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Lay Down Your Sword

Lay Down Your Sword December 26, 2011

There is a very telling scene in the plays of St Therese of Lisieux, where the angels  come to adore the child Jesus in the manger. The last to come is that of the angel of the last judgment. He comes bringing a sword; Jesus tells him to lay it down:

THE ANGEL OF THE LAST JUDGMENT gets up.

Jesus, supreme beauty! have you forgotten
That sinners must be punished at the end? …
Have You forgotten, in Your extreme love
That the number of the impious is countless? ..
At the judgment, I shall punish crime.
I want to wipe out all the ungrateful
My sword is read!… Jesus, sweet victum!…
My sword is ready!! .. I’ll know how to avenge You!!!… (2x)

 

THE CHILD JESUS

O Beautiful angel! lay down your sword.
It is not for you to judge
The nature that I raise up.
And have desired to redeem.[1]

 

Jesus is the prince of peace. In this season of Christmas, let us remember Jesus came to lift us up, not to tear us down and have us taken in by the sword. Those who want to lift up weapons of violence to “avenge” Christ need to remember that Christ says vengeance is his – and his alone. It is not even for angels to bring judgment to the world. We who follow Christ, let us remember the little child, born in a manger, who took the lot of the poor as his own. He did not wish that any should perish. He came to save, not condemn. The sins of the world are taken by him and have been thrown into the depths of hell. He does not seek protection, he seeks love.

Do you know that faithful souls
Will console Me forever
For the blasphemies of the unfaithful
By a simple look of love? … .[2]

 

Lay down your sword, bow down and adore Christ today! It is love he seeks from you!

Troparion of the Feast    Tone 4

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,/ has shone to the world as the light of wisdom./ For by it those who worshipped the stars/ were taught by a star to adore Thee,/ the Sun of Righteousness,/ and to know Thee, the Orient from on high./ O Lord, glory to Thee.

Kontakion of the Synaxis    Tone 6

He that was born before the morning star of Father without mother/ is today incarnate on earth of thee without father./ A star tells the glad tidings to the Magi;/ while Angels and Shepherds praise thy seedless childbirth, O thou who art full of grace.


[1] St Therese of Lisieux, “The Angels at Jesus’ Manger” in The Plays of St. Therese of Lisieux.trans. Susan Conroy and David J. Dwyer (Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 2008), 129.

[2] ibid., 129.


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