Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fifth Day in the Octave of the Epiphany

MEDITATION V: The Return of Jesus from Egypt.

After the death of Herod, and an exile of seven years, according to the common opinion of the Doctors, during which time Jesus lived in Egypt, the angel again appeared to St. Joseph, and commanded him to take the Holy Child and his Mother and return to Palestine. St. Joseph, consoled by this command, communicates it to Mary. Before their departure, these holy spouses courteously informed the friends whom they had made in the country. Joseph then collects the few instruments of his trade, Mary her little bundle of clothes, and taking by the hand the divine Child, they set out on their journey homewards, leading him between them.

St. Bonaventure considers that this journey was more fatiguing to Jesus than was the flight into Egypt, because he was now become too large for Mary and Joseph to carry him much in their arms; but at the same time the Holy Child, at his age, was not able to make a long journey, so that Jesus was obliged through fatigue frequently to stop .and rest himself on the way. But Joseph and Mary, whether they walk or sit, always keep their eyes and thoughts fixed upon the beloved little Child, who was the object of all their love. Oh, with what recollection does that happy soul travel through this life who keeps before its eyes the love and the examples of Jesus Christ!

The holy pilgrims interrupt now and then the silence of this journey by some holy conversation; but with whom and of whom do they converse? They speak only with Jesus and of Jesus. He who has Jesus in his heart speaks only with Jesus or only speaks of him.

Consider again the pain that our little Savior must have endured during the nights of this journey, in which he had no longer the bosom of Mary for his bed, as in his flight, but the bare ground; and for his food he had no more milk, but a little hard bread, too hard for his tender age. He was probably also afflicted by thirst in this desert, in which the Jews had been in such want of water that a miracle was necessary to supply them with it. Let us contemplate and lovingly adore all these sufferings of the Child Jesus.

Affections and Prayers.

Beloved and adored Child, you return to your country; but to where, O God, to where do you return? You come to that place where your countrymen prepare for you insults during life, and then scourges, thorns, ignominy, and a cross at your death. But all was already present to your divine eyes, O my Jesus, and yet you come of your own will to meet that Passion which men prepare for you. But, my Redeemer, if you had not come to die for me, I could not go to love you in Paradise, but must have always remained far away from you. Your death has been my salvation. But how is it, Lord, that by despising your grace I have again condemned myself to hell, even after your death, by which you delivered me from it? I acknowledge that hell is but a slight punishment for me. But you have waited to pardon me. I thank you for it, O my Redeemer, and I repent, and detest all the offences I have committed against you. O Lord, I beseech you, deliver me from hell. Ah, if I were miserable enough to damn myself, how would my torments in hell be increased by the remorse caused by my having meditated during my life on the love that you have borne me! It would not be so much the fire of hell as your love, O my Jesus, that would be my hell. But you came into the world to kindle the fire of your holy love; I desire to burn with this fire, and not with that which would keep me forever separated from you. I repeat, therefore, O my Jesus, deliver me from hell, because in hell I cannot love you.

O Mary, my Mother, I hear it everywhere said and preached that those who love you and trust in you, provided they desire to amend their lives, will not go to hell. I love you, my Lady, and I trust in you; I will amend my life: O Mary, remember to deliver me from hell!

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