Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Sixth Day of Christmas

MEDITATION VI: Jesus sleeping.

Very short and painful were the slumbers of the Infant Jesus. A manger was his cradle, straw was his bed, and Straw his pillow; so that Jesus was constantly interrupted in his sleep by the hardness of this rough and painful little bed, and by the severe cold of the cave. Notwithstanding all this, nature succumbing to its wants, the sweet babe from time to time slept amidst his
sufferings.

But the sleep of Jesus differed very much from that of other children. The slumbers of other children are useful for the preservation of life, but not for the operations of the soul, because the soul, being buried in sleep with the senses, cannot then work; but such was not the sleep of Jesus Christ: I sleep, and my heart watches (Cant. 5:2). His body was asleep, but his soul was watching; because in Jesus there was united the person of the Word, who could not sleep, nor be influenced by the slumber of the senses. The Holy Infant slept therefore; but while he slept he thought of all the sufferings he was to endure for our sake during all his life and at his death. He thought of the labors he was to undergo in Egypt and in Nazareth during his miserable and despised life; he thought more particularly on the scourges, the thorns, the ignominies, the agonies, and on that miserable death that he should at last suffer upon the cross; and whilst he was sleeping he offered all this to his Eternal Father to obtain for us pardon and salvation; so that while our Savior was sleeping he was meriting for us and appeasing his Father, and obtaining graces for us.

Let us now beseech him, by the merit of his blessed slumbers, to deliver us from the deadly slumber of sinners who unhappily sleep in the death of sin, forgetful of God and of his love; and to give us instead the blessed sleep of the holy spouse, of which he said, Stir not up, nor make the beloved to wake till she please (Cant. 2:7). This is the sleep that God gives to his beloved souls, which is none other, as St. Basil says, "but the most profound oblivion of all things;" and this is when the soul forgets all earthly things, to attend only to God and to the things that concern his glory.

Affections and Prayers.

My beloved and holy Infant, you sleep, and oh, how do your slumbers enamor me! With others sleep is the emblem of death; but in you it is the sign of eternal life, because while you are sleeping you are meriting for me eternal salvation. You sleep; but your heart sleeps not, it is thinking of suffering and dying for me. While you are slumbering, you are praying for me, and obtaining for me from God the eternal rest of Paradise. But before you carry me (as I hope) to repose with you in heaven, I desire that you should repose forever in my soul. There was a time, O my God! when I drove you away from me; but I trust that, by means of knocking so often at the door of my heart,—now by making it afraid, now by enlightening it, now by the voice of love,—you have already obtained an entrance there. This, I say, is my hope, because I feel a great confidence that I have been forgiven by you; I feel a great hatred and penitence for the offences I have committed against you, penitence that causes me great sorrow; but a sorrow of peace, a sorrow that comforts me and makes me hope most assuredly for pardon from your goodness. I thank you, my Jesus, and I beg you never again to separate yourself from my soul. I know indeed that you wilt not leave me, if I do not drive you away; but this is the favor I ask of you (and I pray you to give me your assistance that I may always seek it of you), that you would not permit me ever to drive you from me. Make me forget everything, in order to think of you who has always thought of me and of my welfare. Make me always love you in this life, so that I may breathe forth my soul in your arms, united to you, and may repose eternally in you without fear of losing you again.

O Mary, assist me in life and in death, so that Jesus may always repose in me, and that I may always repose in Jesus.

2 comments:

Diane M. Korzeniewski said...

As with the rest, a most beautiful and thought provoking meditation.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these wonderful meditations during the Christmas Season. I am glad to see that Christmas did not end on 12/25 like commercialization would have us believe.

Very happy to see the regular posts on this blog again. My best to you for a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

J.