the remotest countries, with such earnestness of supplication. There lay in a manger a Boy, newly born, of infantine size, of pitiable poverty. But in that small Infant lay hid something great, which these men, the first-fruits of the Gentiles, had learned not of earth but of heaven; as it follows, "We have seen His star in the east." They announce the vision and ask, they believe and enquire, as signifying those who walk by faith and desire sight. 

Gloss. ord.: To the Shepherds, Angels, and the Magians, a star points out Christ; to both speaks the tongue of Heaven, since the tongue of the Prophets was mute. The Angels dwell in the heavens, the stars adorn it, to both therefore "the heavens declare the glory of God."

Leo, Sermon 34, 3: Besides that star thus seen with the bodily eye, a yet brighter ray of truth pierced their hearts; they were enlightened by the illumination of the true faith. 

Augustine: As the Magi seek a Redeemer, so Herod fears a successor. 

Saint Gregory the Great: But gold, frankincense and myrrh can also be understood differently. Gold symbolizes wisdom, as Solomon testifies: "A desirable treasure lies in the mouth of the wise man" (Pr 21, 20, from the Septuagint). Incense burned in honor of God designates the power of prayer, as the psalmist testifies: "Let my prayer rise before your face like incense." (Ps 141: 2). As for myrrh, it represents the mortification of our flesh; so the holy Church says, concerning her servants fighting for God until death: "My hands have distilled myrrh" (Ct 5, 5). To the newly born king, therefore, we offer gold if we shine before it the brilliance of wisdom from above. We offer incense if, in the holy ardor of our prayer, we consume our carnal thoughts on the altar of our heart, thus allowing our desires of Heaven to spread for God their pleasant odor. We offer myrrh if we mortify the vices of the flesh by abstinence. For myrrh, as we have said, prevents the dead flesh from rotting. But to enslave this mortal body to luxurious debauchery is to let a dead flesh rot, as the prophet says about certain men: "The beasts of burden have rotten in their dung" (Jl 1, 17). That beasts of burden rot in their manure means that carnal men end their lives in the stench of lust. We offer to God the myrrh when, by the aromatics of our continence, we prevent the lust from making this mortal body rot.

The Magi still give us a very important lesson by returning to their country by another way. Indeed, what they do on the warning they have received tells us what we need to do. Our country is paradise, and once we know Jesus, we are forbidden to return to it by the way we followed in coming. Because we have moved away from our country by pride, disobedience, the pursuit of visible goods and the greed to taste the forbidden foods. But to return to it, one needs tears, obedience, contempt for visible goods and control of the appetites of the flesh. It is therefore by another way that we return to our country, since we are far from the joys of paradise by pleasures, we are brought back by lamentations.

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