The Angels Announce Jesus to the Shepherds

Continuing on in Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, XV-VII:

The shepherds, imitators of the holy Patriarchs and the most innocent and simple flock in the world, guarding and keeping the night watches over their flock. Holy angels, accustomed to converse with the shepherds of old, with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, announced to those in the country that the great Pastor was come; that the earth would now see a shepherd King, who is the son of David.  The angel of the Lord: let us not ask his name as Manué; he will maybe answer: why do you ask my admirable name? It is not necessary to hear that it is the same angel who appeared to Zachariah and the Holy Virgin. Whoever he was, without presuming where the Gospel does not say a word, suddenly the Angel of the Lord presented himself to them; a heavenly light surrounded them and they were seized with a great fear. All which is divine at first stuns human nature, sinful and banished from Heaven. But the Angel reassured them by saying: do not fear: I announce you a great joy: in the city of David, remember this place which long ago was marked for you by the prophet, today the Saviour of the world is born, the Christ, the Lord. And here is the sign which I give you to recognise him: you will find a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. At this unique sign of a child lying in a manger, you will recognise him who is the Christ, the Lord, small child which is born for you, son which is given for us; who in the same time, is named the Admirable, the strong God, the Father of eternity, the Prince of peace. Also, at the same instant a great flock of the heavenly army joined the Angel, which praised God and said: Glory to God and peace on the earth.

Let us note here a new Lord to whom we belong: a Lord who receives anew this supreme and divine name with that of Christ. It is the God who is anointed of God, to whom David sang: Your God, o God, has anointed you: you are eternally God. But you are newly the Christ, God and man at the same time, and the name of Lord is ascribed to you, to express that you are God, the same title as your Father; from now on following the example of the Angel, you will be called the Lord in all sovereignty and elevation. Command your new people. You do not speak yet; but you command by your example.  And what? The esteem of the least and the love of poverty; the disdain for the image making of the world, the simplicity: do I dare say it? A holy unsophistication in these new worshippers which the Angel sends you which make all of your heart, agreeable to Joseph, to Mary and the same adornment as them, so that they are equally clothed with the outfit of poverty.

 

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