THE LOVE THAT GOD HAS SHOWN US IN BECOMING MAN
The Word was made flesh … and delivered himself for us (Jo. i. 14. Eph. v. 2).
Let us consider the immense love which God shows us in becoming Man in order to procure us eternal life.
Our first parent, Adam, having sinned and rebelled against God, was driven out of Paradise and condemned to everlasting death with all his descendants. But behold the Son of God, Who, seeing man thus lost, in order to deliver him from death offers to take upon Himself human flesh, and to die condemned as a malefactor upon the Cross. But, my Son, we may suppose the Father saying to Him, consider what a life of humiliation and suffering Thou wilt have to lead upon earth. Thou wilt have to be born in a cold cave, and to be laid in a manger for beasts. Thou wilt have to fly as an Infant into Egypt to escape from the hands of Herod. On Thy return from Egypt Thou wilt have to live in a shop as a humble servant, poor and despised. And, finally, worn out by sufferings, Thou wilt have to give up Thy life upon a Cross, insulted and forsaken by all. — Father, all this matters not, replies the Son; I am content with enduring all, provided man is saved.
O great Son of God, Thou hast become Man in order to make Thyself loved by men; but where is the love that men bear to Thee? Thou hast given Thy Blood and Thy life to save our souls; why, then, are we so unthankful towards Thee, that, instead of loving Thee, we treat Thee with so much ingratitude and contempt? And behold, O Lord, I myself have been one of those who more than others have thus ill-treated Thee. But Thy Passion is my hope. Oh, for the sake of that love which induced Thee to assume human flesh and die for me on the Cross, forgive me all the offences I have committed against Thee.
I love Thee, O Incarnate Word, I love Thee, O my God!
What would be said if a prince were to take compassion upon a dead worm, and were to choose to become a worm himself, and to make, as it were, a bath of his own blood, to die in order to restore the worm to life? But the Eternal Word has done even more than this for us; for, being God, He has chosen to become a worm like us, and to die for us, in order to purchase for us the life of divine grace which we had lost. When He saw that all the gifts He had bestowed upon us could not secure to Him our love, what did He do? He became Man, and He gave Himself entirely to us: The Word was made flesh … and delivered himself for us (Jo. i. 14. Eph. v. 2).
Man, by despising God, says St. Fulgentius, separated himself from God; but God, through His love for man, came from Heaven to seek him. And why did He come? He came in order that man might know how much God loved him, and that thus, out of gratitude at least, he might love Him in return. Even the beasts, when they show us affection, make us love them; and why, then, are we so ungrateful towards a God Who descends from Heaven to earth to make us love Him?
One day, when a priest was saying these words in Mass: Et verbum caro factum est — And the Word was made flesh — a man who was present neglected to make an act of reverence; upon which the devil gave him a blow, saying: “Ah, ungrateful man! if God had done as much for me as He has done for thee, I should remain continually prostrate with my face to the ground returning thanks to Him.”
O Infinite Goodness, I love Thee, and I repent of all the injuries I have done Thee. Would that I could die of sorrow for them. O my Jesus, give me love. Let me not live any longer ungrateful for the affection Thou hast borne me. I am determined to love Thee always. Give me holy perseverance!
O Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, do thou obtain for me from thy Son the grace to love Him always — even until death. Amen.