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The Signs to Know Jesus

Again with Bossuet in Elevations on the Mysteries, XV-VIII:

Let us look again at the words of the Angel: You will find a child in swaddling clothes, on a manger; you will know by this sign that it is the Lord. Go in the Court of the Kings; you will recognise the newborn Prince, by his coverings gilded with gold and a superb crib, which would make a throne. But to know the Christ which is born to you, this Lord so high that David his father, King that he was, called him Lord, only the sign of a manger where he lays is given, and the poor clothes where his feeble infancy is wrapped.  That is to say that he is given a nature like yours; weaknesses like yours; a poverty below yours. Who among you was born in a stable? Who of you, poor as you are, gave to your children a manger for a cradle? Jesus is the only who was left to this extremity, and it is by this sign that he wants to be known.

If he wanted to use his power, what gold would crown his head? What purple would drape his shoulders? What jewels would enrich his garments? But, Tertullian follows, he had judged all of this false brightness, all of this borrowed glory, unworthy of himself and those who are his; thus in refusing them, he devalued them; in devaluing them, he proscribed them; in proscribing them, he lined them up with the glories of the demon of this world!

Our fathers, the first Christians, spoke in this way; but unhappy us, we only breathe ambition and softness.


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