Evening Meditations for Christmas Eve ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

JOSEPH GOES TO BETHLEHEM WITH HIS HOLY SPOUSE.

I.

And Joseph also went up … to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child (St. Luke ii. 4).

God had decreed that His Son should be born, not in the house of Joseph, but in a cave and stable for animals, in the poorest and most painful way that a child can be born; and therefore He so disposed events that Caesar should publish an Edict that every one should go and enrol himself in the city whence he drew his origin. When Joseph heard this order he was much agitated as to whether he should leave or take with him the Virgin Mother, as she was now near childbirth. My spouse and my lady, said he to her, on the one hand I should not wish to leave you alone; on the other, if I take you, I am afflicted at the thought that you will have to suffer much during this long journey, and in such severe weather. My poverty will not permit me to conduct you with that comfort which you require. But Mary answers him, and encourages him with these words: My Joseph, do not fear; I shall go with you; the Lord will assist us. She knew, by divine inspiration, and also because she was well versed in the prophecy of Micheas, that the Divine Infant was to be born in Bethlehem. She therefore takes the swathing bands, and the other poor garments already prepared, and departs with Joseph. And Joseph also went up … to be enrolled with Mary.

My dear Redeemer, I know that in this journey Thou wert accompanied by hosts of Angels from Heaven; but here on earth, who was there to bear Thee company? Thou hast only Joseph, and Mary who carries Thee within herself. Disdain not, O my Jesus, to let me also accompany Thee, miserable and ungrateful as I have been. I now see the wrong I have done Thee; Thou didst come down from Heaven to make Thyself my companion on earth, and I by my frequent offences have ungratefully left Thee! When I remember, O my Saviour, that for the sake of my own wicked pleasures, I have so often separated myself from Thee and renounced Thy friendship, I could wish to die of sorrow. But Thou didst come into the world to pardon me; pardon me then quickly, for I repent with all my soul of having so often turned my back upon Thee and forsaken Thee. I purpose and I hope, through Thy grace, never more to leave Thee, or separate myself from Thee, O my only Love!

II.

Let us consider the devout and holy discourses which these two saintly spouses must have held together during the journey, concerning the mercy, goodness, and love of the Divine Word, Who was shortly to be born, and to appear on earth for the salvation of men. Let us also consider the praises, the blessings, the thanksgivings, the acts of humility and love, which these two illustrious pilgrims uttered on their way. This holy Virgin, so soon to become a Mother, certainly suffered much in so long a journey, made in the midst of Winter, and over rough roads; but she suffered in peace and with love. She offered to God all these her sufferings, uniting them to those of Jesus, Whom she carried in her womb. Oh, let us also unite ourselves with Mary and Joseph, and accompany them in the journey of our life; and, with them, let us accompany the King of Heaven, Who is about to be born in a cave, and make His first appearance in the world as an Infant, but an Infant the poorest and most forsaken that was ever born amongst men. And let us beseech Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, that, through the merits of the sufferings which they endured in this journey, they would accompany us in the journey that we are making to eternity. Oh, happy shall we be, if in life and in death, we are always accompanied by these Three Great Personages!

My soul has become enamoured of Thee, O my amiable Infant-God. I love Thee, my sweet Saviour; and since Thou hast come upon earth to save me and to dispense to me Thy graces, this one grace only do I ask of Thee: never permit me to separate myself from Thee again. Unite me, bind me to Thyself, enchain me with the sweet cords of Thy holy love. O my Redeemer and my God, who will, then, have the heart to leave Thee, and to live without Thee, deprived of Thy grace? Most holy Mary, I come to accompany thee on this journey; and thou; O my Mother, cease not to accompany me in the journey I am making to eternity. Assist me always, but especially when I shall find myself at the end of my life, and near that moment on which will depend either my remaining always with thee to love Jesus in Paradise, or my being for ever separated from thee and hating Jesus in hell. My Queen, save me by thy intercession; and let my salvation be in loving thee and Jesus for ever, in time and in eternity. Thou art my hope; I hope for all from thee.

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