Morning Meditation for Christmas Day ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Morning Meditation

“THIS DAY IS BORN TO YOU A SAVIOUR.”

Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all the people, for this day is born to you a Saviour. (Luke ii. 10, 11).

Arise, all ye nobles and peasants! Mary invites all — rich and poor, just and sinners, to enter the Cave of Bethlehem to adore, and to kiss the feet of her new-born Son. Come then, all ye devout souls — come in and see the Creator of Heaven and earth on a little hay under the form of a little Infant; the power of God, as it were, annihilated, and the wisdom of God become mad, through excess of love! I come, then, dear Jesus, to kiss Thy feet and offer Thee my heart.

I.

Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy … This day is born to you a Saviour! And what tidings could be a greater joy to a race of poor exiles condemned to death, than to be told that their Saviour was come, not only to deliver them from death, but to obtain for them liberty to return to their own country? And this is what the Angels announce to you: A Saviour is born to you! Jesus Christ is born to you to deliver you from everlasting death, and to open Heaven to you, our true country from which we were banished because of our sins.

No sooner had Mary entered the cavern than she began to pray; and the hour of her delivery being come, behold she sees a great light, and feels in her heart a heavenly joy. She casts down her eyes — and, O God, what does she see? An Infant so tender and beautiful that He fills her with love! But He trembles and cries and stretches out His arms to show that He desires that she should take Him up into her bosom. “I stretched forth My hands to seek the caresses of My Mother,” as Jesus said to St.Brigid. Mary calls Joseph. “Come Joseph, come and see, for the Son of God is now born.” The old man entered, and prostrating himself, wept for joy.

Mary, holding Him to her bosom, adores Him as her God, kissing His face as her Child. She then hastily seeks to cover Him and wraps Him up in swaddling clothes. But, O God, how hard and rough these clothes are! They are the clothes of the poor, and they are cold and damp, and in that cave there is no fire to warm them.

Let us arise and enter, the door is open. There are no satellites to say that this is not the hour. The Cave is open and without guards or doors, so that all may go in when they please to seek Him and to speak to Him, and even to embrace their Infant King if they love and desire Him.

Lord, I should not have dared to approach Thee seeing myself so deformed by sin; but since Thou, my Jesus, dost invite me so courteously, and dost call me so lovingly, I will not refuse. After having so many times turned my back upon Thee I will not add a fresh insult by refusing, out of distrust, this affectionate, this loving invitation. It is true my heart offended Thee at one time, but now it is penitent. I confess that I have been a traitor, cruel and ungrateful, that it is I who have caused Thee to suffer so much and made Thee shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem, but Thy tears are my hope. I am a sinner, it is true, and I do not deserve to be pardoned, but I come before Thee, Who being God hast become a little Child to obtain pardon for me. Eternal Father, if I deserve hell, look upon the tears of Thy innocent Son. He asks Thee to pardon me this night, a night of joy, of pardon and salvation.

II.

Let every soul, then, enter the Cave of Bethlehem. Behold and see that tender Infant, Who is weeping as He lies in the manger on that miserable straw. See how beautiful He is: look at the light which He sends forth, and the love which He breathes; those eyes send out arrows which wound the hearts that desire Him; the very stable, the very straw cry out, says St. Bernard, and tell you to love Him Who loves you; to love God Who is infinite Love, and Who came down from Heaven, and Made Himself a little Child, and became poor, to make you understand the love He bears you, and to gain your love by His sufferings.

Come and say to Him: “Ah, beautiful Infant! tell me whose Child art Thou?” He replies: “My Mother is this pure and lovely Virgin who is standing by Me.” “And Who is Thy Father?” “My Father,” He says, “is God.” “How is this? Thou art the Son of God, and art so poor; and why? Who will acknowledge Thee in such a condition? Who will respect Thee?” “Ah,” replies Jesus, “holy Faith will make known Who I am, and will make Me loved by those whose souls I come to redeem and to inflame with My love.” I am not come, says He, to make Myself feared, but to make Myself loved; and therefore I wished to show Myself to you for the first time as a poor and humble Infant, that, seeing to what My love for you has reduced Me, you might love Me the more. But tell me, my sweet Infant, why dost Thou turn Thine eyes on every side? What art Thou looking for? I hear Thee sigh; tell me wherefore are these sighs? O God! I see Thee weep; tell me wherefore dost Thou weep? Yes, replies Jesus, I turn My eyes around; for I am seeking for some soul that desires Me. I sigh out of desire to see Myself near to a heart that burns for Me, as I burn with love for it. But I weep; and it is because I see but few souls, who seek Me and, wish to love Me.

Come, then, O all ye devout souls. Jesus invites you to come and kiss His feet this night. The shepherds who came to visit Him in the stable of Bethlehem brought their gifts; you must also bring your gifts. What will you bring Him? The most acceptable present you can bring Him is that of a contrite and loving heart.

O Jesus, Thou must know that I am poor and that I have nothing to give Thee. I have nothing but my penitent heart. This I now offer Thee. Yes, O Infant, I repent of ever having offended Thee, and I hope for pardon from Thee. But the forgiveness of my sins alone is not sufficient for me. On this night Thou dost grant great spiritual graces; I also desire that Thou shouldst bestow a great grace on me — it is, the grace to love Thee. Now that I am about to approach Thy feet, inflame me wholly with Thy holy love, and bind me to Thee; but bind me so effectually that I may never more be separated from Thee. I love Thee, O my God, Who didst become a little Child for my sake; but I love Thee very little; I desire to love Thee very much, and Thou hast to enable me to do it. I come, then, to kiss Thy feet, and I offer Thee my heart; I leave it in Thy hands; I will have it no longer; do Thou change it and keep it forever; do not give it back to me again; for if Thou dost, I fear lest it should betray Thee afresh.

Most holy Mary, thou who art the Mother of this great Son, but who art also my Mother, it is to thee that I consecrate my poor heart; present it to Jesus and He will not refuse to receive it when presented by thee. Do thou, then, present it, and beg Him to accept it.

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