The First manifestation: To the Magi

St Bernard

Today the Magi came from the sun-rising to seek the risen Sun of Righteousness, even the same of whom the Scripture says, ‘Behold the Man whose name is Dawn.’ Today, at a new star’s leading, they worshipped him whom the Virgin had newly born; they called him God, not with their lips but by their deeds.

The path to wisdom

Whatever are you doing, you Magi? You worship a baby at the breast, in a poor shed, in common swaddling clothes! God is in his holy temple, surely; the Lord’s seat is in heaven; yet you are looking for him in a wretched stable and on his mother’s lap! What do you mean by offering him gold? Is he a king? If so, where is his palace, where his throne, and where the many members of the royal court? Is the stable a palace? Is the manger a throne? Do Joseph and Mary constitute the court? How have wise men become such fools as to adore a child, whose age and whose relations’ poverty

Faithful act of worship

Might we not well have been afraid, my brethren, lest seeing such unworthy sights should be a stumbling block to those wise men, and make them think that they had been deceived? From the royal city, where they reckoned the king should be sought, they are directed to Bethlehem, an insignificant village; they enter a stable, and find a tiny infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. But the stable does not seem mean to them, they find no cause of stumbling in the swaddling bands, nor does the suckling’s speechlessness offend them. They fall on their faces, they revere him as King, they worship him as God.

Of a truth he, who led them hither, has instructed them too; he, who urged them on by means of the star without, has himself taught them in their inmost heart. Wherefore this manifestation of the Lord has glorified this day, and the sages’ faithful act of worship has rendered it a day to be observed with reverence and love.

From a Sermon of St Bernard ND