Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Thought from Challoner

If you ever see a copy of  Challoner's Daily Meditations, I can heartily recommend that you  purchase it and use it.  It isn't uniformly brilliant, at one stage he gets rather bogged down in the 4 Last Things and goes on for rather too many days about Hell. You may find endless talk of Hell an aid to your devotion, I certainly didn't.

However, the meditation for January 7th throws up something interesting I'd never really thought about before; a little detail from St Matthew's Gospel that I'd always overlooked.

The Magi go to Jerusalem (naturally enough) to enquire after the King of the Jews that they are seeking.  News of His momentous birth should have reached there, however, it hadn't.  Herod didn't know and was "troubled" and "all Jerusalem with him". The chief priests and scribes are assembled and it turns out they do  know.  Quite casually they say that He will be born in Bethlehem.

What Challoner points out is that the priests and scribes can point people to the Saviour (almost as a matter of routine), but they haven't actually been seeking Him with their hearts or they would have gone to pay Him homage too.

This got me thinking. The Magi may have been astrologers but wise men they certainly were.  They fulfil Christ's own maxim (Matthew 6:33) to "seek ye first therefore the kingdom of God". And they also, most remarkably, tell us so much about the "fear of the Lord".  Deep within our intellects is a fear that drives us to use our intellects to seek God; the fear of misusing the God given gift of our intellects.  Deep within our will is the drive to persevere against all difficulty to find the Truth, there is a certain fear of failure if we don't do so.  Deep within our hearts is a joy in finding the Christ Child and a holy fear of ever bringing about any harm to Him.

So yes, they are truly wise men because "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom": Psalm  110:10  and Proverbs 9:10.

Are you one of the chief priests and scribes, so comfortable in your religion that you glibly know the answers to matters of faith but have never encountered Our Lord?  Or are you one of the Magi, wise enough to know you are duty bound to pay homage to the Infant, because without Him you are nothing?

1 comment:

Ttony said...

Very Franciscan; very unsettling. What has someone like Bishop Challoner got to teach us? Errrr...