Evening Meditations for the Third Thursday in Advent ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

GOD HAS MADE HIMSELF A CHILD TO GAIN OUR CONFIDENCE AND OUR LOVE.

I.

A child is born to us and a son is given to us (Is. ix. 6).

Consider how, after so many centuries, after so many prayers and sighs, the Messias Whom the holy Patriarchs and Prophets were not worthy to see, for Whom the nations sighed, the desire of the eternal hills, our Saviour, is come! He is already born and has given Himself entirely to us. A child is born to us, and a son is given to us (Is. ix. 6).

The Son of God has made Himself little, in order to make us great; He has given Himself to us, in order that we may give ourselves to Him; He is come to show us His love, in order that we may respond to it by giving Him ours. Let us, therefore, receive Him with affection; let us love Him, and have recourse to Him in all our necessities.

“A child gives easily,” says St. Bernard; children readily give anything that is asked of them. Jesus came into the world as a Child, in order to show Himself ready and willing to give us all good gifts: In whom are hid all treasures (Col. ii. 3). The Father hath given all things into his hands (Jo. iii. 35). If we wish for light, He is come on purpose to enlighten us. If we wish for strength to resist our enemies, He is come to give us comfort. If we wish for pardon and salvation, He is come to pardon and save us. If, in short, we desire the sovereign gift of Divine love, He is come to inflame our hearts with it; and, above all, for this very purpose, He has become a Child, and has chosen to show Himself to us worthy of our love, in proportion as He was poor and humble, in order to take away from us all fear, and to gain our affections. “Thus,” says St. Peter Chrysologus “should He come Who willed to drive away fear, and seek for love.”

O my amiable Jesus, Whom I have treated with so much contempt, Thou hast descended from Heaven to rescue us from hell, and to give Thyself entirely to us — how can we, then, have so often despised Thee and turned our backs upon Thee? O God! men are so grateful to their fellow-creatures, that if anyone makes them a gift, if any one comes from a distance to pay them a visit, if anyone shows them a mark of affection, they cannot forget it, and feel themselves obliged to make him a return. And yet they are so ungrateful towards Thee, Who art their God, and so amiable, and Who for their love didst not refuse Thy Blood and Thy life. But, alas! I have behaved worse than others towards Thee, because more loved by Thee, and yet I have been more ungrateful towards Thee. Ah, if Thou hadst bestowed the graces given to me on a heretic, on an idolater, he would have become a Saint! And yet I have only offended Thee! O Jesus, mercy!

II.

Jesus has, besides, chosen to become a little Child to make us love Him, not only with an appreciative but with a tender love. All infants attract the tender affections of those who behold them; but who will not, then, love with all tenderness a God Whom they behold as a little Child, in need of milk, trembling with cold, poor, abased and forsaken, weeping and wailing, and lying on straw in a manger? It was this that made the enamoured St. Francis exclaim: “Let us love the Child of Bethlehem! Let us love the Child of Bethlehem!” Come, ye souls, and love a God Who is become a Child and poor; Who is so amiable, and Who has come down from Heaven to give Himself entirely to you.

Forget, O Lord, I pray Thee, the injuries I have done Thee. But Thou hast already said that when a sinner repents, Thou forgettest all the outrages Thou hast received from him: All his iniquities I will not remember (Ezech. xviii. 22). If in times past I have not loved Thee, in future I will do nothing but love Thee, Thou hast given Thyself all to me, I will give Thee my entire will. With this will I love Thee, love Thee, love Thee; and I repeat it, I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee. While I live I will constantly say this; and thus shall I die, saying with my last breath those sweet words: “My God, I love Thee.” And in the meantime, O my Lord, my only Good, my only Love, I intend to prefer Thy Will to every pleasure of my own. Let the whole world offer itself to me, I will refuse, for I will never cease to love Him Who has loved me so much. I will never again offend Him Who deserves from me an infinite love. Do Thou, O my Jesus, strengthen this my desire with Thy grace. Mary, my Queen, I acknowledge that all the graces that I have received from God are due to thy intercession. Cease not to intercede for me. Obtain for me perseverance, thou who art the Mother of perseverance.

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