Thursday, January 8, 2009

Third Day in the Octave of the Epiphany

MEDITATION III: The Flight of Jesus into Egypt.

The angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, and in formed him that Herod was seeking the Infant Jesus to destroy his life; wherefore he said, Arise, and take the Child and His Mother, and fly into Egypt (Matt. 2:13). Behold, then, how Jesus is no sooner born than he is persecuted unto death. Herod is a figure of those miserable sinners who, as soon as they see Jesus Christ born again in their souls by the pardon of sin, persecute him to death by returning to their sins: They seek the Child to destroy Him.

Joseph immediately obeys the command of the angel without delay, and gives notice of it to his holy spouse. He then takes the few tools that he can carry, in order to make use of them in his trade, and to be able in Egypt to support his poor family. Mary at the same time puts together a little bundle of clothes for the use of the holy Child; and then she goes into her cell, kneels down first before her Infant Son, kisses his feet, and then with tears of tenderness says to him, O my Son and my God, hardly are you born and come into the world to save men, when these men seek you to put you to death. She then takes him; and the two holy spouses, shedding tears as they go, shut the door, and the same night set out on their journey.

Let us consider the occupations of these holy pilgrims during their journey. All their conversation is upon their dear Jesus alone, on his patience and his love; and thus they console themselves in the midst of the trials and inconveniences of so long a journey. Oh, how sweet it is to suffer at the sight of Jesus suffering! O my soul, says St. Bonaventure, do thou also keep company with these three poor holy exiles; and have compassion with them in the long, wearisome, and painful journey which they are making. And beseech Mary that she will give you her divine Son to carry in your heart.

Consider how much they must have suffered, especially in those nights which they had to pass in the desert of Egypt. The bare earth serves them for a bed in the cold open air. The Infant weeps, Mary and Joseph shed tears of compassion. O holy faith! who would not weep at seeing the Son of God become an infant, poor and forsaken, flying across a desert in order to escape death?

Affections and Prayers.

My dear Jesus, you are the King of Heaven, but now I behold you as an infant wandering over the earth. Tell me whom are you in search of ? I pity you when I see you so poor and humbled, but I pity you more when I see you treated with such ingratitude by those same men whom you came to save. You weep; but I also weep, because I have been one of those who in times past have despised and persecuted you. But now I value your grace more than all the kingdoms of the world. Forgive me, O my Jesus all the evil I have committed against you, and permit me to carry you always in my heart during the journey of my life to eternity, even as Mary carried you in her arms during the flight into Egypt. My beloved Redeemer, I have many times driven you out of my soul, but now I hope that you have again taken possession of it. I beseech you, bind it to yourself with the sweet chains of you love. I will never again drive you from me. But I fear lest I should again abandon you, as I have done in past times. O my Lord, let me die rather than treat you with fresh and still more horrible ingratitude. I love you, O infinite Goodness; and I will always repeat to you, I love you, I love you, I love you; and so I hope to die saying, God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever (Ps. 72:26). O my Jesus! you are so good, so worthy of being loved. Make yourself loved; make yourself loved by all the sinners who persecute you. Give them light, make them know the love you have borne them and the love that you deservest since you go wandering ahout the earth as a poor Infant, weeping and trembling with cold, and seeking souls to love you!

O Mary, most holy Virgin, O dearest Mother and companion of the sufferings of Jesus, help me always to carry and preserve in my heart your Son, in life and in death!

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