Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Tenth Day of Christmas

MEDITATION X: The Occupations of the Infant Jesus in the Stable of Bethlehem.

There are two principal occupations of a solitary,—to pray, and to do penance. Behold the Infant Jesus in the little grotto of Bethlehem giving us the example. He, in the crib which he chose for his oratory upon earth, never ceases to pray, and to pray continually, to the Eternal Father. There he constantly makes acts of adoration, of love, and of prayer.

Before this time the divine Majesty had been, it is true, adored by men and by angels; but God had not received from all these creatures that honor which the Infant Jesus gave him by adoring him in the stable where he was born. Let us, therefore, constantly unite our adorations to those of Jesus Christ when he was upon this earth.

Oh, how beautiful and perfect were the acts of love which the Incarnate Word made to his Father in his prayer! God had given to man the commandment to love him with all his heart and all his strength; but this precept had never been perfectly fulfilled by any man. The first to accomplish it among women was Mary, and among men the first was Jesus Christ, who fulfilled it in a degree infinitely superior to Mary. The love of the seraphim may be said to be cold in comparison with the love of this Holy Infant. Let us learn from him to love the Lord our God as he ought to be loved; and let us beseech him to communicate to us a spark of that pure love with which he loved the divine Father in the stable of Bethlehem.

Oh, how beautiful, perfect, and dear to God were the prayers of the Infant Jesus! At every moment he prayed to his Father, and his prayers were all for us and for each one of us in particular. All the graces that each one of us has received from the Lord, and our being called to the true faith, our having had time given us for repentance, the lights, the sorrow for sins, the pardon of them, the holy desires, the victory over temptations, and all the other good acts that we have made, or shall make, of confidence, of humility, of love, of thanks giving, of offering, of resignation,—all these Jesus has obtained for us, and all has been the effect of the prayers of Jesus. Oh, how much do we owe him, and how much ought we not to thank him and to love him!

Affections and Prayers.

My dear Redeemer, how much do I owe you! If you had not prayed for me, in what a state of ruin should I find myself! I thank you, O my Jesus; your prayers have obtained for me the pardon of my sins, and I hope that they will also obtain for me perseverance unto death. You have prayed for me, and I bless you with my whole heart for it; but I beseech you not to leave off praying. I know that you continue even in heaven to be our advocate: We have an advocate, Jesus Christ (I John 2:1); and I know that you continue to pray for us: Who also makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:34). Continue therefore to pray; but pray, O my Jesus, more particularly for me, who am more in need of your prayers. I hope God has already pardoned me through your merits; but as I have already so often fallen, I may therefore fall again. Hell does not cease, and will not cease, to tempt me, in order to make me again lose your friendship. Ah, my Jesus, you are my hope; it is you that must give me fortitude to resist; from you I seek it, and of you I hope for it! But I will not content myself only with the grace not to fall again; I desire also the grace to love you exceedingly. My death approaches. If I were to die now, I should indeed hope to be saved; but I should love you but little in paradise, because I have hitherto loved you so little. I will love you much in the days that remain to me, that I may love you still more in eternity.

O Mary, my Mother! do you also pray, and beseech Jesus for me; your prayers are all-powerful with your Son, who loves you so much. You so much desire that he should be loved, beseech him to give me a great love for his goodness, and let this love be constant and eternal.

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