Evening Meditations for the 11th Day of January ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

THE RETURN OF JESUS FROM EGYPT

I.

According to the common opinion of the Doctors of the Church, Jesus lived as an exile in Egypt for seven years, and then, after the death of Herod, the Angel again appeared to St. Joseph and commanded him to take the Holy Child and His Mother and return to Palestine. St. Joseph, consoled by this command, communicates it to Mary. Before their departure, these holy spouses courteously informed the friends whom they had made in the country. Joseph then collects the few instruments of his trade, Mary her little bundle of clothes, and taking the Divine Child by the hand, they set out on their journey homewards, leading Him between them.

St. Bonaventure considers that this journey was more fatiguing to Jesus than was the flight into Egypt, because He had now grown to boyhood, and on this account Mary and Joseph could not carry Him in their arms on so long a journey, and at the same time the Holy Child, at that age, was not able to make a long journey. Jesus was therefore obliged through fatigue, frequently to stop and rest on the way. But Joseph and Mary, whether they walk or sit, always keep their eyes and thoughts fixed upon the beloved little Child, Who was the object of all their love. Oh, with what recollection does that happy soul pass through this life who keeps before its eyes the love and the example of Jesus Christ!

Beloved and adored Child, Thou dost return to Thy country; but whither, O God, whither dost Thou return? Thou comest to that place where Thy countrymen prepare for Thee insults during life, and scourges, thorns, and a Cross at Thy death. All this was already present to Thy divine eyes, O my Jesus! and yet Thou comest of Thy own will to meet that Passion which men prepare for Thee. My beloved Redeemer, if Thou hadst not come to die for me, I could not go to love Thee in Paradise, but must have always remained far away from Thee. I acknowledge that hell would be but a slight punishment for me. But Thou hast waited to pardon me. I thank Thee, O my Redeemer; I repent, and detest all the offences I have committed against Thee. O Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver me from hell. Ah, if I were miserable enough to damn myself, how would my torments in hell be increased by the remorse caused by my having meditated during life on the love Thou hast borne me!

II.

The holy Pilgrims interrupt, at times, the silence of this journey by some holy conversation; but with whom and of whom do they converse? They speak only with Jesus and of Jesus. He who has Jesus in his heart, speaks only with Jesus or only of Him.

Consider again the pain that our little Saviour must have endured during the nights of this long journey, in which He had no longer the bosom of Mary for His bed, as in His flight, but the bare ground; and for His food He had no more milk, but a little hard bread, too hard for His tender age. He was probably also afflicted by thirst, for, in this desert the Jews had been in such want of water, that a miracle was necessary to supply them with it. Let us contemplate and lovingly adore all these sufferings of the Child Jesus.

I love Thee now, dear Jesus, but I love Thee too little. Thou dost merit an infinite love. Grant at least that I may love Thee with all my strength. Ah, my Saviour, my Joy, my Life, my All, whom should I love if I love not Thee, the infinite Good? I consecrate all my wishes to Thy will; at the sight of the sufferings Thou hast undergone for me, I offer myself to suffer as much as it shall please Thee. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt. vi. 13). Deliver me from sin, and then dispose of me as Thou wilt. I love Thee, infinite Good, and I am content to receive any punishment, even to be annihilated, rather than live without loving Thee.

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