GOD HAS MADE HIMSELF OURS.
Tell me, cruel Herod, why dost thou command so many innocent babes to be murdered and sacrificed to thy ambition of reigning? Art thou perchance afraid that the Messias just born may rob thee of thy kingdom? This King Who is now born has come, not to vanquish by fighting, but to subdue the hearts of men by suffering and dying for their love.
The cruel Herod commanded the innocent babes to be murdered, and sacrificed to his ambition, afraid, perchance, that the new-born Messias would rob him of his kingdom. “Why art thou so troubled, Herod?” asks St. Fulgentius. “This King Who is born has come, not to vanquish kings by fighting, but to subdue them by dying.” This King is come to reign in the hearts of men by suffering and dying for their love. “He has come,” continues the Saint, “not, therefore, that He might combat alive, but that He might triumph slain.” Leave Herod aside, O devout souls, and let us come to ourselves. Why, then, did the Son of God come upon earth? Was it to give Himself to us? Yes. Isaias assures us of it: A child is born to us and a son is given to us. The love which this loving Saviour bears us, and the desire which He has to be loved by us has induced Him to do this. Being His own He has become ours! This God over Whom none can rule, has, so to speak, yielded Himself Captive to love. Love has gained the victory over Him, and, from being His own, has placed Him in our possession. “He is born Who belonged to Himself,” says St. Bernard. He Who appertained wholly to Himself chose to be born for us and to become ours; love triumphs over God! God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son! And behold Him already arrived from Heaven in a stable, as a Child — born for us and given to us. A child is born to us and a son is given to us (Is. xi. 6). This is precisely what the Angel signified when addressing the shepherds: Today is born to you a Saviour (Luke ii. 11). As much as to say: O ye men, go to the Cave of Bethlehem; there adore the Infant Whom you will find lying in the straw in a manger and shivering with cold. Know that He is your God, Who would not consent to send any one else to save you, but would come Himself that He might gain for Himself all your love.
Oh, my beloved Infant, my dear Redeemer, since Thou hast come down from Heaven to give Thyself to me what else shall I care to seek in Heaven or on earth besides Thee? Be Thou the sole Lord of my heart; do Thou possess it wholly. May my soul love Thee alone and seek to please Thee alone!
In divers ways had God already striven to win the hearts of men: at one time with benefits, at another, with threats, and again with promises; but He had still fallen short of His aim. His infinite love, says St. Augustine, made Him devise the plan of giving Himself entirely to us by the Incarnation of the Word, in order thus to oblige us to love Him with our whole hearts. “Then Love found out the plan of delivering up Itself!” He could have sent an Angel, a Seraph, to redeem man. But aware that man, had he been redeemed by a Seraph, would have to divide his heart by partly loving his Creator, and partly loving this redeemer, God, Who wished to possess the entire heart and the entire love of man, “wished therefore to be,” as says a pious author, “both our Creator and Redeemer Himself.”
And not only has Jesus Christ given Himself to all men in general, but He has wished, moreover, to give Himself to each one in particular. This it was caused St. Paul to say: He loved me and delivered Himself for me (Gal. ii. 20). So that, dear child of God, if there had been no others in the world beside yourself, the Redeemer would have come for the sake of you alone, and would have given His Blood and His life for you.
My God, my Beloved, has given Himself all to me; it is but reasonable for me to give myself all to my God. Let others strive after and enjoy, if enjoyment can ever be found apart from Thee, the goods and fortunes of this world. Thee alone do I desire, Who art my fortune, my riches, my peace, my hope in this life and in eternity. Behold, then, my heart, I give it wholly to Thee. It is no longer mine own, but Thine.
O happy thou, most holy Virgin Mary; thou wert wholly and always God’s own — all fair, all pure and without spot. I have not belonged to God in the past, but now I wish to be His, and to be His entirely. O my hope, obtain me strength to be grateful and faithful to Him till death! Amen. This is my hope. So may it be.