What treasures of good works, what riches of devotion lie hidden in the field of an individual’s body; and how much more in the depths of the heart, if you only take the trouble to dig! I am not saying what Plato taught: that before the soul came into the body it learned arts which were then buried in forgetfulness and the weight of the body and have to be dug up by hard work; but that human reason and natural endowments, with the help of grace, are the seed-bed of all virtues. If then you will ponder in your heart and train your body, you need not doubt that you will find worthwhile treasures; if not gold or incense at the very beginning, certainly myrrh, and that is not useless!
If you need plainer language, myrrh in your heart is sorrow, myrrh in your body is work, provided that one and the other come of repentance.
You too, a king yourself, have offered to the Lord with the Three Kings, myrrh of the highest quality, if for the time being, while your means do not suffice to offer the gold of wisdom or the incense of devotion, you have consecrated to the Lord at least a contrite heart and an afflicted body, together with the bitterness of penance. Myrrh is the first offering of beginners, while gold is the offering of the perfect.
Indeed, it is no slight progress to advance from myrrh to incense, from what is used for human weakness to what is reserved for festival sacrifices offered to God. The person who was wont to offer the sacrifice of a crushed spirit and a humiliated body, not without the myrrh of bitterness, now offers the sacrifice of praise together with the increase of devotion. As the Lord promised, such a great consolation is accorded to the mourners of Zion that he gives them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a grieving spirit.