Sermon for St. Gabriel

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Sermon for St. Gabriel, the Archangel
by St. Bernard.

I do not think that this Angel was one of inferior rank, who on one account or another are often sent on embassies to this earth. This may well be understood in view of his name, which being interpreted signifies: Strength of God; and because he was sent, not by some spirit perhaps more excellent than he (as is usual), but from God Himself. And so for this reason it is said: From God. Or, on this account it is said: From God; lest it should be thought that God had revealed his counsel to any of the blessed spirits before the Virgin, except only the Archangel Gabriel, who alone was found so eminent among his compeers as to be held worthy both of his name and his message.

Neither do his and his message disagree. For who should announce Christ, the power of God, more than he who is honored by a like name? For what else is power than strength? Neither does it appear to be unbecoming or unseemly that the Lord and his messenger should be known by a like title. Christ is called the power or strength of God in a very different sense to that, in which this title is given to the Angel; for in the Angel it is but a name; but in the case of Christ, it is also an essential attribute.

Christ is called, and truly is, the power of God. When the strong man armed was accustomed to keep his house in peace, a stronger came upon him, and overcame him by the strength of his arm; and forcibly deprived him of all his spoils. But the Angel is called the strength of God, either because this title was his right, as herald of the power of God; or because it was his duty to comfort the Virgin who was naturally timid, simple, and bashful, lest she should be frightened at the novelty of the miracle; this he certainly did by saying: Do not be afraid, Mary, thou has found grace with God. And so Gabriel was fitly chosen for this work; yes, because he was entrusted with so great a mission, properly was so great a name assigned to him.

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