The Sunday Within The Octave Of Christmas The Gospel Luc. 2.v.33. Sunday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

BELLINI, Giovanni
Santa Conversazione

GOSPEL Luke 2:33-40 
At that time, And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: "Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years: who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she, at the same hour, coming in, confessed to the Lord: and spoke of him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. And the child grew and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in him.

Considerations for Sunday

Joseph, and Mary were marveling at those things, which were spoken of Jesus, differences of human, and divine things, this is one; that human matters at the first seem great, but afterwards, the more we enjoy them, or consider of them, the less do they seem unto us.

The comforts, and felicities of this world before we have them, be wonderfully desired by us: but once possessed, do prove by our own experience to be but of little esteem; So that Salomon, who had tasted of all the pomps, and delights which the world could afford, (as if God had ordained him to certify us by his experience what the world was) after all, pronounced of them this sentence, Vanity of vanities, are all this worldly things, and all mere vanity.

But divine, and spiritual things are of a quite contrary condition; before we have them, they seem but little” being had, and tasted they grow daily greater in our estimation and desire; and so much the more great, excellent by how much more we use, and enjoy them, or consider the greatness or goodness of them.

The reason is, because they are in a sort infinite, and therefore in this world we can never sufficiently dive into the perfect knowledge, and deepness of divine things which, being here to savor unto us, and from daily more pleasant, until they come to have their height, and fullness in the life to come in heaven.

Well then may we fast them, but, (as the Prophet David affright) never be satiated, until the glory of God appear to us in heaven. And hence then was it, that blessed Virgin, although by especial revelation from God she knew the majesty of her son, and understood well the mysteries of these things which were spoken of him: yet laying them all up in her heart (as the gospel saith of her) and meditating profoundly upon them, she wondered, and admired at the greatness, and excellency of them; and the more she pondered them, the more she admired them, because they still appeared to grow in greatness, and estimation of their excellency. To things that be most excellent, the Philosopher saith wonder, and admiration is due, not praise or commendation.

For admiration goeth beyond commendation: and when we cannot sufficiently (as we think) praise a thing, nor comprehend the worth thereof, then we fall into admiration of it. So that when we admire the beauty of anything, it is a sign we cannot sufficiently praise it.

So Saint Paul when once he used that exclamation of his, O the height of the riches, wisdom, and knowledge of God, how incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable are ways; by this admiration of Gods wisdom, setteth forth the excellency thereof more then if he had praised it with any other words whatsoever.

To this admiration, that is so must to the honor of God, we arrive by earnest search, and consideration of his works, and benefits: and if we did not admire the mystery of the incarnation, and nativity of our Savior as the blessed virgin did; it is a token we do not imitate her in laying up our hearts, and profoundly meditating these things that are written, and spoken of him.

Therefore doth holy Church point this gospel, of the admiration which our blessed Lady, and Saint Joseph had these mysteries, to be read on the Sunday within the octaves of Christmas: that by diligent, and devote mediation thereof we may come likewise to admire the same with her; and to say with our holy mother the Church in the first anthem of the laude of our Ladies office: Admirable partnership, or communion before God, and man; The creator of mankind taking on him a living body, vouchsafed to be born of a virgin, and proceeding from her without seed of man, bestowed his deity or God head upon men


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