Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Seccond Day in the Octave of the Epiphany

MEDITATION II: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.

The time having now come when, according to the law, Mary had to go to the Temple for her purification, and to present Jesus to the divine Father, behold she sets out in company with Joseph. Joseph carries the two turtle-doves that they are to offer to God, and Mary carries her dear Infant: she takes the Lamb of God to offer him to the Almighty, in token of the great sacrifice that this Son should one day accomplish on the cross.

Consider the holy Virgin entering the Temple; she makes an oblation of her Son on the part of the whole human race, and says: Behold, O Eternal Father, your beloved only-begotten One, who is your Son and mine also; I offer him to you as a victim to your divine justice, in order to appease your wrath against sinners. Accept him, O God of mercy! have pity on our miseries; for the love of this immaculate Lamb receive men into your grace.

The offering of Mary is joined to that of Jesus. Be hold me (says also the holy Infant), behold me, O My Father; to you do I consecrate my whole life; you have sent me into the world to save it by my blood; behold my blood and my whole self. I offer myself entirely to you for the salvation of the world. He delivered Himself . . . an oblation and a sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:2).

No sacrifice was ever so acceptable to God as this which his dear Son then made to him; who had become, even from his infancy, a victim and priest. If all men and angels had offered their lives, their oblation could not have been so dear to God as was this of Jesus Christ, because in this offering alone the Eternal Father received infinite honor and infinite satisfaction.

If Jesus offers his life to his Father for the love of us, it is just that we should offer him our life and our entire being. This is what he desires, as he signified to the blessed Angela of Foligno, saying to her, "I have offered myself for you, in order that you should offer yourself to me."

Affections and Prayers.

Eternal Father, I, a miserable sinner, who have deserved a thousand hells, present myself this day before you, O God of infinite majesty, and I offer you my poor heart. But, O God, what a heart is it that I offer you? A heart that has never known how to love you, but has, on the contrary, so often offended you and so often betrayed you; but now I offer it to you full of penitence, and resolved to love you at all costs and to obey you in all things. Pardon me, and draw me entirely to your love. I do not deserve to be heard; but your infant Son, who offers himself to you in the Temple as a sacrifice for my salvation, merits for me this grace. I offer you this your Son and his sacrifice, and in this I place all my hopes. I thank you, O my Father, for having sent him upon the earth to sacrifice himself for me. And I bless you, O Incarnate Word, Lamb of God, who offered yourself to die for my soul. I love you, my dear Redeemer, and you alone will I love; for I find none but you that has offered and sacrificed his life to save me. It makes me shed tears to think how grateful I have been to others and how ungrateful to you alone; but you do not will not my death, but that I should be converted and live. Yes, my Jesus, I turn to you, and repent with my whole heart of having offended you, and of having offended my God, who has thus sacrificed himself for me. Give me life, and that life shall consist in loving you, the sovereign Good. Make me love you, I ask nothing more.

Mary, my Mother, you offered at that time your Son in the Temple even for me. Offer him again for me, and beseech the Eternal Father, for the love of Jesus, to accept me for his own. And you also, my Queen, accept me for your perpetual servant. If I am your servant, I shall also be the servant of your Son.

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