Friday, January 9, 2009

The Fourth Day in the Octave of the Epiphany

MEDITATION IV: The Dwelling of Jesus in Egypt.

Jesus chose to dwell in Egypt during his infancy, that he might lead a more hard and abject life. According to St. Anselm and other writers, the holy family lived in Heliopolis. Let us with St. Bonaventure contemplate the life that Jesus led during the seven years that he remained in Egypt, as it was revealed to St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi.

The house they live in is very poor, because St. Joseph has but little wherewith to pay rent; their bed is poor, their food poor; their life, in short, is one of strict poverty, for they barely gain their livelihood day by day by the work of their hands, and they live in a country where they are unknown and despised, having there neither relatives nor friends.

This holy family does indeed live in great poverty, but oh, how well-ordered are the occupations of these three sojourners! The holy Infant speaks not with his tongue; but in his heart he speaks indeed and continually to his heavenly Father, applying all his sufferings, and every moment of his life, for our salvation. Neither does Mary speak; but at the sight of that dear Infant she meditates on the divine love, and the favor that God has conferred upon her by choosing her for his Mother. Joseph also works in silence; and at the sight of the divine Child his heart is inflamed, while he thanks him for having chosen him for the companion and guardian of his life.

In this house Mary weans Jesus: at first she fed him from her breast, now she feeds him with her hands. She holds him on her lap, takes from the porringer a little bread soaked in water, and then puts it into the sacred mouth of her Son. In this house Mary made her Infant his first little garment; and when the time was come, she took off his swaddling-clothes, and began to put on this vestment. In this house the Child Jesus began to walk and speak. Let us adore the first steps that the Incarnate Word began to take in this house, and the first words of eternal life that he began to utter. Here he began also to do the work of a little servant-boy, occupying himself in all the little services that a child can render.

Ah, weaning! Ah, little garment! Ah, first steps! Ah, lisping words! Ah, little services of the little Jesus. How do you not wound and inflame the hearts of those who love Jesus and meditate on you! Behold a God trembling and falling, a God lisping, a God become so weak that he can occupy himself in nothing but in little house hold affairs, and unable even to lift a bit of wood, if too heavy for the strength of a child! O holy faith, enlighten us, and make us love this good Lord, who for the love of us has submitted himself to so many miseries! It is said that on the entrance of Jesus into Egypt all the idols of the country fell down; oh, let us pray to God that he will make us love Jesus from our hearts, since in that soul where the love of Jesus enters, all the idols of earthly affections are overthrown.

Affections and Prayers.

O Holy Infant, who lives in this country of barbarians poor, unknown, and despised, I acknowledge you for my God and Savior, and I thank you for all the humiliations and sufferings you endured in Egypt for the love of me. By your manner of life there you teach me to live as a pilgrim on this earth, giving me to understand that this is not my country; but that Paradise, which you have purchased for me by your death is my home. Ah, my Jesus, I have been ungrateful to you because I have thought but little of what you have done and suffered for me. When I think that you, the Son of God, led a life of such tribulation upon this earth, so poor and neglected, how is it possible that I should go about seeking the amusements and good things of the earth? Take me, my dear Redeemer, for your companion. Admit me to live always united with you on this earth, in order that united with you in heaven, I may love you there, and be your companion throughout eternity. Give me light, increase my faith. What goods, what pleasures, what dignities, what honors—all is vanity and folly. The only real riches, the only real good, is to possess you, who are the infinite Good. Blessed he who loves you! I love you, O my Jesus, and I seek none other but you. I desire you, and you desire me. If I had a thousand kingdoms, I would renounce them all to please you, "my God and my All." If in times past I have sought after the vanities and pleasures of this world, I now detest them, and am sorry that I have done so. My beloved Savior, from this day forward you shall be my only delight, my only love, my only treasure.

Most holy Mary, pray to Jesus for me. Beseech him to make me rich in his love alone, and I desire nothing else.


Anonymous said...

I'd just like to thank you for all of your work in placing these meditations on the web. What a wonderful way to start, or in some cases, end the day.

I've never really been good at praying as I was never really taught how to pray aside from reciting the various prayers in catholic school. I find this method very prayerful and often times thought provoking.

I look forward to future posts of prayers and meditations.

zetor said...

Just found your blog Fr. I find it very encouraging. Thankyou for these inspiring words.