MEDITATION ON THE EPIPHANY: Of The Coming Of The Three Kings Of The East, To Adore The Child: And Of Their Entrance Into Jerusalem POINT II
ALTICHIERO da Zevio
Adoration of the Magi (detail)
THE XXII. MEDITATION.
Of the coming of the three kings of the East, to adore the child: and of their entrance into Jerusalem.
THE II. POINT.
1. Secondly, I am to consider the departure of these kings from the east, and their voyage, till they arrived at Jerusalem. Pondering first, how these kings with that lively faith which they had, cast themselves into the hands of almighty God, and began their voyage, carrying with them gifts to offer unto the child: and setting themselves in their way, they suddenly perceived the Star to move itself, as if it would be their guide in that journey, whereat they rejoiced with exceeding great joy, praising, and glorifying almighty God for the great providence, and care he had of them: from whence I will collect, that if testing in God, and building upon faith, I begin to seek him, his providence will not be failing to provide me a guide, and helper, to prosecute my journey: and the divine spirit, and the grace of my vocation, will go always before me like a Star guiding, and directing my paths, as he guided the Israelites through the desert, going before them, showing them the way by day in a pillar of a cloud , to defend them from the sun; and by night in a pillar of fire, that might give them light, to be at both times their guide. So likewise our Lord will guide me, protecting me in the day of prosperity, and in the night of adversity, defending me from the heats of sensual, & worldly temptations, and likewise from coldness, lukewarmness, & pusillanimity.
2. Secondly, I will ponder, how having beheld this, the kings went forward on their way; always following the Star, without turning one way, nor other, staying where it stayed, and going when it moved, endeavoring to do nothing unworthy of our Lord, whom they acknowledged in the Star. And in imitation hereof, I am to take for the Star, and guide of my life, the light of reason, and the light of faith, the inspiration, or illumination of the divine Spirit, and the direction of my prelates, or Confessors. These four Stars, are reduced to one which is almighty God, who guideth us them. And to me it belongeth directly to follow what this Star dictateth unto me with our turning to the right hand, nor to the left, endeavoring not to do any thing that may be offensive in his eyes.
3. Thirdly, I will ponder, how these kings going forward on their ways and approaching near to Jerusalem, suddenly by Gods ordination the Star disappeared, they remaining therefore very sad, and afflicted. This the divine providence ordained to make proof of their faith, and loyalty, and to give them occasion to exercise great virtues at their entrance into Jerusalem: and that wanting the guide of heaven, they might seek such guidance as almighty God hath left on earth, which is, the sages and teachers of his law, and the prelates, and superiors in his Church, and therefore these sages were not dismayed, neither accoumpted they themselves deluded, neither did they leave their enterprise and return to their own country; but determined to enter into Jerusalem to seek whether desired; instructing me by their example, what I ought to do, when almighty God hideth himself from me, and when sensible devotion faileth me, and when I find myself in darkness, and in temptations: for in such cases, I must not be distrustful, nor turn back from what I have begun, but must use those means that I may, to seek, and to find God, having recourse to his ministers, as it is said in the book of Canticles, that the spouse (that is, the just soul) being thorough the absence of her husband in darkness, and in the obscurity of night, she riseth up to seek him in the streets, & corners of the city, exercising herself in holy works, & regarding the example of other just ones: and then she asketh those which watch, & guard the city (which are the Prelates) whither they have seen whom her soul desireth, that they may inform her, and teach her where, & how she may find him, and in this manner she found him, and so the Sages found him.
O eternal God, give me the faith, & constancy of these men, that I may seek thee with that loyalty, & preserving wherewith they sought thee, having recourse with humility to human means, when divine means are hidden from me, Amen.