05 January 2009

Fatherly Wisdom-Eve of the Epiphany

As we shift gears from the Twelve Days of Christmas to celebrating the Epiphany of Our Lord, here's a little something from Leo the Great to pinpoint the cause of our joy and the "reason for the season," the Epiphany season that is:
The loving providence of God determined that in the last days he would aid the world, set on its course to destruction. He decreed that all nations should be saved in Christ.

A promise had been made to the holy patriarch Abraham in regard to these nations. He was to have a countless progeny, born not from his body but from the seed of faith. His descendants are therefore compared with the array of the stars. the father of all nations was to hope not in an earthly progeny but in a progeny from above.

Let the full number of the nations now take their place in the family of the patriarchs. Let the children of the promise now receive the blessing in the seed of Abraham. In the persons of the Magi let all people adore the Creator of the universe; let God be known, not in Judea only, but in the whole world, so that "his name may be great in all Israel."

Dear friends, now that we have received instruction in this revelation of God's grace, let us celebrate with spiritual joy the day of our first harvesting, of the first calling of the Gentiles. Let us give thanks to the merciful God, "who has made us worthy," in the words of the Apostle, "to share the position of the saints in light; who has rescued us from the power of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son." As Isaiah prophesied: "the people of the Gentiles, who sat in darkness, have seen a great light, and for those who dwelt in the region of the shadow of death a light has dawned." He spoke of them to the Lord: "The Gentiles, who do not know you, will invoke you, and the peoples, who knew you not, will take refuge in you." (Sermon 3 for Epiphany, 1-3; cited in Wright, Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church, 46-47)

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