Monthly Archives: January 2019


Mother and child crossing the Syrian border.


What did the Magi see?

“Did they see a palace splendid in its marble? Did they see his mother crowned with a diadem or reclining on a gilded couch? Did they see a boy swaddled in purple and gold, a royal hallway thronged with various peoples? What did they see? A dark and lowly stable, more fit for animals than people, in which no one would be content to hide unless compelled by the necessity of the journey. They saw his mother with scarcely one tunic to her name, and that tunic was not dressy clothing for her body but a covering for her nakedness, such as a carpenter’s wife might have—the garb of an immigrant. The child was covered in the most lowly swaddling clothes and placed in an even lowlier manger. The place was so confining that they could find no room to set him down.

If then they had been seeking a king of this world and thus had found him, they would have been more perplexed than delighted, because they would have undertaken the effort of so great a journey for nothing. Yet because they were seeking the heavenly king, even if they saw nothing regal in him, they were nevertheless delighted, content in the testimony of the star. Their eyes could not see an unworthy boy, because the spirit in their hearts was revealing him to them as an awesome thing.”

—Anonymous saying attributed to the Church Fathers


Whom do we welcome?

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Mt 25:35).” (53.1)

“All humility should be shown in addressing a guest on arrival or departure. By a bow of the head or by a complete prostration of the body, Christ is to be adored because he is indeed welcomed in them.” (53.6-7)

“Great care and concern are to be shown in receiving poor people and pilgrims, because in them more particularly Christ is received.” (53.15)

—Excerpts from The Rule of St Benedict