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EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION (CONT.)

"Now the generation of Christ was in this wise," etc. -- Matt. i. 18.

"Let us therefore, beloved, attend to the Scriptures; and if nothing else, let us at any rate studiously take in hand the Gospels. For on opening the book you will at once see there the name of Christ: Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When His Mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Now he who hears these things will straightway set his heart on virginity, be in marvel of admiration at the childbirth, and retire from the world. Nor is it, indeed, little for you to see the Virgin deemed worthy of the Spirit, and an angel conversing with her. Yet these things are but on the surface. For if you follow on steadily to the end, you will forthwith spurn all things of this life, and deride all things here below. And if you are rich, you will make no account of riches, when you hear that she who was wife of a carpenter, and from a humble home, became Mother of your Lord. If you are poor, you will not be ashamed of your poverty, when you learn that the Creator of the universe was not ashamed of the most mean abode. Meditating on these things, you will not rob, nor be covetous, nor take to yourselves what belongs to others; but will rather be lovers of poverty and despise riches. And thus you will banish all evils. Again when you see him lying in the manger, you will no longer be eager to hang round your little son's neck an ornament of gold, nor to have made for your wife a bed with silver fixings. Thus casting aside such cares, you will no more do acts that come from them of covetousness and robbery. Many other gains too may thence be derived, whereof it is impossible now to speak particularly. But those will know who make the trial. Wherefore I exhort you to procure the Sacred Scriptures, and with the Scriptures to get hold of their thoughts, and have them engraved in your minds. The Jews, because they did not pay attention to them, were commanded to fasten sacred Scriptures to their hands. We however keep them not on our hands, but at home, in order to imprint them in due season on our hearts. By thus purging out the present life we shall obtain the good things to come; to which may we all attain through the grace and loving kindness of Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom and with whom be glory to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, now and ever, and world without end. Amen."*

"Let whoever is poor take comfort, Joseph and Mary, the Lord's own Mother had no servant, nor handmaid. From Galilee, from Nazareth, they came alone; they had no beast of burden. Themselves they are both lords and servants. A strange thing: they enter the inn, not the city. Since timid poverty ventured not to approach the rich."+


* In Joan., Hom. 54, Tom. 8, p. 296.

+ Hom. de Nativ. Dom. ex Luc. Tom. 2.

 

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