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Pope at Angelus: Magi teach us to rediscover need for humility to worship God

by Vatican News

In his Angelus address on Epiphany Day, Pope Francis invites Christians to abandon our pretence of self-sufficiency and make ourselves little inside, so that we can rediscover the wonder of worshipping Jesus.

Pope Francis on Thursday held out the Magi who visited the Baby Jesus as models of humility.  

“Their prostration is the sign of those who place their own ideas aside and make room for humility and the vibrant desire to worship,” he said at the midday Angelus prayer on the solemn feast of the Epiphany.

January 6, the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, is a holiday in the Vatican and in Italy.  It commemorates the Gospel episode of the visit of the Magi, or the 3 Wise Men, from the East to Baby Jesus in Bethlehem, following a star.

The event is the first manifestation of Christ to the gentiles or non-Jews, underscoring the Church’s fundamental mission of preaching Christ to the world.  

Worshipping “a poor child”

Pope Francis noted that the wise men, guided by the wondrous sign of the star, faced a long and difficult journey to go and adore “the king of the Jews”.  After travelling many roads and making many sacrifices, they were neither scandalized nor disappointed to find “a poor child” with His mother. Without complaining, “they fell down and worshiped him.”

Wise, rich, educated and well-known as they were, the Pope pointed out, it is surprising that the illustrious men bowed down on the ground to adore a baby.  

It is normal to prostrate oneself before a leader who presents himself with the trappings of power and glory, but doing so before the Babe of Bethlehem was not that easy, the Holy Father said.  Listen to our report

God’s “littleness”

“It is not easy to adore this God, whose divinity remains hidden and who does not appear triumphant. It means accepting God’s greatness that manifests itself in littleness. The Magi humbled themselves before the unheard-of logic of God, they accepted the Saviour not the way they had imagined him to be, but as he was, small and poor,” Pope Francis said. “Their prostration is the sign of those who place their own ideas aside and make room for God.”

Thus they are open to worship God. “The treasures they open are images of their open hearts: their true wealth does not consist in their fame, their success, but in their humility, their awareness of their need of salvation.”

Abandoning the pretence of self-sufficiency

“If we always remain at the centre of everything with our ideas, and if we presume to have something to boast of before God,” Pope Francis warned Christians, “we will never fully encounter Him, we will never end up worshipping Him”.

“If our pretensions, vanity, stubbornness, competitiveness do not fall by the wayside, we may well end up worshipping someone or something in life, but it will not be the Lord!”

Instead, if we abandon our pretence of self-sufficiency, if we make ourselves little inside, we will then rediscover the wonder of worshipping Jesus.

Adoration comes from humility of heart. Those who are obsessed with winning will never be aware of the Lord’s presence. “Jesus passes nearby and is ignored, as happened to many at that time, but not to the Magi,” the Pope said. 

Pope Francis concluded by urging Christians to examine their conscience regarding humility and openness to God and others against self-centeredness and pretences, and whether they consistently pray and worship believing they are always in need of Jesus

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