25 March 2015

Why Nazareth?

The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. Do you wonder why Nazareth, a small town, should be made illustrious by the messenger of such a king, and such a messenger? A great treasure is hidden in this little town - hidden, I say, from humans, not from God. Is Mary not God's treasure? Wherever she is, his heart is there also. His eyes are on her; everywhere he looks upon the lowliness of his handmaiden.

Is the Only-Begotten of God the Father familiar with heaven? If he is familiar with heaven he is familiar with Nazareth too. How should he not be familiar with his homeland? How should he not know his heritage? He claims heaven from his father, Nazareth from his mother, as he testifies that he is both son and Lord of David. The heaven of heavens belongs to the Lord, but the earth he has given to the children of men.

Let us allow him, then, the necessary possession of both, since he is not only Lord but also Son of Man. Hear then how as Son of Man he claims the earth but also is related to it as a bridegroom. The flowers have appeared on our earth. No one disputes that Nazareth means flower. The flower from the root of Jesse loves his flowery homeland, and the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys feed gladly among the lilies.

Beauty, sweetness, and the hope of fruit, a threefold gift, commend the flowers. God regards you, too, as a flower, and he is well pleased with you if you do not lack the beauty of an honorable way of life, the fragrance of a good reputation, and the intention of gaining a future reward. The fruit of the Spirit is eternal life.

- Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

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