Evening Meditations for the Third Monday after Epiphany ~ Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

“GOD HIMSELF WILL COME AND SAVE YOU” (Is. xxxv. 1).

I.

God is that strong One Who alone can be called strong, because He is Strength itself; and whoever is strong derives strength from Him: Strength is mine, and by me kings reign (Prov. viii. 14), says the Lord. God is that mighty One Who can do whatsoever He will; and He can do this with ease; He has merely to wish it: Behold, thou hast made heaven and earth by thy great power, and no word shall be hard to thee (Jer. xxxii. 17). By a nod He created the Heavens and earth out of nothing: He spoke, and they were made (Ps. cxlviii. 5). And did He choose to do so, He could destroy the immense machinery of the universe by a nod, as He created it: At a beck he can utterly destroy the whole world (2 Mach. viii. 18). We know already how when he pleased, He burnt five entire cities with a deluge of fire. We know how, previously to that, He inundated the whole earth with a Deluge of waters, to the destruction of all mankind, with the sole exception of eight persons. O Lord, says the Wise Man: who shall resist the strength of thy arm? (Wis. xi. 22).

Hence we may see the rashness of the sinner who wrestles against God, and carries his audacity so far as even to lift up his hand against the Almighty: He hath stretched out his hand against God, and hath strengthened himself against the Almighty (Job. xv. 25). Suppose we should see an ant make an assault upon a soldier, would we not think it rashness? But how much more rash is it for a man to make an assault on the Creator Himself, and scorn His Precepts, disregard His threats, despise His grace, and declare himself God’s enemy!

O great Son of God, Thou hast become Man in order to make Thyself loved by men; but where, then, is the love that men bear to Thee? Thou hast given Thy Blood and Thy life to save our souls, and why are we so ungrateful to Thee, that, instead of loving Thee, we despise Thee with such ingratitude? Alas! I myself, Lord, have been one of those who more than others have thus ill-treated Thee. But Thy Passion is my hope. Oh, for the sake of the love that induced Thee to assume human flesh, and to die for me upon the Cross, forgive me all the offences I have committed against Thee. I love Thee, O Incarnate Word. I love Thee, O my God.

II.

But these rash and ungrateful ones are the very men whom the Son of God has come to save, by making Himself Man and by taking on Himself the chastisement deserved by them in order to obtain pardon for them. And then, seeing that man from the wounds inflicted by sin continued very weak and powerless to resist the strength of his enemies, what did God do? The Strong and Almighty One became weak and assumed to Himself the bodily infirmities of man, in order to procure for man by His merits the strength of soul requisite to subdue the attacks of the flesh and of hell. And so, behold Him made a little Child in need of milk to sustain His life, and so feeble that He cannot feed Himself or move Himself.

The Eternal Word, in becoming Man, wished to conceal His strength: God will come from the south; there is his strength hid (Hab. iii. 3, 4). We find, says St. Augustine, Jesus Christ strong and feeble — strong, since He created all things; feeble, since we behold Him made Man like us: “We find Jesus strong and weak; strong, by Whom all things were made without labour. Would you see Him weak? The Word was made flesh.” Now this strong One has chosen to become weak, says the Saint, to repair our infirmity by His weakness, and so to obtain our salvation: He hath built us up by his strength, he hath sought us by his infirmity. For this reason He likens Himself to the hen, when He speaks to Jerusalem: How often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings! And thou wouldst not (Matt. xxiii. 37). St. Augustine remarks that the hen in rearing her chickens grows weak, and by this mark is known to be a mother; so was it with our loving Redeemer, by becoming infirm and weak, He showed Himself the Father and Mother of us poor weak creatures.

I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness, and I repent of all the injuries I have done Thee. Would that I could, for Thy sake, die of sorrow! O my Jesus, grant me the gift of Thy love; let me not live any longer ungrateful for the affection Thou hast borne me. I am determined to love Thee always. Give me holy perseverance. O Mary, Mother of God, and my Mother, obtain for me from thy Son the grace to love Him always even unto death.

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