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Graces of Epiphany


The blessed embassy wonders that it has been led to the holy cradle by a ray of light streaming from above; the farthest nation is the first to enjoy the common good. 

epiphany5What a wonderful favor!  He who embraces heaven and earth is held within the embrace of his Mother; he who left the Kingdom of his Father lies hidden in the bosom of his Mother.  Through a simple service the spiritual treasure is revealed: humanity is perceived, but divinity is adored. 

Those who offer gold, frankincense, and myrrh show more in mystery than they offer in knowledge.  In the gift of gold royal dignity is indicated, in the smoke of the frankincense divine majesty, and in the appearance of myrrh humanity which is destined for burial.  Thus the number of their offering bespeaks the Trinity, while their single devotion gives evidence of unity. 

Following this example, if we wish to reach Christ, let us endeavor to behold heaven with the ever watchful attention of our heart. May the star of justice direct the path of a perfect life for us.  Let us offer the gold of fidelity, the spices of devotion, and the burnt offering of chastity to him who said: No one shall appear before me empty-handed.  May we possess spiritual myrrh within us to temper our souls in such a way that it may keep them unharmed by the corruption of sin.

Let us change our life, if we desire to reach our true country, that is, the heavenly one.  Let there be this exchange between the two so that we may prepare for ourselves the substance of that future life by our use of this present one.  Just as eternal life will be the reward of this life, let us labor in such a way that this one may be the price of that.



caesariusSaint Caesarius of Arles. "Graces of Epiphany." from Saint Caesarius of Arles Sermons, Vol. 3 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2004).

Reprinted under fair use.  This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in January, 2018.

The Author

caesariussmcaesariussm1Saint Caesarius of Arles (470-542 AD), was a monk, archbishop, and celebrated preacher. Among his many reforms, he brought the Divine Office into the local parishes, and founded a convent, placing his sister St. Caesaria there as abbess. He was revered for his more than forty years of service and for presiding over Church synods and councils, including the Council of Orange in 529. Over 250 of his sermons have survived. See Saint Caesarius of Arles Sermons, Vol. 1, Saint Caesarius of Arles Sermons, Vol. 2, and Saint Caesarius of Arles Sermons, Vol. 3.  

Copyright © 2004 The Catholic University of America Press
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