The CAPG's Blog
The Magi were a figure of Christian Priests
"There came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him."—St. Matt. ii. I, 2.I. Because They Were The First To Receive The Faith.
II. Because They Were Most Courageous In Propagating It.
III. Because They Were Most Docile In Following It.
1. There came wise men from the East to Jerusalem. The Magi were the first-fruits of the nations, because they were the first from among them to recognize the Messiah. Rabanus says that, according to the common opinion, they were at once sages and princes; and so we may regard them as a figure of Priests, who are not only better instructed in matters of religion than the laity, but are also Princes of the Christian people. They should therefore be the first in the Faith, not by priority of time, for all receive the habit of Faith in Holy Baptism, but by their fuller possession and better use of it. St. Ambrose writes that the Priest should have nothing in common with the multitude, and therefore his Faith should excel theirs; and indeed it is precisely in Faith that he ought to be a pattern to the Faithful: "Be thou an example to the Faithful ... in faith" (i Tim. iv. 12). Let us therefore strive ever to increase in this virtue, and to be preeminent in it above the people. Without the increase of Faith we can never attain the perfection proper to our state; it is, says St . Chrysostom, the "origin of justice, the crown of sanctity, the beginning of devotion, the foundation of religion." Wouldst thou have the spirit of prayer? Remember, says St. Augustine, that Faith is the source of prayer. Wouldst thou become truly rich, truly honorable? Thou canst nowhere find greater riches, treasures, honors, or seek them better, than through Faith. Let us then consider in what manner we exercise this virtue, and what efforts we are making to increase and perfect it .
2. Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? Let us admire the courage of the Magi, who, as Cornelius a Lapide says, without fearing the wrath of Herod and his courtiers, sought in the royal city for another king, asking where the new King of the Jews was born. Moreover, on returning to their own country they gave themselves to the preaching of the true religion, and by their preaching merited the crown of martyrdom. It belongs to Priests to preach the true Faith, because, as St. Cyril says, they are the masters of Faith, the guardians of the true Faith. 'The true Priest is one who, as St. Ambrose describes him, does not waver like a child, nor allow himself to be carried about by every wind of doctrine, but stands perfect in Christ, rooted in the Faith. Moreover, John of Antioch tells us, that to excel in Faith, and to teach it to the people, should be the chief office and primary aim of the Priesthood. In fact, this is, as St. Chrysostom shows, the greatest and most salutary remedy that we can apply to the wounds of those souls whose salvation we seek.
3. For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him. Many in the East saw this star, and remembered the prophecy of Balaam (Numbers xxiv. 17), and knew this phenomenon to be extraordinary and mysterious; but few followed the star. All Jerusalem was moved at hearing of its appearance, and at sight of the Magi who had followed it; but none of the Jews stirred. The Priests themselves pointed out the place, proclaimed God's word, and manifested the mystery; but they did not profit by all this. As St. Augustine remarks, the Doctors spoke and remained where they were, whilst the Magi, after they had heard them, went to seek the Child. If Priests would follow that Faith which they preach to others, and from which others derive so great profit, they would not live as many, alas! do live; they would live as pilgrims in this world, without attaching themselves to earthly goods, without losing sight of the good things of heaven. Let us then reflect on the obligation we are under to make our life conformable to the Faith, and not to have a faith without works, which is but a dead faith; but endeavor, as St. Ambrose exhorts us, to be patterns to the people both in faith and in works. O Priest, man of God, strive to be among the first to "pursue justice, godliness, faith" (i Tim. vi. n).
"I have believed, therefore have I spoken."—Ps. cxv. 1.
"Increase our faith."— St. Luke xvii. 5.