Leo the Great: The Wise Men Saw and Adored the Child of the Tribe of Judah Sunday, Jan 5 2014 

leo1Led then, dearly beloved, into Bethlehem by obeying the guidance of the star, the wise men “rejoiced with very great joy,” as the evangelist has told us:

“And entering the house, they found the child with Mary, His mother; and falling down they worshipped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matt. 2:10, 11).

What wondrous faith of perfect knowledge, which was taught them not by earthly wisdom, but by the instruction of the Holy Spirit!

Whence came it that these men, who had quitted their country without having seen Jesus, and had not noticed anything in His looks to enforce such systematic adoration, observed this method in offering their gifts?

Besides the appearance of the star which attracted their bodily eyes, the more refulgent rays of truth taught their hearts:

that, before they started on their toilsome road, they must understand that He was signified to Whom was owed in gold royal honour, in incense Divine adoration, in myrrh the acknowledgment of mortality.

Such a belief and understanding no doubt, as far as the enlightenment of their faith went, might have been sufficient in themselves and have prevented their using their bodily eyes in inquiring into that which they had beheld with their mind’s fullest gaze.

Their sagacious diligence, persevering till they found the child, did good service for future peoples and for the men of our own time.

Thus, as it profited us all that the apostle Thomas, after the Lord’s resurrection, handled the traces of the wounds in His flesh, so it was of advantage to us that His infancy should be attested by the visit of the wise men.

And so the wise men saw and adored the Child of the tribe of Judah, “of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3), “made from a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4), which He had come “not to destroy but to fulfil” (Matt. 5:17).

They saw and adored the Child, small in size, powerless to help others, incapable of speech, and in nought different to the generality of human children.

Because, as the testimonies were trustworthy which asserted in Him the majesty of invisible Godhead, so it ought to be impossible to doubt that “the Word became flesh,” and the eternal essence of the Son of God took man’s true nature.

Neither the inexpressible marvels of his acts which were to follow nor the infliction of sufferings which He had to bear should be permitted to overthrow the mystery of our Faith by their inconsistency.

For no one at all can be justified save those who believe the Lord Jesus to be both true God and true Man.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 34, 3.

Alphonsus Liguori: “You shall Draw Waters with Joy out of the Saviour’s Fountains” Monday, Aug 1 2011 

Behold the source of every good, Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament, who says If any man thirst, let him come to Me (John 2:27).

Oh, what torrents of grace have the saints drawn from the fountain of the Most Blessed Sacrament!

For there Jesus dispenses all the merits of his Passion, as it was foretold by the Prophet: You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour’s fountains (Isaiah 12:3).

The Countess of Feria…on being asked how she employed the many hours thus passed in the presence of the Holy of Holies, answered:

“I could remain there for all eternity. And is not there present the very essence of God, who will be the food of the blessed?

“Am I asked what I do in his presence? Why am I not rather asked, what is not done there? “We love, we ask, we praise, we give thanks. We ask, what does a poor man do in the presence of one who is rich? What does a sick man do in the presence of his physician?

“What does a man do who is parched with thirst in the presence of a clear fountain? What is the occupation of one who is starving, and is placed before a splendid table?”

O my most amiable, most sweet, most beloved Jesus, my life, my hope, my treasure, the only love of my soul; oh, what has it cost Thee to remain thus with us in this Sacrament!

Thou hadst to die, that Thou mightest thus dwell amongst us on our altars; and then, how many insults hast Thou not had to endure in this Sacrament, in order to aid us by Thy presence!

Thy love, and the desire which Thou hast to be loved by us, have conquered all.

Come then, O Lord! Come and take possession of my heart; close its doors forever, that henceforward no creature may enter there, to divide the love which is due to Thee, and which it is my ardent desire to bestow all on Thee.

Do Thou alone, my dear Redeemer, rule me; do Thou alone possess my whole being.

[…] Grant that I may no longer seek for any other pleasure than that of giving Thee pleasure; that all my pleasure may be to visit Thee often on Thy altar.

[…] Let all who will, seek other treasures; the only treasure that I love, the only one that I desire, is that of Thy love; for this only will I ask at the foot of the altar.

Do Thou make me forget myself, that thus I may only remember Thy goodness.

Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787): The Holy Eucharist, pp. 127-128.

Bede the Venerable: “Behold, He will Go before You into Galilee; You will See Him There” Thursday, Apr 28 2011 

icon_bede-Now it is clear and delightful for the holy to hear that the disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had instructed them, and upon seeing him, they adored him (Matt. 28:16-17).

It is not lacking in mystery that after his resurrection our Lord appeared to his disciples on a mountain, and that it was in Galilee.

This was to make know that the body which at his birth he had assumed from the earth common to the rest of the human race he had now, at his resurrection, clothed with heavenly power after it had been raised above everything earthly.

He appeared on a mountain to advise his faithful ones that that if they wished to see the loftiness of his resurrection there in heaven they should pass over below from their lowly cravings to heavenly desires.

What the name “Galilee” connotes in relation to the salvation-bearing mystery is well-known from the frequent explanations of the fathers, but it is not irrelevant to repeat quite often what we must keep in our minds.

“Galilee” means “a crossing over accomplished” or “revelation”.

Each interpretation of the name leads to a single conclusion.

We read above that the angel said to the women Go tell his disciples that he has risen, and behold, he will go before you into Galilee; you will see him there (Matt. 28:7).ado

And now we know, as the evangelist tells us, that the disciples went into Galilee, and upon seeing him, they adored him.

What does it mean that the Lord Jesus goes ahead of his disciples into Galilee in order to be seen by them, that they follow, and upon seeing him they adore him, except that Christ rose from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:20).

Those who are Christ’s follow him and they themselves in their turn pass over into life.

And seeing him there, the adore him whom they contemplate in his divine form, and praise him for ever.

The fact that “Galilee” also means “revelation” accords with this vision.

Then indeed we, with unveiled face, as the Apostle bears witness, beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same likeness (2 Cor. 3:18), all of us who now commit our way to him and follow his footsteps with sincere faith.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Homilies on the Gospels, 2:8 (Easter), Homilies on the Gospels, Book Two, Lent to the Dedication of the Church, trans. Lawrence T. Martin and David Hurst OSB (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1991).

Elizabeth of the Trinity: “Remain in Me” Friday, Nov 6 2009 

“Remain in Me” (Jn. 15:4). It is the Word of God who gives this order, expresses this wish.

Remain with Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, but “remain…” permanently, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me.

Remain in Me so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into these depths.

This is truly the “solitude into which God wants to allure the soul that He may speak to it,” as the prophet sang (Hos. 2:14).

In order to understand this very mysterious saying, we must not, so to speak, stop at the surface, but enter ever deeper in the divine Being through recollection.

“I pursue my course,” exclaimed St Paul; so must we descend daily this pathway of the Abyss which is God; let us slide down this slope in wholly loving confidence.

“Abyss calls to abyss” (Ps. 41:8). It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place, where the Abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy, the immensity of the all of God.

There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love…. “Blessed are those who die in the Lord” (Ap. 14:13).

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906): The Complete Works, Volume One, translated by Sr Aletheia Kane OCD (ICS Publications), pp. 94-5.