Friday, January 08, 2016

Pope St Gregory the Great on the Gifts of the Magi

The wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold becometh a King, frankincense is offered in sacrifice to God, and with myrrh are embalmed the bodies of the dead. Therefore, by these mystical gifts did the wise men preach Him whom they adored; by the gold, that He was King; by the frankincense, that He was God; and by the myrrh, that He was to die.

There are some heretics who believe Him to be God, but do not at all believe that He reigns everywhere; these offer unto Him frankincense, but refuse Him gold. There are some others who think that He is King, but deny that He is God; these offer Him gold, but refuse Him frankincense. There are some who profess that He is both God and King, but not deny that He took up mortal nature. These offer Him gold and frankincense, but not myrrh for the mortal nature which He assumed.

Let us, therefore, offer gold unto the new-born Lord, that we may confess His universal rule; let us offer unto Him frankincense, that we may believe that He Who hath appeared in time, was God before time was; let us offer Him myrrh, that, just as we believe Him not subject to suffering in His divinity, we may also believe that He was mortal in our flesh. (From Pope St Gregory the Great’s 10th Homily on the Gospels; read in the Breviary of St Pius V on the third day within the Octave of Epiphany.)

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