Author Topic: The Epiphany  (Read 197 times)

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Offline Binechi

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The Epiphany
« on: January 06, 2017, 06:12:34 AM »
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  • Offline Binechi

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    The Epiphany
    « Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 06:19:29 AM »
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    The Church commemorates
    on this feast three different mysteries, in which Jesus Christ made Himself known to man and manifested His glory; the adoration paid by the Wise Men of the East, the baptism He received from St. John, and the first miracle wrought by Him in Galilee, by changing water into wine. She dwells, however, more particularly on the first of these mysteries, and exhorts us to imitate the example of the Magi, the first fruits of the Gentiles converted to the faith, by offering to Him the gold of pure and ardent charity, the incense of fervent prayer, and the myrrh of penance and self-denial, without which we are Christians only in name.


    Homily of St. Gregory the Great

     Dearly beloved: As you have heard in the Gospel lesson, an earthly king was troubled when the King of Heaven was born. Earthly greatness is thus brought to confusion when the Majesty of Heaven appears. But, we ask, why is it, pray, that at the Redeemer's birth an angel appeared to the shepherds in Judea, while from the east, the Magi were led to adore Him, not by an angel, but by a star? The reason would appear to be this. To the Jews, as creatures possessing the use of reason, a reasoning being, that is an angel, speaks. The Gentiles, who do not seem to possess the use of reason, are not led to the knowledge of the Lord by a voice, but rather, by a sign. Hence, St. Paul says: Prophecies are given to believers not to unbelievers; and signs to unbelievers not to believers. Therefore the prophecies were given to the Jews, as to believers, and not unbelievers, whereas to the Gentiles, as to unbelievers, and not believers, signs were given.

    Note further! It was the Apostles who preached the Redeemer--after He had reached His age of perfection--to those same Gentiles, even as a star, and not human voices proclaimed Him to the nations when He was an Infant, too young to speak. Surely common sense demands that the tongues of men should proclaim the Lord and His teaching, even as voiceless elements proclaimed Him before He had begun to speak. With all the signs which point to the birth and death of the Lord, consider how stony were the hearts of those Jews who would know Him neither through prophecies nor through miracles.

    All elements in nature testified that their Creator had come. Let me indicate them in our everyday fashion. The heavens knew that He was God, for they sent a star to herald Him. The sea knew Him, for it bore up His feet upon it. The earth knew Him, and trembled when He died. The sun knew Him, and hid his light. The stones and walls knew Him, and were rent at His death. Hell knew Him, and gave up its dead. All the insensible elements of nature knew Him, but even up to this minute the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not recognize Him as God, and--more hard than rock--will not be rent in penitence.


    Homily of St. Augustine

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, dearly beloved, Who from eternity is the Creator of all things, today, being born of a mother, has become for us a Savior. Today, of His own will, He is born for us in time, that he might lead us to eternal life in the Father. God is made man that man might be God. Today is the Lord of Angels become man, that man might eat the Bread of Angels.

    Today is fulfilled that prophecy: Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. He Who had made others was Himself made that He might save those Who would perish. For in the psalm man confesses: Before I was humbled, I sinned. Man sinned and became guilty; the God-Man is born that He might deliver the guilty. Man indeed fell, but God descended. Man fell miserably, God descended mercifully. Man fell through pride, God descended with grace.

    O miracle! O marvel! My brethren. The laws of nature are changed in man. God is born. A virgin conceives without knowing man; the Word of God weds her who knows not man. At one and the same time she is both mother and virgin--she becomes a mother, yet is undefiled. The Virgin bears a Son, yet knows not man. She is inviolate, but not barren. He alone is born without sin; the son born apart from the cooperation of man, conceived not in the concupiscence of the flesh, but through obedience of the virgin's soul.


    St. Alphonsus De Liguori
    The Adoration of the Magi

     Jesus is born poor in a stable; the angels of heaven indeed acknowledge Him, but men abandon and forsake him on earth. Only a few shepherds come and pay him homage. But our Redeemer was desirous of communicating to us the grace of His redemption, and begins therefore to manifest Himself to the Gentiles, Who knew Him least. Therefore he sends a star to enlighten the holy Magi, in order that they may come and acknowledge and adore their Saviour. This was the first and sovereign grace bestowed upon us--our vocation to the faith; which was succeeded by our vocation to grace, of which men were deprived.

    Behold the wise men, who immediately, without delay, set off upon their journey. The star accompanies them as far as the cavern where the holy Infant lies: on their arrival they enter; and what do they find? They found the child with Mary. They find a poor maiden and a poor Infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes, without anyone to attend on Him or assist Him. But, lo! on entering into the little shed these holy pilgrims feel a joy which they had never felt before; they feel their hearts chained to the dear little Infant which they behold. The straw, the poverty, the cries of their little Saviour--Oh, what darts of love! Oh, what blessed flames are they to their enlightened hearts ! The Infant looks upon them with a joyful countenance, and this is the mark of affection with which he accepts them amongst the first-fruits of His Redemption.

    The holy kings then look at Mary, who does not speak --she remains silent; but with her blessed countenance that breathes the sweetness of paradise she welcomes them, and thanks them for having been the first to come and acknowledge Her son (as indeed He is) for their Sovereign Lord. See also how, out of reverence, they adore Him in silence, and acknowledge Him for their God, kissing His feet, and offering Him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Let us also with the holy Magi adore our little King Jesus, and let us offer Him all our hearts.


    Affections and Prayers

     O amiable Infant! Though I see Thee in this cavern lying on straw poor and despised, yet faith teaches me that Thou art my God, who earnest down from heaven for my salvation. I acknowledge Thee, then, for my sovereign Lord and Saviour; but I have nothing, alas, to offer Thee. I have no gold of love, because I have loved creatures; I have loved my own caprices, but I have not loved Thee, O amiable infinite One! I have not the incense of prayer, because I have lived in a miserable state of forgetfulness of Thee. I have no myrrh of mortification, for I have often displeased Thy infinite goodness that I might not be deprived of my miserable pleasures. What then shall I offer Thee? I offer Thee my heart, filthy and poor as it is; do Thou accept it, and change it. Thou camest into the world for this purpose, to wash the hearts of men from their sins by Thy blood, and thus change them from sinners into saints. Give me, therefore, I pray Thee, this gold, this incense, and this myrrh. Give me the gold of Thy holy love; give me the spirit of holy prayer, give me the desire and strength to mortify myself in everything that displeases Thee. I am resolved to obey Thee and to love Thee; but Thou knowest my weakness, oh, give me the grace to be faithful to Thee! Most holy Virgin, thou who didst welcome with such affection and didst console the holy Magi, do thou welcome and console me also, who come to visit thy Son and to offer myself to him. O my Mother, I have great confidence in thy intercession! Do thou recommend me to Jesus. To thee do I intrust my soul and my will; bind it forever to the love of Jesus!


    Offline Binechi

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    The Epiphany
    « Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 06:22:03 AM »
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  • Offline Binechi

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    The Epiphany
    « Reply #3 on: January 06, 2017, 06:27:06 AM »
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  • Litany of the Infant Jesus


     Glory and praise be to Thee, O tender little Jesus. From the utmost depths of my heart I praise and adore Thee, that for love of me and of all mankind it was Thy will to lie in the manger, and to suffer such great poverty and misery. I praise and adore Thy tender limbs, and Thy tender hands and feet, and I magnify the inexpressible love which drew Thee forth from the bosom of the Heavenly Father, down to a poor and miserable stable.



     Lord, have mercy on us.
     Christ, have mercy on us.
     Lord, have mercy on us.
     Christ, hear us.
     Christ, graciously hear us.

     God the Father of heaven,
    Have mercy on us. *

     God the Son, Redeemer of the world, *
     God the Holy Ghost, *
     Holy Trinity, one God, *
     Infant Jesus, *
     Infant, very God, *
     Infant, Son of the living God, *
     Infant, Son of the Virgin Mary, *
     Infant, begotten before the morning star, *
     Infant, Word made flesh, *
     Infant, wisdom of Thy Father, *
     Infant, purity of Thy Mother, *
     Infant, only Son of Thy Father, *
     Infant, only-born of Thy Mother, *
     Infant, image of Thy Father, *
     Infant, Creator of Thy Mother, *
     Infant, splendor of Thy Father, *
     Infant, honor of Thy Mother, *
     Infant, equal to Thy Father, *
     Infant, subject to Thy Mother, *
     Infant, joy of Thy Father, *
     Infant, riches of Thy Mother, *
     Infant, gift of Thy Father, *
     Infant, gift of Thy Mother, *
     Infant, precious fruit of a Virgin, *
     Infant, Creator of man, *
     Infant, our God, *
     Infant, our Brother, *
     Infant, perfect man from Thy conception, *
     Infant, Father of ages, *
     Infant, eternal Word, making Thyself dumb, *
     Infant, weeping in Thy crib, *
     Infant, joy of paradise, *
     Infant, exiled from Thy people, *
     Infant, strong in weakness, *
     Infant, powerful in abasement, *
     Infant, treasure of grace, *
     Infant, fountain of love, *
     Infant, author of all the blessings of heaven, *
     Infant, repairer of the evils of earth, *
     Infant, head of angels, *
     Infant, expectation of nations, *
     Infant, joy of the shepherds, *
     Infant, light of the Magi, *
     Infant, salvation of children, *
     Infant, hope of the just, *
     Infant, teacher of doctors, *

     Be merciful.
     Spare us, O Infant Jesus.
     Be merciful.
     Graciously hear us, O Infant Jesus.

     From the bondage of the children of Adam,
    Deliver us, O Infant Jesus. **

     From the slavery of the devil, **
     From the corruption of the world. **
     From the lust of the flesh, **
     From the blindness of mind, **
     From perversity of will, **
     From our sins, **
     Through Thy most pure conception, **
     Through Thy humble birth, **
     Through Thy tears, **
     Through Thy painful circumcision, **
     Through Thy glorious epiphany, **
     Through Thy devout presentation, **
     Through Thy most holy life, **
     Through Thy poverty, **
     Through Thy sorrows, **
     Through Thy obedience, **
     Through Thy labors, **

     Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
     Spare us, O Infant Jesus.

     Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
     Graciously hear us, O Infant Jesus.

     Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
     Have mercy on us, O Infant Jesus.

     Infant Jesus, hear us.
     Infant Jesus, graciously hear us.


     Let us pray:


     O Lord Jesus, Who didst vouchsafe so to annihilate the greatness of Thy Incarnate Divinity and most sacred Humanity, as to be born in time, and become a little child: grant that we may acknowledge infinite wisdom in the silence of a child, power in weakness, majesty in abasement; so that adoring Thy humiliations on earth, we may contemplate Thy glories in heaven. Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.





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    Offline Binechi

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    Offline Binechi

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    The Epiphany
    « Reply #5 on: January 06, 2017, 03:07:35 PM »
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    The Feast of the Epiphany: Christ is King
    by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876


    Where is He that is born King of the Jews?"--Matt, ii, 2.

    It was desired that the promised Messiah should be an heir of the throne of David, as the Lord declared by the mouth of His prophets. This promise was also well known to the scribes, for when Herod called them together and inquired of them where Christ was to be born, they answered without hesitation so it is written by the prophet: "Thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out of thee shall come forth the Prince who shall rule my people Israel."

    Even though Herod already reigned as king, and an heir was born to him, nevertheless the sages did not hesitate to ask where the King of the Jews was born. Thus they addressed him, and they would have inquired of him in the same way even if Herod had not been a dependent of Rome, but the most powerful monarch upon earth, and the Roman emperor himself.

    For what are all the princes, kings, and emperors on earth, in comparison with Christ, the heir to the throne of David, the King of angels, to whom all power is given in heaven and on earth? And furthermore, what are all the kingdoms on earth in comparison with that kingdom ruled by Christ, which extends over the entire creation and whose glory has no end?

    The subject of my consideration to-day will be the royal crown of Christ, and the character of His eternal kingdom. O Mary, royal Mother and co-regent in the kingdom of your divine Son, protect us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ, and deserve to reign one day with Him. I speak in the holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God!

    "And I saw Him; He was clothed in a white garment, His head decked with many diadems, and on His thigh were written the words: 'King of kings, Lord of lords.'" Thus St. John describes Christ, whom He beheld in His royal dignity in heaven.

    Christ, as God-man, is King, as He himself testified when, in presence of Pilate, the question was put to Him--"Art thou the King of the Jews?"--and He answered, "Thou sayest it." He is not only King, as the heir of the royal family of David, with all the prerogatives enjoyed by other monarchs, but, as Jesus, He is the King of kings. To Him belongs this dignity and honor because He possesses all the properties of a king perfectly, if we consider either His person or the nature of His eternal kingdom. How happy should we therefore feel to be subjects of such a King, citizens of such a kingdom!

    First, in regard to the personal perfections of this King: where in this world is there a ruler who can be compared to Jesus! As the Son of God, He is infinite Majesty, the Creator and Arbiter of the universe. As man, He is the noblest creature which the omnipotence of God ever called into existence; distinguished by every quality which can adorn a ruler.

    If a ruler be distinguished by talents and knowledge, he stands before his people as the most learned and wisest man in the whole kingdom; pre-eminent not only by his personal dignity, but by his virtues and exemplary life; just, benevolent, magnanimous, benign, merciful, and full of sympathy for the welfare of his people. I need only mention these qualities, and every one who believes in Christ, who knows and confesses His name, will immediately recognize how incomparably great and divine He is even as man, surpassing in perfection all earthly sovereigns.

    Yes, even as man, through His personal union with God, He is the omniscient Son. Before Him all things are manifest, for He is the One who testifies of Himself: "All power is given to me in heaven and upon earth." As man, He is the One of whom St. Paul testifies: "God hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above every other name, that in the name of Jesus every knee shall bend in heaven, on earth, and in hell."

    "And I saw Him adorned with many diadems," writes St. John. These are the diadems of His glory, dignity, and power as King of Angels and Archangels, of Principalities, heavenly Powers and Dominations, of Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim, and King of all saints, according to their different choirs.

    He is, besides, the incarnate benignity of God, as St. Paul calls Him; and also the Judge who is to come one day to judge the world, and who will be ready to share with all upon whom He has been able to pass a favorable decision before His tribunal, the eternal joys of heaven. Nay more, who is prepared to share with each true child of the Church His own power and dignity, His own beatitude, in virtue of that assurance which we read in the Apocalypse of St. John: "The vanquisher I let sit with me upon my throne." He it is who, when we enter into His kingdom, will confer upon us also the dignity of royalty, to rule with Him for all eternity, as we read in the Apocalypse.

    And we, the ransomed souls of men, the children of the Church, and citizens of His kingdom, are permitted, to call the King of glory our Father, our friend, and the spouse of our souls. Oh, what happiness, what honor, what glory, for time and eternity! Not only do the striking features of the personality glorify Christ as the King of kings, and arouse in us the desire to live, to fight, to conquer, and to die, under His rule, but His kingdom likewise stands forth as the most glorious among the kingdoms of earth.

    A kingdom is the more distinguished the more extensive it is--the more countries it comprises, the more productive its sources are, to support, to enrich its inhabitants, and to insure their temporal prosperity; the more beautiful its situation, the more attractive are its landscapes, its meadows, its suburbs, and all its natural advantages. Greater dignity and importance are attached to a kingdom in proportion as its inhabitants are distinguished by their accomplishments; and according to their strength, stature, and civilization, they appear more powerful in respect of other countries.

    Such is the kingdom of Christ. It extends over all the earth and throughout the entire heavens. It comprises the whole world, with all the beauties and glories with which God has enriched and adorned it. To the number of its citizens belong all the choirs of holy angels--those innumerable radiant spirits and glorious princes of heaven who, filled with delight, adore their King. There, too, are all the blessed saints, according to their various ranks. In this kingdom is to be found superabundant provision for every means of grace, by which we are enabled to accomplish all for God; and, furnished with them, we are invincible, and enabled to increase each moment our future treasures in the kingdom of recompense. Who should not feel happy to be a citizen of this kingdom, and endeavor to spread it, in order that all the souls redeemed by Christ may one day enjoy this happiness!

    This desire becomes more ardent on account of the following circumstances: The kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of truth and of light, existing to make man happy for time and eternity. In opposition to this stands the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of evil, the kingdom which inevitably drags down to eternal woe and misery the wretched creatures who rally round its infernal king. To this kingdom Herod belonged, and with him all who persecuted Christ and nailed Him to the cross.

    If we do not belong to the kingdom of Christ, then we are subjects of that kingdom which acknowledges Lucifer as its leader and prince. Christ said: "He who is not with me, is against me;" and the consideration of this truth should exercise the greatest influence upon our lives and strengthen the desire to belong on earth to the kingdom of Christ, that we may one day share in heaven in the kingdom of His eternal transfiguration. The condition for obtaining this is that He who reigns in heaven has His throne in our hearts, and that He directs and governs them according to His own good pleasure.

    Beloved Christians, that this may be the case, our hearts must be so adorned as to be a habitation worthy of the King of kings; that is, we must be in the state of grace, or else we cease to be zealous children of His Church, for not He, but Satan will erect his throne in our hearts. Albeit that, to all appearances, man be a child of the Church, still Christ does not abide in his heart until he consecrates all the powers of his soul and body to the service of the Lord.

    Christ rules still more royally in our hearts when He governs our understanding through holy faith, so that not the least shadow of infidelity nor heterodoxy can lead it astray. Christ reigns royally in our will when He directs it according to His own good pleasure, and we do not oppose Him by placing any obstacle in the way, but render to Him wholly and entirely the free offering of our will. He reigns as King in our hearts if we are inflamed with ardent love for Him, and are ready for any sacrifice which we may be called upon to make in His holy service.

    The more the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of evil, nowadays endeavors to combat the kingdom of Christ and to promote that of Antichrist, the more ardent and resolute should we be to defend and propagate it. All depends, as we are forcibly reminded by St. Ignatius in his meditation on the "Two Standards," under which leader we enlist. The one is the standard of Christ, the other the banner of Lucifer; and whosoever does not fight under the one, enlists and combats under the other. Upon this depends where we shall one day stand at the judgment-seat of Christ--at the right or at the left. Happy, indeed, for us, beloved in Christ, if He now reigns royally in our hearts; then, indeed, after the battle of life is ended, if we have lived upon earth as victorious children of the militant Church, we shall be gloriously crowned amid all the celestial inhabitants of the triumphant Church, where for ever and ever Christ will reign as King of a glory which we shall share with Him.--Amen!





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