Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Novena - Day VI

Chaplet of the Infant Jesus which may be recited before reading the meditation.

MEDITATION VI: Jesus a Prisoner in the Womb of Mary.

I am become as a man without help, free among the dead (Ps. 87:5-6).
Chaplet of the Infant Jesus which may be recited before reading the meditation.

MEDITATION V: Jesus Offered Himself for our Salvation from the Beginning.

He was offered because it was His own will (Is. 53:7).

The divine Word, from the first instant that he was made man and an infant in Mary s womb, offered him self of his own accord to suffer and to die for the ransom of the world: He was offered because it was His own will (Is. 53:7). He knew that all the sacrifices of goats and bulls offered to God in times past had not been able to satisfy for the sins of men, but that it required a divine Person to pay the price of their redemption; wherefore he said, as the Apostle tells us, When He cometh into the world He saith: Sacrifice and oblation Thou woudst not, but a body Thou hast fitted to me. . . . Then said I, Behold, I come (Heb. 10:5). "My Father," said Jesus, "all the victims hitherto offered to Thee have not sufficed, nor could they suffice, to satisfy Thy justice; Thou hast given me this passible body, in order that by shedding my blood I might appease Thee and save men: ‘Behold, I come;’ here I am ready, I accept everything, and I submit myself in everything to Thy will."

The inferior part felt repugnance, for it naturally was averse to this life and death, so full of sufferings and shame; but the rational part, which was entirely subordinate to the will of his Father, conquered and accepted everything; and Jesus began from that moment to suffer all the anguish and sorrows that he would have to suffer during all the years of his life. Thus did our Redeemer act from the very first moment of his entrance into the world.

But, O God, how have we conducted ourselves towards Jesus since we began, as adults, to know by the light of faith the sacred Mysteries of Redemption? What thoughts, what designs, what goods have we loved? Pleasures, amusements, vengeance, sensuality; these are the goods that have engrossed the affections of our hearts. But if we have faith, we must at last change our life and our affections. Let us love a God who has suffered so much for us. Let us represent to ourselves the sufferings which the heart of Jesus endured for us, even from his infancy; for then we shall not be able to love anything else but that heart which hath loved us so much.


My Lord, wilt Thou know how I have behaved towards Thee during all my life? Ever since I began to have the use of reason, I began to despise Thy grace and Thy love. But Thou knowest it much better than I do; nevertheless, Thou hast borne with me, because Thou still carest for my welfare. I fled from Thee, and Thou didst follow after and call me. The very same love that made Thee come down from heaven to seek the lost sheep has made Thee bear with me and not forsake me. My Jesus, Thou now seekest me, and I seek Thee. I feel that Thy grace is assisting me: it assists me with the sorrow I feel for my sins, which I abhor above every other evil; it assists me by making me feel a great desire to love Thee and to please Thee. Yea, Lord, I will love Thee and please Thee as much as I can. On one side I feel afraid, it is true, at the thought of my frailty and the weakness which I have contracted by my sins; but Thy grace gives me a greater confidence, and causes me to hope in Thy merits; so that I can say, from the bottom of my heart: I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13). If I am weak, Thou wilt give me strength against my enemies; if I am infirm, I hope that Thy blood will be my medicine; if I am a sinner, I hope Thou wilt make me a saint. I acknowledge that I have hitherto cooperated to my own ruin, because I have neglected, on dangerous occasions, to have recourse to Thee. But from this day forth, my Jesus and my hope, I will always have recourse to Thee; and from Thee I hope for every assistance and every good. I love Thee above all things, and I will always love Thee alone. Have pity on me, and help me through the merits of all those sufferings which from Thy infancy Thou hast endured for me. Eternal Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ accept of my love. If I have offended Thee, let the tears of the Infant Jesus, who is praying for me, appease Thy wrath: Look on the face of Thy Christ (Ps. 83:19). I do not deserve favors, but this Thy guiltless Son deserves them, who offers Thee a life of sufferings, in order that Thou mayest be merciful to me.And thou, O Mary, Mother of mercy, cease not to intercede for me. Thou knowest how much I confide in thee; and I know well that thou dost not forsake him that has recourse to thee.
Consider the painful life that Jesus Christ led in the womb of his Mother, and the long-confined and dark imprisonment that he suffered there for nine months. Other infants are indeed in the same state; but they do not feel the miseries of it, because they do not know them. But Jesus knew them well, because from the first moment of his life he had the perfect use of reason. He had his senses, but he could not use them; eyes, but he could not see; a tongue, but he could not speak; hands, but he could not stretch them out; feet, but he could not walk; so that for nine months he had to remain in the womb of Mary like a dead man shut up in the tomb: I am become as a man without help, free among the dead (Ps. 87:5-6). He was free, because he had of his own free will made himself a prisoner of love in this prison; but love deprived him of liberty, and bound him there so fast in chains that he could not move: "Free among the dead! oh, great patience of our Savior!" says St. Ambrose, while he considered the sufferings of Jesus in the womb of Mary.

The womb of Mary was, therefore, to our Redeemer a voluntary prison, because it was a prison of love. But it was also not an unjust prison: he was indeed innocent himself, but he had offered himself to pay our debts and to satisfy for our crimes. It was therefore only reasonable for the divine justice to keep him thus imprisoned, and so begin to exact from him the due satisfaction.

Behold the state to which the Son of God reduces himself for the love of men! he deprives himself of his liberty and puts himself in chains, to deliver us from the chains of hell. What gratitude and love should we not show in return for the love and goodness of our deliverer and our surety, who, not by compulsion but only out of love, offered himself to pay, and has paid for us, our debts and our penalties by giving up his divine life! Forget not the kindness of thy surety; for He hath given His life for thee (Eccl. 29:19).


Forget not the kindness of thy surety (Eccl. 29:19) Yes, my Jesus, the prophet has reason to warn me not to forget the immense favor which Thou hast shown me. I was the debtor, I the criminal, and Thou the innocent one; Thou, O my God, hast chosen to satisfy for my sins by Thy sufferings and Thy death. But after all this kindness I have forgotten Thy favors and Thy love, and I have had the boldness to turn my back upon Thee, as if Thou hadst not been my Lord, and that Lord who has loved me so much. But if in times past I have forgotten Thy mercies, O my dear Redeemer, I will in future never forget them again. Thy sufferings and Thy death shall be the constant subjects of my thoughts, because they will always recall to my mind the love that Thou hast borne me. Cursed be the days in which, forgetting what Thou hast suffered for me, I have made so bad a use of my liberty. Thou hast given it to me to love Thee, and I have used it to despise Thee. But I now consecrate entirely to Thee this liberty which Thou hast given me. I beseech Thee, my Savior, deliver me from the misery of seeing myself again separated from Thee, and again made the slave of Lucifer. I implore Thee to bind my poor soul to Thy feet by Thy holy love, so that it may never again be separated from Thee. Eternal Father, by the imprisonment of the infant Jesus in the womb of Mary, deliver me from the chains of sin and of hell. And thou, O Mother of God, help me! Thou hast in thy womb the Son of God imprisoned and confined; as, therefore, Jesus is thy prisoner, he will do everything that thou tellest him. Tell him to pardon me; tell him to make me holy. Help me, my Mother, for the sake of the favor and honor that Jesus Christ conferred upon thee by dwelling within thee for nine months.

No comments: