Evening Meditations for January 3rd ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE INFANT JESUS IN THE STABLE OF BETHLEHEM

I.

There are two principal occupations of a solitary — to pray, and to do penance. Behold the Infant Jesus in the little Grotto of Bethlehem giving us the example. He, in the Crib which He chose for His oratory upon earth, never ceases to pray, and to pray continually, to the Eternal Father. There He constantly makes acts of adoration, of love, and of prayer.

Before the coming of Jesus, the God made Man, the Divine Majesty had been, it is true, adored by men and by Angels; but God had not received from all these creatures that honour which the Infant Jesus gave Him by adoring Him in the stable where He was born. Let us, therefore, constantly unite our adoration to that of Jesus Christ, when He was upon this earth.

Oh, how beautiful and perfect were the acts of love which the Incarnate Word made to His Father in His prayer! God had given to man the commandment to love Him with all his heart and all his strength, but this precept had never been perfectly fulfilled by any man. The first to accomplish it amongst women was Mary, and amongst men the first was Jesus Christ, Who fulfilled it in a degree infinitely superior to Mary. The love of the Seraphim may be said to be cold in comparison with the love of this Holy Infant. Let us learn from Him to love the Lord our God as He ought to be loved; and let us beseech Him to communicate to us a spark of that pure love with which He loved the Divine Father in the stable of Bethlehem.

My dear Redeemer, how much do I owe Thee! If Thou hadst not prayed for me, in what state of ruin should I not find myself! I thank Thee, O my Jesus; Thy prayers have obtained for me the pardon of my sins, and I hope that they will also obtain for me perseverance unto death. Thou hast prayed for me, and I bless Thee with my whole heart for it; but I beseech Thee not to leave off praying for me. I know that Thou dost continue even in Heaven to be our advocate: We have an advocate, Jesus Christ; Who also maketh intercession for us (I Jo. ii. 1., Rom. viii. 34). Continue therefore to be my Advocate who am in so much need of Thy intercession. I hope God has already pardoned me through Thy merits; but as I have already so often fallen, I may therefore fall again. Hell does not cease, and will not cease, to tempt me, in order to make me again lose Thy friendship.

II.

Oh, how beautiful, perfect, and dear to God were the prayers of the Infant Jesus! At every moment He prayed to His Father, and His prayers were all for us and for each one of us in particular. All the graces that each of us has received from the Lord, our being called to the true Faith, our having had time given us for repentance, the lights, the sorrow for sins, the pardon of them, the holy desires, the victory over temptations, and all the other good acts that we have made, or shall make, of confidence, of humility, of love, of thanksgiving, of offering, of resignation — all these Jesus has obtained for us, and all have been the effect of the prayers of Jesus. Oh, how much do we owe Him! And how much ought we not to thank Him and to love Him!

Ah, my Jesus, Thou art my hope; it is Thou Who must give me fortitude to resist; from Thee I seek it, and of Thee I hope for it. But I will not content myself with the grace not to fall again; I desire also the grace to love Thee exceedingly. My death approaches. If I were to die now, I should indeed hope to be saved; but I should love Thee little in Paradise because I have loved Thee but little hitherto. I will love Thee much in the days that remain to me that I may love Thee still more in eternity. O Mary, my Mother, do thou also pray and beseech Jesus for me. Thy prayers are all-powerful with thy Son Who loves thee much. Beseech Jesus to give me a great love for Him, and let this be constant and for ever.

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