Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Fourth Day of Christmas

Meditation IV: Jesus Taking Milk.

As soon as Jesus was swathed, he looked for and took milk from the breast of Mary. The spouse in the Canticles desired to see her little brother taking milk from his mother: Who shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking the breast of my mother (Cant. 8:1). The spouse desired it, but did not see him; but we have had the happiness to see the Son of God made Man and become our brother, taking milk from the breasts of Mary. Oh, what a spectacle must it not have been to Paradise to see the divine Word become an infant sucking milk from a virgin who was his own creature!

He, then, who feeds all men and all animals upon the earth, is become so weak and so poor that he requires a little milk to sustain life! Sister Paula, the Camaldolese, in contemplating a little image of Jesus taking milk, felt herself immediately all inflamed with a tender love to God. Jesus took but little of this milk, and took it but seldom in the day. It was revealed to Sister Mary Anne, a Franciscan, that Mary only gave him milk three times in the day. O milk most precious to us, to be changed into blood in the veins of Jesus Christ, and so to be made by him a bath of salvation to cleanse our souls!

Let us consider also that Jesus took this milk in order to nourish the body which he wished to leave us as food in the Holy Communion. Therefore, my Blessed Redeemer, while you nurse at the breast of Mary, you art thinking of me; you art thinking of changing this milk into blood, to be shed afterwards at your death, as the price wherewith to ransom my soul, and as its food in the most Holy Sacrament, which is the salutary milk with which our Lord preserves our souls in the life of grace: "Christ is your milk," says St. Augustine.

O beloved Infant, O my Jesus, let me also exclaim with the woman in the Gospel, Blessed is the womb that bare you, and the paps that gave you suck (Luke 11:27). Blessed are you, O Mother of God, who had the happiness to give milk to the Incarnate Word! Oh, admit me, in company with this great Son, to take from you the milk of a tender and loving devotion to the Infancy of Jesus, and to yourself, my dearest mother.

And I thank you, O divine Infant, who deigned to stand in need of milk for your support in order to show me the love that you bear me. This is what our Lord once gave St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi to understand that he had reduced himself to the necessity of taking milk in order to make us comprehend the love that he has for redeemed souls.

Affections and Prayers.

O my sweet and most amiable Infant, you are the bread of heaven, and sustain the angels: you provide all creatures with food; and yet you are reduced to the necessity of begging a little milk from a Virgin in order to preserve your life! O divine love, how could you reduce a God to such a state of poverty that he was in want of a little food? But I understand you, O my Jesus. You took milk from Mary in this stable to offer it to God changed into blood on the cross as a sacrifice, and in satisfaction for our sins. Give, O Mary! give all the milk you can to this Son, because every drop of this milk will serve to wash away the sins of my soul, and to nourish it afterwards in the Holy Communion. O my Redeemer! how can one not love you who believes what you have done and suffered to save us? And I, how could I know this, and yet be so ungrateful to you? But your goodness is my hope; and this makes me sure that if I wish for your grace it is mine. I repent, O sovereign Good! of having offended you, and I love you above all things. Or, rather, I love nothing, I love and I will love only you; you are and shall always be my only good, my only love. My beloved Redeemer, give me, I pray, a tender devotion to your holy Infancy, such as you have given to so many souls, who, meditating on you, as an Infant, forgetting all else, seem unable to think of anything but loving you. It is true that they are innocent, and I am a sinner; but you became a child to make yourself loved even by sinners. I have been such; but now I love you with my whole heart, and I desire nothing but your love.

O Mary, give me a little of that tenderness with which you gave suck to the Infant Jesus.

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