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Full text of "The incarnation, birth, and infancy of Jesus Christ, or, The mysteries of the faith"

(EBNAD1AN MESSENGER 
LIBRARY 

Section 

Number 



Coll. Christi Regis S.J. 

Bibl. Phil. 
Torontonense 



A 




THE COMPLETE WORKS 

OF 

SAINT ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI, 

DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH, 

Bishop of Saint Agatha, and Founder of the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Redeemer. 

TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN. 

EDITED BY 

IRIE^T". E TJ Gr IE 3ST IE Gr ~R I 3VC JML 3 

Priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. 



THE ASCETICAL WORKS. 
Volume IV. 

THE 

INCARNATION, BIRTH AND INFANCY 
OF JESUS CHRIST ; 

OR, 

THE MYSTERIES OF THE FAITH, 



IStrttion. 



THE COMPLETE ASCETICAL WORKS 

OF 

ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIQUOR! 

24 vols., Price, per vol., */<?/, $1.25. 

Jae/i 6oofc is complete in itself, and any volume will bv 
gold separately, 



/olume I. 

II. 

6 III. 

" ""iv. 



vii., 



IX. 
X., 




XIV. 
" XV. 



" XVI. 
" XVII. 



xvin. 

" XXII. 
" XXIII. 



PREPARATION FOR DEATH ; or, Considerations on the Eter. 
nal Truths. Maxims of Eternity Rule of Life. 

WAY OF SALVATION AND OF PERFECTION : Meditations. 
Pious Reflections. Spiritual Treatises. 

GREAT MEANS OF SALVATION AND OF PERFECTION : 
Prayer. Mental Prayer. The Exercises of a Retreat. 
Choice of a State of Life, and the Vocation to the 

: % .Religious State and to the Priesthood. 

THE INCARNATION, BIRTH AND INFANCY OF JESUS 
CHRIST ; or, The Mysteries of Faith. 

THE PASSION AND THE DEATH of JESUS CHRIST. 

THE HOLY EUCHARIST. The Sacrifice, the Sacrament, 
and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. Practice of Love 
of Jesus Christ. Novena to the Holy Ghost. 

VIII. _ GLORIES ^ OF MARTS i. Explanation of the Salve 
Regina, or Hail, Holy Queen. Discourses on the Feasts 
of Mary. 2. Her Dolors. Her Virtues. Practices. 
Examples. Answers to Critics. Devotion to the Holy 
Angels. Devotion to St. Joseph. Novena to St. Teresa 
Novena for the Repose, of the Souls in Purgatory. 

VICTORIES OF THE MARTYRS ; or, the Lives of the Most. 
Celebrated Martyrs of the Church. 

XL THE TRUE SPOUSE OF JESUS CHRIST : i. The first 
sixteen Chapters. 2. The last eight Chapters. Appendi; 
and various small Works. Spiritual Letters. 
, DIGNITY AND DUTIES OF THE PRIEST ; or, SELVA, a 
collection of Material for Ecclesiastical Retreats. Rule 
of Life and Spiritual Rules. 

THE HOLY MASS : Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Ceremonies 
of the Mass. Preparation and Thanksgiving. The Mass 
and the Office that are hurriedly said. 

THE DIVINE OFFICE: Explanation of the Psalms and 
Canticles. 

PREACHING : The Exercises of the Missions. Various 
Counsels. Instructions on the Commandments and 
Sacraments. 

SERMONS FOR SUNDAYS. 

MISCELLANY. Historical Sketch ot the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer. Rules and Constitutions of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Instructions 
about the Religious State. Lives of two Fathers and of a 
Lay Brother, C.SS. R. Discourses on Calamities. Re 
flections useful for Bishops. Rules for Seminaries. 
, XIX., XX., XXL LETTERS. 

LETTERS AND GENERAL ALPHABETICAL INDEX. 
, XXIV. LIFE OF ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI. 



Benziger Brothers, New *ork- Cincinnati, and Chicago. 



THE INCARNATION, 

BIRTH AND INFANCY 

OF JESUS CHRIST; 



OR, 



Coll. Christi Regis S, 



THE MYSTERIES OF THE FAITH, T Bil 

lorontonense 

BY 

ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI, 

Doctor of the Church. 

EDITED BY 

REV. EUGENE GRIMM, 

Priest of the Congreg ition of the Most Holy Redeemer. 
SECOND EDITION. 




NEW YORK, CINCINNATI, AND CHICAGO: 
IBEHSTZIG-IEDR, 

Printers to the Holy Apostolic See. 

R. WASHBOURNE, M. H.GILL & SON, 

18 PATERNOSTER Row, LONDON. 53 UPPER O^CONNELL STREET, DUBLIN. 



APPROBATION. 

By virtue of the authority granted me by the Most Rev. Nicholas 
Mauron, Superior-General of the Congregation of the Most Holy 
Redeemer, I hereby sanction the publication of the work entitled 
"The Mysteries of the Faith The Incarnation," which is Vol. IV. 
the new and complete edition in English of the works of Saint 
Alphonsus de Liguori, called "The Centenary Edition." 

ELIAS FRED. SCHAUER, 

Sup. Prov. Baltimorensis. 
BALTIMORE, MD., September 8, 1886. 



Copyright, 1886, by ELIAS FREDERICK SCHAUER. 



Coll. Christi Regis S.J. 

Bibl. Phil. 
Torontonense 



CONTENTS. 



APPROBATION 6 

NOTICE I2 

THE MYSTERIES OF THE FAITH. 
THE INCARNATION. 

DISCOURSES FOR THE NOVENA OF CHRISTMAS. 

DISCOURSE 

I. The eternal Word is made man 13 

II. The eternal Word being great becomes little 32 

III . The eternal Word from being lord became a servant. . . 46 

IV. The eternal Word from being innocent becomes as it 

were guilty 59 

V. The eternal Word from being strong became weak 73 

VI. The eternal Word from being his own has made him 
self ours 85 

VII. The eternal Word from being happy made himself 

afflicted 9 8 

VIII. The eternal Word from being rich made himself poor. . 113 

IX. The eternal Word from being high made himself low. . 126 

Discourse for Christmas night. The birth of Jesus Christ 140 

Discourse on the name of Jesus I 5 I 

Examples of the Infant Jesus l6 4 

MEDITATIONS 

FOR EVERY DAY OF ADVENT. 
MEDITATION 

I. Goodness of God in the work of the redemption 172 

II. Grandeur of the mystery of the Incarnation 174 

III. The love of God for men *77 

IV. The Word was made man in the fulness of time 179 

V. The abasement of Jesus ........... 182 



8 Contents. 

MEDITATION PAGE 

VI. Jesus enlightens the world and glorifies God 185 

VII. The Son of God was laden with all our iniquities 187 

VIII. God sends his Son to die in order to restore us to life.. 190 
IX. The love that the Son of God has shown us in the 

redemption I( ^ 2 

X. Jesus, the man of sorrows, from the womb of his 

Mother ^ 

XI. Jesus charged with the sins of the whole world 197 

XII. Jesus suffers during his whole life 199 

XIII. Jesus wished to suffer so much to gain our hearts 201 

XIV. The greatest sorrow of Jesus 204 

XV. The poverty of the Infant Jesus 206 

XVI. Jesus is the fountain of grace 208 

XVII. Jesus the charitable physician of our souls 210 

XVIII. We should hope all things from the merits of Jesus 

Christ 212 

MEDITATIONS 

FOR THE NOVENA OF CHRISTMAS. 

I. God has given us his only Son to save us 214 

II. Bitterness of the heart of Jesus in the womb of his 

mother.... , .. 217 

III. Jesus made himself a child to gain our confidence and 

our love 219 

IV. The Passion of Jesus lasted during his whole life 222 

V. Jesus offered himself for our salvation from the begin 
ning 225 

VI. Jesus a prisoner in the womb of Mary 227 

VII. The sorrow that the ingratitude of man caused Jesus. . . 229 
VIII. The love of God manifested to man by the birth of 

Jesus 232 

IX. St. Joseph goes to Bethlehem with his holy spouse 235 

MEDITATIONS 

FOR THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS AND THE FOLLOWING DAYS TILL 
THE EPIPHANY. 

I. The birth of Jesus 238 

II. Jesus is born an Infant 240 

HI,. Jesus in swaddling-clothes , 243 



Contents. 9 



MEDITATION PAGE 

IV. Jesus taking milk 246 

V. Jesus lying on the straw 248 

VI. Jesus sleeping 251 

VII. Jesus weeping - 253 

VIII. The name of Jesus 255 

IX. The solitude of Jesus in the stable. 258 

X. The occupation of the Infant Jesus in the stable of 

Bethlehem 261 

XI. The poverty of the Infant Jesus 263 

XII. The abasement of Jesus , 265 

FOR THE OCTAVE OF THE EPIPHANY. 

I. The adoration of the Magi 268 

II. The presentation of Jesus in the Temple 270 

III. The flight of Jesus into Egypt 272 

IV. The dwelling of Jesus in Egypt 274 

V. The return of Jesus from Egypt. 277 

VI. The dwelling of Jesus at Nazareth. , 279 

VII. The same subjec^ continued 281 

VIII. The loss of Jesus in the Temple 283 

OTHER MEDITATIONS. 

FOR THE FIRST ElGIIT DAYS OF ADVENT. 

I. The love that God has manifested to us in the incarna 
tion of the Word 286 

II. Goodness of God the Father and of God the Son in the 

work of the redemption 287 

III. Motives of confidence that are given to us by the incar 

nation of the Word 289 

IV. Happiness of having been born after the redemption 

and in the true Church , 291 

V. Jesus has done and suffered everything to save us 293 

VI. The sight of our sins afflicted Jesus from the first 

moment of his life 294 

VII. The desire that Jesus had to suffer for us 296 

VIII, Three fountains of grace that we have in Jesus Christ. 298 



J O Contents. 

OTHER MEDITATIONS. 

FOR THE NOVENA OF CHRISTMAS. 

(Chaplet to be recited before every meditation, 300.) 

ME1UTATION 

PA G E 

I. The love that God has shown to us in becoming man. . 301 

II. The love of God in being born an Infant ............. 303 

fll. The life of poverty which Jesus led even from his birth. 305 

IV. The life of humility which Jesus led even from his in- 



306 

V. The life of sorrow which Jesus led even from his birth. 308 
VI. The mercy of God in coming down from heaven to save 

us by his death ................................. 3O 

VII. The journey of the Infant Jesus to Egypt ............. 3 n 

VIII. The sojourn of the Infant Jesus in Egypt and in Naza- 

reth ...... ..................................... 312 

IX. The birth of the Infant Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem. 314 
Another meditation for the feast of the circumcision ............ 316 

Another meditation for the feast of the Epiphany .............. 3I 8 

Another meditation for the feast of the Holy Name ....... .320 

HYMNS. . 

.................................... 322 

Ode on the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, 322. The 
Madonna s Lullaby, 328. St. Joseph addressing the divine 
child Jesus, 330. To the Infant Jesus in the crib, 331. To 
the Infant Jesus, 332. 
The Way of Bethlehem ..................................... 334 

INDULGENCES attached to the exercises of piety in honor of the 
Infant Jesus .......................... 

DARTS OF FIRE ; 

or, 

Proofs that Jesus Christ has given us of his love in the work of 
the redemption ............... .................... 

HYMN. The soul sighing for Jesus .......................... 4 o6 

Pious SENTIMENTS of a soul that desires to belong entirely to 

Jesus Christ ............................................. ^ 

Sentiments of a lively faith, 407; of confidence, 409 ; 
of penitence, 413; of purpose of amendment, 415; _ of 
love, 417; of conformity to the will of God, 421; Di 
verse affections, 422. 

SIGHS of love towards God ......................... 427 



Contents. 1 1 

ASPIRATIONS of love to Jesus Christ <34 

MAXIMS for attaining perfection in the love of Jesus Christ 437 

ACTS that the Christian should perform every day 440 

MANNER of making mental prayer 445 

EJACULATORY PRAYERS for the twelve greatest solemnities in the 
y ear> seven of our Lord and five of the Blessed Virgin, 
which may be used at any other time and on any day, accord 
ing to each one s devotion 44^ 

HYMN. Aspirations to Jesus 449 

NOVENA to the holy name of Jesus 451 

HYMN. To the Infant Jesus. . . o 4 6 5 

INDEX 4 6 6 



St. Alphonsus wrote the following little work in 1750; 
but bis infirmities and his many duties did not permit 
him to publish it till the year 1758. 

By a Novena we mean the nine days that precede a 
feast; the first day of the novena of Christmas is, there 
fore, the i6th of December. 

These discourses may serve either for meditation or 
for spiritual reading. After the discourses will be found 
novenas of meditations and of prayers. There is also 
added a list of the indulgences attached to this exer 
cise. ED. 



THE MYSTERIES OF THE FAITH. 



THE INCARNATION. 



JDiscottrscs for tl)e Notmtu of Cljristtnas. 

DISCOURSE I. 
The Eternal Word is made Man. 

Ignem veni inittere in terrain ; et quid volo, nisi ut accendatur ? 

" I am come to cast fire on the earth ; and what will I but that it be kindled ?" 
Luke, xii. 49. 

THE Jews solemnized a day called by them dies ignis, 1 
the day of fire, in memory of the fire with which Nehe- 
mias consumed the sacrifice, upon his return with his 
countrymen from the captivity of Babylon. Even so, 
and indeed with more reason, should Christmas-day be 
called the day of fire, on which a God came as a little 
child to cast the fire of love into the hearts of men. 

/ came to cast fire on the earth: so spoke Jesus Christ; 
and truly so it was. Before the coming of the Messias, 
who loved God upon earth? Hardly was he known in a 
nook of i:he world, that is, in Judea; and even there how 
very few loved him when he came! As to the rest of 
the world, some worshipped the sun, some the brutes, 
some the very stones, and others again even viler crea 
tures still. But after the coming of Jesus Christ, the name 
of God became everywhere known, and was loved by 
many. After the Redeemer was born, God was more loved 
by men in a few years than he had before been in the 
lapse of four thousand years, since the creation of man, 
1 2 Mach. \. i3. 



14 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

It is a custom with many Christians to anticipate the 
arrival of Christmas a considerable time beforehand by 
fitting up in their homes a crib to represent the birth of 
Jesus Christ; but few there are who think of preparing 
their hearts, in order that the Infant Jesus may be born 
in them, and there find his repose. Among these few, 
however, we would be reckoned, in order that we too 
may be made worthy to burn witli that happy flame 
which gives contentment to souls on this earth, and bliss 
in heaven. 

Let us consider on this first day how the Eternal 
Word had no other end in becoming man than to inflame 
us with his divine love. Let us ask light of Jesus Christ 
and of his most holy Mother, and so let us begin. 



Adam, our first parent, sins; ungrateful for the great 
benefits conferred on him, he rebels against God, by a 
violation of the precept given him not to eat of the for 
bidden fruit. On this account God is obliged to drive 
him out of the earthly paradise in this world, and in the 
world to come to deprive not only Adam, but all the 
descendants of this rebellious creature, of the heavenly 
and everlasting paradise which he had prepared for 
them after this mortal life. 

Behold, then, all mankind together condemned to a 
life of pain and misery, and forever shut out from heav 
en. -But hearken to God, who, as Isaias tells us in his 
fifty-second chapter, would seem, after our manner of 
understanding, to give vent to his affliction in lamenta 
tions and vvailings: And now what have I here, saith the 
Lord, for My people is taken away gratis? "And now," 
says God, "what delight have I left in heaven, now that 
I have lost men, who were my delight?" My delights 

" Et nunc, quid mihi est hie, dicit Dominus, quoniam ablatus est 
populus meus gratis?" Isai. Hi. 5. 






The Eternal Word is made Man. 15 

were to be with the children of men. 1 But how is this, O 
Lord? Thou hast in heaven so many seraphim, so many 
angels; and canst Thou thus take to heart having lost 
men? Indeed, what need hast Thou of angels or of men 
to fill up the sum of Thy happiness? Thou hast always 
been, and Thou art in Thyself, most happy; what can 
ever be wanting to Thy bliss, which is infinite? "That 
is all true," says God; "but" (and these are the words 
of Cardinal Hugo on the above text of Isaias) " but, 
losing man, I deem that I have nothing; 2 I consider that 
I have lost all, since my delight was to be with men; 
and now these men I have lost, and, poor hapless crea 
tures, they are doomed to live forever far away from 
me." 

But how can the Lord call men his delight? Yes, in 
deed, writes St. Thomas, God loves man just as if man 
were his god, and as if without man he could not be 
happy; "as if man were the god of God himself, and 
without him he could not be happy." 5 St. Gregory of 
Nazianzen adds, moreover, that God, for the love he 
bears to men, seems beside himself: "we are bold to say 
it, God is out of himself by reason of his immense love;" 4 
so runs the proverb, " Love puts the lover beside himself." 
"But no," then said the Lord, "I will not lose man; 
straightway let there be found a Redeemer who may 
satisfy my justice in behalf of man, and so rescue him 
from the hands of his enemies and from the eternal 
death due to him." 

And here St. Bernard, in his contemplations on this 
subject, imagines a struggle to ensue between the jus- 

1 " Delicise meae, esse cum filiis hominum." Prov. viii. 31. 

2 " Non repute aliquid me habere." 

3 Quasi homo Dei Deus esset, et sine ipso beatus esse non posset." 
Opusc. 63, c. 7. 

4 " Audemus dicere quod Deus, prae magnitudine amoris, extra 
se sit." De Div. Notn, c. 4. 



1 6 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

tice and the mere) of God. Justice says: "I no longer 
exist if Adam be not punished; I perish if Adam die 
not." Mercy, on the other hand, says: "I am lost if 
man be not pardoned; I perish if he does not obtain for 
giveness." : In this contest the Lord decides, that in 
order to deliver man, who was guilty of death, some in 
nocent one must die: "Let one die who is no debtor to 
death." 3 

On earth, there was not one innocent. Since, there 
fore," says the Eternal Father, "amongst men there is 
none who can satisfy My justice, let him come forward 
who will go to redeem man." The angels, the cheru 
bim, the seraphim, all are silent, not one replies; one 
voice alone is heard, that of the Eternal Word, who 
says, Lo, here am I ; send Me? " Father," says the only- 
begotten Son, "Thy majesty, being infinite, and having 
been injured by man, cannot be fittingly satisfied by an 
angel, who is purely a creature; and though Thou 
mightest accept of the satisfaction of an angel, reflect 
that, in spite of so great benefits bestowed on man, in 
spite of so many promises and threats, we have not yet 
been able to gain his love, because he is not yet aware 
of the love we bear him. If we would oblige him with 
out fail to love us, what better occasion can we find 
than that, in order to redeem him, I, Thy Son, should go 
upon earth, should there assume human flesh, and pay 
by my death the penalty due by him. In this manner 
Thy justice is fully satisfied, and at the same time man 
is thoroughly convinced of our love!" "But think," 
answered the Heavenly Father " think, O my Son, that 
in taking upon Thyself the burden of man s satisfaction, 
Thou wilt have to lead a life full of sufferings!" "No 

" Perii, si Adam non moriatur." 

" Perii, nisi misericordiam consequatur." 

" Moriatur, qui nihil debeat morti." In Annunt. B. M. s. I. 

"Ecce ego, mitte me." Jsai. vi. 8, 



The Eternal Word is made Man. \ 7 

matter/ replied the Son: " Lo, here am /, send Me" 
"Think that Thou wilt have to be born in a cave, the 
shelter of the beasts of the field; thence Thou must flee 
into Egypt whilst still an infant, to escape the hands of 
those very men who, even from Thy tenderest infancy, 
will seek to take away Thy life." "It matters not: Lo, 
here am I, send Me" "Think that, on Thy return to 
Palestine, Thou shalt there lead a life most arduous, 
most despicable, passing Thy days as a simple boy in a 
carpenter s shop." "It matters not: Lo, here am I, send 
Me" " Think that when Thou goest fo: th to preach and 
to manifest Thyself, Thou wilt have indeed a few, but 
very few, to follow Thee; the greater part will despise 
Thee and call Thee impostor, magician, fool, Samaritan; 
and, finally, they will persecute Thee to such a pass that 
they will make Thee die shamefully on a gibbet by dint 
of torments." " No matter: Lo, here am 7, send Me" 

The decree then being passed that the Divine Son 
should be made man, and so become the Redeemer of 
men, the Archangel Gabriel speeds on his way to Mary. 
Mary accepts him for her Son: And the Word was made 
flesh}~ And thus behold Jesus in the womb of Mary; 
having now made his entry into the world in all humil 
ity and obedience, he says: "Since, O my Father, men 
cannot make atonement to Thy offended justice by their 
works and sacrifices, behold me, Thy Son, now clothed 
in mortal flesh, behold me ready to give Thee in their 
stead satisfaction with my sufferings and with my 
death!" Wherefore when He cometh into the world He 
saith : Sacrifice and oblation tJwu wouldst not ; but a body 
Thou hast fitted to me. . . . Then said 7, Behold, I come. . . . 
^ It is written of Me that I should do Thy will? 

" Et Verbum caro factum est." John, i. 14. 

" Ideo ingrediens mundurn dicit: Hostiam et oblationem noluisti; 
corpus autem aptasti mihi. . . . Tune dixi: Ecce venio, . . . ut 
faciam, Deus, voluntatem tuam." Heb. x. 5. 
2 



1 8 Discourses for tkc Novcna of Christmas. 

So then, for us miserable worms, and to captivate our 
love, has a God deigned to become man> Yes it is 
matter of faith, as the Holy Church teaches us- Fo, us 
men and for o:,r salvation, He came down from heaven 
and was ,,,ad e man. Yes, indeed, so much has God done 
in order to be loved by us 



ndbd P e a us 

subdued Pers.a, w.shed to gain the affections of that 

turn I " r,? We n Ut dreSS6d " the Pei sian cos- 
me. In hke ma nner would our God appear to act ; in 

order to draw towards him the affections of men he 
clothed himself comp.ete.y after the human fashion a "d 
appeared made man : in shape found as a maa .> And bv 
Ins means he wished to make known the depth of the 



o converse with 
loved . ff< was seen upon ear(At am e 

The d,v,ne love for man was extreme, and so it I 
been from all eternity: I have 



and i 



ab e it r n ncon cev- 

Then ,t truly appeared, when the Son of 

of stra ?/ "I" 3 ittle " e !n 3 Stab e " a b ""dle 
aw : The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour 



Habitu inventus ut homo." Phil, ii 7 
^-Apparuit gratia Dei Sa,vato ri s nostri o mni bus hominibus."- 

...In terns visus est, at cum ho m inibus conversatus ^ - 



TJie Eternal Word is made Man. 19 

appeared. 1 The Greek text reads : The singular love of 
God towards men appeared. St. Bernard says that from 
the beginning the world had seen the power of God in 
the creation, and his wisdom in the government of the 
world ; but only afterwards, in the Incarnation of the 
Word, was seen how great was his mercy. 2 Before God 
was seen made man upon earth, men could not conceive an 
idea of the divine goodness ; therefore did he take 
mortal flesh, that, appearing as man, he might make plain 
to men the greatness of his benignity. 3 

And in what manner could the Lord better display to 
thankless man his goodness and his love ? Man, by de 
spising God, says St. Fulgentius, put himself aloof from 
God forever ; but as man was unable to return to God, 
God came in search of him on earth. 4 And St. Augus 
tine had already said as much : Because we could not 
go to the Mediator, he condescended to come to us." 6 

/ will draw them with the cords of Adam, with the bands 
of love* Men allow themselves to be drawn by love ; 
the tokens of affection shown to them area sort of chain 
which binds them, and in a manner forces them to love 
those who love them. For this end the Eternal Word 
chose to become man, to draw to himself by such a pledge 

" Benignitas et humanitas apparuit Salvatoris nostri Dei." Tit. 
iii. 4. 

" Apparuerat ante potentia in rerum creatione ; apparebat sapi- 
entia in earum gubernadone ; sed benignitas misericordiae maxime 
apparuit in humanitate." In Nat. D. s. i. 

3 " Priusquam appareret humanitas, latebat benignitas. Sed, unde 
tanta agnosci poterat ? Venit in carne, ut, apparente humanitate, 
benignitas agnosceretur." In Epiph. s. i. 

"Homo, Deum contemnens, a Deo discessit ; Deus, hominem 
diligens, ad homines venit." S. de Dupl. Nat. Ckr. 

" Quia ad medicum venire non poteramus, ipse ad nos venire dig- 
natusest." Serm. 88, E. B. 

"In funiculis Adam traham eos, in vinculis charitatis." Osee, 
xi. 4. 



2O Discourses for the Novcna of Christmas. 

of affection (a stronger than which could not possibly be 
found) the love of men : " God was made man, that God 
might be more familiarly loved by man." It seems that 
our Redeemer wished to signify this very thing to a de 
vout Franciscan called Father Francis of St. James, as is 
related in the Franciscan Diary for the i5th of Decem 
ber. Jesus frequently appeared to him as a lovely infant : 
but the holy friar longing in his fervor to hold him in 
his arms, the sweet child always fled away ; wherefore 
the servant of God lovingly complained of these de 
partures. One day the divine Child again appeared to 
him ; but how ? He came with golden chains in his 
hands, to give him to understand that now he came to 
make him his prisoner, and to be himself imprisoned by 
him, nevermore to be separated. Francis, emboldened 
at this, fastened the chains to the foot of the Infant, and 
bound him round his heart ; and, in good truth, from 
that time forward it seemed to him as if he saw the be 
loved Child in the prison of his heart made a perpetual 
prisoner. That which Jesus did with this his servant on 
this occasion, he really has done with all men when he 
was made man ; he wished with such a prodigy of love 
to be, as it were, enchained by us, and at the same time 
to enchain our hearts by obliging them to love him, ac 
cording to the prophecy of Osee : I will draw them with 
the cords of Adam, with the bands of love? 

In divers ways, says St. Leo, had God already bene 
fited man ; but in no way has he more clearly exhibited 
the excess of his bounty than in sending him a Re 
deemer to teach him the way of salvation, and to pro 
cure for him the life of grace. "The goodness of God 
has imparted gifts to the human race in various ways ; 

1 " Deus homo factus est, ut familiarius ab homine diligeretur." 
Misc. \. i. tit. 87. 

2 " In funiculis Adam traham eos, in vinculis charitatis." Osee, 
xi. 4. 



The Eternal Word is made Man. i \ 

out it surpassed the ordinary bounds of its abundant 
kindness when, in Christ, mercy itself came down to 
those who were in sin, truth to those wandering out of 
the way, and life to those who were dead." ! 

St. Thomas asks why the Incarnation of the Word is 
called the work of the Holy Ghost : And was incarnate by 
the Holy Ghost? It is certain that all God s works, styled 
by theologians opera ad extra t or external works, are the 
works of all the three divine Persons. And why, there 
fore, should the Incarnation be attributed solely to the 
Person of the Holy Ghost? The chief reason which the 
Angelic Doctor assigns for it is because all the works of 
divine love are attributed to the Holy Ghost, who is the 
substantial love of the Father and of the Son ; and the 
work of the Incarnation was purely the effect of the sur 
passing love which God bears to man : " But this pro 
ceeded from the very great love of God, that the Son of 
God should assume flesh to himself in the womb of the 
Virgin." 5 And this the prophet would signify when he 
says, God will come from the south ^ that is, observes the 
Abbot Rupert, " From the great charity of God, he has 
shone upon us." ! For this purpose, again writes St. 
Augustine, the Eternal Word came upon earth, to make 
known to man how dearly God loved him. 6 And St. 
Laurence Justinian : " In no instance has he so clearly 

1 " Diversis modis humano generi Bonitas Divina munera imper- 
tiit ; sed abundantiam solitae benignitatis excessit. quando in Christo 
ipsa ad peccatores Misericodia, ad errantes Veriias. ad mortuos Vita 
descendh." De Nat, s. 4. 

2 " Etincarnatns est de Spiritu Sancto." 

" Hoc autem ex maximo Dei amore provenit, ut Filius Dei car- 
nem sibi assumeret in titero Virginis." P. 3, q. 32, a. I. 

4 " Deus ab austro veniet." Hab. iii. 3. 

5 " A magna charitate Dei in nos effulsit." 

6 " Maxime propterea Christus advenit, ut cognosceret homo quan 
tum eum diligat Deus." De catech. rud. c. 4. 



22 Discourses for the Novc-na of Christmas. 

manifested his amiable charity to men as when God was 
made man." 1 

But what still more evinces the depth of the divine 
love towards the human race is, that the Son of God 
should come in search of him, whilst man was fleeing 
away from him. This the Apostle declares in these, 
words, Nowhere doth He take hold of the angels; but of the 
seed of Abraham He taketJi hold? On which St. John 
Chrysostom thus comments: " He says not, he received, 
but lie seized hold of ; from the figure of those who are 
in pursuit of fugitives, that they may effect their cap 
ture." 3 Thus God came from heaven to arrest, as it 
were, ungrateful man in his flight from him. It is as if 
he had said, "O man ! behold, it is nothing but the love 
of thee that has brought me on earth to seek after thee. 
Why wilt thou flee from me? Stay with me, love me; 
do not avoid me, for I greatly love thee." 

God came, then, to seek lost man ; and that man might 
the more easily comprehend the love of this his God for 
him, and might surrender his love in return to one who 
so deeply loved him, he willed, the first time of his ap 
pearance under a visible form, to show himself as a ten 
der infant, laid upon straw. "O blessed straw, fairer 
than roses or lilies," exclaims St. Peter Chrysologus, 
"what favored land produced you? Oh, what an en 
viable lot is yours, to serve as a bed for the King of 
Heaven! But, alas!" continues the saint, "alas! you 
are but cold for Jesus ; for you know not how to warm 
him in that damp cavern, where he is now shivering with 

1 " In nullo sic amabilem suam hominibus patefecit charitatem, 
sicutcum Deus homo factus est." De Casto Conn. c. 23. 

2 " Nusquam enim Angelos apprehendit, sed semen Abrahse appre- 
hendit." llcb. ii. 16. 

3 " Non dixit : Suscepit, sed: Apprehendit; ex metaphora in- 
sequentium eos qui aversi sunt, ut fugientes apprehendere valeant." 
In II eb. horn. 5. 



The Eternal Word is made Man. 23 

cold ; but you are fire and flames for us, since you sup 
ply us with a flame of love which rivers of water shall 
never quench." 

It was not enough, says St. Augustine, for the divine 
love to have made us to his own image in creating the 
first man Adam ; but he must also himself be made to our 
image in redeeming us. 2 Adam partook of the forbid 
den fruit, beguiled by the serpent, which suggested to 
Eve that if she ate of that fruit she should become like 
to God, acquiring the knowledge of good and evil ; and 
therefore the Lord then said, Behold, Adam is become one 
of us* God said this ironically, and to upbraid Adam 
for his rash presumption ; but after the Incarnation of 
the Word we can truly say, " Behold, God is become like 
one of us." 

"Look, then, O man," exclaims St. Augustine, "thy 
God is made thy brother ;" 5 thy God is made like thee, 
a son of Adam, as thou art : he has put on thy selfsame 
flesh, has made himself passible, liable to suffer and to 
die as thou art. He could have assumed tiie nature of 
an angel ; but no, he would take on himself thy very 
flesh, that thus lie might give satisfaction to God with 
the very same flesh (though sinless) of Adam the sinner. 
And he even gloried in this, oftentimes styling himself 
the Son of man ; hence we have every right to call him 
our brother. 

It was an immeasurably greater humiliation for God to 
become man than if all the princes of the earth, than if 

1 " O felices paleas, rosis et liliis pulchriores ! quae vos genuit tel- 
lus ? Non palearum momentaneum, sed perpetuum vos suppeditatis 
incendium, quod nulla flumina exstinguent. 

2 In primo homine, fecit nos Deus ad imaginem suam; in hac die, 
factus est ad imaginem nostram." Serm. 119, E. B. app. 

3 " Ecce Adam quasi unus ex nobis factus est." Gtii. iii. 22. 

4 " De caetero dicemus veraciter, quia Deus factus est quasi unus ex 
nobis." De Eninian. 1. T, c. ig. 

5 " Deus tuus factus est f rater tuns," 



24 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

all the angels and saints of heaven, with the divine 
Mother herself, had been turned into a blade of grass, or 
into a handful of clay ; yes, for grass, clay, princes, an 
gels, saints, are all creatures ; but between the creature 
and God there is an infinite difference. Ah, exclaims 
St. Bernard, the more a God has humbled himself for us 
in becoming man, so much the more has he made his 
goodness known to us : " The smaller he has become by 
humility, the greater he has made himself in bounty." 
But the love which Jesus Christ bears to us, cries out the 
Apostle, irresistibly urges and impels us to love him : 
The charity of Chiist presseth us? 

O God ! did not faith assure us of it, who could ever 
believe that a God, for love for such a worm as man is, 
should himself become a worm like him ? A devout au 
thor says, Suppose, by chance, that, passing on your way, 
you should have crushed to death a worm in your path; 
and then some one, observing your compassion for the 
poor reptile, should say to you, Well, now, if you would 
restore that dead worm to life, you must first yourself 
become a worm like it, and then must shed all your 
blood, and make a bath of it in which to wash the worm, 
and so it shall revive; what would you reply ? Certainly 
you would say, And what matters it to me whether the 
worm be alive or dead, if I should have to purchase its 
life by my own death ? And much more would you say 
so if it was not an inoffensive worm, but an ungrateful 
asp, which, in return for all your benefits, had made an 
attempt upon your life. But even should your love for. 
that reptile reach so far as to induce you to suffer death 
in order to restore it to life, what would men say then ? 
And what would not that serpent do for you, whose death 
had saved it, supposing it were capable of reason ? But 

" Quanto minorem se fecit in humilitate, tanto majorem exhibuit 
in bonitate." In Epiph. s. i. 

" Charitas Christi urget nos." 2 Cor. v. 14. 



The Eternal Word is made Man. 25 

this much has Jesus Christ done for you, most vile 
worm; and you, with the blackest ingratitude, have 
tried oftentimes to take away his life; and your sins 
would have done so, were Jesus liable to die any more. 
How much viler are you in the sight of God than is a 
worm in your own sight ! What difference would it make 
to God had you remained dead and forever reprobate in 
your sins, as you well deserved ? Nevertheless, this God 
had such a love for you that, to release you from eternal 
death, he first became a worm like you; and then, to save 
you, would lavish upon you his heart s blood, even to the 
last drop, and endure the death which you had justly 
deserved. 

Yes, all this is of faith: And the Word was made flesh. 1 
He hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own, 
blood? The Holy Church declares herself to be filled 
with terror at the idea of the work of redemption: I con 
sidered Thy work, and was afraid? And this the prophet 
said of old: O Lord, I have heard Thy hearing, and was 
afraid. . . . Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy 
people; for salvation with Thy Christ? 

Hence St. Thomas terms the mystery of the Incarna 
tion the miracle of miracles; 5 a miracle above all com 
prehension, in which God showed how powerful was his 
love towards men, which of God made him man, of 
Creator a creature. 6 The Creator, says St. Peter^Dami- 
an, springs from the creature, of Lord it made him ser 
vant, of impassible subject to sufferings and to death: 
He hath showed might in His arm. 1 St. Peter of Alcan- 

1 " Et Verbum caro factum est." John, \. 14. 

2 " Dilexit nos, et lavit nos . . . in sanguine suo"Apoc. i. 5. 

3 "Consideravi opera tua, et expavi." Off. Circumc. resp. 6. 
4 "Domine, audivi auditionem tuam, et timui. . . . Egressus es 

in salutem populi tui, in salutem cum Christo tuo." flab. iii. 2. 13. 

5 " Miraculum miraculorum. "/?<? Pot. q. 6, a. 2, ad 9. 

6 " Creator oritur ex creatura." In Nat. B. V. s. 2. 

7 " Fecit potentiam in bracliio suo." Luke, \. 51. 



26 Discourses for the Novcna of Christmas. 

tara, one day hearing the Gospel sung which is appointed 
for the third Mass on Christmas-night /;/ the beginning 
was the Word in reflecting on this mystery became so 
inflamed with divine love that, in a state of ecstasy, he 
was borne a considerable space through the air to the 
foot of the Blessel Sacrament. And St. Augustine says 
that his soul could feast forever on the contemplation of 
the exalted goodness of God, manifested to us in the 
work of human redemption. 1 For this reason it was 
that the Lord sent this saint, on account of his fervent 
devotion to this mystery, to inscribe these words on the 
heart of St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi: And the Word 
was made flesh. 

II. 

Whosoever loves, has no other end in loving but to be 
loved again. God, then, having so clearly loved us, seeks 
nothing else from us, as St. Bernard remarks, but our 
love: "When God loves, he desires nothing else than to 
be loved." : Wherefore, he goes on with this admonition 
to each one of us: " He has made known his love, that 
he may experience thine." 3 Oman, whoever thou art, 
thou hast witnessed the love which God lias borne thee 
in becoming man, in suffering and dying for thee; how 
long shall it be before God shall know by experience 
and by deeds the love thou bearest him? Ah! truly 
every man at the sight of a God clothed in flesh, and 
choosing to lead a life of such durance, and to suffer a 
death of such ignominy, ought to be enkindled with love 
towards a God so loving. Oh that Thou wouldst rend the 
heavens and wouldst come down : the mountains would melt 
away at Thy presence, . . . the waters would burn with fire * 

"Non satiabar considerare altitudinem consilii tui super salutem 
generis humani." Con/. 1. 9, c. 6. 

"Cum amat Deus, non aliud vult quam amari." In Cant. s. 83. 

" Notam fecit dilectionem suam ; experiatur et tuam." De Aqit<cil, 

" Utinam dirumperes coelos et descenderes! a facie tua monies 
defluerent . . . aquje arderent igni." Isai. Ixiv. i. 



The Eternal Word is made Man. 2 7 

Oh that Thou wouldst deign, my God (thus cried out 
the prophet before the arrival of the Divine Word upon 
earth), to leave the heavens, and descend here to become 
man amongst us ! Ah, then, on beholding Thee like one 
of themselves, the mountains would melt away; men 
would surmount all obstacles, remove all difficulties, in 
observing Thy laws and Thy counsels; the waters would 
burn with fire! Oh, surely Thou wouldst enkindle such 
a furnace in the human heart that even the most frozen 
souls must catch the flame of Thy blessed love ! And, 
in fact, after the Incarnation of the Son of God, how 
brilliantly has the fire of divine love shone to many lov 
ing souls ! And it may be indeed asserted, without fear 
of contradiction, God was more beloved in one century 
after the coming of Jesus Christ than in the entire forty 
preceding centuries. How many youths, how many of 
the nobly born, and how many monarchs even, have left 
wealth, honors, and their very kingdoms, to seek the 
desert or the cloister, that there, in poverty and obscure 
seclusion, they might the more unreservedly give them 
selves up to the love of this their Saviour! How many 
martyrs have gone rejoicing and making merry on their 
way to torments and to death ! How many tender young 
virgins have refused the proffered hands of the great 
ones of this world, in order to go and die for Jesus Christ, 
and so repay in some measure the affection of a God 
-who stooped down to become incarnate and to die for 
jove of them ! 

Yes, all this is most true; but now comes a tale for 
tears. Has tnis been the case with all men ? Have all 
sought thus to correspond with this immense love of 
Jesus Christ? Alas, my God, the greater part have 
combined to repay him with nothing but ingratitude! 
And you also, my brother, tell me, what sort of return 
have you made up to this time for the love your God 
has borne you ? Have you always shown yourself thank- 



28 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

ful ? Have you ever seriously reflected what those 
words mean, a God to be made man, and to die for 
thee ? 

A certain man, while one day attending Mass without 
devotion, as too many do, at these concluding words of 
the last Gospel, And the Word was made flesh* made no 
external act of reverence; at the same instant a devil 
struck him a severe blow, saying, "Thankless wretch! 
tliou hearest that a God was made man for thee, and 
dost thou not even deign to bend the knee ? Oh, if God 
had done the like for me, I should be eternally occupied 
in thanking him !" 

Tell me, O Christian ! what more could Jesus Christ 
have done to win thy love ? If the Son of God had en 
gaged to rescue from death his own Father, what lower 
humiliation could he stoop to than to assume human 
flesh, and lay down his life in sacrifice for his salvation ? 
Nay, I say more; had Jesus Christ been a mere man, instead 
of one of the divine Persons, and had wished to gain by 
some token of affection the love of his God, what more 
could he have done than he has done for thee? If a 
servant of thine had given for thy love his very life-blood, 
would he not have riveted thy heart to him, and obliged 
thee to love him in mere gratitude? And how conies it, 
then, that Jesus Christ, though he has laid down his life 
for thee, has still failed to win thy love ? 

Alas ! men hold in contempt the divine love, because 
they do not, or, rather let us say, because they will not, 
understand what a treasure it is to enjoy divine grace, 
which, according to the Wise Man, is an infinite treasure: 
An infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the 
friends of God? Men appreciate the good graces of a 

1 " Et Verbum caro factum est." John, i. 14. 

2 " Infinitus enim thesaurus est hominibus; quo qui usi sunt, parti- 
cipes facti sunt amicitise Dei." Wisd. vii. 14. 



The Eternal Word is made Man. 29 

prince, of a prelate, of a nobleman, of a man of letters, 
and even of a vile animal; and yet these same persons 
set no store by the grace of God, but renounce it for 
mere smoke, for a brutal gratification, for a handful of 
earth, for a whim, for nothing. 

What sayest thou, my dear brother ? Dost thou wish 
still to be ranked among these ungrateful ones ? For, if 
thou dost not wish for God, says St. Augustine, if thou 
canst meet with something better than God: "Desire 
something better, if thou dost deserve something better." J 
Go, find thyself a prince more courteous, a master, a 
brother, a friend more amiable, and who has shown thee 
a deeper love. Go, seek for thyself one who is better 
qualified than God to make thee happy in the present 
life and in the life to come. 

Whoever loves God has nothing to fear, and God can 
not help loving in return one who loves him: I love those 
who love me* And what shall he be afraid of who is the 
beloved of God ? The Lord is my light and my salvation, 
whom shall I fear? 3 So said David, and so said the sis 
ters of Lazarus to our Blessed Lord: He whom thoulovestis 
sick? It was enough for them to know that Jesus Christ 
loved their brother, to convince them that he would do 
everything for his recovery. 

But how, on the contrary, can God love those who 
despise his love ? Come, then, let us once for all make 
the resolution to give the tribute of our love to a God 
who has so sincerely loved us. And let us continually 
beseech him to grant us the precious gift of his holy 
love. St. Francis de Sales says that this grace of loving 
God was the grace for which we ought to ask God 

/ J " Aliud desidera, si melius inveneris." In Ps. 26 enarr. 2. 
2 "Ego diligentes me diligo." Prov. viii. 17. 

3 " Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea; quern timebo?" Ps. 
xxvi. i. 

4 " Quern amas, infirmatur." John, xi. 3. 



30 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

more than for any other; because with divine love all 
good comes to a soul: All good tilings come together with 
her. 1 This made St. Augustine say, " Love, and do 
whatever you like." 2 Whoever loves a person avoids 
everything that may offend him, and always seeks what 
may give him most pleasure. Thus is it with one who 
really loves God; he can never deliberately do anything 
to offend him, but he studies in every possible manner 
to please him. 

And in order the more quickly and the more surely to 
obtain this gift of divine love, let us have recourse to 
the foremost of God s lovers I mean, to Mary his 
Mother, who was so inflamed with his holy love that the 
devils, as St. Bonaventure assures us, had not the bold 
ness even to tempt her: " They were scared away by her 
burning charity, so that they dared not approach her," ; 
And Richard adds that even the seraphim themselves 
might descend from their lofty throne in heaven to take 
a lesson in love from the heart of Mary. 4 And because, 
continues St. Bonaventure, the heart of Mary was a com 
plete furnace of divine love, therefore all who love this 
Blessed Mother, and address themselves to her, will be 
inflamed by her with the same love; she will make them 
resemble herself. 5 

If we wish to add to this discourse some example about the Infant 
Jesus, we may select one of those related at the end on page 164. 

1 " Venerunt . . . omnia bona pariter cum ilia." Wisd. vii. n. 

2 "Ama, et fac quod vis." 

3 "A sua inflammatissima charitatedsemones pellebantur, in tan turn 
quod non erant ausi illi appropinquare." Pro Pest. V. M. s. 4, a. 3, 
c. 2. 

4 "Seraphim e ccelo descendere poterant, ut amorem discerent in 
corde Virginis." 

5 Quia tota ardens fuit, omnes se amantes eamque tangentes in- 
cendit (et sibi assimilat)." De B. V. M. s. i. 



The Eternal Word is made Man. 3 1 



Affections and Prayers. 

Let us say with St. Augustine, " O fire, ever burning, inflame 
me." 1 O Word Incarnate, Thou wert made man to enkindle 
divine love in our hearts: and howcouldst Thou have met with 
such a want of gratitude in the hearts of men? Thou hast 
spared nothing to induce them to love Thee ; Thou hast even 
gone so far as to give Thy blood and Thy life for them : and 
how, then, can men still remain so ungrateful? Do they, per 
chance, not know it ? Yes, they know it, and they believe that 
for them Thou hast come down from heaven to put on mortal 
flesh, and to load Thyself with our miseries; they know that 
for their love Thou hast led a painful life, and embraced an 
ignominious death; and how, then, can they live forgetful of 
Thee? They love relatives, friends; they love even animals: 
if from them they receive any token of good -will, they are anx 
ious to repay it; and yet towards Thee alone are they so loveless 
and ungrateful. But, alas ! in accusing them, I am my own ac 
cuser : I who have treated Thee worse than any one else. But 
Thy goodness encourages me, which I feel has borne with me so 
long, in order at length to pardon me, and to inflame me with 
Thy love, provided I will but repent and love Thee. Indeed, 
my God, I do wish to repent ; and I grieve with my whole soul 
for having offended Thee ; I wish to love Thee with my whole 
heart. I am well aware, my Redeemer, that my heart is no 
longer worthy of Thy acceptance, since it has forsaken Thee for 
the love of creatures ; but, at the same time, I see that Thou art 
willing to have it, and with my entire will I dedicate it and pre 
sent it to Thee. Inflame it, then, wholly with Thy divine love, 
and grant that from this day forward it may never love any 
other but Thee, O infinite Goodness ! worthy of an infinite love. 
I love Thee, my Jesus; I love Thee, O sovereign Good ! I love 
Thee, O only Love of my soul ! 

Mary my Mother, thou who art the mother of fair love, 2 
do thou obtain for me this grace to love my God ; I hope it of 
thee. 

1 "O Ignis qui semper ardes! accende me." Solil. an. ad D. c. 34. 

2 " Mater pulchrse dilectionis." Ecclus. xxiv. 24. 



32 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 



DISCOURSE II. 
The Eternal Word being Great becomes Little. 

Pari ulus natus cst nobis^ et Filius datus est nobis. 
" A child is born to us, and a son is given to us." Is. ix. 6. 

Plato said that Love is the loadstone of love. 1 Hence 
comes the common proverb, as St. John Chrysostom re 
marks: " If you wish to be loved, love," J for certainly 
there is no more effectual means to secure for one s self 
the affections of another than to love him, and to make 
him aware that he is loved. 

But, my Jesus, this rule, this proverb, holds good for 
others, holds good forall, but not for Thee. Men are grate 
ful to all, but not to Thee. Thou art at a loss what further 
to do, to show men the love Thou bearest them; Thou 
hast positively nothing more to do, to allure the affec 
tions of men ; yet, in point of fact, how many are there 
among mankind who love Thee ? Alas ! the greatest 
number, we may say, nearly all, not only do not love 
Thee, but they offend Thee and despise Thee. 

And shall we stand in the ranks of these heartless 
wretches? God has not earned this at our hands ; that 
God, so good, so tender of us, who, being great, and of 
infinite greatness, has thought fit to make himself little 
in order to be loved by us. Let us seek light from Jesus 
and Mary. 

I. 

To compass the idea of the immense love of God to 
men in becoming himself a man and a feeble child for our 
love it would be necessary to comprehend his greatness, 
But what mind of man or angel can conceive the great 
ness of God, which is indeed infinite ? 

1 " Magnes amoris, amor." 

2 "Si vis amari, ama."Adpop. Ant. horn. 13. 



The Eternal Word becomes Little. 33 

St. Ambrose says that to say God is greater than the 
heavens, than all kings, all saints, all angels, is to do an 
injury to God; just as it would be an injury to a prince 
to say that he was greater than a blade of grass, or a 
small fly. God is greatness itself, and all greatness to 
gether is but the smallest atom of the greatness of God. 
David, contemplating the divine greatness, and seeing 
that he could not and never would be able to compre 
hend it, could only say, O Lord, who is like to Thee ^ O 
Lord, what greatness shall ever be found like to Thine? 
And how in truth should David ever be able to compre 
hend it, since his understanding was but finite, and God s 
greatness infinite? Great is the Lord, and greatly to be 
praised; and of His greatness there is no end? Do I not fill 
heaven ami earth, saith the Lord? Thus all of us, according 
to our mode of understanding, are nothing but so many 
miserable little fishes, living in this immense ocean of 
the essence of God: In Him we live, move, and be? 

What are we, then, in respect to God ? And what are 
all men, all monarchs of earth, and even all saints and 
all angels of heaven, confronted with the infinite great 
ness of God ? We are all like or even smaller than a 
grain of sand in comparison with the rest of the earth: 
Behold, says the prophet Isaias, the Gentiles are as a drop 
of a bucket, and are counted as the smallest grain of a balance; 
behold, the islands are as little dust. . . . All nations are be 
fore Him as if they had no being at all* 

Now this God, so great, has become a little infant; and 



1 "Domine. quis similis tibi ?" Ps. xxxiv. 10. 

2 " Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis; et magnitudinis ejus non 
est finis." Ps. cxliv. 3. 

3 " Numquid non coelum et terram ego impleo TJer. xxiii. 24. 

4 " In ipso enim vivimus, et movemur, et sumus." Acts, xvii. 28. 

5 " Ecce gentes quasi stilla situlse, et quasi momentum staterse, 
reputatae sunt; ecce insulse quasi pulvis exiguus. Omnes gentes, 
quasi non sint, sic sunt coram eo." Isa. xl. 15-17. 

3 



34 Discourses for the Novena of Christinas. 

for whom ? A child is born to us: 1 for us he is born. 
And wherefore? St. Ambrose gives us the answer: "He 
is a little one, that you might be a perfect man; he is 
bound in swaddling-clothes, that you might be unbound 
from the fetters of death; he is on earth, that you might 
be in heaven." 2 

Behold, then, the Immensity become an infant, whom 
the heavens cannot contain: see him imprisoned in poor 
rags, and laid in a narrow vile manger on a bundle of 
straw, which was at once his only bed and pillow. " See," 
says St. Bernard "see power is ruled, wisdom instructed, 
virtue sustained. God taking milk and weeping, but 
comforting the afflicted!" 3 A God Almighty so tightly 
wrapped in swathing-bands that he cannot stir ! A God 
who knows all things, made mute and speechless ! A 
God who rules heaven and earth needing to be carried 
in the arms ! A God who feeds all men and animals, 
himself having need of a little milk to support him ! A 
God who consoles the afflicted, and is the joy of para 
dise, himself weeps and moans and has to be comforted 
by another ! 

In fine, St. Paul says that the Son of God, coming 
on earth, emptied Himself .* He annihilated himself, so to 
say. And why ? To save man and to be loved by man. 
Where Thou didst empty Thyself," says St. Bernard, 
" there did mercy, there did charity, more brilliantly ap 
pear." Yes, my dear Redeemer, in proportion as Thy 

" Parvulus natus est nobis." 

" Ille parvulus, ut vir possis esse perfectus; ille involutus pannis. 
ut tu mortis laqueis absolutus sis; ille in terris, ut tu in coelis. "/;/. 
Lite. 2. 

"Videas potentiam regi, sapientiam instrui, virtutem sustentari; 
Deum lactentem et vagientem, sed miseros consolantem." De 
Laud. V. M. horn. 2. 

" Semetipsum exinanivit." Phil. ii. 7. 

" Ubi te exinanivisti, ibi pietas magis emicuit, ibi charitas plus 
effulsit." In Cant. s. 45. 



The Eternal Word becomes Little. 35 

abasement was great in becoming man and in being born 
an infant, so were Thy mercy and love shown to be 
greater towards us, and this with a view to win over our 
hearts to Thyself. 

The Jews, although by so many signs and wonders 
they had a certain knowledge of the true God, were not, 
however, satisfied; they wished to behold him face to 
face. God found means to comply even with this desire 
of men; he became man, to make himself visible to them. 
" Knowing," says St. Peter Chrysologus, " that mortals 
felt an anguish of desire to see him, God chose this 
method of making himself visible to them." 1 And to 
render himself still more attractive in our eyes, he would 
make his first appearance as a little child, that in this 
guise he might be the more charming and irresistible; he 
showed himself an infant, that he might make himself 
the more acceptable in our eyes, says the same St. 
Chrysologus. 2 " Yes," adds St. Cyril of Alexandria, "he 
abased himself to the humble condition of a little child 
in order to make himself more agreeable to our hearts." 
For our advantage was this emptying made." 3 For 
this indeed was the form most suitable to win our love. 

The prophet Ezechiel rightly exclaimed that the time 
of Thy coming on earth, O Incarnate Word, should be 
a time of love, the season of lovers: Behold, Thy time 
was the time of lovers* And what object had God in lov 
ing us thus ardently, and in giving us so clear proofs of 
his love, other than that we might love him? "God 
loves only in order to be loved," 5 says St. Bernard. God 
himself had already said as much: And now, O Israel, what 

1 " Sciens Deus visendi se desiderio cruciari mortales, unde se 
visibilem faceret, hoc elegit." Serm. 147. 

2 " Se parvulum exhibuit, ut seipsum faceret gratum." 

3 " Exinanitio facta ad usum nostrum." 

4 " Ecce tempus tuum, tempus amantium." Ezech. xvi. 8. 

5 " Non ad aliud amat Deus, nisi utametur." In Cant. s. 83. 



36 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

does the Lord thy God require of thee, but that thou fear and 
love Him ? 1 

In order to force us to love him God would not com 
mission others, but chose to come himself in person to 
be made man and to redeem us. St. John Chrysostom 
makes a beautiful reflection on these words of the 
apostle: For nowhere doth He take hold of the angels, but 
of the seed of Abraham He taketh hold. 2 Why, asks the 
saint, did he not say received, but rather apprehended?* 
Why did not St. Paul simply say that God assumed hu 
man flesh ? Why would he affirm with marked emphasis 
that he took it, as it were, by force, according to the strict 
meaning of the word apprehend? He answers that he 
spoke thus, making use of the metaphor of those who 
give chase to the flying. 4 By this he would convey the 
idea that God already longed to be loved by man, but 
man turned his back upon him, and cared not even to 
know of his love; therefore God came from heaven, and 
took human flesh, to make himself known in this way, 
and to make himself loved, as it were, by force by ungrate 
ful man, who fled from him. 

For this, then, did the Eternal Word become man; for 
this he, moreover, became an infant. He could, indeed, 
have appeared upon this earth a full-grown man, as the 
first man Adam appeared. No, the Son of God wished 
to present himself under the form of a sweet little child, 
that thus he might the more readily and the more forci 
bly draw to himself the love of man. Little children of 
themselves are loved at once, and to see them and to 
love them is the same thing. With this view, says St. 

1 " Et nunc, Israel ! quid Dominus Deus tuus petit a te, nisi ut 
timeas . . . et diligas eum ?" Deut. x. 12. 

2 " Nusquam enim Angelos apprehendit, sed semen Abrahse appre- 
hendit." Heb. ii. 16. 

3 " Quare non dixit: Suscepit; sed: Apprehendit?" 

4 " Ex metaphora insequentium eos qui aversi sunt." 



The Eternal Word becomes Little. 37 

Francis de Sales, the Eternal Word chose first to be 
seen among men as an infant, to conciliate to himself the 
love of all mankind. 

St. Peter Chrysologus writes: "How should our Lord 
come, who wishes to drive away fear, to seek love? What 
breast so savage as not to soften before such a child 
hood ? what hardness which it will not subdue, what love 
does it not claim ? Thus, therefore, he would be born 
who willed to be loved and not feared." The saint 
would say that if our Redeemer had come to be feared 
and respected by men, he would have come as a full- 
grown man and with royal dignity; but because he came 
to gain our love, he chose to come and to show himself 
as an infant, and the poorest of infants, born in a cold 
stable between two animals, laid in a manger on straw, 
without clothingor fire to warm his shivering little limbs: 
" thus would he be born, who willed to be loved and not 
feared." 2 Ah, my Lord ! who was it that drew Thee 
from heaven to be born in a stable ? It was love, the love 
Thou bearest toward men. Who took Thee from the 
right hand of Thy Father, where Thou sittest, and 
placed Thee in a manger? Who snatched Thee from 
Thy throne above the stars, and put Thee to lie on a 
little straw ? Who changed Thy position from the 
midst of angels, to be placed betwixt a pair of beasts ? 
It was all the work of love; Thou inflamest the seraphim, 
and dost Thou not shiver with cold ? Thou supportest 
the heavens, and must Thou be now carried in the arms ? 
Thou provides! food for men and beasts, and now dost 
Thou crave a little milk to sustain Thy life ? Thou makest 
the seraphim happy, and now dost Thou weep and moan ? 

1 " Et qualiter venire debuit, qui voluit timorem pellere, quserere 
charitatem ? Infantia haec, quam barbariem non vincit? quam 
duritiem non resolvit ? Quid non amoris expostulat? Sic ergo nasci 
voluit, qui amari voluit, non timer!." Sertn. 158. 

2 " Sic nasci voluit, qui amari voluit, non timed." 



38 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

Who has reduced Thee to such misery ? Love has done 
it: "Thus would he be born who willed to be loved and 
not feared." 

Love then, love, O souls, exclaims St. Bernard, love 
now this little Child, for he is exceedingly to be loved 
" Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised. The 
Lord is a little one, and exceedingly to be loved." 1 Yes, 
says the saint, this God was already existing from eter 
nity, as he is now worthy of all praise and reverence for 
his greatness, as David has sung: Great is the Lord and 
exceedingly to be praised. But now that we behold him 
become a little infant, needing milk, and unable to stir 
himself, trembling with cold, moaning and weeping, 
looking for some one to take and warm and comfort 
him; ah, now indeed does he become the most cherished 
one of our hearts! "The Lord is a little one, and ex 
ceedingly to be loved !" 

We ought to adore him as our God, but our love ought 
to keep pace with our reverence towards a God so ami 
able, so loving. 

St. Bonaventure reminds us that "a child finds its de 
light with other children, with flowers, and to be in the 
arms." 5 The saint s meaning is, that if we would please 
this divine Infant, we too must become children, simple 
and humble; we must carry to him flowers of virtue, of 
meekness, of mortification, of charity; we must clasp him 
in the arms of our love. 

And, O man, adds St. Bernard, what more do you wait 
to see before you will give yourself wholly to God? See 
with what labor, with what ardent love, your Jesus has 

"Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis; parvus Dominus, et 
amabilis nimis." In Cant. s. 48. 

2 Magnus Dominus, et laudabilis nimis." Ps. cxliv. 3. 

" Puer cum pueris, cum floribus, cum brachiis libenter esse solet." 
Dom. infra act. Nat. s. 4. 



The Eternal Word becomes Little. 39 

come down from heaven to seek you. 1 Hearken, he goes 
on to say, how, scarcely yet born, his wailings call to 
you, as if he would say, O soul of mine, it is thee I am 
seeking; for thee, and to obtain thy love, I am come 
from heaven to earth. "Having scarcely quitted the 
Virgin s womb, lie calls thy beloved soul after the manner 
of infants, Ah, ah, my soul, my soul ! I am seeking you; 
for you am I making this pilgrimage." : 

O God, even the very brutes, if we do them a kind 
ness, if we give them some trifle, are so grateful for it; 
they come near us, they do our bidding after their own 
fashion, and they show symptoms of gladness at our ap 
proach. And how comes it, then, that we are so un 
grateful towards God, the same God who has bestowed 
his whole self upon us, who has descended from heaven 
to earth, lias become an infant to save us and to be loved 
by us ? Come, then, let us love the Babe of Bethlehem, is 
the enraptured cry of St. Francis; let us love Jesus Christ, 
who has sought in the midst of such sufferings to attach 
our hearts to him. 



H. 

And for love of Jesus Christ, we ought to love our 
neighbors, even those who have offended us. The Mes- 
sias is called by Isaias, Father of the world to come? 
now, in order to be the sons of this Father, Jesus ad 
monishes us that we must love our enemies, and do good 
to those who injure us: Love your enemies, do good to them 
that hate you-) . . . that you may be the children of your Father 

1 " Oh ! quanto labore et quam ferventi amore quaesivit animam 
tuam amorosus Jesus !" 

2 " Virginis uterum vix egressus, dilectam animam tuam more 
infantium vocat: A, a, anima mea, anima mea ! te quaere, pro te hanc 
peregrinationem assumo." 7 . //. s. 51, a. 2, c. 2. 

3 " Pater futuri sasculi." Isa. ix. 6. 



40 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

who is in heaven} And of this he himself set us the ex 
ample on the cross, praying his Eternal Father to forgive 
those who were crucifying him. 

" He who pardons his enemy," says St. John Chrysos- 
tom, " cannot but obtain God s pardon for himself;" 5 
and we have the divine assurance of it: Forgive, and you 
shall be forgiven* There was a certain religious, who 
otherwise had not led a very exemplary life, at the hour 
of death bewailed his sins, not without great confidence 
and joy. because, said he, "I have never avenged an in 
jury done me;" 4 as much as to say: It is true that I 
have offended the Lord, but he has engaged to pardon 
him who pardons his enemies; I have pardoned all who 
offended me, so then I am confident God will likewise 
pardon me. 

But to speak with reference to all persons in general; 
how can we, sinners as we are, despair of pardon, when 
we think of Jesus Christ ? For this very object the Eter 
nal Word humbled himself so far as to take human flesh, 
that we might procure our pardon from God: I am come, 
not to call the just, but sinners." Hence we may address 
him in the words of St. Bernard: " Where Thou didst 
empty Thyself, there Thy mercy, there Thy charity, shone 
forth the more." 8 And St. Thomas of Villanova gives 
us excellent encouragement, saying: What art thou 
afraid of, O poor sinner ? How shall He condemn thee, 
if thou be penitent, who died expressly that thou mightest 
not be condemned? How shall he reject thee, if thou 

1 " Diligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vos, . . . 
ut sitis filii Patris vestri." Matt. v. 44. 

2 " Non est possibile quod homo qui dimiserit proximo, non 
recipiat remissionem a Domino." In Act. horn. 36. 

3 " Dimittite, et dimittemini." Luke, vi. 37. 

4 "Nunquam injurias vindicavi." 

5 "Non enim veni vocare justos, sed peccatores." Matt. ix. 13. 

6 " Ubi te exinanivisti, ibi pietas magis emicuit, ibi charitas plus 
effulsit." 



The Eternal Word becomes Little. 41 

desirest to retain him who came down from heaven to 
seek thee?" 1 

Let not, then, the sinner be afraid, provided he will be 
no more a sinner, but will love Jesus Christ ; let him not 
be dismayed, but have a full trust ; if he abhor sin, and 
seek after God, let him not be sad, but full of joy : Let 
the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord? The Lord has 
sworn to forget all injuries done to him, if the sinner is 
sorry for them : If the wicked do penance . . . / will not re 
member all his iniquities? And that we might have every 
motive for confidence, our Saviour became an infant : 
"Who is afraid to approach a child?" 4 asks the same 
St. Thomas of Villanova. 

" Children do not inspire terror or aversion, but at 
tachment and love," 5 says St. Peter Chrysologus. It 
seems that children know not how to be angry ; and if 
perchance at odd times they should be irritated, they are 
easily soothed ; one has only to give them a fruit, a 
flower, or bestow on them a caress, or utter a kind word 
to them, and they have already forgiven and forgotten 
every offence. 

A tear of repentance, one act of heart-felt contrition, is 
enough to appease the Infant Jesus. "You know the 
tempers of children," pursues St. Thomas of Villanova ; 
" a single tear pacifies them, the offence is forgotten. 
Approach, then, to Him while he is a little one, while he 
would seem to have forgotten his majesty." He has 

1 " Quid times, peccator ? Quomodo te damnabit poenitentem, qui 
moritur ne damneris ? Quomodo te abjiciet redeuntem, qui de coelo 
venit quserere te ?" Tr. de Adv. D. 

2 " Lffitetur cor quserentium Dominum." Ps. civ. 3. 

3 " Si autem impius egerit poenitentiam . . . omnium iniqui- 
tatum ejus . . . non recordabor." Ezech. xviii. 21. 

4 " Ad parvulum accedere quis formidet ? " In Nat. D. cone. 4. 

5 " Puer nescit irasci, et, si irascitur, facile placatur." 

6 " Parvulorum mores agnoscitis ; una lacrymula placatur offensus, 
injuriam non recordatur. Accedite ergo ad eum, dum parvulus est, 
dum majestatis videtur oblitus." 



42 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

put off his divine majesty, and appears as a child to in 
spire us with more courage to approach his feet. 

" He is born an Infant," says St. Bonaventure, "that 

neither his justice nor his power might intimidate you." 

In order to exempt us from every feeling of distrust, 

which the idea of his power and of his justice might 

cause in us, he comes before us as a little babe, full of 

sweetness and mercy. O God !" says Gerson, Thou 

hast hidden Thy wisdom under a childish age, that it 

might not accuse us." 3 O God of mercy, lest Thy divine 

wisdom might reproach us with our offences against 

Thee, Thou hast hidden it under an infant s form : "Thy 

justice under humility, lest it should condemn." 3 Thou 

hast concealed Thy justice under the most profound 

abasement, that it might not condemn us: Thy power 

under weakness, lest it should torment." 4 Thou hast 

disguised Thy power in feebleness, that it might not 

visit us with chastisement. 

^St. Bernard makes this reflection: "Adam, after his 
sin, on hearing the voice of God, Adam, where art thou .?" 5 
was filled with dismay: I heard Thy voice, and was afraid, 6 
But, continues the saint, now, the Incarnate Word being 
made man upon earth, has laid aside all semblance of 
terror : 7 Do not fear; he seeks thee, not to punish, but 
to save thee. 8 Behold, he is a child, and voiceless ; for 
the voice of a child will excite compassion rather than 
fear. The Virgin Mother wraps his delicate limbs in 
swaddling-clothes : and art thou still in alarm ?" 9 That 
*| Nascitur parvulus, ut non formides potentiam, non justitiam." 

Celasti, Deus, sapientiam in infantuli atate, ne accuset." 
"Justitiam in humilitate, ne condemned" 
" Potentiam in infirmitate, ne cruciet." 
"Adam . . . . ubi es ?" 

^ Vocem tuam audivi . . . et timui." Gen. iii. 9. 
"Homo natus, terrorem deposuit." 

"Noli timere; non puniendum, sed salvandum requirit " 
Ecce infans est, et sine voce ; nam vagientis vox magis mise- 
randa est, quam tremenda. Tenera membra Virgo Mater pannis 
alhgat, et adhuc trepidas ?" In Nat D s i 



The Eternal Word becomes Little. 43 

God, who should punish thee, is born an infant, and has 
lost all accents to affright thee, since the accents of a 
child, being cries of weeping, move us sooner to pity 
than to fear ; thou canst not apprehend that Jesus Christ 
will stretch out his hands to chastise thee, since his 
Mother is occupied in swathing them in linen bands. 

" Be of good cheer, then, O sinners," says St. Leo, 
"the birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace and 
joy." 1 " The Prince of Peace" 2 was he called by Isaias. 
Jesus Christ is a Prince, not of vengeance on sinners, 
but of mercy and of peace, constituting himself the 
mediator betwixt God and sinners. " If our sins," says 
St. Augustine, "are too much for us, God does not 
despise his blood." 3 If we cannot ourselves make due 
atonement to the justice of God, at least the Eternal 
Father knows not how to disregard the blood of Jesus 
Christ, who makes payment for us. 

A certain knight, called Don Alphonsus Albuquerque, 
making once a sea voyage, and the vessel being driven 
among the rocks by a violent tempest, already gave him 
self up for lost ; but at that moment espying near him 
a little child, crying bitterly, what did he do ? He seized 
him in his arms, and so lifting him towards heaven, "O 
Lord," said he," though I myself be unworthy to be 
heard, give ear at least to the cries of this innocent 
child, and save us." At the same instant the storm 
abated, and he remained in safety. Let us miserable 
sinners do in like manner. We have offended God ; 
already has sentence of everlasting death been passed 
upon us; divine justice requires satisfaction, and with 
right. What have we to do? To despair? God for 
bid ! let us offer up to God this Infant, who is his own 

1 " Natalis Domini, natalis est pacis." In Nat. D. s. 6. 

2 " Princeps pacis." Isa. ix. 6. 

3 "Si peccata nostra superant nos, pretium suum non contemnit 
Deus." Serm. 22, Ed. B. 



44 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

Son, and let us address him with confidence : O Lord, 
if we cannot of ourselves render Thee satisfaction for 
our offences against Thee, behold this Child, who weeps 
and moans, who is benumbed with cold on his bed of 
straw in this cavern; he is here to make atonement for 
us, and he pleads for Thy mercy on us. Be it that we 
are undeserving of pardon, the tears and sufferings of 
this Thy guiltless Son merit it for us, and he entreats 
Thee to pardon us. 

This is what St. Anselm advises us to do ; he says 
that Jesus Christ himself, from his earnest desire not to 
have us perish, animates each one of us who finds him 
self guilty before God with these words : O sinner, do 
not lose heart ; if by thy sins thou hast unhappily become 
the slave of hell, and hast not the means to free thyself, 
act thus : take me, offer me for thyself to the Eternal 
Father, and so thou shalt escape death, thou shalt be in 
safety. " What can be conceived more full of mercy 
than what the Son says to us : Take me, and redeem 
thyself." This was, moreover, exactly what the divine 
Mother taught Sister Frances Farnese. She gave the 
Infant Jesus into her arms, and said to her: "Here is 
my Son for you ; be careful to make your profit of him 
by frequently offering him to his heavenly Father." 

And if we would still have another means to secure 
our forgiveness, let us obtain the intercession of this 
same divine Mother in our behalf; she is all-powerful 
with her blessed Son to promote the interests of repent 
ant sinners, as St. John Damascene assures us. Yes, for 
the prayers of Mary, adds St. Antoninus, have the force 
of commands with her Son, in consideration of the love 
he bears her : " The prayer of the Mother of God has 
the force of a command." 2 Hence, wrote St. Peter 

" Quid misericordius intelligi valet, quam cum Filius dicit: Tolle 
me, et redime te ?" Cur. D. //. 1. 2, c. 20. 

2 " Oratio Deiparae habet rationem imperil." P. 4, tit. 15, c. 17, 4. 



The Eternal Word becomes Little. 45 

Damian, when Mary goes to entreat Jesus Christ in 
favor of one who is devout to her, "she appears to com 
mand (in a certain sense), not to ask, as a mistress, not 
a handmaid ; for the Son honors her by denying her 
nothing." For this reason St. Germanus adds that the 
most holy Virgin, by the authority of mother which she 
exercises, or, rather, which she did exercise for a time 
over her Son upon earth, can obtain the pardon of the 
most abandoned sinner. "Thou, by the power of thy 
maternal authority, gainest even for the most enormous 
sinners the exceeding grace of pardon." 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my sweet, amiable, and holy Child ! Thou art at a loss what 
more to do to make Thyself beloved by men. It is enough to 
say that from being the Son of God Thou wert made the Son 
of man, and that Thou chosest to be born among men like the 
rest of infants, only poorer and more meanly lodged than the 
rest, selecting a stable for Thy abode, a manger for Thy cradle, 
and a little straw for Thy couch. Thou didst desire thus to 
make Thy first appearance before us in the semblance of a poor 
child, that even from Thy very birth Thou mightest lose no time 
in attracting our hearts towards Thee; and so Thou didst goon 
through the remainder of Thy life, ever showing us fresh and 
more striking tokens of Thy love, so that at length Thou didst 
will to shed the last drop of Thy blood and die overwhelmed 
with shame upon the infamous tree of the cross. And how is 
it that Thou couldst have encountered such ingratitude from 
the majority of mankind ; for I see few indeed that know Thee, 
and fewer still that love Thee ? Ah, my dear Jesus, I too desire 
to be reckoned among this small number! In time past, it is 
true, I have not known Thee ; but, heedless of Thy love, I have 
only sought my own gratifications, making no account what- 

1 " Accedis, non solum rogans. sed imperans; Domina, non ancilla; 
nam Films nihil negans honorat te." In Nat. B. V. s. I. 

8 " Tu autem, materna auctoritate pollens, etiam iis qui enormiter 
peccant, eximiam remissionis gratiam concilias." In Deip. Dorm. s. 2. 



46 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

ever of Thee and of Thy friendship. But now I am conscious 
of the wrong I have done ; I am sorry for it, I grieve over it with 
my whole heart. O my sweet Child and my God, forgive me 
for the sake of Thy infancy. I love Thee, and that so dearly, 

my Jesus, that even if I knew that all mankind were about 
to rebel against Thee and to forsake Thee, yet I promise never 
to leave Thee, though it should cost me my life a thousand times. 

1 am well aware that I am indebted to Thee for this light and 
this good resolution. I thank Thee for it, O my love! and I 
beseech Thee to preserve it to me by Thy grace. But Thou 
knowest my weakness, Thou knowest my past treasons ; for 
pity s sake do not abandon me, or I shall fall away even worse 
than before. Accept of my poor heart to love Thee ; there was 
a time when it cared not for Thee, but now it is enamoured of 
Thy goodness, O divine Infant ! O Mary ! O great Mother of 
the Incarnate Word ! neither do Thou abandon me ; for Thou 
art the mother of perseverance, and the stewardess of divine 
grace. Help me, then, and help me always ; with thy aid, O 
my hope ! I trust to be faithful to my God till death. 

DISCOURSE III. 
The Eternal Word from being Lord became a Servant. 

Semetipsum exinnnivit^formain servi accifiiens. 
" He humbled himself, taking the form of a servant." Phil. ii. 7, 8. 

On considering the immense mercy of our God in the 
work of the human redemption, St. Zachary had ^ood 
reason to exclaim, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because 
He hath visited and wrought the redemption of His people? 
Blessed forever be God, who vouchsafed to come down 
upon earth and to be made man in order to redeem man 
kind. That being delivered from the hands of our enemies, 
we may serve Him without fear: In order that, loosened 
from the shackles of sin and of death, wherein our ene- 

" Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel, quia visitavit, et fecit redemp- 
tionem plebissuae." 

" Ut sine timore, de manu inimicorum nostrorurn liberati, servi- 
amus illi." Ltike, i. 68-74. 



The Eternal Word became a Servant. 47 

mies held us fast bound and enthralled, we might fear 
lessly, and with the freedom of the children of God, love 
him and serve him during this life, and afterwards go 
and possess and enjoy him face to face in the kingdom 
of the blessed, in that kingdom closed against us indeed, 
heretofore, but now thrown open to us by our divine 
Saviour. 

We were, in fact, all heretofore the slaves of hell ; but 
what has the Eternal Word, our sovereign Lord, done to 
free us from that slavery ? From being Lord he became 
a servant. Let us consider what a mercy and what an 
excessive love this has been; but first let us beg light of 
Jesus and Mary. 

I. 

Almighty God is Lord of all that is, or that can be in 
the world : /// Thy power are all filings; for Thou hast 
created all. 1 Who can ever deny God the sovereign 
dominion over all things, if he be the Creator and Pre 
server of all ? And He hath on His garment and on His 
thigh written King of kings and Lord of lords? M a 1 d o n a t u s 
explains the words " on his thigh," to mean here, "by his 
own very nature;" and the drift of it is, that to the mon- 
archs of earth outward majesty is annexed by gift and 
favor of the supreme King, that is God; but God himself 
is King by his very nature; so that he cannot possibly 
be otherwise than King and Lord of all. 

But this sovereign King, though he bore sway over 
the angels in heaven, and ruled all creatures, yet he did 
not rule over the hearts of mankind ; mankind was 
groaning under the miserable tyranny of the devil. Yes, 
before the coming of Jesus Christ this tyrant was lord, 

1 " In ditione enim tua cuncta sunt posita. . . . Tu fecisti coelum et 
terram." Esth. xiii. 9. 

2 " Et habet in vestimento et in femore suo scriptum: Rex regum 
et Dominus dominantium. Apoc. xix. 16. 



48 Discourses for the Novcna of Christmas. 

and even made himself worshipped as God, with incense 
and sacrifices, not only of their animals, but even of their 
own children and of their own lives; and he, their enemy 
and tyrant, what return did he make them ? how did he 
treat them? He tortured their bodies with the most 
barbarous cruelty, he blinded their minds, and by a path 
of pain and misery conducted them down to everlasting 
torments. It was this tyrant that the divine Word came 
on purpose to overthrow, and to release mankind from 
his wretched thraldom, in order that the unfortunate 
creatures, freed from the darkness of death, rescued 
from the bondage of this savage monster, and enlight 
ened to know what was the true way of salvation, might 
serve their real and lawful Master, who loved them as a 
Father, and from slaves of Satan wished to make them 
his own beloved children: That being delivered from the 
hands of our enemies, we might serve Him without fear. The 
prophet Isaias had long ago foretold that our Redeemer 
should destroy the empire which Satan held over man 
kind: And the sceptre of their oppressor Thou hast overcome? 
And why did the prophet call him oppressor? Because, 
says St. Cyril, 2 this heartless master exacts from the poor 
sinners who become his slaves heavy tribute, in the shape 
of passions, hatreds, disorderly affections, by means of 
which he binds them in a still faster servitude, while at 
the same time he scourges them. Our Saviour came, 
then, to release us from the slavery of this deadly foe; 
but how ? in what manner did he release us ? Let us 
learn from St. Paul what he did: Who being in the form of 
God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God, but emptied him 
self, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness 
of men* He was already, says the Apostle, the only- 

" Sceptrum exactoris ejus superasti." Isa. ix. 4. 
2 "7/r. /. i, or. 5. 

"Cum in forma Dei esset, non rapinam arbitratus est esse se 
aequalem Deo; sed semetipsum exinanivit, formam servi accipiens. 
in similitudinem hominum factus." Phil. ii. 6. 



The Eternal Word became a Servant. 49 

begotten Son of God, equal to his Father, eternal as his 
Father, almighty as his Father, immense, most wise, most 
happy, and sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, of angels 
and of men, no less than his Father; but for the love of 
man he stooped to take the lowly form of a servant, by 
clothing himself in human flesh, and likening himself to 
men; and since sin had made them vassals of the devil, 
he came in the form of man to redeem them, offering his 
sufferings and death in satisfaction to the divine justice 
for the punishment due to them. Ah ! who would have 
believed it, if holy faith did not assure us of it? Who 
could ever have hoped for it ? who could ever have con 
ceived it? But faitli tells us and assures us that this 
supreme and sovereign Lord emptied himself, taking the 
form of a servant. 

From his tenderest childhood, the Redeemer, by be 
coming a servant, was eager to begin and wrench from 
the devil that dominion which he had over man, accord 
ing to the prophecy of Isaias : Call his name, hasten to take 
away the spoils: Make haste to take away the prey. 1 "That 
is," as St. Jerome explains it, "suffer the devil to reign 
no longer." a Behold Jesus, scarcely born, says the Ven 
erable Bede, before he assumes the form and office of a 
servant, in order to gain us freedom from the slavery of 
hell, he causes himself to be enrolled as a subject of 
Csesar, and pays him the tribute: " Scarcely born, he is 
registered in the census of Caesar, and for our liberation 
he himself is inscribed in the list of servitude." : Ob 
serve how, in token of his servitude, he begins to pay off 
our debts by his sufferings ; how he allows himself to be 
wrapped in swaddling-clothes (a type of the cords which 

1 "Voca nomen ejus: Accelera spolia detrahere, Festina prsedari." 

Isa. viii. 3. 

2 " Hoc est: Ne ultra patiatur regnare diabolum." 

3 " Mox natus, censu Csesaris adscribitur, atque ob nostri libera- 
tionem ipse servitio subdhur." In Luc. 2.. 

4 



5<D Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

should bind him at a later day, to be led to death by 
cruel executioners). "God suffers himself," says a cer 
tain author, " to be bound up in swaddling-bands, be 
cause he had come to unbind the world from its debts." 1 
Behold him during the whole course of his after-life 
obeying with ready submission a simple Virgin and a 
man: He was subject to them" 2 Look at him as a servant 
in the poor cottage at Nazareth, employed by Mary and 
Joseph at one time in smoothing the wood to be worked 
upon by Joseph in his trade; at another time in collect 
ing the scattered shavings for fuel ; then in sweeping the 
house, in fetching water from the well, in opening or in 
closing the shop ; in fine, says St. Basil, as Mary and Jo 
seph were poor, and obliged to earn a livelihood by the 
work of their hands, Jesus Christ, in order to practise obe 
dience, and to show towards them that reverence which 
as to Superiors he owed them, endeavored to render them 
all the services which lay in his power as man. " In his 
early age Jesus was subject to his parents, and obediently 
underwent every kind of bodily fatigue; for, as they 
were poor, they necessarily were obliged to labor. But 
Jesus showed his obedience by his submission to them, 
by undergoing every kind of labor." ; What ! a God to 
serve ! a God to sweep the house ! a God to work ! Ah, 
how the mere thought of this should inflame us all, and 
make us burn with love ! 

Subsequently, when our Saviour went forth to preach, 
he made himself the servant of all, declaring that he 
had come not to be served, but to serve all others: The. 

" Patitur Deus se pannis alligari, qui totius mundi debita venerat 
soluturus." De Nat. Chr. s. 3. 

2 "Erat subditus illis." Luke, ii. 51. 

" In primaaetate, subditus parentibus, omnem laborem corporalem 
obedienter sustinuit. Cum illi enim essent pauperes, merito laboribus 
dediti erant. Jesus autem, his subditus, omnium etiam simul perfer- 
endo labores, obedientiam declarabat." Const, mon. c. 4. 



The Eternal Word became a Servant. 5 1 

Son of Man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister. 1 
As much as to say, according to the commentary of 
Cornelius a Lapide, "I have conducted myself, and still 
conduct myself, so as to show how I would willingly 
minister to all as the servant of all." 

Hence Jesus Christ, says St. Bernard, at the close of 
his life, was not content to take the form of a simple 
servant, in order to be at the command of others, but 
even of a wicked servant, in order to be punished as 
such, and so to pay off that punishment which was due 
to us as the servants of hell in chastisement of our 
sins. "Taking not only the form of a servant, that he 
might obey, but of a wicked servant that he might be 
chastised, and so pay the penalty of the servant s sin." ! 

Behold, finally, says St. Gregory of Nyssa, how the 
Lord of all submits as an obedient subject to the unjust 
sentence of Pilate, and to the hands of his executioners, 
who barbarously torture and crucify him. "The Lord 
of all is obedient to the sentence of the judge, the king 
of all does not disdain to feel the hand of the execu 
tioner s." 4 St. Peter had said as much before: He de 
livered Himself to him that judged Him unjustly? And, like 
a servant, he is resigned to punishment, as if he had well 
deserved it : When He was reviled, He did not revile; and 
when He suffered, He threatened not. 6 Thus did our God 

1 " Filius hominis non venit ministrari, sed ministrare." Matt. 
xx. 28. 

* " Ita me gessi et gero, ut velim omnibus ministrare, quasi om 
nium servus." 

3 " Non solum formam servi accepit, ut subesset; sed etiam mali 
servi, ut vapularet; et servi peccati, ut poenam solveret." Serm. de 
Pass. 

4 " Omnium Dominus judicis sentential subjicitur ; omnium Rex 
carnificum manu exerceri non gravatur." De Beatit. or. i. 

5 " Tradebat autem judicanti se injuste." I Peter, ii. 23. 

6 "Cum rr.alediceretur, non maledicebat ; cum pateretur, non com- 
minabatur." Ib. ii. 23. 



52 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

love us to such a pass, that for our love he chose to obey 
as a servant even unto death, and a death of such ex 
treme bitterness and ignominy as the death of the cross: 
Becoming obedient unto death, even to tJie death of the cross. 1 
He obeyed, indeed, not as God, but as man, and as a 
servant, as he had made himself : Taking the form of a 
servant, and being made in the likeness of men? 

The world stood in admiration of that grand act of 
charity, which St. Paulinus performed in consenting to 
become a slave for the ransom of the son of a poor 
widow. But what comparison does this bear with the 
charity of our Redeemer, who being God, and in order 
to rescue us from the slavery of the devil and from death, 
our just due, chose to become a servant, to be fast bound 
with cords, to be nailed to the cross, and there in the 
end to lay down his life in a sea of sorrow and ignominy ? 
In order, says St. Augustine, that the servant might be 
come lord, God chose to become a servant. 3 

" O amazing condescension of Thy bounty towards us ! 
O inestimable tenderness of Thy charity !" 4 exclaims the 
Holy Church. "That Thou mightest redeem the ser 
vant, Thou hast delivered up the Son." 5 Thou, then, O 
God of boundless majesty, hast been so fascinated with 
love for men, that to redeem these Thy rebellious ser 
vants Thou hast consented to condemn Thy only Son to 
death. But, O Lord, replies the holy man Job : What is 
a man, that Thou shouldst magnify him ? or why dost Thou 

1 "Factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis." 
Phil. ii. 8. 

2 "Formam servi accipiens, in similitudinem hominum factus." 
Phil. ii. 7. 

* " Ut servus in dominum verteretur, formam servi Dominus ac- 
cepit." Serm. 371, E. B. 

4 "O mira circa nos tuae pietatis dignatio ! O insestimabilis dilectio 
charitatis." In Sabb. S. 

5 " Ut servum redimeres, Filium tradidisti." 



The Eternal Word became a Servant. 53 

set Thy heart upon him?* What is man, who is so vile, 
and has proved so ungrateful to Thee, that Thou 
shouldst make him so great, by honoring and loving 
him to such an excess? Tell me (he goes on to say), 
why are the salvation and happiness of man of so much 
importance to Thee? Tell me why Thou lovest him so 
much, that it would seem as if Thy heart was set on 
nothing else but to love and to make man happy? 

II. 

Speed on, then, with gladness, O ye souls that love 
God and hope in God, speed on your way with gladness ! 
What if Adam s sin, and still more our own sins, have 
wrought sad ruin on us ? let us understand that Jesus 
Christ, by the Redemption, has infinitely more than 
repaired our ruin : Where sin abounded, grace did more 
abound* Greater (says St. Leo) has been the acquisi 
tion which we have made by the grace of our Redeemer, 
than was the loss which we had suffered by the malice 
of the devil. 3 Isaias had long ago prophesied that by 
means of Jesus Christ man should receive graces from 
God far surpassing the chastisement merited by his 
sins : He hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all 
his sins." It is in this sense that Adam the commentator 
explains this text, as we find in Cornelius a Lapide : 
" God hath so given remission of sins to the Church 
through Christ, that she hath received double (that is 
manifold blessings) instead of the punishments of sin 

" Quid est homo, quia magnificas eum ? aut quid apponis erga 
eum cor tuum ? " Job, vii. 17. 

" Ubi autem abundavit delictum, superabundavit gratia." Kow. 

v. 20. 

"Ampliora adepti sumus per Christi gratiam, quam per diaboli 
amiseramus invidiam." De Asc. D. s. i. 

4 "Suscepit de manu Domini duplicia pro omnibus peccatis suis." 
7>a. xl. 2. 



54 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

which she deserved." The Lord said : / am come that 
they may have life, and may have it more abundantly? I am 
come to give life to man, and a more abundant measure 
of life than what they had lost by sin. Not as the offence, 
so also the gift? Great had been the sin of man ; but 
greater, says the Apostle, has been the gift of redemp 
tion, which has not only just sufficed for a remedy, but 
superabundantly : and with Him plentiful redemption? 
St. Ansel m says, that the sacrifice of the life of Jesus 
Christ surpassed all the debts of sinners: "The life of 
that Man surpasses every debt which sinners owe." 4 
For this reason the Church styles the fault of Adam a 
happy one : " O happy fault, which deserved to have so 
great a Redeemer." 5 It is true that sin has clouded the 
mind to the knowledge of eternal truths, and has intro 
duced into the soul the concupiscence of sensible goods, 
forbidden by the divine command ; yes, but what helps 
and means has not Jesus Christ obtained for us by his 
merits, in order to procure us light and strength to van 
quish all our enemies, and to advance in virtue? The 
holy sacraments, the Sacrifice of Mass, prayer to God 
through the merits of Jesus Christ, ah ! these are indeed 
arms and means sufficient, not only to gain the victory 
over all temptation and concupiscence, but even to run 
forward and fly in the way of perfection. It is certain 
that by these very means given to us, all the saints of 
the new law have become saints. Ours, then, is the 
fault, if we do not avail ourselves of them. 

Oh, how much more are we bound to thank Almighty 

1 " Ego veni ut vitam habeant, et abundantius habeant." John. 
x. 10. 

2 " Non sicut delictum, ita et donum." Rom. v. 15. 

3 " Et copiosa apud eum redemptio." Ps. cxxix. 7. 

4 "Vita Hominis illius superat omne debitum quod debent pecca- 
tores." Med. de Red. hum. 

5 " O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantura meruit habere Redemp- 
torem! In Sabb. S, 



The Eternal Word became a Servant. 55 

God for having brought us into life after the coming of 
the Messias ! How much greater blessings have we re 
ceived after the accomplishment of redemption by Jesus 
Christ ! How did Abraham desire ; how did the proph 
ets and patriarchs of the Old Testament long to see 
the Redeemer born ! But they saw him not. They 
deafened the heavens, so to speak, with their groans of 
desire and with their ardent prayers : Drop down dew, ye 
heavens from above, and let the clouds rain the just, was their 
incessant exclamation. Rain clown, O heavens, and send 
us the Just One, to appease the wrath of that God whom 
we ourselves cannot appease, because we are all sinners : 
Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the Ruler of the earth? 
Send, O Lord, the Lamb, who by sacrificing himself 
shall satisfy Thy justice for us, and so shall reign in the 
hearts of men, who are living on this earth the unhappy 
slaves of the devil : Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy, and 
grant us Thy salvation? Hasten and show us, O God of 
mercies, that greatest mercy which Thou hast already 
promised us, namely, our Saviour. Such were the as 
pirations and longing exclamations of the saints. But 
for all that, during the space of four thousand years, 
they had not the happy lot to see the Messias born : we, 
however, have had this happiness. But what are we 
doing? What knowledge have we, to take advantage of 
it? Do we know how to love this amiable Redeemer 
who is come at last, who has already ransomed us from 
the hands of our foes, has freed us by his own death from 
the eternal death which we had deserved, has thrown 
open Paradise for us, has provided us with so many 
sacraments, and with so many aids to serve him and 
love him in peace during this life, that we might go and 

1 " Rorate, coeli, desuper, et nubes pluant Justum." Isa. xlv. 8. 

2 "Emitte Agnum, Domine, domtnatorem terrse." Ibid. xvi. I. 

3 " Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum 
da nobis." Ps, Ixxxiv, 8. 



56 Discourses for the Novena of Christinas. 

enjoy him forever in the life to come? " He was," says 
St. Ambrose, "wrapped up in swaddling-clothes, that 
you might be loosed from snares ; his poverty is my 
patrimony ; the feebleness of the Lord is my strength ; 
his tears have washed away my guilt." l Very great 
would be your ingratitude to your God, O Christian 
soul, if you were not to love him, after he has been 
pleased to be bound in swaddling-clothes, that you 
might be released from the chains of hell ; after he has 
become poor, that you might be made partaker of his 
riches ; after he has made himself weak, to give you 
power over your enemies ; after he has chosen to suffer 
and to weep, that by his tears your sins might be 
washed away. 

But, O God ! how few there are who show themselves 
grateful for so immense a love by faithfully loving this 
their Redeemer ! Alas ! the greater part of men, after 
so incomparable a benefit, after so many great mercies 
and so much love, still say to God : Lord, we will not 
serve Thee; we would rather be slaves of the devil and 
condemned to hell than be Thy servants. Listen how 
God upbraids such thankless wretches : Thou hast burs 
My bands, and thou saidst : I will not serve? What say 
you, my brother? have you too been one of these? But 
tell me, whilst living far from God and the slave of the 
devil, tell me, have you felt happy ? Have you been at 
peace? Ah, no, the divine words can never fail: Be 
cause thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joy and glad 
ness of heart, thou shall serve thy enemy in hunger and thirst, 
and nakedness, and in want of all things? Since thou hast 

1 " Fuit ille involutus in pannis, ut tu mortis laqueis absolutus sis ; 
meum paupertas illius patrimonium est, et infirrnitas Domini mea 
virtus est, mea lacrymae illae delicta lavarunt." In Luc. 2. 

2 " Rupisti vincula mea, et dixisti: Non serviam." Jer. ii. 20. 

3 " Eo quod non servieris Domino Deo tuo in gaudio . . , servies 
inimico tuo ... in fame, etsiti, et nuditate, et omni penuria." Deut. 
xxviii. 47. 



The Eternal Word became a Servant. 57 

preferred to serve thy enemy rather than to serve thy 
God, behold how that tyrant has treated thee. He has 
made thee groan as a slave in chains, poor, afflicted, and 
deprived of every interior consolation. But come, rise 
up ; God speaks to thee whilst thou mayest still be freed 
from the fetters of death which bind thee : Loose the 
bonds from off thy neck, O captive daughter of Sion? Make 
haste while time is left, unbind thyself, poor soul, who 
hast become the voluntary slave of hell, strike off these 
cursed chains that hold thee fast as a prey for hell, and 
bind thyself instead with my chains of gold, chains of 
love, chains of peace, chains of salvation : her bands are a 
healthful binding? But in what manner are souls bound 
to God ? By love : Have charity, which is the bond of per 
fection? A soul that always walks by the single way of 
the fear of punishment, and from this single motive 
avoids sin, is always in great danger of making a relapse 
before long into sin ; but he that attaches himself to God 
by love is sure not to lose him as long as he loves him ; 
and for this reason we must continually beg God to 
grant us the gift of his holy love, always praying and 
saying : O Lord, keep me united with Thee, never suffer 
me to be separated from Thee and from Thy love. The 
fear which we ought rather to desire and beg of God is 
a filial fear, the fear of ever displeasing this our good 
Lord and Father. Let us also always have recourse to 
most holy Mary, our Mother, that she may obtain for us 
the grace to love nothing else but God, and that she 
would so closely unite us by love to her Blessed Son, 
that we may never more see ourselves separated from 
him by sin. 

1 "Solve vincula colli tui, captiva filia Sion." ha. lii. 2. 
8 "Vincula illius, alligatura salutaris." Eccltts. vi. 31. 
3 Charitatem habete, quod est vinculum perfectionis." Coloss. 
in. 14. 



58 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 



Affections and Prayers. 

O my Jesus ! Thou hast been pleased to become a servant for 
love of me, and in order to release me from the chains of hell ; 
and not only the servant of Thy Father, but of men and of exe 
cutioners, even to the laying down of Thy life ; and I, for the 
love of some wretched and poisonous pleasure, have so often 
forsaken Thy service, and have become the slave of the devil. 
A thousand times over I curse those moments in which, by a 
wicked abuse of my free-will, I despised Thy grace, O infinite 
Majesty ! In pity pardon me, and bind me to Thyself with those 
delightful chains of love with which Thou keepest Thy chosen 
souls in closest union with Thee. I love Thee, O Incarnate 
Word ; I love Thee, O my sovereign Good ! I have now no 
other desire but to love Thee ; and I have only one fear, that of 
seeing myself deprived of Thy love. O never suffer me to be 
separated from Thee again. I beseech Thee, O my Jesus ! by 
all the sufferings of Thy life and of Thy death, do not suffer me 
ever more to leave Thee : " Suffer me not to be separated from 
Thee, suffer me not to be separated from Thee." 1 Ah, my God, 
after all the favors Thou hast shown me, after pardoning me so 
repeatedly, and when now Thou dost enlighten me with so clear 
a knowledge, and invitest me to love Thee with so tender an 
affection, if I should ever be so wretched as again to turn my 
back upon Thee, how could I presume ever to receive pardon 
afresh ? and not rather be afraid that in that same instant Thou 
would cast me headlong into hell ? Ah, never permit it ; let me 
say again : " Suffer me not to be separated from Thee," 

O Mary, my refuge, thou hast hitherto been my sweet advo 
cate ; for it was thou that didst prevail on God still to wait for 
me and to pardon me with so much mercy ; help me at present, 
obtain for me the grace to die, and to die a thousand times, 
sooner than ever again to lose the grace of my God. 

" Ne permittas me separari a te ; ne permittas me separari a te." 



The Eternal Word becomes as it were Guilty. 59 



DISCOURSE IV. 

The Eternal Word from being Innocent becomes as it 
were Guilty. 

Consolamini, consolamini, papule meus, dicit Deiis vester. 
" Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God." Is. xl. i. 

Previous to the coming of our Redeemer, the whole 
unhappy race of mankind groaned in misery upon this 
earth ; all were children of wrath, nor was there one 
who could appease God, justly indignant at tfreir sins : 
Behold, Thou art angry, and we have sinned: . . . there 
is none that riseth up, and taketh hold of T/iee. 1 Yes, 
because it is God himself who has been offended by 
man : man, being nothing but a miserable creature, was 
unable, by whatever extent of chastisement, to make 
atonement for the injury offered to an infinite majesty : 
there was need of another god to satisfy the divine jus 
tice. But such a god did not exist, neither could there 
be found any besides the one God alone : on the other 
hand, the person offended could not make satisfaction to 
himself ; so that ours was a desperate case. 

But take comfort, take comfort, O men, saith the Lord 
by the mouth of Isaias : Be comforted, be comforted, my 
people, saith your God ; for her evil is come to an end? 
And the reason is, because God himself hath discovered 
a way of saving man, while at the same time his justice 
and his mercy shall both be satisfied : Justice and peace 
have kissed? The Son of God has himself become man, 
has taken the form of a sinner, arid loading his own 
shoulders with the burden of satisfying for mankind, he 
has made full compensation to the divine justice for the 

1 " Ecce tu iratus es. . . . Non est qui. . . . consurgat, et teneat 
te." Isa. Ixiv. 5. 

2 " Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus, dicit Deus vaster 

quia completa est malitia." Isa. xl. i. 

3 " Justida et Pax osculatse sunt." Ps. Ixxxiv. u. 



60 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

penalty merited by men, by the sufferings of his life and 
of his death ; and thus the opposite claims of justice and 
of mercy have been paid. 

Has Jesus Christ, then, from being innocent become 
guilty, to free men from eternal death ? that is to say, 
has he chosen to pass for a sinner? Yes, the love which 
he bears to mankind has brought him even to this pass. 
Let us consider him in this state ; but let us first beg 
light of Jesus and Mary to profit by it. 



I 



What was Jesus Christ? He was, answers St. Paul, 
holy, innocent, undefiled? He was, to speak more cor 
rectly, sanctity itself, innocence itself, purity itself, since 
he was true Son of God, true God as his Father ; and so 
dear to that Father, that the Father there on the banks 
of the Jordan declared, that in that Son he found all his 
complacency. But this Son being bent upon freeing 
mankind from their sins and from the death incurred by 
them, what did he do ? He appeared to take away our sins, 
says St. John. 2 He presented himself before his heavenly 
Father, and offered himself to pay for mankind ; and 
then the Father, as the Apostle tells us, sent him on 
earth to be clothed in human flesh, to take the appear 
ance of sinful man, and to be made in all things like to 
sinners : God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful 
flesh? And then St. Paul adds : And of sin hath condemned 
sin in the flesh. And by this he means, according to the 
explanation of St. John Chrysostom and Theodoret, that 
the Father sentenced sin to be dethroned from the 
tyranny which it exercised over mankind, by dooming 

" Sanctus, innocens, impollutus." Heb. vii. 26. 

" Apparuit ut peccata nostra tolleret." i John, iii. 5. 

"Deus Filium suum mittens in similitudinem carnis peccati." 

Rom. viii. 3. 
4 Et de oeccato damnavit peccatum in carne." 



The Eternal Word becomes as it were Guilty. 61 

to deatli his own divine Son, who, though he assumed 
flesh that was to all seeming contaminated with sin, was 
nevertheless holy and innocent. 

God, therefore, in order to save mankind, and at the 
same time to answer the claims of his justice, was pleased 
to condemn his own Son to a painful life and to a shame 
ful death. And can this ever be true ? It is of faith, and 
St. Paul assures us of it : He spared not even His own Son; 
but delivered Him up for us a//. Jesus Christ himself 
affirms it to us : God so loved the world, as to give his only- 
begotten Son. Celius Rodiginus relates, that there was 
a certain man, called Dceotarus, who had several sons, 
but loved one of them more than all the rest ; insomuch 
that in order to leave him his whole fortune, he had the 
monstrous cruelty to murder all the others. But God 
has done quite the reverse ; he has slain his well-beloved 
Son, his only Son, in order to give salvation to us vile 
and ungrateful worms : God so loved the world, as to give 
His only-begotten Son. 

Let us weigh these words : God so loved the world. 
What ? a God condescends to love men, miserable worms, 
that have been rebellious and ungrateful towards him, 
and to love them to such an extent (" the word so signi 
fies the vehemence of love," says St. John Chrysostom), 
so as to give his only-begotten Son ! that he chose to 
give them his very Son, and that only-begotten one 
whom he loved as much as himself ! Not a servant, not 
an angel, not an archangel did he give, but his own Sou, 3 
subjoins the same holy Doctor. But in what manner did 
he choose to give him ? He gave him to us lowly, hum- 

1 " Proprio Filio suo non pepercit, sed pro nobis omnibus tradidit 
ilium." Rom. viii. 32. 

2 " Sic enim Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum 
daret." John, iii. 16. 

3 " Non servum, non Angelum, non Archangelum dedit, sed Filium 
suum !" In Jo. now. 27. 



62 Discourses for the Novcna of Christmas. 

bled, poor, despised ; he gave him into the hands of 
slaves to be treated as a miscreant, and even to be put to 
death, covered with shame, on an infamous gibbet. O 
grace ! O force of the love of a God ! exclaims St. Ber 
nard : " O grace ! O the strength of love !" O God, who 
would not be touched to hear of such an instance, that a 
monarch, to release his slave, was compelled to put his 
only son to death, that son who was all the love of his 
father, and was beloved by him as his very self ? Had 
not God done this, says St. John Chrysostom, who could 
ever have imagined it or hoped for it ? " What things 
the human mind could never have conceived, could never 
have hoped for, these things he has bestowed on us." 2 

But, O Lord, it seems like an injustice to sentence an 
innocent son to die for the purpose of saving a slave who 
has offended Thee. " According to all human reasoning," 
says Salvian, "one would certainly accuse that man of 
outrageous injustice who should kill an innocent son hi 
order to free his servants from the death which they had 
deserved." 5 Yet no, with God this has not passed for 
injustice, because the Son made the spontaneous offering 
of himself to the Father to satisfy for men: He was of 
fered, because it was His own will* Behold, then, how 
Jesus voluntarily sacrifices himself as a victim of love for 
us; behold him, how as a mute lamb he puts himself 
into the hands of the shearer, and although innocent, he 
comes to suffer from men the greatest ignominies and 
torments, without even opening his mouth : He shall be 
dumb as a lamb before His shearer, and He shall not open His 

" O gratiam ! O amoris vim !" 

" Quse nunquam humanus animus aut cogitare aut sperare potuit, 
haec nobis largitus est." In i 7 im. horn. 4. 

"Quantum ad rationem humanam pertinet, injustam rem homo 
quilibetfaceret, si pro pessimis servis filium bonum occideret." De 
Cub. D. 1. 4. 
4 "Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit." Isa. liii. 7. 



The Eternal Word becomes as it were GUI, 63 

mouth. 1 Behold, in fine, our loving Redeemer, who to 
save us chose to surfer death and the punishment deserved 
by us : Surely He hath borne our infirmities, and carried 
our sorrows? St. Gregory Nazianzen says, " He refused 
not to surfer as guilty, provided only that men might 
obtain salvation." 

Who has done this ? asks St. Bernard. What has been 
the cause of this immense prodigy? A God to die for 
his creatures ! Who has done this ? Charity has done 
this. 4 This has been wrought by the love which God 
bears to man. The saint pursues his meditation on the 
time when our amiable Redeemer was seized by the sol 
diers in the garden of Gethsemani, as is related by St. 
John : And they bound Him? And then he says to our 
Lord: " What hast Thou to do with chains ?" 6 My Lord, 
he says, I behold Thee bound by this vile rabble as if 
Thou wert a criminal, and they are about to drag Thee 
to an unjust death. But, O God, what have cords and 
chains to do with Thee ? such things belong to evil-doers, 
but not to Thee, who art innocent, who art the Son of 
God, innocence itself, holiness itself. St. Laurence Jus 
tinian replies that the bonds which dragged Jesus Christ 
to death were not those that were fastened on him by the 
soldiers, but the love he bore towards men ; and here 
upon he exclaims : " O charity, how strong are thy bonds, 
by which even a God could be bound !" 

1 " Et quasi agnus coram tondente se, obmutescet, et non aperietos 
suum." Isai. liii. 7. 

2 " Vere languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse porta- 
vit." Ibid liii. 4. 

3 " Tanquam impius pati non recusat, modo homines salutem conse- 
quantur." 

4 " Quis hoc fecit ? Fecit amor." 

5 " Comprehendcrunt Jesum, et ligaverunt eum." John, xviii. 12. 

6 " Quid tibi et vinculis ! " De Pass. D. c. 4. 

1 "O charitas ! quam magnum est viaculum tuum, quo Deus ligari 
potuit !" Lign. v. de Char. c. 6. 



64 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

The same St. Bernard goes on to consider the iniqui 
tous sentence of Pilate, who condemned Jesus to the 
cross, after several times having declared him innocent ; 
and then, turning himself to Jesus, he thus bewails him 
self before him : "What hast Thou done, O most inno 
cent Saviour, that Thou receivest such a judgment?" 1 
Ah, my Lord, I hear this wicked judge condemning Thee 
to die upon the cross; and what evil hast Thou done? 
what crime hast Thou ever perpetrated to deserve such 
a death of torture and shame? a death awarded to none 
but to the most guilty wretches ? But he then resumes 
by replying : Ah, I now comprehend, O my Jesus ! what 
crime it is of which Thou art guilty ? It is of having loved 
mankind too dearly: " Thy love is Thy crime." 2 Yes, it is 
this love, more than Pilate, that condemns Thee to death ; 
because it is to payoff the penalties due from mankind 
that Thou hast willed to suffer death. 

As the time of the Passion of our Blessed Re 
deemer drew near, he besought his Fatherthat he would 
hasten to glorify him, by permitting him to offer to him 
the sacrifice of his life : Father, glorify Thy Son? At 
this, St. John Chrysostom asks, in astonishment, "What 
sayest Thou ? Dost thou call these things glory ?"* A 
Passion and a death accompanied with such sufferings 
and shame, dost Thou call this Thy glory? And the 
saint then replies to his own question for Jesus Christ : 
" Yes, since it is for my beloved ones, I esteem it a 
glory." 5 Yes, so immense is the love I entertain for 
mankind that it makes me regard it my glory to suffer 
and to die for their sake. 

1 " Quid fecisti, O innocentissime Salvator ! quod sic condemna- 
veris ?" 

2 " Amor tuus, peccatum tuum." 

3 " Et nunc clarifica me tu, Pater." John, xvii. 5. 

4 " Quid dieis ? haec gloriam appellas ?" 

* " Ita, pro dilectis haec gloriam existimo." In Eph. horn. 3, 



The Eternal Word becomes as it were Guilty. 65 



II. 

Say to the faint-hearted, Take courage, and fear not: behold 
your God will bring the revenge of recompense; God Himself 
will come and will save you. 1 Fear not, then, says the 
prophet; be no more in despair, O poor sinners ! What 
fear can you have not to be pardoned, when the Son of 
God comes down from heaven to save you? Has not he 
himself made compensation to God by the sacrifice of 
his life for that just vengeance which our sins demanded ? 
If you cannot by your own works appease an offended 
God, behold one that can appease him; this very infant 
which you now see reposing on straw, trembling with 
cold, and weeping, he, with his tears, propitiates him. 

You have no grounds for being any more sad, says St. 
Leo, on account of the sentence of death fulminated 
against you, now that life itself is born for you; " nor is 
there any lawful room for sadness, when it is the birth 
day of life." 2 And St. Augustine: " O sweet day for 
penitents, to-day sin is taken away, and shall the sinner 
despair?" If you are unable to render due satisfaction 
to the divine justice, look on Jesus who does penance for 
you; already does he commence to do it in this little 
cave; he will persevere in doing penance all his life, and 
finally bring it to a conclusion on the cross, to which 
(according to the saying of St. Paul) he will affix the 
decree of your condemnation, cancelling it with his own 
blood : Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was 

1 " Dicite pusillanimis: Confortamini, et nolite timere; ecce Deus 
vester ultionem adducet retributionis; Deus ipse veniet, et salvabit 
vos." Isa. xxxv. 4. 

>2 " Neque fas est locum esse tristitiae, ubi natalis est Vitae." In Nat. 
D. s. i. 

3 " Dulcis dies pcenitentibus; hodie peccatum tollitur, et peccator 
desperat." S. 117, E. B. app. 
5 



66 Discourses for the Novena of Cliristmas. 

against us, which was contrary to us. And He hath taken the 
same out of the way, fastening it to the cross? 

The same apostle says that Jesus Christ, by dying for 
us, was made our justification: He is made unto us wisdom* 
and justice, and sanctification, and redemption. 2 "Justice," 
comments St. Bernard, " in the washing-away of sins." 
Yes; for God, accepting on our behalf the torments and 
death of Jesus Christ, is obliged to pardon us by virtue 
of the compact made: Him that knew no sin, for us He hath 
made sin, that we might be made the justice of God in Him." 
The innocent one was made a victim for our sins, in 
order that forgiveness through his merits might of right 
belong to us. For this reason David prays God to save 
him, not only for his mercy s sake, but likewise for the 
sake of his justice: Deliver me in Thy justice? 

The eagerness of God to save sinners was always im 
mense. This eagerness led him to approach them with 
that cry: Return, ye transgressors, to the heart? Sinners, 
enter once more into your own hearts; think of the bene 
fits yon have received from me, on the love I have borne 
you, and offend me no more. Turn ye to Me, and I will 
turn to you? Turn back to me, and I will receive you in 
my embraces: Why will you die, O house of Israel? Re 
turn ye and live? My children, why will you destroy 

1 " Delens quod adversus nos erat chirographum decreti, quod crat 
contrarium nobis, et ipsum tulit de medio, affigens illud cruci." 

Coloss. ii. 14. 

2 "Factus est nobis sapientia a Deo, et justitia, et sanctificatio, et 

icdemptio." I Cor. i. 30. 

3 " In ablutione peccatorum." In Cant. s. 22. 

4 " Eum, qui non noverat peccatum, pro nobis peccatum fecit, ut nos 
efficeremur justitia Dei in ipso." 2 Cor. v. 21. 

5 " In justitia tua libera mea." Ps. xxx. 2. 

6 " Redite, pravaricatores, ad cor." Isa. xlvi. 8. 

7 " Convertimini ad me . . . et convertar ad vos"Zach. i. 3- 

s "Quare moricmini, domus Israel? . . . revertimini, et vivite." 
Ezech. xviii. 31. 



The Eternal Word becomes as it were Guilty. 67 

yourselves, and of your own free-will condemn yourselves 
to everlasting death ? Return to me and you shall live. 

In a word, his infinite mercy induced him to descend 
from heaven to earth to come and free us from eternal 
death : Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which 
the Orient from on high hath visited us. 1 But here we must 
be mindful of what St. Paul says: previously to God be 
coming man he reserved mercy for us; but he could not 
feel compassion for our miseries, because compassion 
implies some suffering, and God is incapable of suffering. 
Now, says the apostle, in order to be moved also with 
compassion for us the Eternal Word willed to become 
man, capable of suffering, and similar to other men who 
are afflicted with compassion, so that he might be able 
not only to save us, but also to compassionate us: For 
we have not a High Priest who cannot have compassion on our 
infirmities, but one tempted in all things like as we are, without 
sin* And in another passage: // behoved Him in all 
thitigs to be made like unto His brethren, that He might become 
merciful. 

Oh, what a tender compassion has Jesus Christ for 
poor sinners! This makes him say, that he is that shep 
herd who goes about seeking the lost sheep, and on 
finding it he arranges a festival, saying: Rejoice with Me, 
because I have found My sheep that was lost. And He lays 
it upon His shoulders rejoicing , 3 and thus he carefully keeps 
possession of it in his fond embraces for fear he should 
again lose it. This, too, caused him to say that he is 
that loving Father who, whenever a prodigal son that 

ll< Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri, in quibus visitavit nos 
Oriens ex alto." Luke, i. 73. 

2 " Non enim habemus pontificem qui non possit compati infirmita- 
tibus nostris, tentatum autem per omnia pro similitudine absque 
peccato. Debuit per omnia fratribus similari, ut misericors fieret." 
Heb. iv. 15 ; ii. i 7. 

3 " Congratulamini mihi, quia inveni ovem meam quae perierat. Im- 
ponit in humeros suos gaudens." Luke, xv. 4-6. 



68 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

has left him returns to his feet, does not thrust him 
away, but embraces him, kisses him, and as it were faints 
away for the consolation and fondness which he feels in 
beholding his repentance: And running to him, He fell upon 
his neck and kissed him. 1 This causes him to say, / stand 
at the gate and knock; 2 that is, that, although driven 
away from the soul by sin, he does not abandon her, but 
he places himself outside the door of her heart and 
knocks by his calls to gain readmittance. This made him 
say to his disciples, who with an indiscreet zeal would 
have called down vengeance on those who repulsed 
them: You know not of what spirit you are. 3 You see that 
I have so much compassion on sinners; and do you desire 
vengeance on them ? Go, go away, for you are not of 
my spirit. Finally, this compassion made him say: 
Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will re 
fresh you? Come to me, all ypu that are afflicted and 
tormented with the weight of your sins, and I will give 
you ease. 

And, in fact, with what tenderness did our amiable 
Redeemer, the moment she repented, forgive Magdalene, 
and change her into a saint ! With what kindness did 
he forgive the paralytic, and at the same moment restore 
him to bodily health ! And with what sweet gentleness, 
above all, did he treat the woman taken in adultery ! The 
priests brought that sinner before him, that he might 
condemn her; but Jesus turning towards her said: Hath 
no man condemned thee ? Neither will I condemn thee. As 
if he would thereby say: None of those who conducted 
thee hither hath condemned thee, and how, then, shall I 

i"Accurrens cecidit super collum ejus, et osculatus est eum." 
Luke, xv. 20. 

2 " Ecce sto ad ostium, et pulso." Apoc. iii. 20. 

3 " Nescitis cujus spiritus estis." Lnke, ix. 55. 

4 " Venite ad me omnes, qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego reft- 
ciam vos." J/a#. xi. 28, 



The Eternal Word becomes as it were Guilty. 69 

condemn thee, I who came to save sinners ? Go in peace, 
and sin no more. 1 

Oh no, let us not be afraid of Jesus Christ; but let us 
be afraid of our own obstinacy, if after offending him we 
will not listen to his voice, inviting us to be reconciled. 
Who is he that shall condemn ? says the apostle: Christ Jesus 
that died; who also maketh inter cession for vs.* If we persist 
in our obstinacy, Jesus Christ will be constrained to con 
demn us; but if we repent of the evil we have done, what 
fear need we have of Jesus Christ ? Who has to pro 
nounce on us sentence? Think (says St. Paul) that the 
self-same Redeemer has to sentence thee who died just 
that he might not condemn thee; that self-same one who, 
that he might pardon thee, hath given himself no par 
don : "In order to redeem the servant, He hath not 
spared himself," 3 says St. Bernard. 

Go, then, O sinner, go to the stable of Bethlehem, and 
thank the Infant Jesus, all shivering with cold for thy 
sake in that cave, moaning and weeping for thee on a 
bundle of straw; give thanks to this thy Redeemer, who 
has come down from heaven to call thee to himself and 
to save thee. If ihou art desirous of pardon, he is wait 
ing thee in that manger to pardon thee. Go quickly, 
then, and obtain thy pardon; and afterwards do not for 
get the excessive love which Jesus Christ has borne thee: 
Forget not the kindness of thy surety. Forget not (says the 
prophet) that high favor he has done thee by making 
himself surety for thy debts to God, in taking on him 
self the chastisement deserved by thee; do not forget it, 

1 " Nemo te condemnavit ? . . . Nee ego te condemnabo. Vade, et 
jam amplius noli peccare." John, viii. 10, u. 

2 " Quis est qui condemnet ? Christus Jesus, qui mortuus est, . . , 
qui etiam interpellat pro nobis." Rom. viii. 34. 

3 "Ut servum redimeret, sibi Filius ipse non pepercit." Serm. de 
Pass. 

4 "Gratiam fidejussoris ne obliviscaris." Ecclus. xxix. 20. 



70 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

and love him for it. And know further, that shouldst 
thou lov r e him, thy past sins will not stand in the wav of 
thy receiving from God those specially great and choice 
graces which he is wont to bestow on his most beloved 
souls: All things work together unto good? " Even sins," 
subjoins the gloss. Yes, even the remembrance of the 
sins we have committed contributes to the advantage of 
the sinner who bewails and detests them, because this 
very thing will conquer to make him more humble 
and more pleasing to God, when he sees how God has 
welcomed him into the arms of his loving mercies: 
There shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, 
more than upon ninety-nine just. 2 

But of what sinner it is to be understood that he gives 
more joy to heaven than a whole multitude of just ones ? 
It is to be understood of tha 1 : sinner who, out of grati 
tude to the divine goodness, devotes himself wholly and 
fervently to the love of God, after the example of a St. 
Paul, a St. Mary Magdalene, a St. Mary of Egypt, a St. 
Augustine, and a St. Margaret of Cortona, To this last 
saint in particular, who had formerly spent several years 
in sin, God revealed the place prepared for her in heaven, 
amongst the Seraphim; and even during her life he 
showed her many signal favors, insomuch that, beholding 
herself so favored, she one day said to God, "O Lord, 
how is it that Thou lavishest so many graces on me? 
Hast Thou, then, forgotten the sins I have committed 
against Thee?" And God thus answered her: "And do 
you not know what I have before told you, that when a 
soul repents of its faults I no longer remember all the 
outrages it has been guilty of towards me?" This same 
thing he had long ago announced by his Prophet Eze- 

1 "Omnia cooperantur in bonum." Rom. viii. 28. 

" Ita gaudium erit in coelo super uno peccatore poenitentiam 
agente, quam super nonaginta novem justis." Luke, xv. 7. 



The Eternal Word becomes as it were Guilty. 71 

chiel : If the wicked do penance . . . I will not remember all 
his iniquities. 1 

Let us conclude. Our sins, then, do not prevent us 
from becoming saints; God offers us readily every assist 
ance if we only desire it and ask it. What more remains ? 
It remains for us to give ourselves entirely to God, and 
to devote to his love at least the remainder of our days 
in this life. Come, then, let us bestir ourselves; what 
are we doing ? If we fail, we fail through ourselves, and 
not through God. Let us never be so unhappy as to 
turn all these mercies and loving calls of God into sub 
jects of remorse and despair upon our death- bed, at that 
last moment when no more time is left to do anything; 
then the night sets in: The night cometh, when no man can 
work? 

Let us recommend ourselves to the most holy Mary, 
who, as St. Germanus says, makes it her glory to turn 
the most abandoned sinners into saints, by procuring for 
them the grace of conversion, not in an ordinary, but in 
an extraordinary degree; and this she is well able to do, 
because what she asks of Jesus Christ she asks as a 
Mother: " But thou, powerful with God by thy maternal 
authority, obtainest a wonderful grace of reconciliation 
for sinners, even for those who have sinned enormously;" 3 
and she herself encourages us in those words put into 
her mouth by the Holy Church: With me are riches . . . 
that I may enrich them that love me ^ and elsewhere- In me 
is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of 

1 " Si impiusegerit poenitentiam . . . omnium iniquitatum ejus . . . 
non recordabor." Ezech. xviii. 21. 

* " Venit nox, quando nemo potest operari." John, ix. 4. 

3 " Tu autem, materna in Deum auctoritate pollens, etiam iis qu 
enormiter peccant, eximiam remissionis gratiam concilias." InDeip. 
Dorm. s. 2. 

4 " Mecum sunt divitiae, . . . ut ditem diligentes me." Prov. viii. 
18. 



72 Discourses for tJic Novcna of Christmas. 

life and of virtue? Come to me all, she says, because 
you shall find with me every hope of saving yourselves, 
and of saving yourselves as saints. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my Redeemer and God ! and who am I, that Thou shouldst 
have loved me, and still continuest to love me, so much ? What 
hast Thou ever received from me that has obliged Thee so to 
love me? what, except slights and provocations, which were a 
reason for Thee to abandon me, and to banish me forever from 
Thy face ? But, O Lord ! I accept of every penalty except this. 
If Thou dost forsake me, and deprive me of Thy grace, I can 
nevermore love Thee. I have not the pretensions to escape 
punishment; but I wish to love Thee, and to love Thee exceed 
ingly. I wish to love Thee as a sinner is bound to love Thee, 
who, after so many special favors, and so many marks of love 
received from Thee, has, in spite of all, so frequently turned his 
back upon Thee ; who, for the sake of wretched momentary and 
poisonous gratifications, has renounced Thy grace and Thy love 
Pardon me, O my beloved Infant, for I am sorry with my whole 
heart for every single displeasure I have given Thee. But 
know that I shall not be content with a simple pardon ; I desire 
also the grace to love Thee ardently ; I wish to make compen 
sation by my love as much as possible for the past ingratitude 
which I have shown Thee. An innocent soul loves Thee as 
innocent, and thanks Thee for having preserved it from the 
death of sin. I must love Thee as a sinner ; that is, as one who 
has rebelled against Thee, as one condemned to hell, as often as 
I deserved it ; and then so often graciously received back by 
Thee and re established in the way of salvation, and over and 
above enriched with lights, with helps, with invitations to be 
come a saint. O Redeemer, and Redeemer again and again of 
rnysoul! my soul is now enamoured of Thee, and loves Thee. 
Thou hast loved me above measure, so that, overcome by Thy 
love, I could no longer resist its winning appeals, and at last I 
now surrender myself, and fix all my love on Thee. I love Thee, 
then, O infinite Goodness ! I love Thee, O most lovable God ! 

" In me gratia omnis vise et veritatis, in me omnis spes vitae et 
virtutis; transite ad me omnes." Eccles. xxiv. 25. 



The Eternal Word became Weak. 73 

Do Thou never cease to enkindle more and more in my heart 
the flames and fiery darts of love. For Thy own glory cause 
Thyself to be greatly loved by one who has greatly offended 
Thee. Mary, my Mother, thou art the hope, the refuge of sin 
ners ; assist a sinner who desires to prove faithful to his God ; 
help me to love him, and to love him exceedingly. 

DISCOURSE V. 
The Eternal Word from being Strong became Weak. 

Dicite pusillanimis: Confortamini, et nolite timere: . . . Deus ipse veniet, et 
sali< ab it i os. 

41 Say to the faint-hearted : Take courage, and fear not : God Himself will come 
and will save you." Isa. xxxv. 4. 

Isaias. speaking of the coming of the Redeemer, made 
this prediction: The land that was desolate and impassable 
shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice and shall flourish 
like the lily. 1 The Prophet had been speaking of the 
pagans (among whom were our unfortunate ancestors), 
who were living in heathendom, as in a desert land, 
void of a single man that knew and worshipped the true 
God, but peopled only with those who were slaves of the 
devil: a desert land and impassable, because there was 
no path of salvation known to these wretched people. 
And he foretold that the land, though so miserable then, 
would afterwards rejoice at the coming of the Messias, 
and would see itself filled with followers of the true God, 
strengthened by his grace against all the enemies of 
their salvation; and that it would blossom as the lily, 
by purity of morals and by the sweet odor of all holy 
virtues. Wherefore Isaias proceeds to say: Say to the 
faint-hearted, Take courage, and fear not: God Himself will 
come and save you? This very event, foretold by Isaias, has 

1 " Leetabitur deserta et in via, etexsultabit solitude, et florebit quasi 
lilium." ha. xxxv. i. 

8 " Dicite pusillanimis: Confortamini, et nolite timere; . . . Deus 
ipse veniet, et salvabit vos." 



74 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

already happened. Let me, then, exclaim with gladness: 
^o on joyfully O children of Adam! go on joyfully, be 
no more fa.nt-hearted. Even though you perceive your 
selves weak, and unable to stand against so many ene- 
m.es Fear not; God himself will come and save you." 
God h.mself has come on earth, and has redeemed us by 
ii.part.ng to you strength sufficient to combat and to 
vanquish every enemy of your salvation 

How did our Redeemer procure for us this strength > 
From be.ng strMg and omnipotent, he has become leak 
He has taken on himself our weakness, and bv so doing 
has communicated to us his strength. Let us see the 
truth rf this. But let us first seek" Hght of jLuTal 

I. 

God is that strong one who alone can be called strong 
because he is strength itself; and whoever is stront 
derives strength from him: Strength is Mine, and by M e 
****? saith 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 : BekoM, Thou kast ma de heaven. 
nd earth by Thy great power, and no word shall be hard to 
By a nod he created heaven and earth out of 
hmg: ffe spoke, and they were made? And did he choose 
do so, he could destroy the immense machinery of the 
un.verse by a single nod, as he created it: At a beck He 
can utterly destroy the whole world? We know already how 
when it pleased him, he burnt five entire cities with a 
{ fire. We know how, previously to that, he 

"Nolitetimere; . . . Deus ipse veniet, et salvabit vos " 
|; Mea est fortitude; per me reges regnant. -/-, viii. ,4 

J fecisti coelum et terram i n fortitudine tua; . . . non 
ent tib! d.fflcile omne verbum." /-. xxxii. 17 
j Ipse dixit et facta mnt."fi. cxlviii. 5. 
Potest. . . . universum mundum uno nutu delere."- 2 Mack 



The Eternal Word became Weak. 75 

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 can 
ever resist the strength of your arm ? 

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 him 
self against the Almighty. 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 who 
makes an assault on the Creator himself, who scorns his 
precepts, disregards his threats, despises his grace, and 
declares himself his enemy ! 

But these rash and ungrateful men are the very men 
whom the Son of God has come to save, by making him 
self man, and by taking on himself the chastisement de 
served 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 he do ? From strong and al 
mighty as he was, he became weak, and assumed to him 
self the bodily infirmities of man, in order to procure for 
man by His merits the strength of soul requisite to sub 
due 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, that he 
cannot move himself. 

The Eternal Word, incoming to be made man, wished 
t-o conceal his strength: God will come from the south ; 
there is His strength hid.* We find (says St. Augustine) 



1 " Virtuti brachii tui quis resistet?" Wis. xi. 22. 

2 " Tetendit enim adversus Deum manum suam, et contra Omnipo- 
tentem roboratus est." Job. xv. 25, 

3 " Deus ab austro veniet . . . ; ibi abscondita est fortitude ejus." 
Hab. iii. 3, 4. 



76 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

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 labor. Would you see 
him weak? The Word was made flesh." ] Now this 
strong one has chosen to become weak, says the saint, 
to repair by his weakness our infirmity, 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 with Jerusalem: How 
often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen 
doth gather her chickens under her wings ! and thou wouldst 
not? 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 be 
coming infirm and weak, he made himself known for the 
father and mother of us poor weak creatures. 

Behold him who governs the heavens (says St. Cyril) 
swathed in rags, and unable even to stretch forth his lit 
tle arms. 4 Behold him in that journey which by his 
Father s will he had to make into Egypt ; he wished al 
ready to obey, but he cannot walk ; Mary and Joseph 
are obliged to take turns in carrying him in their arms. 
And in their return from Egypt, as St. Bonaventure con 
templates, they have frequently to stop and rest, because 
the divine child was now so much grown that he was 
too large to be carried in the arms ; whilst, on the other 
hand, he was too small and feeble to make a long jour- 

"Invenimus fortem et infirmum Jesum: fortem, per quern sine la- 
bore facia sunt omnia; infirmum vis nosse? Verbum caro factum 
est." 

2 " Condidit nos fortitudine sua; qusesivit nos infirmitate sua." 
In Jo. tr. 15. 

" Quoties volui congregare filios tuos, quemadmodum gallina 
congregat pullos suos sub alas, et noluisti !" Matt, xxiii. 37. 
4 " Qui coelum regit, fasciis involvitur." 



The Eternal Word became Weak. 77 

ney: " He is so large that he cannot be carried, and so 
small that he cannot walk alone." 

Look at him afterwards in the shop at Nazareth, grow 
ing towards manhood, how busily he toils and labors in 
helping Joseph at his trade of carpenter ! Who can ever 
attentively consider Jesus, that beautiful youth, fatigu 
ing and exhausting himself to bring into form some 
rough-hewn piece of wood, and not exclaim: But, most 
sweet youth, art Thou not that God, who by a mere nod 
didst create the world out of nothing ? And how comes 
it that Thou hast labored now for a whole day, and 
bathed in sweat, to fashion this piece of wood ; and even 
still Thy work remains unfinished? Who has reduced 
Thee to such a state of weakness? O holy faith ! O di 
vine love ! O God ! O God ! how such a thought as this, 
if once well penetrated, would suffice, not only to inflame 
us, but to reduce us, so to speak, into ashes with the fire 
of love ! Has a God, then, come to such a pass as this? 
and wherefore? To make himself loved by men ! 

Observe him, again, at the close of his life bound with 
cords in the garden, from which he cannot loose him 
self ; tied in the praetorium to a pillar to undergo the 
scourging; see him with the cross on his shoulders, but 
too feeble to carry it, and therefore he frequently falls 
upon the road ; see him fixed to the cross with nails, 
from which he can find no escape ; behold him, finally, 
how, for very exhaustion and weakness, he is already in 
his agony, draws near his end, and expires. 

ii. 

And for what reason did Jesus Christ become so 
weak? He made himself weak, as we said above, that 
so he might communicate his strength to us, and by this 

1 "Sic magnus est, quod portari non prsevalet ; et sic parvus, quod 
per se ire non potest." Med. vit. Chr. c. 13. 



78 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

means conquer and subdue the powers of hell : The 
lion of the tribe of Juda hath prevailed. 1 David says that 
the will to save us and to free us from death is a part 
and property of God s divine nature. Our God is the 
God of salvation: And of the Lord, of the Lord are the is 
sues from death? On which passage Bellarmine makes 
this commentary: "This is proper to him, this is his 
very nature ; our God is a saving God , and of our God 
are the issues of death that is, the delivery from death." 3 
Are we indeed weak ? let us put our trust in Jesus Christ, 
and we shall be capable of all things: / can do all things 
in Him who strengthened me? said the Apostle. I am 
able for all things, not by my own strength, but by the 
strength which my Redeemer has obtained for me 
through his merits: Have confidence, I have overcome the 
world? Take courage, my children, Jesus Christ says to 
us ; if you are unable to resist your enemies, / have 
overcome the world ; and know that I have overcome it 
for you. My conquest was to give you the spoils ; avail 
yourselves now of the arms which I leave you to defend 
yourselves, for you are sure to triumph. 

What are the arms which Jesus Christ has left us ? 
They are two, the use of the sacraments and prayer. 

Everybody knows that by means of the sacraments, 
especially of penance and the Holy Eucharist, are im 
parted to us the graces which our Saviour has merited 
for us ; and experience shows us every day that those 
who frequent the sacraments easily keep themselves in 
the grace of God. And, especially, how is he that often 

1 " Vicit Leo de tribu Juda." Apoc. v 5. 

2 " Deus noster, Deus salvos faciendi ; et Domini, Domini exitus 
mortis."/^. Ixvii. 21. 

" Hoc est illi proprium, hsec est ejus natura: ipse Deus noster est 
Deus salvans, et Dei nostri sunt exitus mortis, id est liberatio a 
morte." 

4 " Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat." Phil. iv. 13. 

5 " Confidite , ego vici mundum." John, xvi. 33. 



The Eternal Word became Weak. 79 

communicates strengthened in a wonderful manner to 
vanquish temptations! The Holy Eucharist is called 
bread, the heavenly bread, that we may understand how 
the Communion preserves the life of the soul, which is 
divine grace, just as earthly bread preserves the life of 
the body. For the same reason the Council of Trent 
calls Holy Communion a remedy which relieves us from 
venial and preserves us from mortal sins: "An antidote 
by which we are freed from daily faults, and are pre 
served from mortal sins. 1 St. Thomas, speaking of the 
Holy Eucharist, says that the wound left by sin would 
remain incurable, were it not for this remedy which is 
given to us. "It would be incurable, were it not the 
medicine of God applied to cure us." Moreover, Inno 
cent III. says that the Passion of Jesus Christ delivers 
us from the chains of sin, and the Holy Communion de 
livers us from the will to sin: "The mystery of the Cross 
delivers us from the power of sin ; the mystery of the 
Eucharist, from the will to sin." : 

The other grand means of overcoming temptations is 
prayer offered to God through the merits of Jesus 
Christ: Amen, Amen, I say to you (said our Redeemer), //> 
ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you" 
Whatsoever, then, we ask of God in the name of Jesus 
Christ, that is, through his merits, we shall certainly ob 
tain it. And this, we see, happens continually ; all those 
who are tempted and have recourse to God, and invoke 
him through Jesus Christ, invariably come off victori- 

1 " Antidotum quo liberemur a culpis quotidianis, et a peccatis mor- 
talibus praeservemur." Sess. 13, cap, 2. 

* " Esset incurabilis, nisi subveniretur medicina Dei." DC Sacr. 
alt. c. i. 

3 " Per crucis mysterium, eripuit nos a potestate peccati ; per Eu- 
charistige sacramentum, liberal nos a voluntate peccandi." De Alt, 
Myst. \. 4, c. 44. 

4 " Amen, amen dico vobis : si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine 
meo, dabit vobis." John, xvi 23. 



8o Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

ous ; and, on the contrary, those who in temptation 
(especially of impurity) neglect to recommend them 
selves to God, fall miserably and perish. And then they 
excuse themselves by saying they are but of flesh, and 
are very weak. But how can they reasonably allege 
their weakness as an excuse, when they are able to ac 
quire strength by having recourse to Jesus Christ (for it 
is enough to call with confidence on his Most Holy 
Name), and they will not do so? What excuse, I say, 
would that man have for having been vanquished by his 
enemy, who, when the requisite arms for his defence 
were presented him, had despised and refused them ? 
Were such a man to allege his weakness, who would not 
instantly condemn him with these words, And you, 
knowing as you did your own weakness, why did you 
not avail yourself of the arms that were offered you ? 

St. Augustine says that the devil was put in chains by 
Jesus Christ ; he can bark, but he cannot bite any one, 
except those who wish to be bitten. That man is really 
a fool (continues the saint) who allows himself to be 
bitten by a dog chained up: " Christ came and chained 
the devil. He is bound in chains like a dog. Foolish 
is the man whom a dog in chains bites. He can bark, 
he can make attempts; he can only bite him who wills 
so; for he does not extort our consent from us, but seeks 
it." And in another passage he says that the Re 
deemer has given us every remedy to effect our cure ; he 
that will not observe the laws and is put to death, dies 
because he wishes his own death. " As far as the phy 
sician is concerned, he came to heal; he destroys him 
self who will not observe the laws." 2 He that takes 
" Venit Christus, et alligavit diabolum. Alligatus est tamquam 
innexus canis catenis. Stultus homo ille est, quern canis in catena 
positus mordet. Ille latrare potest, sollicitare potest ; mordere non 
potest, nisi volentem: non enim extorquet a nobis consensum, sed 
petit." S. 37, E. B. app. 

l " Quantum in medico est, sanare venit segrotum ; ipse se interi- 
mit, qui praecepta medici observare non vuli." In Jo. tr. 12. 



The Eternal Word became Weak. 8 1 

advantage of Jesus Christ is not weak; no, but lie waxes 
strong on the strengtli of Jesus Christ. Jesus it is who, 
as St. Augustine says, not only cheers us en to the com 
bat, but affords us help; if we fail, he is ready to succor 
us; and of his immense goodness he himself crowns us 
in the end: " He encourages you to fight, and helps you 
to conquer, and supports you if you languish, and crowns 
you victorious." Isaias prophesied, Then sh.:ll the lame 
man leap as a hart f " that is, by the merits of the Re 
deemer, he who could not stir one step should skip over 
the hills as a swift hart: And that which was dry land shall 
become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water ; 3 he fore 
tells that the most parched-up soil should teem with 
virtues: /// the dens where dragons dwelt before shall rise up 
the verdure of the reed and the bulrush ,* and that in those 
souls in which devils formerly abode should be propa 
gated the vigor of the reed, namely, of humility, be 
cause, according to the commentary of Cornelius \ La- 
pide, " the humble man is empty in his own eyes;" 5 and 
of the bulrush. namely, of charity, because, as the same 
commentator says, in certain places they use it for wicks 
to burn in lamps. 

In a word, we find in Jesus Christ all grace, all strength, 
all help, whenever we have recourse to him: In all things 
you are made rich in Him, so that nothing is wanting to you in 
any grace? For this very end he was made man, and 

1 " Hortatur ut pugnes, et adjuvat ut vincas, et deficientem suble- 
vat, et vincentem coronal." In Ps. xxxii. en. 2. 
2 Tune saliet, sicut cervus, claudus." 

3 " Et que erat arida, erit in stagnum, et sitiens in fontes aqua- 
rum." 

4 " In cubilibus, in quibus prius dracones habitabant, orietur viror 
calami et junci." Isa. xxxv. 6-7. 

5 " Quia humilis est vacuus in oculis suis." 

6 " In omnibus divites facti estis in illo . . . , ita ut nihil vobis desit 
in ulla gratia." I Cor. i. 5. 

6 



82 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

emptied himself: "He emptied Himself: 1 " He, as it 
were, reduced himself to nothing," says a certain author; 
" He made himself empty of majesty, of glory, of 
strength." 1 In a manner, lie lowered himself to nothing; 
lie put off his majesty, glory, and power, and took on 
himself ignominies and infirmities, to make over to us 
his worth and his virtues, that so he might be our light, 
our justice, our satisfaction, and our ransom: Who is made 
unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption? 
And he remains ready at any moment to give health and 
strength to every one that asks him. 

I saw one girt about the paps with a golden girdle* St. 
John saw the Lord with his breasts full of milk (that is, 
full of graces), and bound about with a girdle of gold; 
this signifies that Jesus Christ is, as it were, hemmed 
round and compressed with the love he bears to man; 
and as the mother, whose breast is oversupplied with 
milk, seeks for children who may imbibe the nourish 
ment and relieve her of the burden, so does he yearn for 
us to come and seek graces of him, and the necessary 
help to conquer our enemies, who strive to rob us of his 
friendship and of eternal salvation. 

Oh, how bounteous and liberal is God with a soul that 
sincerely and resolutely seeks him ! The Lord is good to 
the soul that seeketh Him? Wherefore, if we do not be 
come saints, the failure rests with us, because we do not 
resolve to wish for God alone: The sluggard willeth and 
willeth not? The lukewarm will and will not; and there- 

"Semetipsum exinanivit." Phil. ii. 7. 

"Quasi ad nihilum se redegit; se evacuavit majestate, gloria, et 
robore." 

" Factus est nobis sapientia a Deo, et justitia, et sanctificatio, et 
redemptio." i Cor. i. 30. 

" Vidi . . . praecinctum ad mamilias zonaaurea." Apoc. i. 12. 

" Bonus est Dominus . . . animse quaerenti ilium." Lam. iii. 25. 
6 * Vult et non vult piger." Prov. xiii. 4. 



The Eternal Word became Weak. 83 

fore they remain defeated, because they want the resolute 
will to please God alone. A resolute will overcomes 
everything; for when once a soul determines really to 
give itself wholly to God, God immediately gives it the 
hand and the strength to surmount all difficulties that 
may occur in the way of perfection. This was the splen 
did promise which Isaias signified to us in these words: 
O, that Thou wouldst rend the heavens and wouldst come down ; 
the mountains would melt away at Thy presence. 1 The crooked 
shall become straight, and the rough ways plain? At the 
coming of the Redeemer he will endow our souls with 
such a strength of good-will that they will find levelled 
down the mountains of all the carnal appetites; and 
they will find the crooked ways made straight, and the 
rough ways plain; that is, the contempts and labors which 
formerly were so difficult and hard for men to bear will, 
by means of the grace given by Jesus Christ, and of the 
divine love which he enkindles in their hearts, be after 
wards all made sweet and easy. Thus was it that St. 
John of God rejoiced at being beaten as a fool in a 
hospital; thus St. Lidwine was glad to find herself dur 
ing so many years tied down to her bed by a body full 
of wounds and sores; thus St. Laurence exulted and 
mocked the tyrant, while scorching on a gridiron, and 
giving his life for Jesus Christ. And so likewise do so 
many souls enamoured of God find peace and content 
ment, not, indeed, in the pleasures and honors of the 
world, but in sufferings and insults. 

Ah! let us beg Jesus Christ to impart to us that fire 
which he came on earth to enkindle; that so we may no 
longer find it difficult to despise goods of dirt, and to 
undertake great things for God. " He that loves, labors 

1 " Utinam dirumpercs coelos, et descenderes ! a facie tua montes 
defluerent. " Isa. Ixiv. i. 

8 " Erunt prava in directa, et aspera in vias planas." Isa. xi. 4. 



84 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

not," 1 says St. Augustine; the soul that loves God only 
finds it neither irksome nor painful to suffer, to pray, to 
mortify itself, to humble itself, and to detach itself from 
the pleasures of earth. The more it works and suffers, 
the more it is eager to do and to suffer: Jealousy is hard 
as hell ; the lamps thereof are fire and flames? The flames 
of divine love are like the flames of hell, which never 
say it is enough. Nothing whatever satisfies a soul that 
loves God. As for hell no fire is sufficient, so for the 
loving soul its ardor is never satisfied. 

Let us ask this great gift through the intercession of 
Mary, by whose hands (as was revealed to St. Mary Mag 
dalene of Pazzi) divine love is bestowed upon souls. She 
is God s treasure, the treasurer of all graces (especially 
of divine love), as she was called by the Idiota, "The 
treasure and the treasurer of graces." 3 

Affections and Prayers. 

My sovereign God and Redeemer, I was lost; Thou hast 
ransomed me from hell. But, unhappy me ! I have often after 
wards lost myself anew, and Thou hast as often released me 
from eternal death : " I am Thine, save me." 4 Since, as I hope, 
I am now Thine, suffer me never more to cast myself away by 
rebelling against Thee, I am resolved to suffer death, and a 
thousand deaths, rather than see myself ever again Thy enemy 
and the slave of the devil. But Thou knowest my weakness, 
Thou knowest my past treacheries. Thou must give me strength 
to resist the assaults which hell will make upon me. I know 
that I shall be assisted by Thee in temptation whenever I shall 
have recourse to Thee, since I have Thy promise for it : Ask, 
and you shall receive? Every one that asketh receiveth? But 

1 " Qui amat, non laborat." In Jo. tr. 48. 

2 " Dura sicut infernus aemulatio; lampades ejus, lampades ignis 
atque flammarum." Cant. viii. 6. 

3 " Thesaurus et Thesauraria gratiarum." Cont. de V. M. inprol. 

4 4< Tuus sum ego; salvum me fac." Ps. cxviii. 94. 

5 Petite et accipietis." John, xvi. 24. 

3 Omnis enim qui petit, accipit." Matt. vii. 8. 



The Eternal Word has made Himself Ours. 85 

my fear is, lest in the moment of trial I should fail to recom 
mend myself to Thee, and so be miserably overcome. This, 
therefore, is the grace which I most earnestly implore of Thee: 
grant me light and strength on all occasions to have recourse to 
Thee, and to invoke Thee whenever I am tempted ; and, more 
over, I entreat Thee to grant me Thy help, that I may always 
ask Thee for this grace. Grant it me by the merits of Thy 
Precious Blood. And thou, O Mary, obtain it for me by the 
love which thou bearest to Jesus Christ. 

DISCOURSE VI. 
The Eternal Word from being His Own has made Himself Ours. 

Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus eat nobis. 
"A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us." Is. xi. 6. 

Tell me, cruel Herod, why dost thou command so many 
innocent babes to be murdered and sacrificed to thy am 
bition of reigning? Art thou perchance afraid that the 
Messias lately born may rob thee of thy kingdom ? 
" Why art thou so troubled, Herod ?" asks St. Fulgentius. 
"This King who is born came not to vanquish kings by 
fighting, but to subdue them by dying." * This King, of 
whom thou art in such terror, is not come to conquer 
the monarchs of the earth by force of arms, but he is 
come to reign in the hearts of men by suffering and dy 
ing for their love. " He came, therefore" (concludes St. 
Fulgentius), "not that he might combat alive, but. that 
he might triumph slain." 5 Our amiable Redeemer did 
not come to carry on war during his life, but to triumph 
over the love of men, when he should have laid down 
his life on the gibbet of the cross, as he himself said: 
When I shall be lifted up, I will draw all things to Myself* 

1 "Quid est quod sic turbaris, Herodes? Rex iste qui natus est, 
non venit reges pugnando superare, sed moriendo subjugate. " 

2 "Venit ergo non ut pugnet vivus, sed ut triumphet occisus." 5. 
de Epiph. et Inn. nece. 

3 " Si exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum." John, 
jcii. 52. 



86 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

But let us 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. 1 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. Let us see it; but let us first ask light from the 
Most Holy Sacrament and from the divine Mother. 



The greatest privilege of God, nay, the whole of God, 
is to be his own, that is, to exist of himself, and to depend 
on no one. All creatures, however grand and excellent 
they may be, are nothing in reality, because whatsoever 
they have, they have from God, who has created them 
and preserves them; and this in such a manner that if 
God were for a single moment to cease from preserving 
them, they would instantly lose their being and return 
to nothing. God, on the contrary, because he exists of 
himself, cannot fail; nor can there be any one to destroy 
him, or to diminish his greatness, his power, or his hap 
piness. But St. Paul says that the Eternal Father has 
given the Son to us: He delivered Hijn up for us all? And 
that the Son has given himself for us: Christ also hath 
loved, us and hath delivered Himself for us. 3 Has God, then, 
in giving himself for us, made himself ours? Yes, re 
plies St. Bernard: He is born, who belonged to him 
self;" 4 he who wholly appertained to himself chose to be 
born for us and to become ours; love triumphs over 
God. 5 This God, over whom none besides can rule, has, 

1 " Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis." 

2 " Pro nobis omnibus tradidit ilium !" Rom. viii. 32. 

3 " Dilexit nos, et tradidit semetipsum pro nobis J" Ep-h. v. 2. 

4 " Natus est nobis, qui sibi erat." 

5 " Triumphal de Deo amor," 



The Eternal Word has made Himself Ours. 87 

so to speak, yielded himself captive to love; love has 
gained the victory over him, and from being his own has 
reduced him into our possession: God so loved the world, 
as to give His only-begotten Son. 1 God has so loved men, 
says Jesus Christ, that he has even given them his only- 
begotten Son. And the Son himself, also through love, 
was pleased to give himself to men to be loved by them. 

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." 2 He 
could have sent an angel, a seraph, to redeem man; but, 
aware that man, had he been redeemed by a seraph, 
would have had to divide his heart, by partly loving his 
Creator and partly his redeemer, God, who would possess 
the entire heart and the entire love of man, wished 
therefore to be" (says a pious author) " both our Creator 
and Redeemer;" 3 as he was our Creator, so he would 
likewise become our Redeemer. 

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.* This was precisely 
what the angel signified when addressing the shepherds: 
To-day is born to you a Saviour? As much as to say: O 
ye men, go to the cave of Bethlehem; there adore the 
Infant, which you will find laid on the straw, in a manger, 



1 " Sic enim Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum 
daret." John, iii. 16. 

" 2 " Modum tune, ut se proderet, invenit amor." 

3 " Voluit esse nobis Creator et Redemptor." 

4 " Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis." 

5 " Natus est vobis hodie Salvator." Luke, ii. n. 



88 Discourses for the N oven a of Christmas. 

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. 

Yes, it was with the purpose of making himself loved 
that the Eternal Word came upon earth to converse 
among men: He conversed with men. 1 If a king speaks a 
confidential word to one of his vassals, if he smiles upon 
him, or presents him with a flower, oh, how honored and 
happy does that vassal consider himself! How much 
more so, should the king seek his friendship; should he 
request his company every day at table; should he desire 
him to take up his residence in his own palace, and to 
abide always near him! Ah! my Great King, my beloved 
Jesus, as before the Redemption Thou couldst not assume 
man into heaven, whose gates remained closed by sin, 
Thou earnest down upon earth to converse with men as 
their brothers, and to give Thyself wholly to them, from 
the excess of the love Thou bearest them ! He loved us 
and delivered Himself up for us? Yes, exclaims St. Augus 
tine, this most loving and most merciful God, through 
his love to man, chose to give him not only his goods, 
but even his very self. " The most merciful God, through 
his love of man, poured out upon him not only his goods, 
but his whole self." 3 

Well, then, the affection which this sovereign Lord 
entertains towards us miserable worms is so immense 
that it induced him to give himself wholly to us, being 
born for us, living for us, and even offering up his life 
and all his blood for us, in order to prepare us a bath of 
salvation, and to wash us from all our sins: He hath loved 
us and washed us in His own blood* But, Lord (remon- 

1 " Cum hominibus conversatus est." Bar. iii. 38. 

2 " Dilexit nos, et tradidit semetipsum pro nobis !" 

" Deus piissimus, prae amore hominis, non solum sua.verum seip- 
sum impendit." Man. c. 26. 

4 " Dilexit nos, et lavit nos in sanguine suo." Apoc. i. 5. 



The Eternal Word has made Himself Ours. 89 

strates the Abbot Guerric), this appears an extreme 
prodigality of Thyself, coming from the great anxiety 
Thou hast to be loved by mankind. "O God! if we 
may dare say so, prodigal of Himself through desire of 
man !" " And is it not so ?" he continues: " how other 
wise can we style this God than prodigal of himself who, 
in order to recover lost man, not only gives whatever he 
has, but even his own self ?" 

St. Augustine says that God, in order to captivate the 
love of men, has cast several darts of love into their 
hearts: "God knows how to take aim at love; he draws 
the arrow that he may make a lover." ! What are these 
arrows? They are all the creatures that we see around 
us; for God has created them all for man, that man 
might love him; hence the same saint says, "Heaven 
and earth and all things tell me to love Thee." 
seemed to the saint that the sun, the moon, the stars, 
the mountains, the plains, the seas, and the rivers spoke 
to him and said, Augustine, love God, because God has 
created us for thee, that thou mightest love him. When 
St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi held in her hand a beautiful 
fruit or flower, she declared that that fruit or flower 
was as a dart to her heart, which wounded her with the 
love of God; thinking as she did how from all eternity 
God had designed to create that flower that she might 
discover his love, and love him in return. St. Teresa, 
moreover, said that all the fair things which we see, the 
lakes, the rivers, the flowers, the fruits, the birds, all 
upbraid us with our ingratitude to God, for all are tokens 

1 "O Deum, si fas est dici, prodigum sui prse desiderio hominis !" 
8 " An non prodigum sui, qui, non solum sua, sed seipsum impen- 
dit, ut hominem recuperaret?" In Pent. s. i. 

3 "Novit Dominus sagittare ad amorem; sagittat, ut faciat aman- 
tem." In Ps. cxix. 

4 " Coelum et terra et omnia mihi dicunt ut te amem." Conf. 1. 10, 

c. 6. 



90 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

of the love God bears us. It is related likewise of a 
pious hermit, that, walking in the country, and behold 
ing the herbs and the flowers, he fancied they reproached 
him with his ingratitude; so that, as he went along, he 
struck them gently with his staff, saying to them: Hush, 
be silent, I understand you, no more! you upbraid me 
with my ingratitude, because God has created you in 
such beauty for my sake, that I might love him, and I 
love him not; oh, be silent, I hear you, enough, enough ! 
And thus the good man pursued his way, giving vent to 
the ardors of love which he felt consuming his heart for 
God at the sight of those fair creatures. 

Thus, then, all these creatuies were so many darts of 
love to the heart of man; but God was not satisfied with 
these darts only; they were not enough to gain him the 
love of men: He hath made me as a chosen arrow; in his 
quiver he hath hidden me. 1 On this passage Cardinal 
Hugo remarks, that as the sportsman keeps in reserve 
the best arrow for the last shot, in order to secure his 
prey; so did God among all his gifts keep Jesus in re 
serve till the fulness of time should come, and then lie 
sent him as a last dart to wound with love the hearts of 
men: "The choicest arrow is reserved; so Christ was 
reserved in the bosom of the Father, until the fulness 
of time should come, and he was sent to wound the 
hearts of the faithful." Jesus, then, was the choice and 
reserved arrow, at the discharge of which, according as 
David had long ago foretold, entire nations should fall 
vanquished: Thy arrows are sharp; under Thee shall peo 
ple fa//. 3 Oh, how many stricken hearts do I behold 
burning with love before the manger of Bethlehem ! 

"Posuit me sicut sagiu*m electam; in pharetra sua abscondit 
me." Isa. xlix. 2. 

"Sagitta electa reservatur; ita Christus quasi reservatus est in 
sinu Patris, donee venit plenitude temporis, et tune missus est ad 
vulnerandum corda fidelium." 

3 "Sagittae tuae acutae; populi sub te cadent." P 5 . xliv. 6, 



The Eternal Word has made Himself Ours. QI 

how many at the foot of the cross in Calvary ! how many 
before the Holy Presence of the Blessed Sacrament on 
our altars ! 

St. Peter Chrysologus says that our Redeemer took 
many various forms to attract the love of man: "For 
our sake he showed himself under different forms, who 
remains in the one form of his majesty." 1 That God, 
who is unchangeable, would appear now as a child in a 
stable, now as a boy in a workshop, now as a criminal 
on a scaffold, and now as bread upon the altar. In these 
varying guises Jesus chose to exhibit himself to us; but 
whatever character he assumed, it was always the char 
acter of a lover. Ah, my Lord, tell me, is there anything 
else left for Thee to devise in order to make Thyself 
loved ? Make known his inventions, cried out Isaias. a Go, 
O redeemed souls, said the prophet, go and publish 
everywhere the loving devices of this loving God, which 
he lias thought out and executed to make himself loved 
by man; for after lavishing so many of his gifts upon 
them, he was pleased to bestow himself, and to bestow 
himself in so many ways: "If thou desirest a cure for 
thy wound" (says St. Ambrose), "he is a Physician;" 3 if 
thou art infirm and wouldst be healed, behold Jesus, 
who heals thee by his Blood: "If thou be parched up 
with fever, he is a fountain;" 4 if the impure flames of 
worldly affections trouble thee, behold the fountain to 
refresh thee with his consolations. "Dost thou fear 
death, he is life; dost thou long for heaven, he is the 
way; in fine, if thou dost not wish to die, he is the life; 
if thou wishest heaven, he is the way. 

1 " Propter te varias monstratur in formas, qui manet unica suse 
majestatis in forma." Serin. 23. 

- " Notas facite in populis adinventiones ejus." Isa. xii. 4. - 

3 " Si vulnus curare desideras, medicus est." 

4 " Si febribus sestuas, fons est." 

6 "Si mortem times, vita est; si coelum desideras, via est." De 
Virg. 1. 3. 



92 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

And not only has Jesus Christ given himself to all 

men in general, but he wished, moreover, to give himself 

to each one in particular. This was what caused St. 

Paul to say, He loved me and delivered Himself for me. 1 St. 

John Chrysostom says that God has the same love forj 

each one of us as he has for all men together. 2 So that, 

my dear brother, 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. And who can ever express or conceive 

(says St. Laurence Justinian) the love which God bears 

to each man? " Nor is it possible to express with what 

affection God is moved towards each one." 3 This led 

St. Bernard to say also, in speaking of Jesus Christ, 

" Given wholly to me, and spent wholly for my interests." 4 

This caused St. John Chrysostom also to say, "He gave 

himself entirely to us, he reserved nothing for himself." 6 

He gave us his blood, his life, himself in the Blessed 

Sacrament; there remains nothing- mO re to give us. In 

fine, says St. Thomas, after God has bestowed himself on 

us, what else remains for him to give us? " God had 

no room to extend himself further." 6 Wherefore after 

the work of the redemption, God has nothing more to 

give, us, nothing more that he can do for the love of 

man. 

n. 

So that every man should say, with St. Bernard, " I 
owe myself for myself; what can I return the Lord for 
"Dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me." Gal. ii. 20, 
" Adeo singulum quemquam hominem diligit, quo diligit orbem 
universum." In Gal. ii. 

"Neque valet explicari quo circa unumquemque Deus moveatur 
affectu." De Tr. Chr. Ag. c. 5. 

" Totus mihi datus, totus in meos usus expensus est." In Cir- 
cumc. s. 3. 

"Totum nobis dedit, nihil sibi reliquit." 
Deus ultra quo se extenderet, non habet." De Beatit. c. 2. 



ft 4< 



The Eternal Word has made Himself Ours. 93 

himself? " I belong to God, and to God I must give 
back myself, for having created me and given me my 
being; but after I have given myself, what return shall I 
make to God for having given himself to me ? We have, 
however, no need to disturb ourselves any longer; it is 
enough if we give our love to God, and God is satisfied. 
The kings of the earth glory in the possession of king 
doms and of wealth, Jesus Christ rests content with the 
sovereignty of our hearts; this he considers his princi 
pality; and this principality he sought to obtain by dying 
on the cross: And the government is upon his shoulder. 2 By 
these words, "the government is upon his shoulder," 
several interpreters, with St. Basil, St. Cyril, St. Augus 
tine, and others, understand the cross which our Re 
deemer carried on his shoulders. This heavenly King, 
says Cornelius a Lapide, is a very different master from 
the devil: the devil burdens the backs of his subjects 
with heavy loads; Jesus, on the contrary, takes on his 
own shoulders the burdens of his kingdom, embracing 
the cross, on which he will die, in order to gain the 
mastery of our hearts: "The devil lays burdens on the 
shoulders of his subjects, Christ will bear the weight of 
his government on his shoulders; for he will carry the 
sceptre of his kingdom that is, the cross on his own 
shoulders, and will reign from the tree." It is the re 
mark of Tertullian that while earthly monarchs bear the 
sceptre and crown as symbols of royalty, Jesus Christ 
bore the Cross, which was the throne which he mounted 
to rule over our love: " Every king bears the symbol of 

1 " Me pro me debeo; quid Deo retribuam pro ^TDedil. D. c. 5. 

* " Et factus est principatus super humerum ejus." Isa. ix. 6. 

3 " Principatus super humerum ejus." 

. 4"Diabolus onera imponit humeris subditorum; Christus suis 
humeris sustinebit onus sui principatus; quia Christus sceptrum 
imperil sui, puta Crucem, humeris suis bajulabit, atque regnabit a 
ligno." 



94 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

his power on his shoulder, and a diadem on his head, or 
a sceptre in his hand. The King Jesus Christ alone bore 
his power on his shoulder, namely, the cross, that from 
it he might rule." 1 

Hence, Origen says, if it be that Jesus Christ has given 
himself to each one, what great thing will a man do if he 
give himself wholly to Jesus Christ? "If Christ gave 
himself, will man do much in giving himself to God, who 
was the first to give himself toman?" Let us, then, 
with a good will give our heart and our love to this God, 
who, in order to gain it, has had to give his blood, his 
life, and his whole self: If thou didst know the gift of God, 
and who He is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink, 3 Oh, if 
thou didst but know (said Jesus to the Samaritan woman) 
the grace which thou receivest from God, and who it is 
that asks of thee to drink ! Oh, did the soul but under 
stand what a favor it is when God requests us to love 
him in those words: Thou shalt love the Lord thv God. 4 
Should a subject hear his prince command him to love 
him, the bare mention of such a request would be enough 
to captivate him. And does not a God captivate us when 
he requires our heart ? saying: My son, give Me thy heart. 5 
But this heart he will not have divided, he will have 
it whole and entire ; he wishes us to love him with our 
whole heart : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy 
whole heart? otherwise he is not content. For this end 

" Quis regnum insigne potestatis suse bumero praefert, et non aut 
capita diadema, aut in manu sceptrum ? Solus Rex Christus Jesus 
potestatem suam in humero extulit, Crucem scilicet, ut exinde reg- 
naret." Adv. Jud. 

"Christus semetipsum dedit; quid ergo magnum faciet homo, si 
semetipsum offerat Deo, cui ipse se prior obtulit Deus?" 

" Si scires donum Dei, et quis est qui dicit tibi: Da mihi bibere." 
John, iv. TO. 

4 " Diliges Dominum Deum tuum." Matt. xxii. 57. 

5 " Praebe, fili mi, cor tuum mihi." Prov. xxiii. 26. 

6 " Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo." 



The Eternal Word has made Himself Ours. 95 

he has given us all his blood, his whole life, his whole 
self, in order that we may give our entire selves to him, 
and be wholly his. And let us understand that then we 
shall give our whole heart to God when we shall give 
him our will entirely, not wishing anything hencefor 
ward but what God wishes, and he certainly only 
wishes our welfare and our happiness : To this end Christ 
died and rose again, that he might be the Lord both of the dead 
and of the living. Therefore whether we live or whether we 
die, we are the Lord s. 1 Jesus was pleased to die for us ; 
more than this he could not have done to win all our 
love, and to be the sole Lord of our heart : so that from 
this day forward we are bound to make known to heaven 
and to earth, in life and in death, that we are no longer 
our own, but that we belong solely and entirely to God. 
Oh, how God long s to see, and how dearly he loves a 
heart that is wholly his! Oh, what delicate and loving 
caresses does God show, what good things, what de 
lights, what glory does God prepare in Paradise for a 
heart that is wholly his! 

The Venerable Father John Leonard of Lettera, a 
Dominican, one day beheld Jesus Christ under the ap 
pearance of a hunter, and traversing the forest of this 
earth with an arrow in his hand. The servant of God 
asked him what he was thus engaged about. Jesus an 
swered that he was hunting after hearts. Who knows, I 
say, whether in this Novena the Infant Redeemer will 
have the success to hit and to make a prize of some 
hearts which he has been hunting after for a long time, 
and hitherto has been unable to wound and to capture ! 
Devout souls, if Jesus gain us, we shall also gain 
Jesus. The advantage of such an exchange is all on our 
side. " Teresa" (said the Lord one day to this saint), 

1 " In hoc enim Christus mortuusestet resurrexit, ut etmortuorum 
et vivorum dominetur. Sive ergo vivimus, sive morimur, Domim 
sumus." Rom. xiv. 3. 



g6 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

" up to this time you have not been all mine ; now that 
you are all mine, be assured that I am all yours." St. 
Augustine calls love " a bond which binds the lover with 
the loved one." 1 God has every wish to clasp us and 
unite us to himself; but it is also necessary for us to 
strive and unite ourselves to God. If we wish God to 
give himself entirely to us, it is likewise necessary for us 
to give ourselves entirely to him. 

Affections and Prayers. 

Oh ! happy me, if, from this day forward, I shall be able 
always to say with the sacred spouse, My Beloved to me and I 
to Him? My God, my Beloved has given himself all to me ; it 
is but reasonable for me to give myself all to my God, and to 
say, What have I in heaven ? and besides Thee what do I desire 
upon earth ? 3 

Oh, my beloved Infant, my dear Redeemer, since Thou hast 
come down from heaven to give Thyself to me, what else shall 
I go about seeking in heaven or on earth besides Thee, who art 
my sovereign Good, my only treasure, the Paradise of souls? 
Be Thou, then, the sole Lord of my heart, do thou possess it 
wholly. May my heart obey Thee alone, and seek to please 
Thee alone ! May my soul love Thee alone, and mayest Thou 
alone be its portion ! Let others strive after and enjoy (if en 
joyment can ever be found out of 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. In the same manner as at Thy entrance into 
the world Thou didst offer to the Eternal Father, and present 
to him Thine entire will, as David has taught : In the head of 
the book it is written of Me, that I should do Thy will; O my God, 
I have desired it ; 4 so do I on this day offer to Thee, my Saviour, 

" Vitta copulans amantem et quod amatur." De Trin. 1. 8, c. 10. 

" Dilectus meus mihi, et ego \\\\."Cant. ii. 16. 

" Quid enim mihi est in coelo? et a te quid volui super terram ? . . . 
Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus, in aeternum." Ps. Ixxii. 25. 

" In capite libri scriptum est de me, ut facerem voluntatem tuam; 
D?us meus, volui." Ps. xxxix. 8, 



The Eternal Word has made Himself Ours. 97 

my entire will. At one time it was rebellious against Thee, and 
with it I offended Thee ; but for all the wicked consent by which 
I have miserably forfeited Thy friendship I am now heartily 
sorry, and I consecrate my entire will to Thee. Lord, what wilt 
Thou have me to do! 1 tell me what Thou desirest of me, for I am 
willing to do all. Dispose of me and of my affairs as Thou wilt, 
for I accept pf all, and in everything I resign myself to Thee. I 
know well that Thon wiliest what is best for me, and therefore 
I abandon my soul fully into Thy hands : Into Thy hands I com 
mend my spirit? For pity s sake, help it and preserve it! and 
grant that it may be always and entirely Thine own, since Thou 
hast redeemed it with the last drop of Thy blood : Thou hast 
redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth* 

happy thou, most holy Virgin Mary ! thou wert wholly and 
always God s own, all fair, all pure, and without spot : Thou 
art all beautiful, and there is no stain in thee* Thou alone, 
among all souls, wert styled by thy Spouse his dove, his perfect 
one: One is My dove, My perfect one." Thou art the garden 
closed against every imperfection and fault, and all laden with 
the flowers and fruits of virtue. Ah, my Queen and my Mother, 
thou who art so lovely in the eyes of thy God, take pity on my 
soul, which has become so deformed by sin. But if for the past 
I have not belonged to God, now I wish to be his, and his en 
tirely. I wish to spend the remainder of my life solely in lov 
ing my Redeemer, who hast loved me so much ; suffice it to 
say, who has given his entire self to me. O my hope, procure 
me strength to be grateful and faithful to him till death ! Amen. 
This is my hope, so may it be ! 

1 " Domine, quid me vis facere ?" Acts, ix. 6. 

2 "In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum." 

3 " Redemisti me, Domine Deus veritatis." Ps. xxx. 6. 

4 " Tola pulchra es, Arnica mea, et macula non est in te." Cant. 
iv. 7. 

6 " Una est columba mea, perfecta mea." Cant. vi. 8. 

7 



9 8 Discourses for the Novcna of Christmas. 



DISCOURSE VII. 
The Eternal Word from being Happy made Himself Afflicted. 

Et erunt oculi tui videntes Pr&ceptorem tuum. 
" And thy eyes shall see thy teacher." Isa. xxx. 20. 

St. John says, All that is in the world is the concupiscence 
of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eves, and the pride of 
life. 1 Behold the three sinful loves which held dominion 
over man after the sin of Adam, the love of pleasures, 
the love of riches, the love of honors, which generate 
human pride. The divine Word, to teach us, by his ex 
ample, the mortification of the senses, by which the love 
of pleasures is subdued, from being happy became 
afflicted ; to teach us detachment from the goods of this 
earth, from rich he became poor ; and, finally, to teach 
us humility, which overcomes the love of honors, from 
being exalted he became humble. We will speak on 
these three points during these three last days of the 
Novena ; to-day let us speak of the first. 

Our Redeemer came, then, to teach us the love of the 
mortification of the senses more by the example of his 
life than by the doctrines which he preached; and there 
fore, from happy, as he is and had always been from all 
eternity, he became afflicted. Let us see it, and let us 
ask light of Jesus and Mary. 

i. 

The Apostle, speaking of the divine beatitude, calls 
God the only one happy and powerful : The blessed and 
only mighty? And with reason, because all the happiness 
which can be enjoyed by us his creatures is nothing 

"Omnequod est in mundo, concupiscentiacarnisest, et concupis- 
centia oculorum, et superbia vitae." i John, ii. 16. 
3 " Beatus et solus potens." i 7 t w vi. 15. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Afflicted. 99 

more than the smallest participation of the infinite hap 
piness of God. The blessed in heaven find therein their 
happiness; that is, in entering into the immense ocean of 
the happiness of God: Enter Thou into the joy of thy Lord. 1 
This is the paradise which God bestows on the soul at 
the moment when it enters into possession of his eternal 
kingdom. 

God, in creating man at the beginning, did not place 
him on earth to surfer, but put him into the paradise of 
pleasure? He put him in a place of delight, in order that 
he might pass thence to heaven, where he should enjoy 
for all eternity the glory of the blessed. But by sin un 
happy man made himself unworthy of the earthly, and 
closed against himself the gates of the heavenly para 
dise, wilfully condemning himself to death and to ever 
lasting misery. But the Son of God, in order to rescue 
man from such a state of ruin, what did he do? From 
blessed and most happy as he was, he chose to become 
afflicted and tormented. Our Redeemer could, indeed, 
have rescued us from the hands of our enemies without 
suffering. He could have come on earth and continued 
in his happiness, leading here below a pleasant life, re 
ceiving the honor justly due to him as King and Lord 
of all. It was enough, as far as regarded the redemp 
tion, that he should have offered to God one drop of 
blood, one single tear, to redeem the world and an 
infinity of worlds : "the least degree of the suffering of 
Christ " (says the Angelic Doctor) " would have sufficed 
for redemption, on account of the infinite dignity of his 
Person." 3 But no : " Having joy set before Him, He en 
dured the Cross? He renounced all honors and pleasures 

1 " Intra in gaudium Domini tui." Matt. xxv. 21. 

2 " Posuit eum in paradise voluptatis." Gen. ii. 15. 

3 " Quselibet passio Christi suffecisset ad redemptionem, propter in- 
finitam dignitatem personse." Quodlib. 2, a. 2. 

4 " Proposito sibi gaudio, sustinuit crucem." Heb. xii. 2. 



ioo Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

and made choice on earth of a life all full of toils and 
ignominies. Yes, says St. John Chrysostom, any action 
whatever of the Incarnate Word sufficed for redemption; 
but it did not suffice for the love which he bore to man. 
" What was sufficient for redemption was not sufficient 
for love." And whereas he that loves desires to see 
himself loved in return, Jesus Christ, in order to be 
loved by man, was pleased to suffer exceedingly, and to 
choose for himself a life of continual suffering, to put 
man under an obligation of loving him. Our Lord re 
vealed to St. Margaret of Cortona that in his whole life 
he never experienced the smallest degree of sensible con 
solation: Great as the seats Thy destruction? The life of 
Jesus Christ was bitter as the sea, which is thoroughly 
bitter and salt, and contains not one drop of water that 
is sweet. And therefore Isaias justly calls Jesus Christ 
a Man of sorrows? as though he had been capable on this 
earth of nothing but anguish and sorrows. St. Thomas 
says that the Redeemer did not simply take on himself 
sorrows, but that " He endured sorrow in its highest 
degree;" 4 whereby he would signify that he chose to be 
the most afflicted man that had ever been upon earth, 
or should ever be hereafter. 

Yes, because this Man was born on purpose to suffer, 
therefore he assumed a body particularly adapted for suf 
fering. On entering the womb of Mary, as the Apostle 
tells us, he said to his Eternal Father, when he cometh 
in to the world he saith, Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst 
not; but a body Thou hast fitted to Me? My Father, Thou 
hast rejected the sacrifices of men, because they were not 

" Quod sufficiebat redemption!, non sufficiebat amori." 
" Magna est enim velut mare contritio tua." Lam. ii. 13. 

3 " Virum dolorum." Isa. liii. 3. 
"Assumpsit dolorem in summo." 

5 " Hostiam et oblationem noluisti, corpus autem aptasti mihi " 
Heb. x. 5. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Afflicted. 101 

able to satisfy Thy divine justice for the offences com 
mitted against Thee : Thou hast given me a body, as I 
requested of Thee ; a body delicate, sensitive, and made 
purposely for suffering ; I gladly accept of this body, and 
I offer it to Thee ; because by enduring in this body all 
the pains which will accompany me through my life, and 
shall finally cause my death upon the cross, I purpose to 
propitiate Thee towards the human race, and thus to 
gain for myself the love of mankind. 

And behold him scarcely entered into the world, when 
he already begins his sacrifice by beginning to suffer; 
but in a manner far different from that in which men 
suffer. Other children, while remaining in the womb of 
their mothers, do not suffer, because they are only in their 
natural place ; and if they do suffer in some slight degree, 
at least they are unconscious of what they feel, since they 
are deprived of understanding; but Jesus, while an in 
fant, endures for nine months the darkness of that prison, 
endures the pain of not being able to move, and is per 
fectly alive to what he endures. It is for this reason that 
Jeremias said, A woman shall compass a num. 1 He fore 
told that a woman, which was Mary, should bear en 
closed in her womb, not a child indeed, but a man ; a 
child truly as to age ; but a perfect man as to the use of 
reason, since Jesus Christ was full of wisdom from the 
first instance in his life : /;/ whom are hid all the treasures 
of wisdom and knowledge? Whence St. Bernard said, 
" Jesus was a man while not yet as born, but in wisdom, 
not in age." 3 And*St. Augustine, "The unspeakably 
Wise was in his wisdom a speechless Infant." 

1 " Femina circumdabit virum." Jer. xxxi. 22. 
8 "In quo sunt omnes thesauri sapientiae et scientiae absconditi." 
Col. ii. 3. 

3 " Vir erat Jesus necdum etiam natus, sed sapientia, non setate." 
De Laud. V. M. horn. 2. 

4 "Erat ineffabiliter sapiens, sapienter infans." Serm, 187, E, B, 



102 Discourses for the Novcna of Christmas. 

He comes forth, then, from the prison of his mother s 
womb, but for what ? is it perhaps to enjoy himself? He 
comes forth to fresh suffering, for he chooseth to be born 
in the depth of winter, in a cavern, where beasts find 
stabling, and at the hour of midnight ; and he is born in 
such poverty that he has no fire to warm him, nor clothes 
enough to screen him from the cold. "A grand pulpit 
is that manger," 1 says St. Thomas of Villanova. Oh, 
how well does Jesus teach us the love of suffering in the 
grotto of Bethlehem ! "In the stable" (adds Salmeron) 
"all is vile to the sight, unpleasant to the hearing, offen 
sive to the smell, hard and revolting to the touch." 2 
Everything in the stable is painful: everything is painful 
to the sight, for one sees nothing but rugged and dark 
rocks ; everything is painful to the hearing, for he hears 
only the cries of brute beasts; everything is painful to the 
smell, from the stench of the litter that is scattered 
around ; and everything is painful to the touch, for his 
cradle is only a narrow manger, and his bed only a hand 
ful of straw. Look on this Infant God, how he lies 
bound up in swaddling-clothes, so that he cannot stir : 
" God endures," said St. Zeno, " to be bound in swaddling- 
clothes, because he had come to pay the debts of the 
whole world." And hereupon St. Augustine remarks, 
"O Blessed rags, with which we wipe away the filth of 
sins ! " Observe him how he trembles with cold ; how 
he weeps, to let us know that he suffers, and offers to 
the Eternal Father those first tears to release us from 
that endless wailing which we had deserved ! " Blessed 

" Magna cathedra, praesepium illud." In A T at. D. cone. i. 

" In praesepe, omnia sunt vilia visui, ingrata auditui, olfactui mo- 
lesta, tactui dura et aspera." 7\ ii. tr. 33. 

"Patitur Deus se pannis alligari, qui totius mundi debita venerat 
soluturus." De A T at. Chr. s. 3. 

" O felices panni, quibus peccatorum sordes extersimus!" S no 

E. B. app. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Afflicted. 1 03 

tears," says St. Thomas of Villanova, " which blot out 
our iniquities?" 1 O tears for us most blessed, since 
they obtain for us the pardon of our sins! 

And thus did the life of Jesus Christ continue always 
in afBiction and sorrow. But a short time after he was 
born he was obliged to fly as an exile, and wander into 
Egypt to escape out of the hands of Herod. Then, in 
that barbarous country he passed many years of his 
childhood poor and unknown. Nor was the life which 
he led on his return from Egypt, dwelling at Nazareth, 
very different up to the time when he received death 
from the hands of the executioner on the cross in a sea 
of sorrows and infamy. 

. But, besides, we must also well understand here that 
the pains which Jesus Christ endured in his Passion, the 
scourging, the crowning with thorns, the crucifixion, his 
agony, death, and all the other torments, and ignominies 
which he suffered at the end of his life, he also suffered 
at the beginning ; because from the beginning he had 
always before his eyes the sad scene of all the torments 
which he would have to suffer when about to leave this 
earth, as he predicted by the mouth of David : My sorrow 
is continually before me? We hide from the sick man the 
knife or the fire with which he is to be cut or cauterized 
in order to regain his health ; but Jesus would not have 
the instruments of his Passion, by which he was to lose 
his life, that he might gain for us eternal life, hidden 
from his sight ; he desired always to have before his eyes 
the scourge, the thorns, the nails, the cross, which were 
to drain all the blood from his veins, till he died of pure 
grief, deprived of all consolation. 

One day Jesus Christ appeared to Sister Magdalene 
Orsini, who had been suffering a heavy affliction fora long 

1 " Felices lacrymae, quibus nostra abluuntur crimina." In Nat. D. 
cone. i. 

2 " Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper." Ps. xxxvii. 18. 



1 04 Discotcrses for the Novena of Christmas. 

time, under the form of a crucifix, to comfort her by the 
remembrance of his Passion, and to animate her to bear 
her cross with patience. She said to him : "But Thou, 
my Lord, wast only three hours on the cross, while I have 
suffered this pain for many years." Then our Lord from 
the cross replied : " Ignorant creature that Thou art ! 
from the first moment that I was in the womb of Mary I 
suffered all that I had afterwards to suffer in my death." 
" Christ," says Novarinus, " even in the womb of his 
mother, had the impression of the cross on his mind ; so 
that no sooner was he born than he might be said to have 
the principality on his shoulders." 1 So, then, My Re 
deemer, throughout Thy whole life I shall find Thee no 
where but on the cross : " Lord, I find Thee nowhere but 
on the cross," said Dragone Ostiense. Yes, for the cross 
on which Jesus Christ died was ever in his mind to tor 
ment him. Even whilst sleeping, says Bellarmine, the 
sight of the cross was present to the heart of Jesus : 
"Christ had his cross always before his eyes. When he 
slept, his heart watched ; nor was it ever free from the 
sight of the cross." 

But it was not so much the sorrows of his Passion 
which saddened and embittered the life of our Redeemer, 
as the sight of all the sins which men would commit 
after his death. These were the cruel executioners which 
made him live in continual agony, oppressed by such an 
overwhelming grief that pain alone would have been 
enough to make him die of pure sorrow. Father Lessius 
says that the sight alone of the ingratitude of mankind 
would have been sufficient to make Jesus Christ die of 
grief a thousand times. 

The scourges, the cross, death itself, were not hateful 
objects to him, but most dear, chosen, and desired by 

1 " Christus crucem etiam in ventre Matris menti impressam habuit, 
adeo ut vix natus principatum super humerum (Isa. ix. 6) habere 
dicatur." Umb. Virg. c. II, exc. 38. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Afflicted. 105 

himself. He had offered himself spontaneously to suffer 
them: He was offered because it was His own will. 1 He 
did not give his life against his will, but by his own elec 
tion, as he tells us by St. John: I lay down My life for 
My sheep* This was indeed the chief desire of his whole 
life, that the time of his Passion should arrive, that the 
redemption of mankind might be completed; for this 
reason he said on the night preceding his death: With 
desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you before I 
suffer? And before this time arrived he seemed to con 
sole himself by saying, I have a baptism, wherewith I am 
to be baptized; and how am I straitened until it be accom 
plished! 4 I must be baptized with the baptism of my 
own blood ; not indeed to wash my own soul, but those 
of my sheep, from the stains of their sin ; and how ar 
dently do I desire the arrival of the hour when I shall be 
bleeding and dead on the cross ! St. Ambrose says that 
the Redeemer was not afflicted by the fear of death, but 
by the delay of our redemption: "Not from the fear of 
his death, but from the d^lay of our redemption." 

In a sermon on the Passion, St. Zeno describes Jesus 
Christ choosing for himself the trade of a carpenter in 
this world; for as such was he known and called: Is not 
this the carpenter, and the son of a carpenter ? 6 Because 
carpenters are always handling wood and nails, it would 
seem that Jesus exercising this trade took pleasure in such 
things, seeing that they represented to him better than 
anything else the nails and the cross by which he willed 

1 " Oblatus est. quiaipse voluit." Isa. liii. 7. 

J " Animam meam pono pro ovibus meis." John, x. 15. 

3 " Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum." Luke, 
xxii. 15. 

4 " Baptismo autem habeo baptizari ; et quomodo coarctor usque 
dum perficiatur!" Litke, xii. 50 

6 "Non ex metu mortis suse, sed ex mora nostrae redemptionis." 
In Luc. xii. 

6 " Nonne hie est faber, fabri filius ?" Mark, vi. 3; Matt. xiii. 55. 



io6 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

to suffer: " The Son of God took delight in this work, in 
which the wood and the nails continually reminded him 
of the cross that awaited him." 1 

Thus (to return to the point) we see it was not so much 
the thought of his Passion that afflicted the heart of our 
Redeemer, as the ingratitude with which mankind would 
repay his love. It was this ingratitude which made him 
weep in the stable of Bethlehem; which caused him to 
sweat blood in his deadly agony in the garden of Geth- 
semane; which filled him with such sorrow that he says 
even that it alone was sufficient to make him die: My 
soul is sorrow/ uneven to death? and, finally, this ingratitude 
it was which caused him to die in desolation and de 
prived of all consolation on the cross; for, says F. Suarez, 
Jesus Christ wished rather to satisfy for the pain of loss 
due to man than for the pain of sense. 3 Therefore the 
pains which our Lord suffered in his soul were much 
greater than all those he suffered in his body. 

II.. 

We then, also, by our sins contributed to make the 
whole life of our Saviour embittered and afflicted. But 
let us thank his goodness in giving us time to remedy 
the evil which has been done. 

How, then, are we to remedy it ? By bearing patiently 
all the crosses which he sends us for our good. And he 
himself tells us how we can bear these troubles with pa 
tience: Put me as a seal upon thy heart." Put upon thy 
heart the image of me crucified; which means to say, 
consider my example and the pains which I have suffered 
for thee, and so shalt thou bear all crosses in peace. 

" Dei Filius illis delectabatur operibus, quibus lignorum segmentis 
et clavis sibi ssepe futurae crucis imago prseformabatur." 

2 " Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem." Matt. xxvi. 38. 

3 " Principalius Christus satisfecit pro poena damni, quam sensus." 

4 " Pone me ut signaculum super cor tuum." Cant. viii. 6. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Afflicted. 107 

St. Augustine says that this heavenly physician made 
himself weak, that he might heal our weakness by his 
own infirmity: "Wondrous medicine! the physician 
deigns to become sick, to heal his patient by his own in 
firmity," ] according to that which Isaias says, By His 
bruises we are healed? To heal our souls, which are weak 
ened by sin, this medicine of suffering was the only one 
necessary; and Jesus Christ desired to be the first to taste 
it, that we who are the true sinners should not refuse to 
take it also: "The physician drinks first, that the sick 
man may not hesitate to drink also." ; 

Believing this, says St. Epiphanius, as true followers 
of Jesus Christ, we ought to thank him when he sends 
us crosses: " It is a virtue peculiar to a Christian to give 
thanks when in adversity." 4 And this is reasonable, be 
cause by sending us crosses he makes us like to himself. 
St. John Chrysostom makes an observation which is very 
consoling; he says that when we thank God for his bene 
fits, we do but give him that which we owe him; but 
that when we suffer some pain with patience for his love, 
then God in a certain way becomes our debtor: " If you 
thank God for good things, you pay a debt; if you thank 
him for evil things, you make him your debtor." 

If thou wouldst render love to Jesus Christ, says St. 
Bernard, learn from him how thou must love him: 
" Learn from Christ how to love Christ." Be happy 

1 " Mirabile genus medicinae ! Medicus voluit segrotare, et aegrotos 
sua infirmitate sanare." Serm. 247, E. B. app. 

2 "Et livore ejus sanati sumus." ha. liii. 5. 

3 " Prior bibit Medicus sanus, ut bibere non dubitaret asgrotus."- 
Serm. 88, E. B. 

4 " Christianorum propria virtus est, etiam in adversis, referre gra- 
tias." 

5 "In bonis gratias agens, reddidisti debitum; in mails, Deum red- 
didisti debitorem." In Ps. ix. 

6 " Disce a Christo, quemadmodum diligas Christum." In Cant. s. 



io8 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

to suffer something for that God who has suffered so 
much for thee. The desire of pleasing Jesus Christ, and 
of making known to him the love they bore him, was that 
which rendered the saints hungry and thirsty, not for 
honors and pleasures, but for sufferings and contempt. 
This made the Apostle say, God forbid that I should glory, 
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Being a happy 
companion of his crucified God, he desired no other glory 
than that of seeing himself on the cross. This was also 
what made St. Teresa say, " Either to suffer or to die;" 2 
as if she had said, My Spouse, if it is Thy will to draw 
me to Thyself by death, behold I am ready to come, and 
I thank Thee for it; but if Thou wilt leave me any longer 
on this earth, I cannot trust myself to remain without 
suffering: Either to suffer or to die." It was this that 
made St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi go still farther: "To 
suffer, and not to die;" by which she meant, My Jesus, I 
desire to be in heaven, that I may love Thee more; but 
I desire still more to suffer, that I may repay in part the 
love which Thou hast shown towards me by suffering so 
much for me. And the Venerable Sister Mary of Jesus 
Crucified, a Sicilian nun, was so enamoured of suffer 
ings that she went so far as to say, u Truly Paradise is 
beautiful; but one thing is wanting, because there there 
is no suffering." For the same reason also St. John 
of the Cross, when Jesus appeared to him with his cross 
on his shoulders, and said to him, John, ask what thou 
wilt of me, would ask for nothing but sufferings and 
Contempt: "Lord, that I may suffer and be despised for 
Thy sake." 

If, then, we have not the strength to desire and seek for 
sufferings, let us at least try to accept with patience 
those tribulations which God sends us for our good: 

" Mihi autem absit gloriari, nisi in cruce Domini nostri Jesu 
Christi." Gal. vi. 14. 

" Domine ! pati et contemni pro te." 



The Eternal Word made Himself Afflicted. 109 

" Where there is patience, there is God," says Tertul- 
lian. Where is God ? Give me a soul that suffers with 
resignation, there assuredly is God: The Lord is nigh unto 
them that are of a contrite heart? The Lord takes delight 
in being near to those that are in affliction. But what 
kind of afflicted people ? it must be those who suffer in 
peace, and are resigned to the divine will. To such as 
these God gives true peace, which consists, as St. Leo 
says, in uniting our will to the will of God: "True 
Christian peace consists in not being separated from the 
will of God." 3 St. Bonaventure tells us that the divine 
will is like honey, which makes even bitter things sweet 
and pleasant. The reason is this, that he who obtains 
all that he wishes has nothing left to desire: " Blessed is 
he who has everything he desires," 4 says St. Augustine. 
Therefore he who wills nothing but what God wills is 
always happy; for, as everything happens by the will of 
God, the soul has always that which it wills. 

And when God sends us crosses, not only let us be 
resigned, but let us also thank him, since it is a sign that 
he means to pardon our sins, and save us from hell, 
which we have deserved. He who has offended God 
must be punished; and therefore we ought always to 
beg of him to chastise us in this world, and not in the 
next. That sinner is to be pitied who does not receive 
his chastisement in this life, but, on the contrary, is pros 
perous. May God preserve us from that mercy of which 
Isaias speaks: Let us have pity on the wicked!" " I do not 
want this mercy," says St. Bernard; "such pity is worse 

1 " Ubi Deus, ibidem et patientia." De Patient. 

2 " Juxta est Dominus iis qui tribulato sunt corde." Ps. xxxiii. 19. 

3 " Christiano vera pax est a Dei voluntate non dividi." In Nat. 
D. s. 9. 

4 " Beatus est, qui habet omnia quse vult, et nihil vult male." De 
Trin. 1. 13, c. 5. 

6 " Misereamur impio !" ha. xxvi. 10. 



1 10 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

than any anger." The prayer of the saint was, Lord, I 
desire not this mercy; for it is more terrible than any 
chastisement. When God does not punish a sinner in 
this life, it is a sign that he waits to punish him in eter 
nity, where the punishment will have no end. St. Lau 
rence Justinian says: 

" From the price thy Redeemer had to pay, learn ^the 
value of his gifts and the gravity of thy sin." " When we 
see a God dead on the cross, we ought to consider the 
great gift which he has made us in giving us his blood 
to redeem us from hell, and at the same time to under 
stand the malice of sin, which made the death of a God 
necessary to obtain pardon for us: "Nothing," says 
Dragone, "frightens me away from sin so strongly as the 
sight of Thy Son suffering so exceedingly cruel a death 
as its penalty." O eternal God ! nothing terrifies me 
more than to see Thy Son punished by so cruel a death 
on account of sin. 

Let us therefore be comforted, when we see ourselves 
afflicted by God for our sins in this world; for it is a sign 
that he will show mercy to us in the next. The thought 
alone of having displeased so good a God, if we love him, 
ought to be of more consolation to us when we see our 
selves chastised and afflicted, than if we were prosper 
ous, and filled with the consolations of this world. St. 
John Chrysostom says, " If a man loves God, he will 
have more consolation in being punished for having of 
fended so merciful a Lord than if he were to escape un 
punished." Any one who loves another (continues the 

" Misericordiam hanc nolo; super omnem iram miseratio ista." 

In Cant. s. 42. 

" De pretio erogato, Redemptoris tui agnosce munus tuzeque pra- 
varicationis pondus. " 

" Nihil ita me deterret, sicut videre Filium tuum propter peccatum 
crudelissima morte mulctatum." 

"Major consolatio erit ei qui punitur, si amet Dominum, post- 
quam exacerbavit tam misericordem, quam ei qui non punitur." 



The Eternal Word made Jlimself Afflicted. 1 1 1 

saint) is more punished in thinking that he has grieved 
the person whom he loves than at the punishment he re 
ceives for his crime. 

Let us, then, be consoled when we are suffering; and 
if these reflections are not sufficient to console us, let us 
go to Jesus Christ, and he will console us, as he has 
promised to all: Come to Me, all you that labor and are bur 
dened, and I will refresh you. 1 When we have recourse to 
our Lord, he will either deliver us from our affliction, or 
will give us strength to bear it patiently. And this is a 
greater grace than the former; because the tribulations 
which we bear with resignation, not only enable us to 
satisfy in this life for our debts, but also merit for us 
greater glory eternally in Paradise. 

Let us also, when we are afflicted and in sorrow, go 
and seek Mary, who is called the Mother of mercy, the 
cause of our joy, the comfort of the afflicted. Let us go 
to this good Lady, who, as Lanspergius says, never lets 
any one depart from her unconsoled and in sadness: 
" She holds the bosom of her compassion open to all; 
she permits no one to depart from her in sorrow." St. 
Bonaventure says that it is her office to compassionate 
those who are in trouble: " To thee is the office of mercy 
committed." 3 Whence Richard of St. Laurence subjoins 
that he who invokes her will always find her ready to 
assist him. 4 "And who has ever sought thy aid in vain ? 
Who, O blessed one, ever asked thy assistance and was 
neglected ?" 5 

1 " Venite ad me omnes, qui laboratis et onerati estis, et ego refi- 
ciam vos." Matt. xi. 28. 

2 "Omnibus pietatis sinum apertum tenet, neminem a se redire 
tristem sinit " Alloq. 1. i, can. 12. 

3 " Tibi miserendi est officium commissum." Stint, div. am. p. 3, 
c. 19. 

4 " Inveniet semper paratam auxiliari." De Laud. B. M. 1. 2, p. I. 

5 "Quis, O Domina ! tuam rogavit opem,et fuitunquam derelictus? 
Vit. S. Theoph. ap. Sur. 4 febr. 



1 12 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 



Affections and Prayers. 

St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi ordered two nuns, over whom 
she was Superior, to remain at the feet of the Holy Infant dur 
ing the time of the Nativity, and there to imitate the service 
done to him by the animals in the stable ; that is, that they 
should cherish the poor shivering Infant by the warmth of their 
praises, their thanksgivings and sighs of love which they were 
to pour out from their burning hearts. O my dear Redeemer, 
would that I also could fulfil that office ! Yes, I praise Thee, 
my Jesus, I praise Thine infinite mercy, I praise Thine infinite 
charity, which makes Thee glorious both in heaven and earth ; 
and I unite my voice to that of the Angel : Glory to God in the 
highest.^ I thank Thee in the name of all mankind ; but I 
thank Thee especially for myself, a miserable sinner. What 
would have become of me, what hope could I have of pardon 
and salvation, if Thou, my Saviour, hadst not come down from 
heaven to save me ? I praise Thee, then, I thank Thee, and I 
love Thee. I love Thee above all things, I love Thee more 
than myself, I love Thee with all my soul, and I give myself all 
to Thee. Receive, O Sacred Infant, these acts of love ; if they 
are but cold, because coming from a frozen heart, do Thou in 
flame this poor heart of mine ; a heart that has offended Thee, 
but is now penitent. Yes, my Lord, I repent above all things 
for having despised Thee who hast loved me so much. Now I 
desire nothing but to love Thee; and this only do I beg of 
Thee : give me Thy love, and do with me what Thou wilt. I 
was once a slave of hell ; but now that I am free from those 
unhappy chains, I consecrate myself entirely to Thee ; I give 
Thee my body, my goods, my life, my soul, my will, and my 
whole liberty. I desire no longer to belong to myself, but only 
to Thee, my only good. Ah, bind my heart to Thy feet, that it 
may no more stray from Thee. O most holy Mary ! obtain for 
me the grace of living always bound to thy Son by the blessed 
chains of love. Tell him to accept me as the slave of his love. 
He grants all that you ask. Pray to him, pray to him, for me. 
This is my hope. 

1 " Gloria in altissimis Deo !" Luke, ii. 14. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Poor. 1 1 3 



DISCOURSE VIII. 
The Eternal Word from being Rich made Himself Poor. 

Excutcre de puh ere, consurge, sede, Jerusalem. 
" Shake thyself from the dust ; arise, sit up, O Jerusalem." Is. lii. 2. 

Arise, Christian soul, says the Prophet, shake off the 
dust of earthly affections: Shake thyself from the dust; 1 
arise; arise from the mire in which thou art lying in 
misery, and sit up: Sit up, O Jerusalem, sit as a queen, 
and rule over those passions which would deprive thee 
of eternal glory, and which expose thee to the danger of 
everlasting destruction. 

But to attain this, what must the soul do? It must 
study and consider well the life of Jesus Christ, who, 
from being rich, as possessing all the riches of heaven 
and earth, made himself poor, despising all the goods of 
the world. It is impossible for any one to think of Jesus 
having become poor for his sake, and not at the same 
time to be moved to despise all for the love of him. Let 
us so consider him, and for this let us implore Jesus and 
Mary to enlighten us. 



Everything that is in heaven and on earth is God s. 
The world is mine, and the fulness thereof." But even this 
is little; heaven and earth are but the least portion of 
the riches of God. The riches of God are infinite, and 
can never fail, because his riches do not depend on 
others, but he, who is the Infinite Good, possesses them 
himself. Therefore it was that David said: Thou art my 

1 "Excutere de pulvere." 
* " Consurge." 

3 " Sede, Jerusalem." 

4 " Meus est enim orbis terrse, et plenitude ejus." Ps. xlix. 12. 



i 14 Discourses for tJie Novena of Christmas. 

God, for Thou hast no need of my goods. 1 ISTow this God, 
who is so rich, made himself poor by becoming man, 
that he might thereby make us poor sinners rich: Being 
rich, He became poor for your sakes; that through his poverty 
you might be rich. 2 

What ! a God become poor ? And why ? Let us 
understand the reason. The riches of this world can be 
nothing but dust and mire; but it is mire that so com 
pletely blinds men that they can no longer see which 
are the true riches. Before the coming of Jesus Christ, 
the world was full of darkness, because it was full of sin: 
All flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth? Mankind 
had corrupted the law and reason, so that, living like 
brutes, intent only on acquiring the riches and pleasures 
of this world, they cared no more for the riches of eter 
nity. But the divine mercy ordained that the very Son 
of God himself should come down to enlighten these 
blind creatures: To them that dwelt in the region of the 
shadow of death light is risen* 

Jesus was called the Light of the Gentiles: A Light for 
the revelation of the Gentiles? The light shineth in dark 
ness? Thus did the Lord from the first promise to be 
himself our Master, and a Master who should be seen 
by us; who should teach us the way of salvation, which 
consists in the practice of all the virtues, and especially 
that of holy poverty: And thy eyes shall see thy Teacher? 

1 "Deus meus es tu, quoniam bonorum meorum non eges." Ps. 
xv. 2. 

2 " Egenus factus est, cum esset dives, ut illius inopia vos divites 
essetis." 2 Cor. viii. 9. 

3 "Omnis quippe caro corruperat viam suam." Gen. vi. 12. 

4 " Habitantibus in regione umbrae mortis, lux orta est eis." 
Isa. ix. 2. 

5 " Lumen ad revelationem gentium." Luke, ii. 32. 

6 " Lux in tenebris lucet, . . . quas illuminat omnem hominem." 
John, i. 5. 

7 " Et erunt ocu .i tui videntes Praeceptorem tuum." Isa. xxx. 20. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Poor. 1 1 5 

Moreover, this Master was not only to teach us by his 
words; but still more by the example of his life. 

St. Bernard says that poverty was not to be found in 
heaven, it existed only on earth; but that man, not know 
ing its value, did not seek after it. Therefore the Son 
of God came down from heaven to this earth, and chose 
it for his companion throughout his whole life, that by 
his example he might also render it precious and desira 
ble to us: "Poverty was not found in heaven, but she 
was well known on earth, and men knew not her excel 
lence. So the Son of God loved her, and came down 
from heaven to take her to himself, that we might learn 
to value her when we see how he regards her." And be 
hold our Redeemer as an Infant, who at the very begin 
ning of his life made himself a teacher of poverty in the 
cave of Bethlehem; which is expressly called by the same 
St. Bernard, u the School of Christ," 2 and by St. Augus 
tine "the Grotto of Doctrine." 

For this end was it decreed by God that the edict of 
Caesar should come forth; namely, that his Son should 
not only be born poor, but the poorest of men, causing 
him to be born away from his own house, in a cave 
which was inhabited only by animals. Other poor peo 
ple, who are born in their own houses, have certainly 
more comforts in the way of clothes, of fire, and the as 
sistance of persons who lend their aid, even if it is out 
of compassion. What son of a poor person was ever 
born in a stable ? In a stable only beasts are born. St. 
Luke relates how it happened. The time being come 
that Mary was to be delivered, Joseph goes to seek 

1 " Paupertas non inveniebatur in coelis ; porro in terris abundabat, 
et nesciebat homo pretium ejus. Hanc itaque Dei Filius concupis- 
cens descendit, ut earn eligat sibi, et nobis sua aestimatione faciat 
pretiosam." In Vig, Nat. s. I. 

8 "Schola Christi." 

3 " Spelunca magistra." 



n6 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

some lodging for her in Bethlehem. He goes about and 
inquires at every house, and he finds none. He tries to 
find one in an inn, but neither there does he find any: 
There was no room for them in the inn. 1 So that Mary was 
obliged to take shelter and bring forth her Son in that 
cave where, notwithstanding all the concourse of people, 
there was no one; there were only two animals. When the 
sons of princes are born, they have warm rooms prepared 
for them, adorned with hangings, silver cradles, the finest 
clothes, and they are waited on by the highest nobles 
and ladies of the kingdom. The King of heaven, instead 
of a warm and beautiful room, has nothing but a cold 
grotto, whose only ornament is the grass that grows 
there; instead of a bed of feathers, he has nothing but a 
little hard sharp straw; instead of fine garments, he 
has but a few poor rough cold and damp rags: " The 
Creator of Angels" (writes St. Peter Damian) " is not 
said to have been clad in purple, but to have been 
wrapped in rags. Let worldly pride blush at the re 
splendent humility of the Saviour." 2 Instead of a fire, 
and of the attendance of great people, he has but the warm 
breath and the company of two animals; finally, in place 
of the silver cradle, he must lie in a vile manger. What 
is this, said St. Gregory of Nyssa, the King of kings, 
who fills heaven and earth with his presence, finds no 
better place to be born in than a stable for beasts ? 
"He who encompasses all things in his embrace is laid 
in the manger of brute cattle." 3 Yes, for this King of 
kings for our sake wished to be poor, and the poorest of 
all. Even the children of the poor have milk enough 

" Non erat eis locus in dlversorio." Luke, ii. 7. 
2 "Condiror Angelorum, non ostro obsitus, sed vilibus legitur pan- 
niculis obvolutus: erubescat terrena superbia, ubi coruscat humilitas 
Redemptoris \"De Vest. eccl. c. 2. 

" Qui complexu suo ambit omnia, in brutorum praesepe reclina- 
ur !" De Beatit. or. I. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Poor, i i 7 

provided for them, but Jesus Christ wished to be poor 
even in this; for the milk of Mary was miraculous, and 
she received it not naturally, but from heaven, as the 
holy Church teaches us: "The Virgin gave him milk 
from a breast filled from heaven." 1 And God, in order 
to comply with the desire of his Son, who wished to be 
poor in everything, did not provide Mary with milk in 
abundance, but only with as much as would barely suf 
fice to sustain the life of his Son; whence the same holy 
Church says: " He was was fed on a little milk." a 

And Jesus Christ, as he was born poor, so did he also 
continue in poverty all his life. Not only was he poor, but 
a beggar; for the word egenus, used by St. Paul, signifies 
in the Greek text a beggar; so that Cornelius a Lapide 
says, "It is evident that Christ was not only poor, but 
also a beggar." : Our Redeemer, after being born in 
such poverty, was obliged to fly from his own country 
into Egypt. In this journey, St. Bonaventure goes on 
to consider and compassionate the poverty of Mary and 
Joseph, who, travelling like poor people on so long a 
journey, and carrying the Holy Infant, must have suf 
fered very much on account of their poverty: "What did 
they do for food?" (says the saint). "Where did they re 
pose at night ? how were they lodged ?" 4 What could 
they have had to eat except a little hard bread ? Where 
could they have slept at night, in that desert, if not on 
the ground, in the open air, or under some tree ? Who 
that met these three great pilgrims on their way would 
ever have taken them for anything else than three poor 
beggars ? 

" Virgo lactabat ubere de coelo pleno." In Circ. resp. 8. 
2 " Lacte modico pastus est." In Nativ. ad L. 

" Patet Christum, non tantum pauperem fuisse, sed et vere 
mendicum." 

" Quomodo faciebant de victu? ubi nocte quiescebant? quomodo 
hospitabantur ?" Med. vit. Chr. c. 12. 



Ii8 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

They arrive in Egypt; and any one may imagine how 
great must have been the poverty which for seven years 
they had to endure, being as they were without relatives 
and without friends. St. Basil says that they had scarce 
ly enough to subsist on, procuring their food by the 
work of their hands: " They worked hard, in the sweat 
of their brow, to gain for themselves by such means the 
necessaries of life." 1 Ludolph of Saxony tells us that 
sometimes the Infant Jesus, constrained by hunger, went 
to ask Mary for a little bread, and that Mary sent him 
away, saying that there was not any: " Sometimes the 
Son asked for bread to satisfy his hunger, but the Mother 
had it not to give." 

From Egypt they returned into Palestine to live again 
in Nazareth, and there Jesus continues his life of pov 
erty. Here the house is poor and the furniture is poor: 
"A poor cottage scantily furnished; such was the dwell 
ing which the Creator of the world chose for himself/ 
says St. Cyprian. 3 In this cottage he lives as a poor 
man, gaining his livelihood by the sweat of his brow, in 
the same manner that all workmen and their children 
do; so that he was called and was believed by the Jews 
to be a simple workman: "Is not this the carpenter? 
Is not this the carpenter s son !" 

Finally, then, the Redeemer comes forth to preach, 
and in these three last years of his life he changes not 
his tortune or his condition; but he lives in even greater 
poverty than before, living on alms. Therefore he said 
to a certain man, who wished to follow him, in order to 

1 " Sudores frequentabant, necessaria vitse inde sibi quserentes. 
Const, mon. c. 5. 

2 " Aliquando Filius, famem patiens, panem petiit, nee unde dartf 
Mater habuit." Vit. Chr. p. I, c. 13. 

3 " Domus paupercula, supellex exigua : tale elegit Fabricate* 
tnundi hospitium." Lib. de Nativ. 

4 " Norjne hie est faber, fabri filius?" Mark, vi. 3; Matt. xiii. 55. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Poor. \ 19 

lead an easier life: The foxes have holes, and the birds of 
the air nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His 
head. 1 He meant to say: Man, if thou hopest to better 
thy condition by becoming my follower, thou dost err, 
for I came on earth to teach poverty; and therefore have 
I made myself poorer than the foxes or the birds of the 
air, which have their holes and their nests; while I have 
not even a foot of ground belonging to me on this earth, 
where I may rest my head; and so would I have all my 
disciples to be: " Dost thou hope" (is the comment of 
Cornelius a Lapide on this text) " that in following me 
thou wilt increase thy riches ? Thou art in error, for I, 
as the master of perfection, am poor, and such I wish 
my disciples to be." ; For it follows, says St. Jerome, 
that "the servant of Christ has nothing but Christ." 3 
The true servants of Christ neither have, nor desire to 
have, anything but Christ. In a word, Christ lived poor, 
and he at last died poor; for St. Joseph of Arimathea 
was obliged to give him a burial-place; and others, out 
of charity, provided the sheet in which to wrap his dead 
body. 

H. 

Cardinal Hugo, meditating on the poverty, the con 
tempt, and the pains to which it pleased our Redeemer 
to submit, says, " He made himself, as it were, a fool, 
and condescended to our miseries." 4 God seems to have 
gone on to madness in his love for men, being willing to 
embrace so many miseries to obtain for them the riches 
of divine grace and eternal glory. And whoever says 

" Vulpes foveas habent, et volucres coeli nidos; Filius autem hom- 
inis non habet ubi caput reclinet." Matt. viii. 20. 

" Speras te in mei sequela posse rem tuam augere; sed erras: quia 
ego, velut perfectionis Magister, pauper sum, talesque volo esse 
meos discipulos." 

"Servus Christ! nihil praeter Christum habet." Ep. ad Heliod. 
4 " Quasi insanus factus, ad miserias nostras descendit." 



I2O Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

the same author, would have believed, if Christ had not 
done it, that while he was the master of all riches, he 
would have made himself so poor ! that being Lord of 
all, he should have become a servant ! that being the 
King of heaven, he should have chosen to be so de 
spised ! that being blessed, he should choose so many 
sufferings ! "Who could believe that the possessor of 
all things would condescend to poverty, the Lord to 
slavery, the King to ignominy, the ever-blessed to suffer- 
ing!" 

There are, it is true, many princes in this world who 
delight in employing their riches for the relief of the 
poor ; but where shall we find a king who, to alleviate 
the poverty of the poor, has made himself poor like 
them, as Jesus Christ did ? It is related as a prodigious 
example of charity that the holy King Edward, seeing 
a beggar on the road, who was unable to move, and was 
there remaining utterly abandoned, took him up on his 
shoulders with great, tenderness, and carried him to the 
church. Yes, this was so great an act of charity that all 
the people were astonished at it ; but Edward did not 
for this cease to be king, and he remained as rich as he 
was before. But the Son of God, the King of heaven 
and earth, to save the lost sheep, which was man, not 
only descended from heaven to seek him, not only put 
him on his shoulders, but laid aside his own majesty, 
his riches, and honors ; he made himself poor, even the 
poorest among men : " He hid his purple under miser 
able garments," says St. Peter Damian ; 2 he hid the 
purple, that is, the divine Majesty, beneath the clothes 
of a wretched carpenter s boy : " He w r ho enriches 
others" (says St. Gregory Nazianzen) " has no riches him- 

1 " Quis crederet divitern ad paupertatem descendere, dominum ad 
servitutem, regem ad ignominiam, deliciosum ad austeritatem ?" 

2 " Abscondit purpuram sub miserise vestimentis." Serm. in Nat. 
Salv. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Poor. \ 1 1 

self ; he undergoes the poverty of my carnal nature, 
that I may obtain the wealth of his divine nature." He 
who provides riches for the rich chose himself to be 
poor, that he might merit for us, not indeed earthly, 
miserable, and perishable riches, but divine riches, which 
are infinite and eternal, thus endeavoring by his example 
to detach us from the affection of all earthly things, 
which brings us often into great danger of everlasting 
destruction. It is mentioned in the life of St. John 
Francis Regis, that his ordinary meditation was on the 
poverty of Jesus Christ. 

Albertus Magnus tells us that Jesus Christ chose to be 
born in a stable, open to the public road, for two reasons: 
one, that we might understand more fully that we are 
all pilgrims in this world, and that we are only here in 
passing. " Thou art a stranger, look and pass by," : 
says St. Augustine. Any one who is lodging in a tem 
porary place would not certainly bestow any affection on 
it, thinking that in a short time he will have to leave 
it. Oh ! if men would always remember that they are 
but travellers in this world, and on their way to eternity, 
who would be found to attach himself to earthly riches, 
and, so doing, to run the risk of losing the riches of 
eternity? The other reason was, says Albertus Mag 
nus, " to teach us to despise the world ;" 3 that by this 
example we might learn to despise the world, whose 
riches cannot satisfy our hearts. The world teaches its 
followers that happiness consists in the possession of 
riches, pleasures, and honors ; but this deceitful world 
was condemned by the Son of God when he became 
man. Now is the judgment of the world? And this con- 

1 " Qui alios ditat, paupertate afficitur; carnis meae paupertatem 
subit, ut ego divinitatis opes consequar." In Pasch. or. 2. 

2 " Hospes es, vides, et transis." 

3 " Utmundum contemnere doceret." 

4 " Nunc judicium est mundi." John, xii. 31. 



122 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

demnation of the world began (according to St. Anselm 
and St. Bernard) in the stable of Bethlehem. Jesus 
Christ wished to be born there in poverty, " that through 
his poverty we might become rich ;" that from his di 
vine example we should pluck out of our hearts all affec 
tion to the things we possess here, and should give it to 
virtue and holy love. "Christ," says Cassian, "began a 
new way ; he loved that which the world hated, namely, 
poverty." l 

Therefore the saints, after the example of the Saviour, 
have always sought to despoil themselves of everything, 
and to follow, like poor people, Jesus Christ, who was 
himself poor. St. Bernard says, "The poverty of Christ 
is richer than all the treasures of the world." 2 The 
poverty of Christ brings us greater riches than all 
worldly treasures ; because it excites us in acquiring the 
riches of heaven and in despising those of the world. 
Hear what St. Paul said : I count all things but as dung, 
that I may gain Christ? When compared with the grace 
of Jesus Christ, the Apostle esteemed everything else as 
dung and filth. Look at St. Benedict, who, in the flower 
of his youth, left the riches and comfort of his father s 
house, and went to live in a cave, and received a little 
bread as an alms from a monk called Romanus, who 
supported him in this way out of charity. See how St. 
Francis Borgia abandons all his riches, and goes to live 
like a poor man in the Society of Jesus. St. Anthony, 
abbot, sells his rich patrimony, distributes it to the 
poor, and then goes to dwell in a desert. Behold St. 
Francis of Assisi giving back even his shirt to his father, 
that he may live as a beggar all his life. 

" Initiavit Christus viam novam: dilexit, quam mundus odio ha- 
buit, paupertatem." 

" 2 " Ditior Christi paupertas cunctis thesauris." In Vig. Nat. s. 4. 

3 " Omnia detrimentum feci et arbitror ut stercora, ut Christum lu- 
crifaciam." Phil. iii. 8. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Poor. 123 

He who covets possessions, said St. Philip Neri, will 
never become a saint. And so it is ; for the heart that 
is full of this world has no room for divine love : "Dost 
thou bring an empty heart ?" This was what the monks 
of old chiefly required, in accepting those who came to 
join themselves to their company. And when they asked 
them, dost thou bring a heart void of all earthly affec 
tion ? they meant to say, If thou dost not do so, thou canst 
never belong entirely to God : For where thy treasure is, 
there is thy heart also: 1 The treasure of each one is any 
thing that he loves and prizes. Once, when a certain 
rich man died, who was damned, St. Anthony of Padua 
published his damnation from the pulpit ; and, as a sign 
of the truth of what he said, he told the people to go to 
the place where he had kept his money, and that they 
should find the heart of that wretched man in the midst 
of his money. And they did actually go, and they 
found his heart still warm in the midst of his money. 

God cannot be the treasure of any one who retains 
affection for the goods of this life ; therefore David 
prayed : Create a clean heart in me, O God? Lord, cleanse 
my heart from earthly affections, that I may be able to 
say that thou art the God of my heart, and my eternal 
riches : The God of my heart, and my portion forever? 
He, then, who really wishes to become a saint must 
drive away from his heart everything that is not God. 
What are treasures? what possessions? what riches? 
what is the use of these goods, if they do not satisfy the 
heart, and we must leave them so soon ? Lay not up to 

1 " Affersne cor vacuum?" 

2 " Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum." Matt. vi. 
21. 

3 " Cor mundum crea in me, Deus." Ps. 1. 12. 

4 " Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus, in seternum. Ps. Ixxii. 
26. 



124 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

yourselves treasures on earth, where the rust and moth con 
sume . . ., but lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven^ 

O what great happiness is prepared by God in heaven 
for those who love him ! O what a treasure is the grace 
of God and divine love to those know it ! That I may 
enrich them that love me? God contains in himself and 
brings with him riches and the reward : Behold His re- 
ward is with Him? says Isaias. It is God alone who is the 
reward of the blessed in heaven ; he alone is sufficient to 
make them happy : I am thy reward exceeding great? 

But he who would love God exceedingly in heaven must 
first love him very much on earth. According to the 
degree of love which we bear towards God when we 
finish the journey of life, will be the degree of love with 
which we shall continue to love God for all eternity. 
And if we wish to be certain of nevermore being sepa 
rated from our Sovereign Good in this life, let us always 
bind ourselves more closely to him by the chains of love, 
and say with the sacred spouse : I found Him whom my 
soul loveth; I held Him; and I will not let Him go* How 
did the spouse hold her beloved ? " With the arms of 
love," replies the Abbot William. " Yes," says St. Am 
brose, " God is held with the chains of love." 6 God al 
lows himself to be bound by us with chains of love. 
Happy, then, is the man who can say with St. Paulinus : 
" Let the rich enjoy their riches, kings their kingdoms ; 



" Nolite thesaurizare vobis thesauros in terra, ubi arugo et tinea 
demolitur . . .; thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in coelo." J/*//. 
vi. 19. 

2 "Mecum sunt divitiae . . . ut ditem diligentes me." Prov 
viii. 18. 

" Ecce merces ejus cum eo." Isa. Ixii. n. 
Ego . . . merces tua magna nimis." Gen. xv. i. 
11 Inveni quern diligit anima mea; tenui eum, nee dimittam." 
Cant. iii. 4. 

"Christus tenetur vinculis charitatis." De Virginib. 1. 3. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Poor. 125 

but let Christ be my riches and my kingdom." And 
with St. Ignatius: "Give me only Thy love and Thy 
grace, and I am rich enough." ; Lord, give me Thy 
grace and Thy holy love ; may I love Thee, and be 
loved by Thee ; and I am sufficiently rich : I desire noth 
ing more ; nor is there anything else that I could de 
sire. "No one," says St. Leo, " need fear want who 
possesses all things in the Lord." ; Let us also never 
fail to have recourse to the divine Mother, and to love 
her, after God, above all things; for she herself assures 
us (in the words of the Holy Church) that she enriches 
with graces all those who love her : " With me are 
riches . . . that I may enrich them that love me." 

Affections and Prayers. 

My dear Jesus, inflame me with Thy holy love; since for this 
end Thou didst come upon this earth. It is true that I am so 
wretched as to have often offended Thee, after the many special 
lights and graces which have been bestowed on me ; I am no 
longer worthy to be consumed in those blessed flames with 
which the saints are inflamed, I ought rather to burn in the fire 
of hell ; but now, being free from that prison which I have de 
served, I feel that Thou dost also turn towards me notwith 
standing my ingratitude, and say, Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart? I thank Thee, my God, that 
Thou dost again give me this sweet precept ; and as Thou dost 
command me to love Thee, I will obey Thee, and will love Thee 
with my whole heart. Lord, I have hitherto been ungrateful 

1 " Sibi habeant divitias suas divites, sibi regna sua reges ; nobis 
gloria et possessio et regnum Christus est." Ep. ad Apr urn. 

2 " Amorem tui solum cum gratia tua mihi dones, et dives sum 
satis." 

3 " Non pavet indigentia laborare, cui donatum est in Domino 
omnia possidere." In Quadr. s. 4. 

4 " Mecum sunt divitias . . ., ut ditem diligentes me." Prov. viii. 
18. 

5 " Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo." Matt. xxii. 

37- 



i 26 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

and blind, because I have not been mindful of the love Thou 
hast borne me. But now Thou dost enlighten me again, and 
dost make me understand how much Thou hast done for my 
sake : now that I think that Thou didst become man for me, 
that Thou didst take upon Thee my miseries ; now that I see 
Thee trembling with cold on the straw, crying and weeping for 
me, O my infant God, how can I live without loving Thee? 
Ah, my Love, pardon me for all the displeasure I have caused 
Thee. O God, how could I, knowing as I did by faith how 
much Thou hast suffered for me, how could I have offended 
Thee so much? But this straw that torments Thee, that vile 
, manger in which Thou art lying, those tender cries which Thou 
dost put forth, those loving tears which Thou dost shed, these 
all make me firmly hope for pardon and grace to love Thee for 
the rest of my life. I love Thee, O Incarnate Word; I love 
Thee, O Divine Child ; and I give myself all to Thee. For the 
sake of those pains which Thou didst suffer in the stable of 
Bethlehem, accept, O my Jesus ! this miserable sinner, who de 
sires to love Thee. Help me, give me perseverance ; I hope 
for all things from Thee. O Mary ! great Mother of this great 
Son, and most beloved by him, pray to him for me. 

DISCOURSE IX. 
The Eternal Word from being High made Himself Low. 

Disci te a. we, guia mitis sum et humilis corde. 
" Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart." .ft. Matt. xi. 20. 

Pride was the chief cause of the fall of our first pa 
rents, who, not being willing to submit themselves to 
the obedience of God, thereby caused their own ruin 
and that of all the human race. But the mercy of God 
as a remedy against such destruction, decreed that his 
only-begotten Son should humble himself to take upon 
himself our flesh ; and by the example of his life should 
induce men to love humility, and to detest pride, which 
renders them hateful in the sight of God and man. For 
this end is it that St. Bernard now invites us to visit the 
cave of Bethlehem, saying, Let us go even to Bethle- 



The Eternal Word made Himself Low. 1 2 7 

hem: there we have what to admire, what to love, and 
what to imitate." 1 

Yes; in that cave we have first of all cause to wonder. 3 
What ! a God in a stable ! a God on straw ! that God 
who sits on the highest throne of the majesty of heaven: 
/ saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated? says 
Isaias; and then where do we see him? In a manger, 
unknown and abandoned, with none around him save a 
few poor shepherds and two animals ! 

"We have what to love;" we shall easily find one in 
whom to place our affection, seeing there a God, who is 
the Infinite Good, and who has chosen to debase himself 
by appearing to the world as a poor Infant, thereby to 
make himself more endearing and pleasing in our eyes. 
As St. Bernard says again, " The more degraded he ap 
pears to me, the more dear is he to me." 

We shall lastly find what to imitate: " We have what 
to imitate." 5 We find the Supreme Being, the King of 
heaven, become an humble poor little Infant, desirous in 
this way, from his very infancy, of teaching us by his 
example that which he was afterwards to tell us byword 
of mouth: " He proclaims by his example (says the same 
holy Abbot) what he is afterwards to teach by his 
mouth: learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble of 
heart." 6 Let us ask for light of Jesus and Mary. 

1 " Habemus quod amemus et admiremur, habemus etiam quod 
imitemur." De Circ. s. 3. 

2 "Quod admiremur." 

3 " Vidi Dominum sedentem super solium excelsum et elevatum." 
ha. vi. I. 

4 " Quanto pro me vilior, tanto mihi carior." In Epiph. D. s. i. 
; " " Quod imitemur." 

6 " Clamat exemplo quod postmodum praedicaturus est verbo: Dis 
cite a me, quia mitis sum et humilis corde." In Nat. D. s. i. 



128 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 



T. 



Who does not know that God is the first, the highest 
in nobility, and the source whence all nobility proceeds ? 
He is of an infinite greatness. He is independent; for 
he has not received his greatness from any other, but 
has always possessed it in himself. He is the Lord of 
all, whom all creatures obey: The winds and the sea obey 
Him. Truly, therefore, does the Apostle say, that to 
God alone belong honor and glory: To the only God be 
honor and glory? But the Eternal Word, to provide a 
remedy for man s disgrace, which was brought about by 
his pride, having made himself an example of poverty 
(as we considered in the last discourse), to detach man 
from worldly goods, desired also to make himself an ex 
ample of humility, to free him from the vice of pride. 

And in doing this, the first and greatest example of 
humility which he gave was making himself a man, and 
clothing himself with our miseries: In habit found as a 
man* Cassian says that any one who puts on the dress 
of another man hides himself under it; in like man 
ner God hid his divine nature under the lowly dress 
of human flesh. " He who is clothed is hidden under 
his clothes; so the divine nature concealed itself beneath 
the clothing of flesh." 4 And St. Bernard: "The divine 
Majesty became small in order that it might join itself 
to our earthly nature; and that God and clay, majesty 
and weakness, the most extreme abasement and the 
highest grandeur, might be united in one person." 6 A 

"Venti et mare obediunt ei." Matt. viii. 27. 
" 2 " Soli Deo honor et gloria." i Tim. i. 17. 

3 " Habitu inventus ut homo." Phil. ii. 7. 

4 " Qui vestitur, sub veste absconditur ; sic natura divina sub car- 
nis veste delimit." 

"Contraxit se Majestas, ut seipsam limo nostro conjungeret, et 
in persona una unirentur Deus et limus, majestas et infirmitas, tanta 
vilitas et sublimitas tanta." In Vig. Nat. s. 3. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Low. i 29 

God to unite himself to dust ! greatness to misery ! sub 
limity to wretchedness ! But that which must make us 
wonder still more is, that not only did God choose to ap 
pear as a creature, but as a sinful creature, putting on 
sinful flesh : God sending his own Son in the likeness of sin 
ful flesh. 1 

But the Son of God was not even contented to .appear 
as a man, and as a sinful man: he desired further to 
choose the most lowly and humble life among men; so 
that Isaias called him the last, the most humble of men: 
Despised and the most abject of men? Jeremias said that 
he should be covered with ignominy: He shall be filled 
with reproaches. 3 And David, that he should be made 
the scorn of men, and the outcast of the people: The re 
proach of //ten, and the outcast of the people." For such an 
end Jesus Christ wished to be born in the most abject 
way that could be imagined. What an ignominy for a 
man, even though he is poor, to be born in a stable ! 
Who is there that is born in a stable ? The poor are 
born in their huts, at least on beds of straw; stables are 
fit only for beasts and worms; and the Son of God chose 
to be born on this earth like a worm: I am a worm, and 
no man? Yes, says St. Augustine, in such humility did 
the King of the universe choose to be born, in order to 
show us his majesty and power in his very humility, by 
which he could through his example make those men who 
are born full of pride love humility: " Such was the will 
of the Most High, who is also so humble, to show forth 
his majesty by very humility." 

1 " Deus Filium suum mittens in similitudinem carnis peccati."- 
Rom. viii. 3. 

2 " Novissimum virorum." Isa. liii. 3. 

3 " Saturabitur opprobriis." Lam. iii. 30. 

4 "Opprobrium hominum et abjectio plebis." Ps. xxi. 7. 
6 " Ego autem sum vermis, et non homo." Ibid. 

6 "Sic voluit nasci excelsushumilis, ut in ipsa humilitate ostenderet 
majestatem." De Symb. ad cat. 1. 2, c. 5. 



130 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

An angel announced to the shepherds the birth of the 
Messias; and the signs which he gave them by which 
they might find him and recognize him were all signs of 
humility. When you shall find a child (said he) in a 
stable, wrapped up in rags, and lying in a manger on the 
straw, know that it is your Saviour: And this shall be a 
sign unto you; you shall find the infant wrapped in swad 
dling-clothes, and laid in a manger. 1 In such a state is it 
that we find a God who is coming to this earth to de 
stroy pride. 

Then the life which Jesus Christ led in Egypt, where 
he was in exile, was in conformity with his birth. Dur 
ing the years he remained there, he lived as a stranger, 
unknown, and in poverty, in the midst of those barbari 
ans. Who knew him there ? who made any account of 
him ? 

He returned to Judea, and continued to live the same 
sort of a life he had led in Egypt. He lived for thirty 
years in a shop, supposed by all to be the son of a com 
mon workman, doing the work of a serving-boy, poor, un 
seen, and despised. In that holy family there were no 
servants. " Joseph and Mary," writes St. Peter Chrysol- 
ogus, "have neither servant nor servant-maid: them 
selves are at once master and servant." There was but 
one servant in that family, and he was the Son of God, 
who wished to become the Son of Man, that is, of Mary, 
that he might be an humble servant, and obey a man and 
a woman as their servant: And He was subject to them? 

After thirty years of hidden life, finally the time came 
that our Saviour was to appear in public to preach his 
heavenly doctrines, which he had come from heaven to 

1 " Et hoc vobis signum: invenietis infantem pannis involutum, et 
positum in praesepio." Luke, ii. 12. 

2 "Joseph et Maria non habent famulum, non ancillam; ipsi domin 
et famuli." Horn, de Nat. Dom. 

3 " Et erat subditus illis." Luke, ii. 51, 



The Eternal Word made Himself Low. 1 3 1 

teach us; and therefore it was necessary that he should 
make himself known as the true Son of God. But, O my 
God ! how many were there that acknowledged and 
honored him as he deserved ? Besides the few disciples 
who followed him, all the rest, instead of honoring him, 
despised him as a vile man and an impostor. Ah, then was 
verified in the fullest manner the prophecy of Simeon: 
This child is set for a sign which shall be contradicted, 1 Jesus 
Christ was contradicted and despised by all: he was de 
spised in his doctrine; for when he declared that he was 
the only-begotten Son of God, he was called a blasphe 
mer, and as such was condemned to death; as the wicked 
Caiphas said, He hath blasphemed; He is guilty of death? 
He was despised in his wisdom; for he was esteemed a 
fool without sense: He is mad : why hear you Him ? 5 His 
morals were reproached as being scandalous, they 
called him a glutton, a drunkard, and the friend of 
wicked people: Behold a man that is a glutton, and a 
drinker of wine , a friend of publicans and sinners* He was 
accused of being a sorcerer, and of having commerce 
with devils: By the prince of the devils He casteth out 
devils. b He was called a heretic, and one possessed by 
the devil: Do we not say well, that Thou art a Samaritan, 
and hast a deril? 6 A deceiver: For that deceiver said, etc. 7 
In fine, Jesus Christ was considered by all the people so 
wicked a man that there was no need of a tribunal to 

1 " Positus est hie ... in signum cui contradicetur." Luke, ii. 
34- 

2 " Blasphemavit . . . Reus est mortis." Matt. xxvi. 65. 

3 " Insanit; quid eum auditis ?" John, x. 20. 

4 " Ecce homo devorator et bibens vinum, amicus publicanorum et 
peccatorum." Luke, vii. 34. 

5 " In principe daemoniorum ejicit dsemones." Matt. ix. 34. 

" Nonne bene dicimus nos, quia Samaritanus es tu et daemonium 
habes ?" John, viii. 48. 

7 "Seductor ille." Matt, xxvii. 63. 



132 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

condemn him to be crucified: If He were not a malefactor, 
we would not have delivered Him up to thee. 1 

At last the Saviour came to the end of his life and to 
his Passion; and, O God, what contempt and ill-treat 
ment did he not receive in his Passion ! He was be 
trayed and sold by one of his own disciples for thirty 
pieces of money, a less price than would be given for a 
beast. By another disciple he was denied. He was 
dragged through the streets of Jerusalem bound like a 
thief, abandoned by all, even by his few remaining dis 
ciples. He was treated shamefully as a slave, when he 
was scourged. He was struck on the face in public. He 
was treated as a fool, when Herod had a white garment 
put on him, that he might be thought a foolish person 
without any sense: "He despised him as ignorant," 
says St. Bonaventure, " because he did not answer a 
word; as foolish, because He did not defend himself." 2 
He was treated as a mock-king, when they put into his 
hand a piece of reed instead of a sceptre, a tattered red 
garment upon his shoulders instead of the purple, and a 
chaplet of thorns on his head for a crown; after thus de 
riding him, they saluted him: Hail, King of the Jews ! z 
and then they covered him with spitting and blows, and 
spitting upon Him; 4 and they gave Him blows? 

Finally, Jesus Christ willed to die; but by what death ? 
ty the most ignominious death, which was the death of 
the cross: He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto 

1 "Si non esset hie malefactor, non tibi tradidissemus eum." 
John, xviii. 30. 

v " Sprevit ilium . . . tamquam ignorantem, quia verbum non re- 
spondit; tamquam stolidum, quia se non defensavit." In Luc. 
xxiii. 

3 " Ave, Rex Judaeorum." 

4 "Et expuentes in eum." Matt, xxvii. 30. 
6 "Dabant ei alapas." John, xix. 3. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Low. 133 

death, even to the death of the cross. 1 Any one who suffered 
the death of the cross at that time was considered the 
vilest and most wicked of criminals: Cursed is every one 
that hangeth on a tree? Therefore, the names of those 
who were crucified were always held as cursed and in 
famous; so that the Apostle wrote: Christ is made a curse 
for us. 3 St. Athanasius, commenting on this passage, 
says: " He is called a curse, because he bore the curse 
for us." 4 Jesus took upon himself this curse, that he 
might save us from eternal malediction. But where, 
Lord, exclaims St. Thomas of Villanova, where is Thy 
beauty, where is Thy majesty in the midst of so much 
ignominy ? " Where, O God, is Thy glory, where Thy 
majesty?" 5 And he answers: "Ask not, God has gone 
out of Himself." 6 And the saint s meaning was this: 
that we should not seek for glory and majesty in Jesus 
Christ, since he had come to give us an example of hu 
mility, and manifest the love that he bears to wards men; 
and that this love had made him, as it were, go out of 
himself. 

ii. 

In the fables of the pagans, it is related that the god 
Hercules, for the love which he bore to the king Augea, 
undertook to tame his horses; and that the god Apollo, 
out of love for Admetus, kept his flocks for him. These 
are inventions of imagination; but it is of faith that 
Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, for the love of men, 
humbled himself to be born in a stable, and to lead a 

1 " Humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem, mor 
tem autem crucis." Phil. ii. 8. 

2 " Maledictus omnis qui pendet in ligno." Gal. iii. 13. 

3 " Factus pro nobis maledictum." Ibid. 

4 " Dicitur maledictum, quod pro nobis maledictum suscepit." 

5 " Ubi est, Deus, gloria tua, majestas tua?" 

6 " Noli quserere; extasim passus est Deus," Semi, de Transfig. 



134 Discourses for tJie Novcna of Christmas. 

contemptible life, and in the end to die by the hands of 
executioners on an infamous gibbet. " O grace ! O 
power of love !" exclaims St. Bernard, "didst Thou, 
the Most High, become the lowest of all !" O the 
strength of divine love ! the greatest of all has made 
himself the lowest of all ! " Who did this ?" rejoins St. 
Bernard, " it was love, regardless of its dignity. 2 Love 
triumphs over God." 2 Love does not consider dignity, 
when there is question of gaining for itself the person it 
loves. God, who can never be conquered by any one, 
has been conquered by love; for it was that love that 
compelled him to make himself man, and to sacrifice 
himself for the love of man in an ocean of sorrows and 
contempt. " He emptied Himself," concludes the holy 
abbot, " that thou mayest know that it was through love 
that the Highest made himself equal to thee." ^ The 
divine Word, who is majesty itself, humbled himself so 
far as to annihilate himself, that mankind might know 
how much he loved them. 

Yes, says St. Gregory Nazianzen, because in no other 
way could he better show forth the divine love than by 
abasing himself, and taking upon himself the greatest 
misery and ignominy that men even suffer on this earth. 
" God could not otherwise declare his love for us than 
by descending for our sakes to what was most low." ; 
Richard of St. Victor adds that maii having had the bold 
ness to offend the majesty of God, in order to expiate his 
guilt, the intervention of the most excessive humiliation 

1 " O gratiam, O amoris vim ! itane summus omnium imus factus 
est omnium !" 

2 " Fecit amor, dignitatis nescius." 

3 " Triumphal de Deo amor." 

4 " Semetipsum exinanivit, ut scias amoris fuisse, quod altitude 
adsequata est." In Cant. s. 64. 

5 " Non aliter Dei amor erga nos declarari poterat, quam quod nos- 
tra causa ad deteriorem partem se dejecerit." 



The Eternal Word made Himself Low. 135 

was necessary: " For the expiation of the sin, the humili 
ation of the highest to the lowest was necessary." St. 
Bernard goes on to say, the more our God abased him 
self, so much the more did he show forth his goodness 
and love: " The lower he showed himself to be in human 
nature, the greater did he declare himself in goodness." 
Now, after a God has suffered so much for the love of 
man, will man have a repugnance to humble himself for 
the love of God ? Let this mind be in you, which ivas also 
in Christ Jesus* He who is not humble, and who does 
not seek to imitate the humility of Jesus Christ, is not 
worthy* of the name of Christian; for Jesus Christ, as 
St. Augustine says, came into the world in an humble way 
to put down pride. The pride of man was the disease 
which drew from heaven this divine physician, which 
loaded him with ignominies, and caused him to die on 
the cross Let the proud man, then, at least be ashamed 
when he sees that a God so humbled himself in order to 
cure him of pride: "Because of this very vice of pride, 
God came in humility. This disease drew him down 
from heaven, humbled him even to the form of a servant, 
overwhelmed with calumnies, hung him upon the cross. 
Blush, then, O man, to be proud, for whom God has be 
come humble." 4 And St. Peter Damian writes: "To 
raise us, he lowered himself." 5 He chose to abase him 
self, that he might raise us out of the mire of our sins, 
and might place us in the company of the angels in 

1 " Oportuit ut, ad expiationis remedium, fieret humiliatio de 
summo ad imum." De Verbo inc. c. 8. 

2 " Quanto minorem se fecit in humanitate, tanto majorem exhibuil 
in bonhate." In Epiph. D. s. i. 

3 " Hoc enimsentite in vobis, quod et in Christo Jesu." Phil. ii. 5. 

4 " Propter hoc vitium superbiae Deus humilis venit. Iste morbus 
Medicum deccelo deduxit, usque ad formam servi humiliavit, contu- 
meliis egit, ligno suspendit. Erubescat homo esse superbus, propter 
quern factus est humilis Deus." /// Ps. xviii. en. 2. 

5 " Ut nos erigeret, se inclinavit." Horn, in Nat, D. 



36 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 



heaven: Lifting up the poor out of the dunghill, that He may 
place him with the princes of His people? " His abasement 
in our exaltation." 2 O the greatness of divine love ! ex 
claims St. Augustine. For the sake of man, a God takes 
upon himself contempt, that he may share his honor with 
man. He makes himself familiar with grief and pain, 
that man may have salvation: he even suffers death, to 
obtain life for man. " O wondrous condescension ! He 
comes to receive contempt, that he may confer honors; 
he comes to be satiated with grief, that he may give sal 
vation; he comes to undergo death, that he may give 
life." 

Jesus Christ, by choosing for himself so humble a birth, 
so despicable a life, and so ignominious a death, has en 
nobled and taken away all bitterness from contempt and 
opprobrium. It is for this that the saints in this world 
were always so fond and even desirous of being despised; 
they seemed not to be able to desire or seek for anything 
but to be despised and trodden underfoot for the love of 
Jesus Christ. When the divine Wo d. came upon this 
earth, well was that prophecy of Isaias fulfilled: In the 
dens where dragons dwelt before shall rise up the verdure of 
the reed and the bulrush? That where the demons, the spirits 
of pride, dwelt, there, at the sight of the humility of 
Jesus Christ, should arise the spirit of humility. "The 
verdure of the reed signifies humility," 5 says St. Ugo, 
commenting on this passage ; the humble man is empty 

- 1 " De stercore erigens pauperem, ut collocet eum cum principibus, 
cum principibus populi sui." Ps. cxii. 7. 

2 " Humilitas ejus nostra nobilitas est." De Trin. 1. 2. 

3 " Mira commutatio: venit accipere contumelias, dare honores, 
venit haurire dolorem, dare salutem, venit subire mortem, dare vi- 
tam." In Ps. xxx. en. 2. 

4 " In cubilibus in quibus prius dracones habitabant, orietur viror 
calami." Isa. xxxv. 7. 

5 " Calami, id est, humilitatis, quia humilis est vacuus in oculis 
suis." 



The Eternal Word made Himself Low. 137 

in his own eyes ; the humble are not full of themselves, 
as the proud are, but empty, considering what is the 
truth, that all they have is the gift of God. 

From this we may well understand that an humble 
soul is as dear to God as the proud heart is odious in 
his eyes. But is it possible, says St. Bernard, for peo 
ple to be proud after seeing the life of Jesus Christ? 
"Though the divine majesty annihilates itself, a worm 
lifts itself up in pride!" 1 Is it possible that a mere 
worm, loaded witli sins, should be proud, when he sees 
the God of infinite majesty and purity humble himself 
so much, in order to teach us to be humble! 

But let it be known that proud people do not get on 
with God. St. Augustine thus warns us: "Lift yourself 
up, and God will depart from you; humble yourself, and 
God will come to you." 2 The Lord flies from the proud; 
but, on the contrary, God cannot despise a heart that 
humbles itself, even though it should be a sinful one: A 
contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou will not despise? 
God has promised to hear all who pray to him: Ask, ami 
it shall be given you. . . . For every one that asketh receiveth? 
But he has declared that he will not listen to the proud, 
as St. James tells us: God resisteth the proud, and giveth 
grace to the humble. He resists the prayers of the proud, 
and does not listen to them; but he cannot deny any 
grace to the humble, whatever they may ask. In fact, 
St. Teresa said that the greatest graces she had ever 
received were those which were granted her when she 

1 " Ubi sese exinanivit Majestas, vermiculus intumescit ?" In Nat. 
D. s. i. 

2 " Erigis te, Deus fugit a te ; humilias te, Deus descendit ad te." 
Serm. 117, E. B. app. 

3 "Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies." Ps. 1. 19. 

4 "Petite, et dabitur vobis . . . ; omnis enim qui petit, accipit." 
Matt. vii. 7. 

8 " Deus superbis resistit, humilibus autem dat gratiam." James, 
iv. 6. 



138 Discourses for the Novena of Christmas. 

more particularly humbled herself in the presence of 
God. The prayer of the humble penetrates into heaven 
by its own efficacy, without needing any one to present 
it; and it does not depart without obtaining from God 
that which it desires : The prayer of him that humbleth 
himself shall pierce the clouds , . . . and he will not depart 
till the Most High beholds. 1 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my despised Jesus ! by Thy example Thou hast done too 
much to render reproaches and contempt sweet in the eyes of 
those that love Thee. But how is it, then, that instead of em 
bracing them, as Thou hast done, when I received some little 
contempt from men, I behaved with so much pride, and took 
occasion from it to offend Thy infinite majesty, sinner and 
proud that I was ? Ah, Lord, I see why it is ; I did not know 
how to bear an affront patiently, because I did not know how to 
love Thee. If I had loved Thee truly, it would have been 
sweet and pleasing to me. But since Thou dost promise par 
don to him who repents, I repent with all my heart of all the 
excesses of my life, a life so unlike Thine. But I desire to 
amend ; and therefore I promise Thee to be willing to suffer 
patiently from this day forward all the contempt to which I 
shall be subject, for Thy love, O my Jesus ! who wast so much 
despised for the love of me. I understand that humiliations 
are precious mines by which Thou dost enrich souls with eternal 
treasures. I deserve other humiliations and other reproaches 
for having despised Thy grace ; I deserve to be trampled on by 
the devils. But Thy merits are my hope. I will change my life, 
and will no longer displease Thee; henceforth I will seek for 
nothing but Thy divine pleasure. I have deserved many times 
to be sent to burn in hell-fire ; Thou hast waited for me till 
now, and, as I hope, hast pardoned me ; grant, therefore, that 
instead of burning in that unhappy flame, I may be inflamed 
with the blessed fire of Thy holy love. No, I will no longer 
live without loving Thee. Help me ; let me not live any more 
ungrateful to Thee, as I have hitherto done. For the future I 

"Oratio humiliantis se nubes penetrabit . . .; et non discedet, 
donee Altissimus aspiciat." Ecclus. xxxv. 21. 



The Eternal Word made Himself Low. \ 39 

will love Thee only; I desire that my heart should belong to 
Thee alone. Ah, take possession of it, and keep it forever, 
that I may be always Thine, and Thou mayest be always mine ; 
that I may love Thee ; and Thou mayst love me forever. Yes, 
this is my hope, O my God! that I shall always love Thee, and that 
Thou wilt always love me. I believe in Thee, Infinite Goodness ; 
I hope in Thee, Infinite Goodness; I love Thee, Infinite Good 
ness ; I love Thee, and I will say always I love Thee, I love 
Thee, I love Thee, and because I love Thee, I will do all I can 
to please Thee. Dispose of me as Thou wilt. All I ask is, that 
Thou wouldst give me grace to love Thee, and then do with me 
as Thou pleasest. Thy love is, and always shall be, my only 
treasure, my only desire, my only good, my only love. Mary, 
my hope, Mother of beautiful love, do thou help me in loving 
the God of love with all my heart and forever. 



1-40 The Birth of Christ. 



^discourse for Christmas Nigljt ipe Birtl) of Jesus 

(Etyrist. 

Evangelizo vobis gaudium magnum . , . quiet natus est vobis hodie Salvator. 

" I bring you good tidings of great joy, .... for this day is born to you 
a Saviour." St Luke ii. 10, n. 

/ bring you good tidings of great joy} Thus said the 
angel to the shepherds, and thus do I say to you, O de 
vout souls! on this night. I bring you tidings of great 
joy. And what tidings could be a greater joy to a nation 
of poor exiles, condemned to death, than for them to 
be told that their Saviour had come, not only to deliver 
them from death, but also to obtain for them permission 
to return to their country ? And this is what I announce 
to you this night : A Saviour is born to you? Jesus Christ 
is born ; and he is born for you, to deliver you from 
everlasting death, and to open to you heaven, which is 
our country, and from which we had been banished in 
punishment for our sins. 

But in order that you should show your gratitude 
from this time forth, by loving your new-born Redeem 
er, allow me to set him before your eyes ; let me show 
you where he was born, and where he may be found 
on this night, that you may go to him and thank him for 
so great a favor, and for his great love. Let us ask for 
light from Jesus and Mary. 

I. 

Let me, then, briefly relate to you the history of the 
birth of this King of the world, who came down from 
heaven for your salvation. 

1 " Evangelize vobis gaudium magnum." 

2 " Natus est vobis hodie Salvator." 



Discourse for Christmas Night. 141 

Octavius Augustus, the Emperor of Rome, wishing to 
know the strength of his empire, decreed that there 
be a general numbering of all his subjects; and for 
this purpose he ordered all the governors of the prov* 
inces and, among the rest, Cyrinus, governor of Judea- 
to make every one come to enroll himself, and at the 
same time pay a certain tribute as a sign of vassalage : 
There went out a decree . . . that the whole world should be en 
rolled, As soon as this decree was promulgated, Joseph 
obeys immediately ; he does not even wait till his holy 
spouse should be delivered, though she was near her 
time. I say he obeyed immediately, and set out on his 
journey with Mary, then pregnant with the divine Word, 
to go and enroll himself in the city of Bethlehem: fc be en 
rolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child. 1 The 
journey was a long one for, according to some authors, 
it was ninety leagues ; that is to say, four days long 
and difficult , for they had to traverse mountains and 
steep paths, through the wind, the rain, and the cold. 

When a king makes his first entry into a city of his 
kingdom, what honors are not prepared for him! what 
preparations are not made, and triumphal arches erected! 
Do thou then, O happy Bethlehem! prepare thyself to re 
ceive thy King with honor; for the prophet Micheas has 
told thee that he is coming to thee, and that he is Lord 
not only of all Judea, but of the whole world. And 
know, says the prophet, thou, out of all the cities of the 
earth, art the fortunate one that has been chosen by the 
King of heaven for his birthplace, that he may after 
wards reign, not indeed in Judea, but in the hearts of 
men who live in Judea and in all the rest of the world: 
And thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, art a little one among the thou- 

1 " Exiit edictum a Casare Augusto ut describeretur uni versus or- 

bis." Luke, ii. i. 

8 " Ut profiteretur cum Maria desponsata sibi uxore prsegnante. 

Lu&e, ii. 5. 



1 42 The Birth of Christ. 

sands of Judea: out of thee shall He come forth that is to be 
ruler in Israel. 1 But behold these two illustrious pil 
grims, Joseph and Mary, who bears within her womb 
the Saviour of the world, are about to enter into Bethle 
hem. They enter and go to the house of the imperial 
minister to pay the tribute, and to enroll themselves in 
the book as subjects of Caesar, where they also inscribed 
the offspring of Mary, namely, Jesus Christ, who was 
the Lord of Caesar and of all the princes of the earth. 
But who acknowledges them ? Who goes before them 
to show them honor? who salutes them, and who receives 
them ? He came unto His own, and His own received Him 
not? They travel like poor people, and as such they are 
despised; they are treated even worse than the other 
poor, and are driven away. Yes; for it came to pass when 
they were there her days were accomplished that she should be 
delivered* Mary knew that the time of her delivery was 
come, and that it was here, and on that night, that the 
Incarnate Word willed to be born, and to manifest him 
self to the world. She therefore told Joseph, and he 
hastened to procure some lodging in the houses of the 
townspeople, so as not to take his spouse to the inn to 
be delivered, as it was not a decent place for her to be 
in; besides which, it was then full of people. But he 
found not any one to listen to him; and very likely he 
was insulted, and called a fool by some of them, for tak 
ing his wife about at that time of night, and in such a 
crowd of people, when she was near her delivery; so that 
at last he was obliged, unless he would remain all night 
in the street, to take her to the public inn, where there 
were many other poor people lodging that night. He 

1 "Etui, Bethlehem Ephrata, parvulus es in millibus Juda; ex te 
mihi egredietur, qui sit Dominator in Israel." Mich. v. 2. 

"In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt." John, i. n. 

3 "Factum est autem, cum essent ibi, impleti sunt dies utpareret." 
Luke, ii. 6. 



Discourse for Christmas Night. 143 

went there; but they were refused admittance even there, 
and they were told that there was no room for them: 
There was no room for them in the inn? There was room 
for all, even for the lowest, but not for Jesus Christ. 

That inn was a figure of those ungrateful hearts where 
many find room for miserable creatures, but not for 
God. How many love their relatives, their friends, even 
animals, but do not love Jesus Christ, and care neither 
for his grace nor his love ! But the ever-blessed Mary 
said once to a devout soul: " It was the dispensation of 
God that neither I nor my Son should find a lodging 
amongst men, that those souls who love Jesus might 
offer themselves as a lodging-place, and might affection 
ately invite him to come into their hearts." 

But let us go on with the history. These poor travel 
lers, then seeing themselves repulsed on every side, leave 
the city to try and find some place of refuge without its 
walls. They walk on in the dark; they go round about 
and examine, till at last they see a grotto, which was cut 
out of stone in the mountain under the city. Barradas, 
Bede, and Brocardus say that the place where Jesus 
Christ was born was a rock that had been excavated 
under the walls of Bethlehem, divided off from the city, 
and like a cavern, and which served as a stable for cat 
tle. When they came to it, Mary said to Joseph: "There 
is no occasion to go any farther; let us go into this cave 
and remain there." "What!" replied Joseph; "my 
spouse, dost thou not see that this cave is quite exposed: 
that it is cold and damp, and that water is running down 
on all sides ? Dost thou not see that it is no lodging for 
men, but it is a shed for beasts ? How can you stop 
here all night, and be delivered here ?" Then Mary said, 
"It is nevertheless true that this stable is the regal 
palace in which the Eternal Son of God desires to be 
born on earth." 

1 "Non erat eis locus in diversorlo." Luke, ii. 7. 



1 44 The Birth of Christ. 

Oh, wfiat must the angels have said when they saw 
the divine Mother enter into this cave to bring forth her 
Son ! The sons of princes are born in rooms adorned 
with gold; they have cradles enriched with precious 
stones, fine clothes, a retinue of the first lords of the 
kingdom; and has the King of heaven nothing but a 
cold stable without a fire to be born in, some poor swad 
dling-clothes to cover him, a little straw for his bed, and 
a vile manger to lie in ? " Where is the palace," asks St. 
Bernard, "where is the throne?" 1 Where, says the 
saint, is the court, where is the royal palace for this King 
of heaven ? for I see nothing but two animals to keep 
him company, and a manger for cattle, where he must be 
laid. O happy grotto, that witnessed the birth of the 
divine Word ! Happy manger, to have had the honor 
of receiving the Lord of heaven ! Happy straw, which 
served as a bed to him who sits on the shoulders of the 
seraphim ! All, when we think of the birth of Jesus 
Christ, and of the manner in which it took place, we 
ought all to be inflamed with love; and when we hear 
the names of cave, manger, straw, milk, tears, in refer 
ence to the birth of the Redeemer, these names ought 
to be so many incitements to our love, and arrows to 
wound our hearts. Yes, happy was that grotto, that 
crib, that straw; but still happier are those souls who 
love this amiable Lord with fervor and tenderness, and 
who receive him in the Holy Communion into hearts 
burning with love. Oh, with what desire and pleasure 
does Jesus Christ enter into and repose in a heart that 
loves him ! 

n. 

No sooner had Mary entered into the cavern than she 
began immediately to pray; and the hour of her delivery 
being come, she loosened her hair, out of reverence, 

1 " Ubi aula? ubi thronus ?" 



Discourse for Christmas Night. 145 

spreading it over her shoulders; and behold she sees a 
great light, she feels in her heart a heavenly joy ! She 
casts down her eyes; and, O God ! what does she see ? She 
sees on the ground an infant, so tender and beautiful 
that he fills her with love; but he trembles, he cries, and 
stretches out his arms to show that he desires she should 
take him into her bosom: " I stretched forth my arms to 
seek the caresses of my mother," 1 according to the reve 
lation of St. Bridget. Mary calls Joseph. " Come, Joseph," 
she said, "come and see; for the Son of God is now 
born." Joseph comes; and when he sees Jesus already 
born, he adores him in the midst of a torrent of sweet 
tears: "The old man entered, and, prostrating himself, 
wept for joy." 2 Then the Blessed Virgin reverently took 
her beloved Son in her arms, and placed him in her 
bosom. She tried to warm him by the heat of her cheeks 
and of her bosom: "Pressing him to her cheeks and 
bosom, she warmed him with all the joy and tenderness 
of a mother s love." 3 

Consider the devotion, the tenderness, the love which 
Mary felt at seeing in her arms and on her breast the 
Lord of the world, the Son of the Eternal Father, who 
had deigned even to become her Son, choosing her from 
amongst all women to be his Mother. Mary, now hold 
ing him to her bosom, adores him as God, kissing his 
feet as her king, and then his face as her Son. Then she 
hastily seeks to cover him, and wraps him up in swad 
dling-clothes. But,O God! how hard and rough are those 
clothes; for they are clothes of the poor, and they are 
cold and damp, and in that cave there is no fire to warm 
them by ! 

Come, ye monarchs and emperors, come, all ye princes 

1 "Extendebat membra, quserens Matris favorem." 

2 "Intravit senex, et, prosternens se, plorabat prae gaudio." 

3 " Maxilla et pectore calefaciebat eum cum Isetitia et tenera cpm- 
passione materna." Rev. 1. 7, c. 21. 



10 



146 The Birth of Christ. 

of the world, come and adore your highest King, who 
for your love is now born; and born in such poverty in 
a cave. But who appears ? No one. He came unto His 
own, and His own received Him not. 1 Ah ! the Son of God 
has indeed come into the world; but the world will not 
know him. 

But if men do not come, the angels draw near to adore 
their Lord. Thus did the Eternal Father ordain for the 
honor of his Son: And let all tJie angels of God adore Him? 
They come in great numbers and praise their God, sing 
ing with great "joy, Glory to God in the highest; and on 
earth peace to men of good-will* Glory to the- divine 
mercy, which, instead of chastising rebellious men, causes 
this same God to take upon himself their punishment, 
and so to save them. Glory to the divine wisdom, which 
has devised a means of satisfying his justice, and at the 
same time of delivering man from the death he had de 
served. Glory to the divine power, destroying in so 
signal a manner the powers of hell, by the divine Word 
coming in poverty lo suffer pains, contempt, and death; 
and thus to draw the hearts of men to himself, and to 
leave everything for his sake, honors, riches, and life; 
as so many virgins and young men have done, and even 
nobles and princes, to show their gratitude for the love 
of this God. Finally, glory to the divine love, which 
induced God to become a little child, poor and lowly, to 
live a hard life, and to die a cruel death, in order to 
show man the love which he bea - s him, to gain his love 
in return. "In the stable w r e see power reduced to impo 
tence, and wisdom become mad through excess of love." 4 

1 " In mundo erat . . . , et mundus eum non cognovit." John, 
i. 10. 

2 " Et adorent eum omnes Angeli Dei." Heb. i. 6. 

3 " Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae vo- 
luntatis." Luke, ii. 14. 

4 " Agnoscimus in stabulo exinanitam Majestatem, Sapientiam 
amoris nimietate infatuatam. * Serm. in Nat. D. 



Discourse for Christinas Night. 147 

We see, in this stable, says St. Laurence Justinian, the 
power of God, as. it were, annihilated; we see God, who 
is wisdom itself, become as it were a fool through the 
excess of love which he bears to men. 

in. 

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. Go in, 
then, all ye devout souls; go and see the Creator of 
heaven and earth on a little hay, under the form of a 
little Infant; but so beautiful that he sheds all around 
rays of light. Now that he is born and is lying on the 
straw, the cave is no longer horrible, but is become a 
paradise. Let us enter; let us not be afraid. 

Jesus is born; he is born for all, for each one who desires 
him: I am the Flower of the field (zs he tells us in the Canti 
cles) and the Lily of the valley. 1 He calls himself the lily of 
the valley to show us that as he was born in so great hu 
mility, so it is only the humble who find him; therefore the 
angel did not go and announce the birth of Jesus Christ 
to Caesar or to Herod, but to poor humble shepherds. He 
also calls himself the flower of the field, hecause he 
shows himself forth so as to be seen by all: / am the 
Flower of the field ? upon which Cardinal Hugo comment 
ing says, " Because I allow myself to be found by all." 
Flowers in gardens are shut up and enclosed between 
walls, nor is every one permitted to come and gather 
them; whereas the flowers of the field are open to all, 
and anyone who likes may take them; and so does Jesus 
Christ desire to be accessible to all who desire him. 

Let us arise and enter, the door is open; "There are 
no satellites," says St. Peter Chrysologus, " to say that 

1 "Ego Flos campi et Lilium convallium." Cant. ii. i. 

2 " Ego Flos campi quia palam me exhibeo omnibus ad invenien 
dum." 



148 The Birth of Christ. 

this is not the time." 1 Monarchs are shut up in their 
palaces, and the palaces are surrounded with soldiers; it 
is not easy to have audiences with princes; those who 
would speak to them must expect to have their patience 
tried; they will often be sent away and told to come 
again, that this is not the hour of audience. Jesus 
Christ does not do so; he remains in that cave; and he is 
there as a little child, attracting all who come to seek 
him; and the cave is open without guards and without 
doors; so that all may go in when they please to seek 
him and speak to him; and even to embrace this Infant 
King, if they love him and desire him. 

Let every soul, then, enter. 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, 2 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 con 
dition ? Who will respect Thee? " No," replies Jesus, 
"holy faith will make known who I am, and will make 
me loved by those souls whom I carne 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 

Non est satelles qui dicat: Non est hora." In Ps. iv. 
* " Clamat stabulum, clamat praesepe. " In Nat. D. s. 5. 



Discourse for Christmas Night. 149 

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 hear Thee weep; tell me wherefore dost Thou weep? 
Yes, replies Jesus, I turn my eyes around; for I am seek 
ing 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 do not 
see, or I see but few souls, who seek me and wish to 
love me. 

Exhortation during the Kissing of the Feet of the Holy Infant, 
which is a Practice observed in some Churches. 

Now then, O all ye devout souls, does Jesus invite 
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? Listen to me; the most acceptable 
present you can bring him is that of a contrite and lov 
ing heart. Let each one then say to him before he 
comes: 

Affections and Prayers. 

Lord, I should not have dared to approach Thee, seeing my 
self so deformed by my sins; 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 this fresh insult, namely, that of refusing this 
affectionate, this loving invitation, out of distrust. Say to him, 
Thou must know that I am poor, and that I have nothing to give 
Thee. I have nothing but this heart; this I now offer to Thee. 
It is true that this my heart offended Thee at one time; but 
now it is penitent, and I bring it to Thee penitent. Yes, O In 
fant ! I repent of having offended Thee. I confess that I have 
been a traitor, cruel and ungrateful ; that it is I who have caused 



1 50 The Birth of Christ. 

Thee to suffer so much, and who have 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 merit hell, 
look at the tears of Thy innocent Son ; they invoke Thy pardon 
in my behalf. Thou dost deny nothing to the prayers of Thy 
Son. Listen to him, then, now that he asks Thee to pardon me 
on this night, the night of joy, the night of salvation, the night 
of pardon. Ah, my Infant Jesus, 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 de 
sire 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 nevermore be 
separated from Thee. I love Thee, O my God, who didst be 
come 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. 



Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 151 



Discourse an tlje Name of 

Vocatum est nomen fjus Jesus. 
" His Name was called Jesus." St. Luke, ii. 21. 

This great name of Jesus was not given by man, but 
by God himself ; " The name of Jesus," says St. Bernard, 
u was first preordained by God." : It was a new name : 
A new Name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name? A new 
name, which God alone could give to him whom he des 
tined for the Saviour of the world. A new and an eternal 
name; because, as our salvation was decreed from all 
eternity, so from all eternity was this name given to the 
Redeemer. Nevertheless this name was only bestowed 
on Jesus Christ in this world on the day of his circum 
cision: And after eight days were accomplished that the child 
should be circumcised, His name was called Jesus? The 
Eternal Father wished at that time to reward the hu 
mility of his Son by giving him so honorable a name. 
Yes, while Jesus humbles himself, submitting in his cir 
cumcision to be branded with the mark of a sinner, it is 
just that his Father should honor him by giving him a 
name that exceeds the dignity and sublimity of any other 
name: God hath given Him a Name which is above all names* 
And he commands that this name should be adored by the 
angels, by men, and by devils : That in the Name of Jesus 
every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and 
under the eartli? If, then, all creatures are to adore this 

1 "Nomen Jesus prime fuit a Patre praenominatum." T. ii. s. 49. 

2 "Nomen novum, quod os Domini nominabit." Isa. Ixii. 2. 

3 " Et postquam consummati sunt dies octo, ut circumcideretur puer, 
vocatum est nomen ejus Jesus." 

4 " Donavit illi nomen quod est super omne nomen." Phil. ii. 9. 

5 " Ut in nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, coslestiurn, terrestrium, 
et infernorum." Phil. ii. 10. 



152 Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 

great name, still more ought we sinners to adore it, since it 
was in our behalf that this name of Jesus, which signifies 
Saviour, was given to him; and for this end also he came 
down from heaven, namely, to save sinners: " For us men 
and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and 
was made man." 1 We ought to adore him, and at the 
same time to thank God who has given him this name for 
our good; for it is this name that consoles us, defends 
us, and makes us burn with love. This will form the 
three points of our discourse. Let us consider them; but 
first let us beg for light from Jesus and Mary. 



In the first place, the name of Jesus consoles us; for 
when we invoke Jesus, we find relief in all our afflictions. 
When we have recourse to Jesus, he wishes to console 
us, because he loves us; and he can do so, because he is 
not only man, but he is also the Omnipotent God; other 
wise he could not properly have this great name of Sa 
viour. The name of Jesus signifies that the bearer of it 
is of an infinite power, infinite wisdom, and infinite love; 
so that if Jesus Christ had not united in himself all these 
perfections, he could not have saved us: "If any one of 
these," says St. Bernard, " had been wanting, Thou 
couldst not call Thyself Saviour." Thus, when speak 
ing of the circumcision, the saint says: " He was circum 
cised as being the Son of Abraham, he was called Jesus 
as being the Son of God." 3 He is branded as man with 
the mark of sin, having taken upon himself the burden 
of atoning for sinners; and from his very infancy he be- 

1 " Propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de 
coelis . . ., et homo factus est." Symb. NIC. 

2 "Nee omnino aut vocari posset aut esse Salvator, si forte quip- 
piam horum defuisset." In Circ. s. 2. 

3 " Circumciditur tarnquam Filius Abrahae; Jesus vocatur tamquam 
Filius Dei." In Circ. s. I. 



Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 153 

gan, to satisfy for their crimes, by suffering and shed 
ding his blood; but he is called Jesus, he is called the 
Saviour, inasmuch as he is the Son o God, because to 
God alone does the office of salvation belong. 

The name of Jesus is said by the Holy Spirit to be 
like oil poured out: Thy name is as oil poured out? And 
so indeed it is, says St. Bernard; for as oil serves for 
light, for food, and for medicine, so especially the name 
of Jesus is light: "it is a light when preached." 2 And 
how was it, says the saint, that the light of faith shone 
forth so suddenly in the world so that in a short time so 
many Gentile nations knew the true God, and became 
his followers, if it was not through hearing the name of 
Jesus preached ? " Whence, think you, shone forth in 
the whole world, so bright and so sudden, the light of 
faith, except from the preaching of the name of Jesus ?" 
Through this name we have been happily made sons of 
the true light, that is, sons of the Holy Curch; since we 
were so fortunate as to be born in the bosom of the 
Roman Church, in Christian and Catholic kingdoms, 
a grace which has not been granted to the greater part 
of men, who are born amongst idolaters, Mahometans, or 
heretics. Further, the name of Jesus is a food that 
nourishes our souls. " The thought of it is nourish 
ment." This name gives strength to find peace and con 
solation even in the midst of the miseries and persecu 
tions of this world. The holy Apostles rejoiced when 
they were ill treated and reviled, being comforted by 
the name of Jesus: They went from the presence of the 
council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for 
the name of Jesus.* It is light, it is food, and it is also 

1 "Oleum effusum nomen tuum." Cant. i. 2. 

* " Lucet praedicatum." 

3 " Unde putas in toto orbe tanta et tarn subita fidei lux, nisi de 
praedicato nomine Jesu ?" 

" Ibant gaudentes a conspectu Concilii, quoniam digni habiti sunt 
pro nomine Jesu contumeliam pati." Acts, v. 41. 



154 Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 

medicine to those who invoke it: " When pronounced, 
it soothes and anoints." 1 The holy Abbot says: "At 
the rising of the light of this name, the clouds disperse, 
the calm returns." ! If the soul of any one is afflicted and 
in trouble, let him pronounce the name of Jesus, and im 
mediately the tempest will cease and peace will return. 
Does any one fall into sin ? Does he run in despair into 
the snares of death ? Let him invoke the name of Life, and 
will he not at once return to life ? 3 If any one has been 
so wretched as to fall into sin, and feels diffident of par 
don, let him invoke this name of Life, and he shall im 
mediately be encouraged to hope for pardon, by calling 
on Jesus, who for this end was destined by the Father to 
be our Saviour, namely, to obtain pardon for sinners. 
Euthymius says that if when Judas was tempted to de 
spair, he had invoked the name of Jesus, he would not 
have given way to the temptation: " If he had invoked 
that name, he would not have perished." 4 Therefore, he 
adds, no sinner can perish through desperation, however 
lost he may be, who invokes his Holy Name, which is 
one of hope and salvation: " Despair is far off where this 
name is invoked." 5 

But sinners leave off invoking this saving name, be 
cause they do not wish to be cured of their infirmities. 
Jesus Christ is ready to heal all our wounds; but if peo 
ple cherish their wounds, and will not be healed, how can 
Jesus Christ heal them ? The Venerable Sister Mary of 
Jesus Crucified, a Sicilian nun, once saw the Saviour, as 
it seemed, in a hospital, going round with medicines in 

1 " Invocatum lenit et ungit." 

2 " Ad exortum nominis lumen, niibiliim diffugit, redit serenum." 

3 " Labifur quis in crimen; currit ad laqueum mortis desperando; 
nonne, si invocet nomen vitae, confestim respirabit ad vitam ?" In 
Cant. s. 15. 

4 " Si illud nomen invocasset, non periisset." 

5 " Longe est desperatio, ubi cst hujus nominis invocatio." 



Discourse on the Name of Jesiis. 155 

his hand, to cure the sick people who were there; but 
these miserable people, instead of thanking him and beg 
ging him to come to them, drove him away. In like 
manner do many sinners, after they have of their own 
free-will poisoned their souls with sins, refuse the gifts 
of health, that is, the grace offered them by Jesus Christ, 
and thus remain lost through their infirmities. 

But, on the other hand, what fear can that sinner have 
who has recourse to Jesus Christ, since Jesus offers him 
self to obtain our pardon from his Father, he having paid 
the penalty due from us by his death ? St. Laurence 
Justinian says: "He who had been offended, appointed 
himself as intercessor, and himself paid what was owing 
to him." Therefore, adds the saint, "if thou art bound 
down by sickness, if sorrows weary thee, if thou art 
trembling with fear, invoke the name of Jesus." 5 O 
poor man, whoever thou art, if thou art weighed down 
by infirmity or by grief and fear, call on Jesus, and he 
will console thee. It is enough that we pray to the 
Father in his name, and all we ask will be granted to 
us. This is the promise of Jesus himself, which he re 
peated many times, and which cannot fail: If you ask the 
Father anything in My name, He will give it you : 3 . . . 
that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He 
may give it you? 

II. 

In the second place, we said tnat the name of Jesus 
defends us. Yes, it defends us against all the deceits 

1 " Qui offensus fuerat, ipse se intercessorem destinavit; quod illi 
debebatur, exsolvit." Serm. in Nat. D. 

2 " Si configeris aegritudine, si doloribus fatigaris, si concuteris 
formidine, Jesu nomen edicito." Serm. in Circ. D. 

3 " Si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis." John^ 
xvi. 23. 

4 "Quodcumque petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, hoc faciam." 
John, xiv. fj. 



156 Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 

and assaults of our enemies. For this reason the Messias 
was called the Mighty God / and his name was called by 
the wise man a strong tower: The name of the Lord is a 
strong tower;* that we may know that he who avails 
himself of this powerful name will not fear all the as 
saults of hell. St. Paul writes thus: Christ humbled Him 
self , becoming obedient unto death, wen to the death of the 
cross? Jesus Christ during his life humbled himself in 
obeying his Father, even to die on the cross; which is 
as much as to say, as St. Anselm remarks, he humbled 
himself so much that he could humble himself no more; 4 
and therefore his divine Father, as a reward for this hu 
mility and obedience of his Son, raised him to such a 
sublime dignity that he could have no higher: For 
which cause God hath given Him a name which is above all 
names ; that every knee should bow, of those that are in 
hearen, on earth, and under the earth* He has given him 
a name which is so great and powerful that it is vener 
ated in heaven, on earth, and in hell. A name powerful 
in heaven, because it can obtain all graces for us; power 
ful on earth, because it can save all who invoke it with 
devotion; powerful in hell, because this name makes all 
the devils tremble. These rebel angles tremble at the 
sound of that most sacred name, because they remember 
that Jesus Christ was the Mighty One who destroyed 
the dominion and power they had before over man, 
They tremble, says St. Peter Chrysologus, because at 
that name they have to adore the whole majesty of God: 

1 " Fortis." Isa. ix. 6. 

"Turris fortissima, nomen Domini." Prov. xviii. 10. 
3 " Humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem, 
mortem autem crucis; propter quod et Deus exaltavit ilium." Phil 
ii. 8. 

"Ipse se tantum humiliavit, ut ultra non posset; propter quod 
Deus tantum exaltavit, ut ultra non posset." 

" Etdonavit illi nomen quodest super omne nomen, ut in nomine 
Jesu omne genu flectatur coelestium, terrestrium, et infernorum." 



Discoiirse on the Name of Jesus. 157 

4 In this name the whole majesty of God is adored." 1 
Our Saviour himself said, that through this powerful 
name his disciples should cast out devils: In My name 
they shall cast out devils? And, in fact, the Church in her 
exorcisms always makes use of this name in driving out 
the infernal spirits from those who are possessed. And 
priests who are assisting dying persons call to their aid 
the name of Jesus, to deliver them from the assaults of 
hell, which at that last moment are so terrible. 

If we read the life of St. Bernardine of Sienna, we 
shall see how many sinners the saint .converted, how 
many abuses he put an end to, and how many cities he 
sanctified, by trying when he preached to -induce the 
people to invoke the name of Jesus. St. Peter says 
that there is no other name given to us by which we can 
find salvation but this ever-blessed name of Jesus : For 
there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we 
must be saved? Jesus is he who has not only saved us 
once for all, but he continually preserves us from the 
danger of sin, by his merits, each time we invoke him 
with confidence : Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in 
My name, that will / do* 

In temptations, then, I repeat with St. Laurence Jus 
tinian, " whether you are tempted by the deviJ, or are 
attacked by men, invoke the name of Jesus." If the 
devils and men torment you and urge you to sin, call on 
Jesus, and you will be delivered ; and if temptations do 
not cease to persecute you, continue to invoke Jesus, 

1 " In hoc nomine, Deitatis tota adoratur majestas." Serm. 144. 

2 "In nomine meo dsemonia ejicient." Mark, xvi. 17. 

3 " Nee enim aliud nomen est sub coelo datum hominibus, in quo 
oporteat nos salvos fieri." Acts. iv. 12. 

4 "Quodcumque petieritis Pattern in nomine meo, hoc faciam. 
John, xiv. 13. 

5 " Si tentaris a diabolo, si ab hominibus opprimeris, Jesu nomen 
edicito." Serm. in Circ. D. 



158 Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 

and you will never fall. Those who practise this devo 
tion have experienced that they keep themselves safe, 
and that they always come off victorious. 

Let us always add also the name of Mary, which is 
likewise terrible to hell, and we shall always be secure. 
; < This short prayer Jesus and Mary is easy to remem 
ber," says Thomas 4 Kempis, " and powerful to protect ; 
is strong enough to deliver us from all the assaults of our 
enemies." 1 



in. 



In the third place, the name of Jesus not only consoles 
us and preserves us from all evil, but it also inflames 
with holy love all those who pronounce it with devotion. 
The name of Jesus, that is, of Saviour, is a name which 
expresses in itself love, for it recalls to us how much 
Jesus Christ has done and suffered to save us. "The 
name of Jesus," says St. Bernard, "places before thee all 
that ^God has done for the salvation of the human 
race." : So that a pious author said, with all the affec 
tion of his heart "O my Jesus, how much did it cost 
Thee to be Jesus, that is, my Saviour !" 3 

St. Matthew writes, when speaking of the crucifixion of 
Jesus Christ, And they put over His head His cause written : 
This is Jesus the King of the Jews.* The eternal Father 
then so ordained that on the Cross on which our Re 
deemer died should be written, This is Jesus, the 
Saviour of the world. Pilate wrote this, not that he had 
judged him guilty because Jesus Christ took to himself 
the title of King ; for Pilate made no account of this 

" Haec sancta oratio, Jesu .et Maria, brevis ad legendum, facilis 
ad tenendum, fortis ad protegendum." Vail. HI. c . 13. 

"Omnia quaecumque Deus pro salute hominum ordinavit, in 
Jesu nomine comprehenduntur." T. ii. s. 49. 

^ O Jesu ! quanti tibi constitit esse Jesum, Salvatorem meum !" 

"Et imposuerunt super caput ejus causam ipsius scriptam Hie 
est Jesus, Rex Judceorum. " 



Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 159 

accusation : and at the same time that he condemned 
him he declared him innocent, and protested that he had 
no part in his death: / am innocent of the blood of this 
just man. 1 Why, then, did he give him the title of king? 
He wrote it by the will of God, who thereby wished to 
say to us men, Do you know why my innocent Son is 
dying ? He is dying because he is your Saviour ; this 
divine pastor dies on this infamous tree in order to save 
you, his sheep. Therefore it was said in the sacred 
Canticles, His name is as oil poured out? St. Bernard 
explains this, saying, " that is, the effusion of the divin 
ity." 3 In the redemption God himself, out of the love 
which he bore us, gave himself and communicated 
himself entirely to us : He hath loved us, and hath de 
livered Himself for us* And, that he might be able to 
communicate himself to us, he took upon himself the 
burden of suffering the pains due by us. He hath borne 
our infirmities, and carried our sorrows? By this title, 
says St. Cyril of Alexandria, he desired to cancel the 
original decree of condemnation which had already been 
passed against us poor sinners : " By this title affixed to 
his cross he blotted out the decree issued against the 
human race." 6 According to the word of the apo.stle, 
Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against 
us. 1 Our loving Redeemer wished to deliver us from 
the malediction we had deserved, by making himself the 
object of the divine curse in taking all our sins upon 

1 " Innocens ego sum a sanguine justi hujus." Matt, xxvii. 24. 

2 "Oleum effusum nomen tuum." 
8 " Nempe erfusio divinitatis." 

4 " Dilexit nos, et tradidit semetipsum pro nobis." Eph. v. 2. 

5 " Languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse portavit." 
Isa. liii. 4. 

6 " Hoc adversus genus nostrum chirographum titulo in cruce con- 
fixo delevit." In Jo. 1. 12. c. 29. 

7 " Delens quod adversus nos erat chirographum decret?." Col. ii. 
14- 



1 60 Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 

him : Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, 
being made a curse for us, 1 

Therefore it is not possible for a soul that is faithful 
to pronounce the name of Jesus, and to remember all 
that he has done to save us, and not to be inflamed with 
love towards one who has loved us so much. " When I 
utter the name of Jesus," says St. Bernard, " I see before 
me a man of meekness, humility, kindness, and mercy, 
who at the same time is the Almighty God, who heals 
and strengthens me."" When we say Jesus, we should 
imagine to ourselves that we see a man, meek, benignant, 
kind, and full of all virtues ; and then we must think 
that he is our God, who, to cure our wounds, chose to be 
despised, wounded, and even to die of pure grief on a 
cross. St Anselm, therefore, exhorts all who call them 
selves Christians to cherish the beautiful name of Jesus, 
to have it always in their hearts, that it may be their 
only food, their only consolation. "Let Jesus be ever 
in thy heart. Let him be thy food, thy delight, thy con 
solation." ; Ah, says St. Bernard, it is he alone who 
experiences it, that can know what sweetness, what a 
paradise even in this valley of tears, it is truly to love 
Jesus. 4 

" The love of Jesus, what it is, 
None but his lov d ones know." 

Well did St. Rose of Lima know this happiness, from 
whose mouth came out such a burning flame of love, 

1 " Christus nos redemit de maledicto legis, factus pro nobis n^ 
ledictum." Gal. iii. 13. 

2 " Cum nomino Jesum, hominem mihi propono mitem, humilem, 
benignum, misericordem, omni sanctitate conspicuum eumdemque 
Deum omnipotentem, qui me sanet et roboret." In Cant. s. 15. 

3 "Sit tibi Jesus semper in corde ; hie sit cibus, dulcedo et conso* 
latio tua !" 

4 " Expertus potest credere quid sit Jesum diligere." jfub. de nom. 
Jest*. 



Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 161 

after she had received Holy Communion, that it burned 
the hands of those that gave her water (as was the cus 
tom) to drink after Communion. As also did St. Mary 
Magdalene of Pazzi, who, with a crucifix in her hand, 
cried out, burning with love, "O God of love! O God of 
love ! even mad with love." And St. Philip Ned, whose 
ribs were forced out to give room for his heart, which 
was burning with divine love, to beat more freely. St- 
Stanislaus Kostka, who was obliged to have his breast 
bathed with cold water to mitigate the great ardor with 
which he was burning for the love of Jesus. St. Francis 
Xavier, who for the same cause unclosed his bosom, say 
ing, " Lord, it is enough ; no more," in this way declar 
ing himself unable to bear the great flame that was 
burning in his heart. 

Let us also try as much as we can to keep Jesus in our 
hearts by loving him, and to keep him on our lips by 
often calling on him. St. Paul says that the name of 
Jesus cannot be pronounced (that is, with devotion) ex 
cept by the operation of the Holy Spirit : And no man 
can say the Lord Jesus but by the Holy Ghost. 1 So that the 
Holy Spirit communicates himself to all those who de 
voutly pronounce the name of Jesus. 

The name of Jesus is strange to some, and why is it ? 
Because they love not Jesus. The saints have always on 
their lips this name of salvation and love. There is not 
a page in all the epistles of St. Paul in which he does not 
name Jesus many times. St. John also names him often. 
The blessed Henry Suso, the more to increase his love for 
this holy name, one day, with a sharp iron, engraved the 
name of Jesus on his bosom over his heart ; and being 
all bathed in his blood, he said, Lord, I desire to write 
Thy name on my heart itself, but I cannot ; Thou who 
canst do everything, imprint, I pray Thee, Thy sweet 

1 "Nemo potest dicere : Doaiinus Jesus nisi in Spiritu Sanqto." 
~-l Cor. xii. 3. 



1 62 Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 

name on my heart, so that neither Thy name nor Thy 
love may ever be effaced from it. St. Jane of Chantal 
imprinted the name of Jesus on her heart with a hot iron. 

Jesus Christ does not expect so much from us ; he is 
satisfied if we keep him in our hearts by love, and if we 
often invoke him with affection. And as whatever he 
did and said during his life, he did it all for us, so it is 
but just that whatever we do, we should do it in the 
name of Jesus Christ, and for his love, as St. Paul exhorts 
us : All whatsoever you do, in word or in work, all things 
do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? And if Jesus 
has died for us, we ought to be ready willingly to give 
our lives for the name of Jesus Christ, as the same 
apostle declared he was ready to do : For I am ready, not 
only to be bound, but to die also in Jerusalem, for the name of 
the Lord Jesus? 

Let us now come to the conclusion. If we are in 
affliction, let us invoke Jesus, and he will console us. If 
we are tempted, let us invoke Jesus, and he will give us 
strength to withstand all our enemies. If, lastly, we are 
in aridity, and are cold in divine love, let us invoke Jesus, 
and he will inflame our hearts. Happy are they who 
have this most tender and holy name always on their 
lips ! A name of peace, a name of hope, a name of sal 
vation, and a name of love. And oh! happy shall we be 
if we are fortunate enough to die pronouncing the name 
of Jesus ! But if we desire to breathe out our last sigh 
with this sweet name on our tongue, we must accustom 
ourselves to repeat it often during our life. 

Let us also always add the beautiful name of Mary, 
which is also a name given from heaven, and is a power 
ful name which makes hell tremble ; and is besides a 

1 " Omne quodcumque facitis in verbo aut in opere, omnia in 
nomine Domini Jesu Christi." Col. iii. 17. 

" 2 " Ego enim, non solum alligari, sed et mori . . . paratus sum, 
propter nomen Domini Jesu." Acts, xxi. 13. 



Discourse on the Name of Jesus. 163 

sweet name, in that it reminds us of that Queen who, 
being the Mother of God, is also our Mother, the Mother 
of mercy, the Mother of love. 

Affections and Prayers. 

Since, then, O my Jesus Thou art the Saviour who hast given 
Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy ador 
able name on my poor heart ; so that having it always imprinted 
in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by in 
voking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy 
name will give me strength to resist him ; if I lose confidence, 
Thy name will animate me to hope ; if I am in affliction, Thy 
name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast en 
dured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name 
will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown 
me. Hitherto I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not 
call on Thee ; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defence, 
my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus 
do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name 
always on my lips. 

Most holy Virgin, obtain for me the grace of invoking the 
name of thy Son Jesus in all my necessities, together with thine 
own, my Mother Mary ; but let me invoke them always with 
confidence and love, so that I may be able also to say to theeas 
did the devout Alphonsus Rodriguez : " Jesus and Mary, may I 
suffer for you ; may I die for you ; may I be wholly yours, and 
in nothing my own !" j O my beloved Jesus ! O Mary, my be 
loved Lady ! give me the grace to suffer and to die for your love. 
I will be no longer mine own, but altogether yours ; yours in 
life, and yours in death, when I hope by your help to expire 
saying, Jesus and Mary, help me ! Jesus and Mary, I recom 
mend myself to you ; Jesus and Mary, I love you, and I give 
and deliver up to you my whole soul. 

1 " Jesu et Maria ! pro vobis patiar, pro vobis moriar ; sim totus 
vaster, sim nihil metis." 



1 64 Examples of the Infant Jesus. 



*attt;pks of \\\t Infant 

EXAMPLE I. 

IT is related in the Flowery Meadow that a devout 
lady wished to know what souls were the dearest to 
Jesus. One day, whilst she was hearing Mass, at the ele 
vation of the Sacred Host, she saw the Infant Jesus on 
the altar, and with him three young virgins. Jesus took 
the first, and caressed her very mucfh. He went to the 
second, and, having taken her veil off her face, he struck 
her severely on the cheek, and turned his back upon her ; 
but soon after, seeing the child looking sorrowful, he 
comforted her with all sorts of kindness. At last he ap 
proached the third ; he seized her by the arm as if he 
were angry, struck her, and drove her away from him ; 
bftt the more she saw herself ill-used and driven off, the 
more the little virgin humbled herself and followed him : 
and thus the vision ended. This devout woman, re 
maining in the church with great desire to know what 
was the meaning of the vision, Jesus appeared to her 
again, and told her that there are on the earth three sorts 
of souls that love him. Some love him ; but their love 
is so weak that if they are not coaxed by spiritual pleas 
ures they become uneasy, and are in danger of turning 
their backs upon him ; and of these the first virgin was 
a figure. The second represented those souls who love 
him with a less feeble love, but who require to be com 
forted from time to time. The third was a figure of 
those more courageous souls who, although constantly 
desolate, and deprived of spiritual consolations, do not 
cease doing all they can to please their Lord ; and these, 



Examples of the Infant Jesus. 165 

he said, were the souls in which he took the greatest de 
light. 

EXAMPLE II. 

Father Cagnolio relates, from Father Patrignani, that 
after having committed a great many sins, a certain nun 
arrived at such an excess of crime that having one day 
communicated, she drew from her mouth the sacred par 
ticle, placed it in a handkerchief, and afterwards, having 
shut herself up in a cell, she threw the Blessed Sacra 
ment on the ground, and began to trample it under her 
feet. But lo ! she casts her eyes down, and what does 
she see ? She sees the Sacred Host changed into the 
form of a beautiful Infant, but ail bruised and covered 
with blood, who said to her, "And what have I done to 
thee, that thou treatest me so ill?" Upon which the 
wretched creature, full of contrition and repentance, 
threw herself on her knees in tears, and said to him, 
"O my God, dost Thou ask me what Thou hast done to 
me ? Thou hast loved me too much." The vision dis 
appeared, and the nun changed her whole life, and be 
came a model of penance. 

EXAMPLE III. 

It is related in the chronicles of the Cistercians that 
a certain monk of Brabant, who was travelling on 
Christmas-night, as he passed through a forest, heard a 
cry as it were of a new-born infant. He approached the 
place whence he heard the cries, and saw a beautiful 
infant in the middle of the snow, who was crying and 
trembling with the cold. Moved to compassion, the 
monk immediately dismounted from his horse, and, ap 
proaching the infant, said : " O my child, how is it that 
thou art thus abandoned to weep and die in the midst of 
this snow? " And he heard a voice answer him : " Alas ! 
how can I help crying whilst I see myself thus aban- 



1 66 Examples of the Infant Jesus. 

doned by all, and that no one receives me or has com 
passion upon me?" And having said this, he disap 
peared, giving us to understand that he was our Re 
deemer, who by this vision meant to reprove the in- 
gratittide of men, who, having seen him born for their 
sake in a stable, leave him to cry there without even 
pitying him. 

EXAMPLE IV. 

It is related by Bollandus that the most holy Mary 
appeared one day to the Blessed Coletta, whilst she was 
praying to her to intercede for sinners, and that she 
showed her her Infant Son all torn and cut to pieces, 
"My daughter," she said, "have compassion me and on 
my Son; behold how sinners treat him." 

EXAMPLE V. 

Pelbart relates that a certain soldier was full of vices; 
but he had a devout wife, who, not being able to reform 
him, recommended him at least not to omit saying every 
day a Hail Mary before some image of our Lady. One 
day, as he was going to commit sin, he passed by a 
church, which, by chance, he entered; and seeing an 
image of our Blessed Lady, he knelt down and said a 
Hail Mary; and what did he then see? he saw the In 
fant Jesus in the arms of Mary all covered with bleeding 
wounds. Upon which he said, " O God, what barbarian 
has thus ill-treated this innocent babe ?" " It is you, 
sinner," answered Mary: "it is you who thus ill-use my 
Son." Then, full of contrition, he begged her to obtain 
for him pardon, calling her Mother of Mercy. She re 
plied, "You sinners call me Mother of Mercy, but you 
do not cease to make me a mother of sorrows and of 
misery." But the penitent did not lose courage, and 
continued to pray to Mary to intercede for him. The 
Blessed Virgin turned to her Son, and asked him to 



Examples of the Infant Jesus. 1 6 7 

pardon this sinner. Her Son seemed reluctant to do so; 
but then Mary said to him, "O my Son, I will not leave 
Thy feet if Thou dost not forgive this afflicted man, 
who has recommended himself to me." Then Jesus said 
to her : "O my Mother, I never have refused you any 
thing; do you desire the pardon of this sinner? let him 
be pardoned ; and in token of the pardon which I grant 
him, I desire that he should come and kiss my wounds." 
The sinner went up to the image, drew near, and whilst 
he was kissing them, the wounds were closed. Immedi 
ately on leaving the church, he asks pardon of his wife, 
and with mutual consent they both left the world, and 
became religious in two monasteries at the same time, 
and ended their lives by a holy death. 

EXAMPLE VI. 

It is mentioned in the life of Brother Benedict Lopez 
that while he remained in the army he led a life stained 
with sins. One day he entered a church in Travancor, 
and saw an image of Mary with the Infant Jesus. Our 
Lord placed before his eyes his abandoned life. At the 
sight of his sins he almost despaired of pardon; but 
turning to Mary, with tears in his eyes, lie commended 
himself to her; and he then perceived that the Holy 
Infant also was weeping, and that his tears were falling 
on the altar; so much so that it was observed by others, 
who hastened to collect them in a cloth. Soon after this, 
Benedict, full of contrition, forsook the world, and be 
came a lay-brother in the Society of Jesus, in which he 
lived and died with the greatest devotion to the Sacred 
Infancy of Jesus Christ. 

EXAMPLE VII. 

Father Patrignani relates that there was in Messina a 
youth of noble birth called Dominic Ansalone, who was 
in the habit of going often to a certain church to visit an 



1 68 Examples of the Infant Jesus. 

image of Mary holding in her arms the Infant Jesus, of 
which he became quite enamoured. Now, it happened 
that when Dominic lay at the point of death he implored 
his parents with great earnestness to bring the image of 
the beloved Child into his room. His wishes were satis 
fied; full of delight, he placed it on his bed, and looking 
at it in the most loving manner, and now and then turn 
ing to the Infant, he said, " My Jesus, have pit.y on me !" 
then turning to the bystanders, "Behold," he said, " be 
hold how beautiful is my little Saviour!" On the Jast 
night of his life he called his parents, and in their pres 
ence he first said to the Holy Infant, " My Jesus, I leave 
Thee my heir!" And then he begged his father and 
mother to employ a certain small sum of money which 
he had, in having nine Masses celebrated after his death* 
and with the rest to make a handsome robe for his Infant 
heir. Before he died, he raised his eyes to heaven with 
a look of joy, and said, " Oh, how beautiful ! how beau 
tiful is my Lord !" and saying this, he expired. 

EXAMPLE VIII. 

It is related in the Mirror of Examples of a certain de 
vout English boy, named Edmund,* that being one day 

* This happy young- man is no other than St. Edmund, Arch 
bishop of Canterbury, as we may see in his life by Surius, November 
16. 

We may here add a more recent example, which we read in the Life 
of the Venerable Brother Gerard Majtlla, of the Congregation of the 
Most Holy Redeemer, by Father Tannoia. Animated with fervent 
piety already in his infancy, he loved to visit a church in which was hon 
ored the mother of God holding the Infant Jesus in her arms. While 
Gerard was one day entering the church the divine Infant came to 
meet him and offered him a piece of white bread a symbol of the 
gift that he was soon to give him in the most adorable sacrament of 
the Eucharist. Gerard, attracted by the sweet charms of the Infant 
Saviour, went often to the same church, and Jesus very frequently be 
stowed upon him the same favor. 

Later on he entered the service of a master who was extremely 



Examples of the Infant Jesus. 1 69 

in the country with other children, as he was fond of 
prayer and solitude, he separated himself from them, 
and walked alone in a meadow, entertaining himself in 
devout aspirations and affections towards Jesus Christ, 
Behold, a beautiful Infant appeared to him, and saluted 
him with, " God bless you, My dear Edmund!" And 
then he asked him whether he knew who he was ? Ed 
mund answered that he did not. " What dost thou 
mean by not knowing me ?" replied the heavenly Infant, 
"when I am always at thy side. If, then, thou desirest 
to know me, look at my forehead." Edmund looked 
and read on his forehead these words: "Jesus of Naza 
reth, the King of the Jews." The Child then added, 
" This is my name; and I desire that in remembrance of 
the love I bear thee, thou shouldst every night sign thy 
forehead with this name, and it shall deliver thee from 
sudden death; as it will also deliver every one who shall 
do the same." Edmund ever after signed himself with 
the name of Jesus. On one occasion the devil seized his 
hands, in order to prevent him from doing so; but he 
conquered him by prayer, and then constrained him to 
tell him what was the weapon which he most feared; 
the devil replied that it was those words with which he 
signed his forehead. 

EXAMPLE IX. 

Father Nadasi relates that the devotion of sending 
about the image of the Infant Jesus to the nuns, each 

harsh and who omitted no opportunity to try Gerard s "heroic pa 
tience. A key was one day accidentally dropped into a well. Fore 
seeing the trouble and the irritation that this accident would cause his 
master, and the sins that would be the result, Gerard, full of confi 
dence, took a small statue of the Infant Jesus, lowered it into the 
well by means of a cord, and said, " You must see to it that my mas 
ter does not become impatient." When he had drawn up the statue 
in the presence of a large number of people, it was holding the key in 
its hands. ED. 



1 70 Examples of the Infant Jesus. 

one having it one day, having been introduced into a 
monastery, one of these virgins whose turn it was, after 
having spent a long time in prayer, at the close of even, 
ing took the image and shut it up in a little closet. But 
she had hardly lain down to sleep when she heard the 
Holy Infant knocking at the door of the closet; she 
therefore got out of bed, and, having replaced the image 
on her little altar, she prayed again for a very long time. 
She then shut it up again, but the Infant again knocked; 
again she took it out and prayed. At last, weary with 
sleep, she went and rested herself on the bed, and slept 
till daybreak; and on awakening she blessed this night 
that had been passed in holy conversation with her Be 
loved. 

EXAMPLE X. 

It is related in the Dominican Diary for the yth Octo 
ber, that when St Dominic was preaching at Rome there 
was there a sinner called the beautiful Catharine. She 
received a Rosary from the hands of the saint, and be 
gan to recite it; but she did not leave off her wicked 
course of life. One day Jesus appeared to her; first, in 
tne shape of a young man, and afterwards the figure 
changed itself into that of a beautiful Infant, but with a 
crown of thorns upon his head and a cross on his shoul 
ders, tears flowing from his eyes and blood from his body. 
He then said to her, It is enough; no more, Catharine- 
it is enough, do not offend me any more: see how much 
thou hast cost me since I began as an Infant to suffer for 
thee, and never left off suffering till my death. Cath 
arine thereupon went immediately in search of St. Dom 
inic, confessed to him, and, instructed by him, after hav 
ing given all she had to the poor, and having shut 
herself up in a narrow cell, led a life of such fervor, and 
received such graces from the Lord, that the saint was 
struck with admiration. And at last, having been visited 
by most holy Mary, she died a most happy death. 



Examples of the Infant Jesus. \ 7 1 



EXAMPLE XI. 

The Venerable Sister Jane of Jesus and Mary, a Fran 
ciscan, whilst she was one day meditating on the Infant 
Jesus being persecuted by Herod, heard a great noise as 
of armed men pursuing some one, and then saw before 
her a beautiful boy looking much distressed, who seemed 
to be running away, and who said to her: " O Jane, help 
me and save me; I am Jesus of Nazareth; I am flying 
from sinners, who want to take my life away, and perse 
cute me worse than Herod; do you save me." 

EXAMPLE XII. 

It is related in the life of Father Zucchi of the Society 
of Jesus, who was most devout to the Infant Jesus, and 
whose image he used in order to gain many souls to 
God, that one day he gave one of these little images to 
a lady, who, though perfectly innocent and good in her 
habits, yet was very far from having the idea of becom 
ing a nun. The young lady accepted the gift; but 
smiling she said to him, What have I to do with this 
Infant? He answered, Nothing, but to put it on the 
spinet, on which you so frequently play. She did so; 
and having constantly this image before her eyes, she 
could not avoid often looking at it, and from looking at 
it she began to feel a small touch of devotion. Then 
she was inflamed with a desire to become better; so that 
the spinet was rather an occasion to her of prayer than 
of amusement. At last she resolved to leave the world 
and become a religious. Then, full of joy, she went and 
related to Father Zucchi that the Infant had drawn her 
to his love; and, disengaging her affections from earthly 
things, had taken entire possession of them himself. 
She became a religious, and gave herself up to a life of 
perfection. 



172 



Meditation L 



ittebitations far t)etj} UCJaj) of 



MEDITATION I. 

FIRST SUNDAY. 
Goodness of God in the Work of the Redemption. 

Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto. . . . Et homo factus est 
"And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost, and was made man." Symbol. Const. 

Consider that God, having created the first man, in 
order that he might serve him and love him in this life, 
and be conducted afterwards to reign with him forever 
in Paradise, enriched him for this end with knowledge 
and grace. But ungrateful man rebelled against God, 
refusing him the obedience which he owed him in justice 
and gratitude; and thus, miserable sinner, was he left 
with all his posterity as a rebel, deprived of divine grace, 
and forever excluded from paradise. Behold, then, after 
this ruin, caused by sin, all men lost ! All were living 
in blindness, or in the darkness of the shadow of death. 
The devil had dominion over them, and hell destroyed 
innumerable victims amongst them. 

But God, seeing men reduced to this miserable state, 
was moved with pity, and resolved to save them. And 
how? He did not send an angel, a seraph; but to show 
to the world the immense love that he bore to these un 
grateful worms, He sent His own Son in the likeness of sin 
ful flesh? He sent his own Son to become man, and to 
clothe himself with the same flesh as sinful men, in order 

1 " Deus Filium suum mittens in similitudinem carnis peccati." 
Rom. viii. 3. 



First Sunday of Advent. 173 

that, by his suffering and death, he might satisfy the 
divine justice for their crimes, and thus deliver them 
from eternal death; and, reconciling them with his divine 
Father, might obtain for them divine grace, and might 
render them worthy to enter into life eternal. 

Consider, on the one hand, the immense ruin that sin 
brings upon souls, as it deprives them of the friendship 
of God and of Paradise, and condemns them to an eter 
nity of pain. And, on the other hand, consider the infi 
nite love which God showed in this great work of the 
incarnation of the Word, causing his only-begotten Son 
to sacrifice his divine life by the hands of executioners 
on a cross, in a sea of sorrows and of infamy, to obtain 
for us pardon and life eternal. Oh, in contemplating 
this great mystery and this excess of divine love, how 
can we do otherwise than exclaim: O infinite goodness ! 
O infinite mercy ! O infinite love ! for a God to become 
man, and to die for me ! 

Affections and Prayers. 

But how is it my Jesus, that after Thou hast repaired this ruin 
of sin by Thy own death, I have so often wilfully renewed it 
again by the many offences I have committed against Thee? 
Thou hast saved me at so great a cost, and I have so often 
chosen to damn myself, in losing Thee, O infinite Good ! But 
what Thou hast said gives me confidence that when the sinner 
who has turned his back upon Thee is converted to Thee, Thou 
wilt not refuse to embrace him : Turn ye to Me, and I will turn 
to you? Thou hast also said, If any man shall . . . open to Me 
the door, I will come in to him? Behold, Lord, I am one of 
these rebels, an ungrateful traitor, who have often turned my 
back upon Thee, and driven Thee from my soul ; but now I re 
pent with all my heart for having thus ill-used Thee and de 
spised Thy grace; I repent of it, and love Thee above every - 

1 " Convertimini ad me . . . , et convertar ad vos." Zach. \. 3. 

2 "Si quis . . . aperuerit mihi januam, introibo ad ilium." Apoc. 
iii. 20. 



174 Meditation II. 

thing. Behold, the door of my heart is already open ; enter 
Thou, but enter never to leave it again. I know well that Thou 
wilt never leave me, if I do not again drive Thee away ; but 
this is my fear, and this is the grace which I ask of Thee, and 
which I hope always to ask; let me die rather than be guilty of 
this fresh and still greater ingratitude. My dearest Redeemer, 
I do not deserve to love Thee, after all the offences that I have 
committed against Thee ; but for Thy own merits sake I ask of 
Thee the gift of Thy holy love, and therefore I beseech Thee 
make me know the great good Thou art, the love Thou hast 
borne me, and how much Thou hast done to oblige me to love 
Thee. Ah, my God and Saviour, let me no longer live ungrate 
ful to Thy great goodness. My Jesus, I will never leave Thee 
again ; I have already offended Thee enough. It is only right 
that I should employ the remaining years of my life in loving 
Thee and pleasing Thee. My Jesus, my Jesus, help me ; help a 
sinner that wishes to love Thee. O Mary, my Mother, thou hast 
all power with Jesus, seeing thou art his Mother; beg of him to 
forgive me ; beg of him to enchain me with his holy love. Thou 
art my hope ; in thee do I confide. 



MEDITATION II. 

FIRST MONDAY. 
Grandeur of the Mystery of Incarnation. 

Et verbum caro factum est. 
" And the Word was made flesh." St. John, i. 14. 

Our Lord sent St. Augustine to write upon the heart 
of St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi the words, And the 
Word was made flesh. Oh, let us also pray the Lord to 
enlighten our minds, and to make us understand what 
an excess and what a miracle of love this is, that the 
eternal Word, the Son of God, should have become man 
for the love of us. 

The holy Church is struck with awe at the contempla 
tion of this great mystery: / considered Thy works and was 



First Monday of Advent. i 75 

afraid? If God had created a thousand other worlds, a 
thousand times greater and more beautiful than the 
present, it is certain that this work would be infinitely 
less grand than the incarnation of the Word: He hath 
showed might in His arm. To execute the great work of 
the Incarnation, it required all the omnipotence and in 
finite wisdom of God, in order to unite human nature 
to a divine person, and that a divine person should so 
humble himself as to take upon him human nature. Thus 
God became man, and man became God; and hence, the 
divinity of the Word being united to the soul and body 
of Jesus Christ, all the actions of this Man-God became 
divine: his prayers were divine, his sufferings divine, his 
infant cries divine, his tears divine, his steps divine, his 
members divine, his very blood divine, which became, as 
it were, a fountain of health to wash out all our sins, and 
a sacrifice of infinite value to appease the justice of the 
Father, who was justly offended with men. 

And who, then, are these men? Miserable, ungrateful, 
and rebellious creatures. And yet for these God becomes 
man; subjects himself to human miseries; suffers and 
dies to save these unworthy sinners: He humbled Himself , 
becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. * 
O holy faith ! If faith did not assure us of it, who would 
believe that a God of infinite majesty should abase him 
self so far as to become a worm like us, in order to save 
us at the cost of so much suffering and disgrace, and of 
so cruel and shameful a death ? 

" O grace ! O power of love !" 4 cries St. Bernard. O 
grace, which men could not even have imagined, if God 
himself had not thought of granting it to us ! O divine 

1 "Consideravi opera tua et expavi." In Circ. Dom. resp. 6. 

2 "Fecit potentiam in brachio suo." 

3 " Humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem, mor 
tem autem crucis !" Phil. ii. 8. 

4 " O gratiam, O amoris vim !" 



1 76 Meditation II. 

love, which can never be fathomed ! O mercy ! O in 
finite charity, worthy only of an infinite bounty ! 

Affections and Prayers, 

O soul, O body, O blood of my Jesus ! I adore you and 
thank you ; you are my hope ; you are the price paid to save me 
from hell, which I have so often merited. O my God ! what a 
miserable and hopeless life would await me in eternity, if Thou, 
my Redeemer, hadst not thought of saving me by Thy sufferings 
and death ! But how is it that souls, redeemed by Thee with 
so much love, knowing all this, can live without loving Thee, and 
can despise the grace which Thou hast acquired for them with 
so much suffering? And did not I also know all this? How, 
then, could I offend Thee, and offend Thee so often ? But, I 
repeat it, Thy blood is my hope. 1 acknowledge, my Saviour, 
the great injuries that I have done to Thee. Oh that I had 
rather died a thousand times ! Oh that I had always loved 
Thee ! But I thank Thee that Thou yet givest me time to do 
so. I hope in the time that remains to me in this life, and for 
all eternity, to sing forever Thy praises for the mercies Thou 
hast shown me. I have deserved, on account of my sins, to be 
more and more in darkness ; but Thou hast given me more and 
more light. I deserved that Thou shouldst abandon me; but 
Thou, with calls still more loving, didst come to me and seek 
me. I deserved that my soul should remain more hardened ; 
but Thou hast softened and touched it with compunction, so 
that by Thy grace I now feel great sorrow for the offences 
that I have committed against Thee; I feel within me an 
ardent desire of loving Thee ; I feel fully resolved to lose 
everything rather than Thy friendship; I feel a love towards 
Thee that makes me abhor everything that displeases Thee. 
And this sorrow, this desire, this resolution, and this love, who 
is it that gives them to me ? It is Thou, O Lord, in Thy great 
mercy. Therefore, my Jesus, this is a proof that Thou hast par 
doned me ; it is a proof that Thou now lovest me, and that Thou 
wiliest rne at all costs to be saved ; Thou wiliest that I should 
be saved, and I will save myself principally to give Thee pleas 
ure. Thou lovest me, and I also love Thee ; but my love is but 
little. Oh, give me more love ; Thou deservest more love from 



First Tuesday of Advent. 177 

me, for I have received from Thee more special favors than 
others; I pray Thee, do Thou increase the flames of my love. 
Most holy Mary, obtain for me that the love of Jesus may con 
sume and destroy in me every affection that has not God for 
its object. Thou dost listen to the prayers of all that call on 
thee ; listen to me also, obtain for me love and perseverance. 

MEDITATION III. 

FIRST TUESDAY. 
The Love of God for Men. 

Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret. 
" God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son." St. John, iii. 16. 

Consider that the eternal Father, in giving us his Son 
for a Redeemer, for victim and price of our ransom, 
could not have given us stronger motives for hope and 
love, to inspire us with confidence, and to oblige us to 
love him. In giving us bis Son (says St. Augustine), he 
could give us nothing more. He desires that we should 
avail ourselves of this immense gift in order to gain for 
ourselves eternal salvation, and every grace that we 
want; whilst in Jesus we find all that we can desire; 
we find light, strength, peace, confidence, love, and eter 
nal glory; for Jesus Christ is a gift which contains all 
the gifts that we can seek for or desire. 

How hath He not also, with Him, given us all things .?* 
God having given us his beloved only-begotten Son, who 
is the fountain and treasure of all good, who need fear 
that be should deny us any favor that we ask of him ? 
Christ Jesus is of God made unto us wisdom, and justice, and 
sanctification, and redemption? God hath given him to us 
in order that be might be to us ignorant and blind crea- 

" Quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit ?" Rom. 
viii. 32. 

2 " Qui factus est nobis sapientia a Deo, et justitia, et sanctificatio 
et redemptio," j Cor. i. 30. 



1 78 Meditation III. 

tures light and wisdom, wherewith to walk in the way 
of salvation ; in order that to us who are deserving of 
hell he might be justice, enabling us to aspire to para 
dise ; that to us sinners he might be sanctification, to 
obtain for us holiness ; that, finally, to us slaves of the 
devil he might be a ransom to purchase for us the lib 
erty of the sons of God. In short, the Apostle says that 
with Jesus Christ we have been enriched with every good 
gift and every grace, if we ask it through his merits : 
In all things you are made rich in Him, . . . so that nothing 
is wanting to yon in any grace? 

And this gift which God has made us of his Son is a 
gift to each one of us ; for he hath given him entirely to 
each of us, as if he had given him to each one alone, so 
that every one of us may say : Jesus is all mine ; his 
body is mine ; his blood is mine ; his life is mine ; his 
sorrows, his death, his merits, are all mine. Wherefore 
St. PSul said, He loved me and delivered Himself for me. * 
And every one may say the same thing: "My Redeemer 
has loved me; and for the love that he bore me he hath 
given himself entirely to me." 

Affections and Prayers. 

eternal God ! who could ever have given us this treasure 
of infinite value, but Thou, who art a God of infinite love? O 
rny Creator, what more couldst Thou have done to give us con 
fidence in Thy mercy, and to put us under an obligation of 
loving Thee? O Lord, I have repaid Thee with ingratitude; 
but Thou hast said, To them that love God all things work 
together unto good? Therefore, notwithstanding the great num 
ber and the enormity of my sins, I will not despair of Thy 
bounty; rather let my transgressions serve to humble me the 
more whenever I meet with any insult ; other insults and humi- 

1 "In omnibus divites factt estis in illo . . . ita ut nihil vobis 
desit in ulla gratia." i Cor. i. 5. 

2 " Dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me." Gal. \\. 20. 

3 " Diligentibus Deum omniacooperantur in bonum." Rom. viii. 28. 



First Wednesday of A dvent. 1 79 

liations does he deserve who has had the temerity to offend Thy 
divine majesty. I wish that my sins may serve to reconcile me 
the more to the crosses which Thou shalt send me, that I may 
be more diligent to serve and honor Thee, in order to compen 
sate for the injuries I have committed against Thee. O my 
God ! I will always remember the displeasure I have caused 
Thee, in order that I may the more exalt Thy mercy, and be 
inflamed with love for Thee, who hast brought me back when I 
was flying from Thee, and who hast done me so much good 
after I had behaved so ill to Thee. I trust, O Lord ! that Thou 
hast already forgiven me. I repent, and will always repent, of 
the outrages I have committed against Thee. I will endeavor 
to please Thee by making compensation by my love for the 
ingratitude I have shown Thee ; but I depend upon Thee to 
help me ; from Thee I hope to obtain the grace to fulfil this my 
desire. O my God ! for Thy Glory s sake, vouchsafe to grant 
that, as I have offended Thee much, I may also love Thee 
much. My God, my God, how can I ever leave off loving Thee, 
and separate myself again from Thy love ! O Mary, my queen ! 
do thou assist me ; thou knowest my weakness ; grant that I 
may have recourse to thee whenever the devil tries to separate 
me from God. My Mother, my hope, do thou help me. 

MEDITATION IV. 

"FIRST WEDNESDAY. 

The Word was made Man in the Fulness of Time. 

Ubi venit plenitude temporis misit Deus Filium suum. 
" When the fulness of time was come, God sent His Son." Gal. iv. 4. 

Consider that God allowed four thousand years to 
pass, after the transgression of Adam, before he sent 
his Son upon earth to redeem the world. And in the 
mean time, oh, what fatal darkness reigned upon the 
earth! The true God was not known or adored, except 
in one small corner of the world. Idolatry reigned 
everywhere ; so that devils and beasts and stones were 
adored as gods. 

But let us admire in this the divine Wisdom : he de- 



i8o Meditation IV. 

ferred the coming of the Redeemer in order to render 
his advent more welcome to man, in order that the 
malice of sin might be better known, as well as the 
necessity of a remedy and the grace of the Saviour. If 
Jesus Christ had come into the world immediately after 
the fall of Adam, the greatness of this favor would have 
been but slightly appreciated. Let us therefore thank 
the goodness of God for having sent us into the world 
after the great work of redemption was accomplished. 
Behold, the happy time is come which was called the 
fulness of time : When the fulness of time was come, God 
sent his Son, . . . that he might redeem them that were under 
the law. 1 

It is called fulness, on account of the fulness of grace 
which the Son of God came to communicate to men by 
the redemption of the world. Behold the angel who is 
sent as ambassador into the town of Nazareth to an 
nounce to the Virgin Mary the coming of the Word, who 
desires to become incarnate in her womb. The angel 
salutes her, calls her full of grace and blessed among 
w T omen. The humble Virgin, chosen to be the Mother 
of the Son of God, is troubled at these praises on account 
of her great humility : but the angel encourages her, and 
tells her that she has found grace with God; that is to 
say, that grace which brought peace between God and 
man, and the reparation of the ruin caused by sin. He 
then tells her that she must give her Son the name of 
Saviour: Thou shalt call his name Jesus; * and that this 
her Son is the very Son of God, who is to redeem the 
world, and thus to reign over the hearts of men. Be 
hold, at last Mary consents to be the Mother of such a 
Son : Be it unto me according to Thy word* And the 

1 " Ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Deus Filium suum . . 
ut eos, qui sub lege erant, redimeret." 

2 " Vocabis nomen ejus Jesum." Luke, i. 31. 

3 " Fiat mlhi secundum verbum tuum." 



First Wednesday of Advent. 181 

eternal Word takes flesh and becomes man : And the 
Word was made flesh? 

Let us thank this Son, and let us also thank his 
Mother, who, in consenting to be the mother of such a 
Son, consented also to be the Mother of our salvation, 
and Mother also of sorrows, accepting at that time the 
deep abyss of sorrows that it would cost her to be the 
Mother of a Son who was to come into the world to suf 
fer and die for man. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O divine Word, become man for me, though I behold Thee 
thus humbled and become a little infant in the womb of Mary, 
yet I confess and acknowledge Thee for my Lord and King, but 
a king of love. My dearest Saviour, since Thou hast come down 
upon earth and clothed Thyself with our miserable flesh, in 
order to reign over our hearts, I beseech Thee come and estab 
lish Thy reign in my heart also, which was once, alas, ruled over 
by Thine enemies, but is now, I hope, Thine, as I desire that it 
may be always Thine, and that from this day forth Thou mayest 
be its only Lord : Rule Thou in the midst of Thy enemies? 
Other kings reign by the strength of arms, but Thou comest to 
reign by the power of love ; and therefore Thou dost not come 
with regal pomp, nor clothed in purple and gold, nor adorned 
with sceptre and crown, nor surrounded by armies of soldiers. 
Thou comest into the world to be born in a stable, poor, for 
saken, placed in a manger on a little straw, because thus Thou 
wouldst begin to reign in our hearts. Ah, my infant King, how 
could I so often rebel against Thee, and live so long Thy enemy, 
deprived of Thy grace, when, to oblige me to love Thee, Thou 
hast put off Thy divine majesty, and hast humbled Thyself even 
to appearing, first, as a babe in a cave; then as a servant in a 
shop; then as a criminal on a cross? Oh, happy me, if, now 
that I have been freed (as I hope) from the slavery of Satan, I 
allow myself forever to be governed by Thee and by Thy love ! 
O Jesus, my King, who art so amiable and so loving to our 

1 " Et Verbum caro factum est." 

5 " Dominare in medio inimicorum tuorunj." /V, cix. 3,^ 



1 82 Meditation V. 

souls, take possession, I pray Thee, of mine; I give it entirely 
to Thee ; accept it, that it may serve Thee forever, but serve 
Thee only for love. Thy majesty deserves to be feared, but 
Thy goodness still more deserves to be loved. Thou art my 
King, and shalt be always the only object of my love; and the 
only fear I shall have will be the fear of displeasing Thee. This 
is what I hope. Do Thou help me with Thy grace. O Mary, 
our dear Lady ! it is for thee to obtain for me that I may be 
faithful to this beloved King of my soul. 

MEDITATION V. 

FIRST THURSDAY. 

The Abasement of Jesus. 

Formam serin accifiiens. 
" Taking the form of a servant. 1 Phil. ii. 7. 

The eternal Word descends on earth to save man; and 
whence does he descend ? His going out is from the end of 
heaven.^ He descends from the bosom of his divine 
Father, where from eternity he was begotten in the 
brightness of the saints. And where does he descend ? 
He descends into the womb of a Virgin, a child of Adam, 
which in comparison with the bosom of God is an object 
of horror; wherefore the Church sings, "Thou didst not 
abhor the Virgin s womb." 2 Yes, because the Word 
being in the bosom of the Father is God like the Father, 
is immense, omnipotent, most blessed and supreme 
Lord, and equal in everything to the Father. But in the 
womb of Mary he is a creature, small, weak, afflicted, a 
servant inferior to the Father, taking the form of a ser 
vant." 

It is related as a great prodigy of humility in St 
Alexis that, although he was the son of a Roman gentle- 

1 "A summo coelo egressio ejus." Ps. xviii. 7. 

2 " Non horruisti virginis uterum." 

3 "Formam servi accipiens. Phil. ii. 7. 



First Thursday of Advent. 183 

man, he chose to live as a servant in his father s house. 
But how is the humility of this saint to be compared 
with the humility of Jesus Christ ? Between the son and 
the servant of the fzither of St. Alexis there was, it is 
true, some difference; but between God and the servant 
of God there is an infinite difference. Besides, this Son 
of God having become the servant of his Father, in 
obedience to him, made himself also the servant of his 
creatures, that is to say, of Mary and Joseph: And he was 
subject to them. 1 Moreover, he made himself even a ser 
vant of Pilate, who condemned him to death, and he 
was obedient to him and accepted it ; he became a ser 
vant to the executioners, who scourged him, crowned 
him with thorns, and crucified him ; and he humbly 
obeyed them all, and yielded himself into their hands. 

O God ! and shall we, after this, refuse to submit our 
selves to the service of so loving a Saviour, who, to save 
us, has subjected himself to such painful and degrading 
slavery ? And rather than be the servants of this great 
and so loving a Lord, shall we be content to be slaves of 
the devil, who does not love his servants, but hates them 
and treats them like a tyrant, making them miserable 
and wretched in this world and in the next? .But if we 
have been guilty of this great folly, why do we not 
quickly give up this unhappy servitude ? Courage, then, 
since we have been delivered by Jesus Christ from the 
slavery of hell ; let us now embrace and bind around us 
with love those sweet chains, which will render us ser 
vants and lovers of Jesus Christ, and hereafter obtain 
for us the crown of the eternal kingdom amongst the 
blessed in Paradise. 

Affections and Prayers. 

My beloved Jesus, Thou art the Sovereign of heaven and 
earth ; but for the love of me Thou hast made Thyself a servant 

1 " Et erat subditus illis." Luke ii. 51. 



1 84 Meditation V. 

even of the executioners who tore Thy flesh, pierced Thy head, 
and finally left Thee nailed on the cross to die of sorrow. I 
adore Thee as my God and Lord, and I am ashamed to appear 
before Thee, when I remember how often, for the sake of some 
miserable pleasure, I have broken Thy holy bonds, and have 
told Thee to Thy face that I would not serve Thee. Ah, Thou 
mayst justly reproach me : Thou hast burst my bands, and thou 
saidst : I will not served But still, O my Saviour, Thy merits 
and Thy goodness, which cannot despise a heart that repents 
and humbles itself, give me courage to hope for pardon : A 
contrite ami humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise? I 
confess, my Jesus, that I have offended Thee greatly; I confess 
that I deserve a thousand hells for the sins I have committed 
against Thee ; chasten me as Thou seest fit, but do not deprive 
me of Thy grace and love. I repent above every other evil of 
having despised Thee. I love Thee with my whole heart. I 
propose from this day forth to desire to serve Thee and love 
Thee a!one. I pray Thee bind me by Thy merits with the 
chains of Thy holy love, and never suffer that I see myself 
released from them ngain. I love Thee above everything, 
O my deliverer; and I would prefer being Thy servant to being 
master of the whole world. And of what avail would all the 
world be to him who lives deprived of Thy grace? "My 
sweetest Jesus, permit me not to separate myself from Thee, 
permit me not to separate myself from Thee." 3 This grace I 
ask of Thee, and I intend always to ask it ; and I beg of Thee 
to grant me this day the grace to repeat continually to the end 
of my life this prayer : My Jesus, grant that I may never again 
separate myself from Thy love. I ask this favor of thee also, 
O Mary, my Mother : help me by thy intercession, that I may 
never separate myself again from my God. 

1 " Rupisti vincula mea, et dixisti : Non serviam." Jer. ii. 20. 

2 " Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies." Isa. 1. 19. 

3 " Jesu dulcissime! ne permittas me seperari a te ; ne permittas me 
seperari a te." 



First Friday of A dvent. 1 8 5 



MEDITATION VI. 

FIRST FRIDAY. 
Jesus enlightens the World and glorifies God. 

Creavit Dominus novum suer terram. 
" The Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth." Jer. xxxi. 22. 

Before the coming of the Messias the world was buried 
in a dark night of ignorance and sins. The true God 
was hardly known, save in one single corner of the earth, 
that is to say, in Judea alone: In Judea God is known) 
But everywhere else men adored as gods devils, beasts, 
and stones. Everywhere there reigned the night of sin, 
which blinds souls, and fills them with vices, and hides 
from them the sight of the miserable state in which they 
are living, as enemies of God and condemned to hell: 
Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is night; in it shall all 
the beasts of the wood go about? 

From this darkness Jesus came to deliver the world: 
To them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light 
is risen." He delivered it from idolatry by making known 
to them the light of the true God; and he delivered 
them from sin by the light of his doctrine and of his di 
vine example: For this purpose the Son of God appeared that 
He might destroy the works of the devil. The prophet Jere- 
mias foretold that God should create a new child to be 
the Redeemer of men: The Lord hath created a new thing 
upon the earth? Tnis new child was Jesus Christ. He is 

i " Notus in Judaea Deus."W.r. Ixxv. 2. 

* " Posuisti tenebras et facta est nox ; in ipsa pertransibunt omnes 
bestise silvae." Ps. ciii. 20. 

3 " Habitantibus in regione umbrae mortis, lux orta est eis. - 

Ssa. ix. 2. 

4 " In hoc apparuit Filius Dei, ut dissolvat opera diaboli. I John, 

Hi. 8. 

6 " Creavit Dominus novum super terram. 



1 86 Meditation VI. 

the Son of God, who is the object of the love of all the 
saints in paradise, and is the love of the Father himself, 
who thus speaks of him: This is my beloved Son, in whom I 
am well pleased. 1 And this Son is he who made himself 
man. A new child, because he has given more glory and 
honor to God in the first moment of his creation than all 
the angels and saints together have given him, or shall 
give him for all eternity. And therefore did the angels 
at the birth of Jesus sing, Glory to God in the highest. 
The child Jesus has rendered more glory to God than all 
the sins of men have deprived him of. 

Let us therefore, poor sinners, take courage ; let us 
offer to the eternal Father this Infant; let us present to 
him the tears, the obedience, the humility, the death, and 
the merits of Jesus Christ, and we shall make compensa 
tion to God for all the dishonor that we have caused him 
by our offences. 

Affections and Prayers. 

My eternal God, I have dishonored Thee by so often pre 
ferring my will to Thine, and my vile and miserable pleasures 
to Thy holy grace. What hope of pardon would there be for 
me, if Thou hadst not given me Jesus Christ on purpose that he 
might be the hope of us miserable sinners? He is a propitiation 
for our sins* Yes ; for Jesus Christ, in sacrificing his life in satis 
faction for the injuries we have done Thee, has given Thee more 
honor than we have dishonor by our sins. Receive me, there 
fore, O my Father, for the love of Jesus Christ. I repent, 
O infinite Goodness, of having outraged Thee: Father, I have 
sinned against heaven, and before Thee : I am not worthy to be 
called Thy son.* I am not worthy of forgiveness ; but Jesus 

1 " Hie est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui." 
Matt. xvii. 5. 

a " Gloria in altissimis Deo." Luke, ii. 14. 
" Ipse est propitiatio pro peccatis nostris." i John, ii. 2. 

4 "Pater! peccavi in coelum et coram te; jam non sum dignus 
vocari filius tuus." Liike, xv. 21. 



First Saturday of Advent. 187 

Christ is worthy to be heard favorably by Thee. He prayed 
once for me on the cross, Father, forgive ; J and even now in 
heaven he is constantly begging Thee to receive me as a son : 
We have an advocate, Jesus Christ, who ever intercedes for us? 
Receive an ungrateful son, who once forsook Thee, but now 
returns, resolved to desire to love Thee. Yes, my Father, I love 
Thee, and will always love Thee. O my Father, now that I 
know the love that Thou hast borne me, and the patience Thou 
hast shown me for for so many years, I trust no longer to live 
without loving Thee. Give me a great love, that may make me 
constantly lament the displeasure I have given Thee, who art 
so good a Father; cause me ever to burn with love towards 
Thee, who art so loving a Father. My Father, I love Thee, 
I love Thee, I love Thee ! O Mary ! God is my Father, and thou 
art my mother. Thou canst do all things with God; help me; 
obtain for me holy perseverance and his holy love. 

MEDITATION VII. 

FIRST SATURDAY. 
The Son of God was laden with all our Iniquities. 

Dens Filium suutn mittens in similitudinem carnis peccati, et de peccato dam- 
navit peccatum in carne. 

" God sending His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, even of sin, condemned 
sin in the flesh." Rom. viii. 3. 

Consider the humble state to which the Son of God 
chose to abase himself; he not only vouchsafed to take 
upon him the form of a servant, but that of a sinful ser 
vant : In the likeness of sinful flesh? Therefore St. Bernard 
writes : " He not only assumed the form of a servant, 
that he might be under subjection, but even that of a 
wicked servant, that he might be beaten." He not only 
would assume the condition of a servant to be subject 

1 "Pater! dimitte illis." Luke, xxiii. 34. 

2 " Interpellat pro nobis." Rom. viii. 34. 

3 " In similitudinem carnis peccati." 

4 "Non solum formam servi accepit, ut subesset, sed etiam mali 
servi, ut vapularet." Serm. de Pass, 



1 88 Meditation VII. 

to others, he who was Lord of all; but even the appear 
ance of a criminal servant, to be punished as a male 
factor, he who was the Saint of all saints. For this end 
he clothed himself with the same flesh of Adam which 
had been infected by sin. And although he did not 
contract the stain of sin, nevertheless he took upon him 
self all the miseries which human nature had contracted 
as a penalty for sin. 

Our Redeemer, in order to obtain for us salvation, 
offered himself voluntarily to his Father to make satis 
faction for our sins : He was offered because it was His own 
will. 1 And his Father loaded him with all our crimse: 
He hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all? And thus behold 
the divine Word, innocent, most pure, and holy, behold 
him even from his infancy charged with all the blas 
phemies, with all the unsightliness, with all the sacrileges, 
and with all the crimes of men; become for the love of 
us the object of the divine malediction, on account of the 
sins for which he had bound himself to satisfy the divine 
justice. So that Jesus charged himself with as many 
maledictions as there have ever been, or ever shall be, 
mortal sins committed by all mankind. And thus he 
presented himself to his Father, when he came into the 
world, even from his birth, as a criminal and a debtor, 
guilty of all our sins, and as such was condemned by 
his Father to die as a malefactor accursed on a cross: 
A nd of sin hath condemned sin in the flesh? 

Oh, if the eternal Father were capable of feeling sor 
row, what anguish of mind would he not have felt at 
being obliged to treat as a criminal, and as the most 
villanous criminal in the wor!4, this innocent Son, his 
beloved one, who was worthy of all his love! Behold the 

"Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit." Isa. liii. 7. 

" Et posuit Dominus in eo iniquitatem omnium nostrum." 
Isa. liii. 6. 

3 " Et de peccato damnavit peccatum in carne." 



First Saturday of Advent. 189 

Man? said Pilate, when he showed him to the Jews cov 
ered with stripes, in order to move them to compassion 
towards this innocent one who had been thus ill-treated. 
Behold the Man, the eternal Father seems to say to us all, 
showing him to us in the stable of Bethlehem. This 
poor child (he says) whom you behold, laid on a manger 
for beasts, and stretched on straw, is my beloved Son, who 
is come into the world to take upon himself your sins and 
your sorrows; love him, therefore, because he is infinitely 
worthy of your love, and you are under infinite obliga 
tions to love him. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my innocent Saviour, mirror without spot, love of the 

eternal Father, chastisements and maledictions did not belong 

to Thee, but to me, a miserable sinner; -but Thou wouldst show 

to the world the excess of love Thou didst bear us by sacrificing 

Thy life to obtain for us pardon and salvation, and paying by 

Thy sufferings the penalties which we had incurred by our sins. 

May all creatures praise and bless Thy mercy and Thy infinite 

bounty ! I thank Thee on behalf of all men, but especially for 

myself: because as I have offended Thee more than others, so 

Thou hast hast suffered the pains which Thou didst endure 

more for me than for others, Accursed a thousand times be all 

those sinful pleasures which I have delighted in. and which 

have cost Thee so much sorrow ! But since Thou hast paid the 

price of my ransom, I beseech Thee let not the blood which 

Thou has spilled for love of me be lost to me. I am sorry that I 

have despised Thee, O my love ; but oh, grant me more sorrow ; 

make me know the evil 1 have committed in offending Thee, 

my Redeemer and my God, who hast suffered so much to oblige 

me to love Thee ! I love Thee, O infinite Bounty, but I desire 

to love Thee more; I desire to love Thee as much as Thou 

deservest to be loved. O my Jesus, do Thou cause Thyself to be 

loved both by me and by all men ; for Thou dost indeed deserve 

to be loved. I pray Thee, enlighten the minds of those sinners 

who will not know Thee or will not love Thee; make them 

1 " Ecce homo." 



1 90 Meditation VIII. 

understand what Thou hast done for the love of them, and the 
ardent desire Thou hast for their salvation. Most holy Mary, 
pray to Jesus for me, and for all sinners; obtain for us light 
and grace to love thy Son, who has loved us so much. 

MEDITATION VIII. 

SECOND SUNDAY. 
God Sends His Son to die in order to restore us to Life. 

Deus autem, qui dives est in misericordia, propter nimiam charitatem suam <?ua 
dilexit nos, et cum essemus mortui peccatis, convhnficavit nos in Christo. 

" But God (who is rich in mercy) for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved 
us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ 
Eph. ii. 4, 5 . 

Consider that sin is the death of the soul; because 
this enemy of God deprives us of divine grace, which is 
the life of the soul. We, therefore, miserable sinners, 
were already by our sins dead and condemned to hell. 
God, through the immense love which h- bears to our 
souls, determined to restore us to life; and how did he 
do so? He sent his only-begotten Son into the world to 
die, in order that by his death he might restore us to 
life. 

With reason therefore does the Apostle call this work 
of love exceeding charity; 1 too much love; yes, indeed, for 
man could never have hoped to receive life in such a 
loving manner if God had not found this means of re 
deeming him: Having obtained eternal redemption? All men 
were therefore dead there was no remedy for them. 
But the Son of God, through the bowels of his mercy, 
hath come down from heaven, the Orient from on high, 
and has given us life. Justly, therefore, does the Apostle 
call Jesus Christ our life: When Christ shall appear, who is 
your ti/e. 3 Behold our Redeemer, clothed with flesh and 

"Nimiam charitatem." 
2 "Sterna redemptione inventa." Heb. ix. 12. 

" Cum Christus apparuerit, vita vestra." Col. iii. 4. 



Second Sunday of Advent. 1 9 1 

become an infant, says to us: / am come that they may have 
life, and may have it more abundantly}- For this end be ac 
cepted death, that he might give us life. It is but reason 
able, therefore, that we should live only to God, who has 
condescended to die for us: Christ died, that they who live 
may not live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them? 
It is reasonable that Jesus Christ should be the only sov 
ereign of our heart since he has spent his blood and his 
life to gain it to himself: To this end Christ died and rose 
again, that He might be Lord both of the dead an^ of the living? 
O my God! who would be so ungrateful a wretch as to 
believe as an article of faith that God died to secure his 
love, and yet refuse to love him, and, renouncing his 
friendship, choose voluntarily to make himself a slave 
of hell? 

Affections and Prayers. 

my Jesus ! if Thou hadst not accepted and suffered death 
for me, I should have remained dead in my sins, without hope 
of salvation and without the power of ever loving Thee. But 
after Thou hast obtained life for me by Thy death, I have again 
many times voluntarily forfeited it by returning to sin. Thou 
didst die to gain my heart to Thyself, and I by my rebellion 
have made it a slave of the devil. I lost all reverence for Thee, 
and I said that I would no longer have Thee for my master. 
All this is true; but it is also true that Thou desirest not the 
death of the sinner, but that he should be converted and live; 
and therefore didst Thou die to give us life. I repent of having 
offended Thee, my dearest Redeemer; and do Thou pardon me 
through the merits of Thy Passion ; give me Thy grace ; give 
me that life which Thou hast purchased for me by Thy death, 
and henceforth mayest Thou have entire dominion over my 

1 " Ego veni ut vitam habeant, et abundantius habeant." John, 
x. 10. 

2 " Mortuus est Christus, ut, et qui vivunt, jam non sibi vivant, 
sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est." 2 Cor. v. 15. 

8 " In hoc enim Christus mortuus est et resurrexit, ut et mortuorum 
Ct vivorum dominetur," Rom. xiv. o. 



192 Meditation IX. 

heart. Never let the devil have possession of it again ; he is not 
my God, he does not love me, and has not suffered anything 
for me. In past times he was not the true sovereign, but the 
robber of my soul ; Thou alone, my Jesus, art my true Lord, who 
hast created and redeemed me with Thy blood ; Thou alone 
hast loved me, and oh, how much ! It is therefore only just 
that I should be Thine alone during the life that remains to me. 
Tell me what Thou wouldst have me to do ; for I will do it all. 
Chastise me as Thou wilt ; I accept everything Thou sendest 
me ; only spare me the chastisement of living without Thy 
love; make me love Thee, and then dispose of me as Thou 
wilt. Most holy Mary, my refuge and consolation, recommend 
me to thy Son : his death and thy intercession are all my hope. 

MEDITATION IX. 

SECOND MONDAY. 

The Love that the Son of God has shown us in the Redemp 
tion. 

Dilexit nos, et tradidit semetipsum pro nobis. 
" He hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us." Eph. v. 2. 

Consider that the eternal Word is that God who is so 
infinitely happy in himself that his happiness cannot be 
greater than it is, nor could the salvation of all mankind 
have added anything to it or have diminished it ; and 
yet he has done and suffered so much to save us miser 
able worms that if his beatitude (as St. Thomas says) 
had depended on that of man, he could not have done or 
suffered more: "As if without him He could not be 
happy ;" 1 and, indeed, if Jesus Christ could not have 
been happy without redeeming us, how could he have 
humbled himself more than he has done, in taking upon 
himself our infirmities, the miseries of infancy, the 
troubles of human life, and a death so barbarous and 
ignominious ? 

None but God was capable of loving to such an excess 
" Quasi sine ipso beatus esse non posset." Opusc. 63, c. 7. 



Second Monday of A dvcnt. 193 

so wretched sinners as we are, and who were so unworthy 
of being loved. A devout author says : If Jesus Christ 
had permitted us to ask of him to give us the greatest 
proof of his love, who would have ventured to ask of 
him that he should become a child like unto us, that he 
should clothe himself with all our miseries, and make 
himself of all men the most poor, the most despised, and 
the most ill-treated, even to being put to death by the 
hands of executioners, and in the greatest torments upon 
an infamous gibbet, cursed and forsaken by all, even by 
his own Father, who abandoned his Son that he might 
not abandon us in our ruin ? 

But that which we should not have had the boldness 
even to think of, the Son of God has thought of and ac 
complished. Even from his childhood he has sacrificed 
himself for us to sufferings, to opprobrium, and to death: 
He hath loved us, and hat Ii delivered Himself for us. 1 He 
hath loved us, and out of love hath given us himself, in 
order that we, by offering him as a victim to the Father, 
in satisfaction for our debts, might through his merits 
obtain from the divine goodness all the graces that we 
desire ; a victim dearer to the Father than if we had 
offered him the lives of all men and of all the angels. 
Let us therefore continually offer to God the merits of 
Jesus Christ, and through them let us seek and hope for 
every good. 

Affections and Prayers. 

My Jesus, I should indeed do great injustice to Thy mercy 
and Thy love, if, after Thou hast given me so many proofs of 
the love Thou bearest me, and the desire Thou hast to save me, 
I should still distrust Thy mercy and Thy love. My beloved 
Redeemer, I am a poor sinner; but Thou hast said that Thou 
didst come to seek sinners : I am not come to call the just, but 
sinners. 2 I am a poor infirm creature, Thou earnest to cure 

1 " Dilexit nos et tradidit semetipsum pro nobis." 

2 " Non enim veni vocare justos, sed peccatores." Matt. ix. 13. 



194 Meditation X. 

the infirm, and Thou didst say, They that are whole need not 
the physician, but they that are sick. 1 I was lost through my 
sins ; but Thou didst come to save the lost : The Son of man is 
come to save that which was lost."* What, then, can I fear, if I am 
willing to amend my life and to become Thine? I have only 
myself and my own weakness to fear; but my own weak 
ness and poverty ought to increase my confidence in Thee, 
who hast declared Thyself to be the refuge of the desti 
tute : The Lord is become a refuge for the poor* And 
Thou hast promised to grant their desires: The Lord hath 
heard the desire of the poor? Therefore I implore this favor of 
Thee, O my Jesus ! give me confidence in Thy merits, and grant 
that I may always recommend myself to God through Thy 
merits. Eternal Father, save me from hell, and first from sin, 
for the love of Jesus Christ; for the merits of this Thy Son en 
lighten my mind to obey Thy will ; give me strength against 
temptations ; grant me the gift of Thy holy love ; and, above all, 
I beseech Thee to give me the grace to pray to Thee to help 
me, for the love of Jesus Christ, who hast promised that Thou 
wilt grant to him who prays in his name whatever he asks of 
Thee. If I continue to pray to Thee in this way, I shall cer 
tainly be saved ; but if I neglect it, I shall certainly be lost. 
Most holy Mary, obtain for me this great gift of prayer, and 
that I may persevere in recommending myself constantly to 
God, and also to thee, who dost obtain from God whatever thou 
wiliest. 

MEDITATION X. 

SECOND TUESDAY. 

Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, from the Womb of His Mother. 

Virum dolorum et scientem infirmitatem, 
" A man of sorrows, acquainted with infirmity." Isa. liii. 3. 

Thus does the prophet Isaias designate our Lord Jesus 
Christ "the man of sorrows;" yes, because this man was 

1 " Non egent qui sani sunt medico, sed qui male habent." Luke, 
v. 31. 

2 " Venit enim Filius hominis salvare quod perierat." Matt, xviii 
II. 

3 " Factus est Dominus refugium pauperi." Ps. ix. 10. 

4 " Desiderium pauperum exaudivit Dominus." Ps. x. 17. 



Second Tuesday of Advent. 195 

created on purpose to suffer, and from his infancy began 
to endure the greatest sorrows that any man ever suf 
fered. The first man, Adam, enjoyed for some time upon 
this earth the delights of the earthly paradise ; but the 
second Adam, Jesus Christ, did not pass a moment of 
his life without sorrows and anguish ; for even from a 
child he was afflicted by the foresight of all the suffer 
ings and ignominy that he would have to endure during 
his life, and especially at his death, when he was to close 
that life immersed in a tempest of sorrow and oppro 
brium, as David had predicted : / am come into the depth 
of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me. 

Even from the womb of Mary, Jesus Christ accepted 
obediently the sacrifice which his Father had desired 
him to make, even his Passion and death : Becoming 
obedient unto death? So that even from the womb of Mary 
he foresaw the scourges and presented to them his flesh; 
he foresaw the thorns, and presented to them his head; 
he foresaw the blows, and presented to them his cheeks; 
he foresaw the nails, and presented to them his hands 
and his feet ; he foresaw the cross, and offered his life. 
Hence it is true that even from his earliest infancy our 
blessed Redeemer every moment of his life suffered a 
continual martyrdom; and he offered it every moment 
for us to his eternal Father. 

But what afflicted him most was the sight of the sins 
which men would commit even after this painful re 
demption. By his divine light he well knew the malice 
of every sin, and therefore did he come into the world 
to do away with all sins ; but when he saw the immense 
number which would be committed, the sorrow that the 
Heart of Jesus felt was greater than all the sorrows thai 
all men ever suffered or ever will suffer upon earth. 

1 "Veni in altitudinem maris, et tempestas demersit me." Ps, 
Ixviii. 3. 
? " Factus obediens usque ad mortem." Phil. ii. 8. 



196 Meditation X. 



Affections and Prayers. 

My sweetest Redeemer, when shall I begin to be grateful to 
Thy infinite goodness? When shall I begin to acknowledge 
the love that Thou hast borne me, and the sorrows Thou hast 
endured for me? Hitherto, instead of love and gratitude, I 
have returned Thee offences and contempt ; shall I then con 
tinue to live always ungrateful to Thee, my God, who hast spared 
nothing to acquire my love? No, my Jesus, it shall not be so. 
During the days that may yet remain to me I will be grateful to 
Thee; and Thou wilt, I trust, help me to be so. If I have of 
fended Thee, Thy sufferings and Thy death are my hope. Thou 
hast promised to forgive the penitent. I repent with my whol 
soul of having despised Thee. Fulfil, therefore, Thy promise, 
my Beloved, and forgive me. O dearest Infant, I behold Thee 
in the manger already nailed to Thy cross, which is constantly 
present to Thee, and which Thou dost already accept for me. O 
my crucified Infant! I thank Thee for it, and I love Thee. 
Stretched upon this straw, suffering already for me, and prepar 
ing Thyself even now to die for this love of me, Thou dost 
command and invite me to love Thee : Love the Lord thy God^ 
And I desire nothing more than to love Thee. Since, therefore, 
Thou wiliest that I should love Thee, give me all that love that 
Thou requirest of me ; love for Thee is Thy gift, and the greatest 
gift that Thou canst make to a soul. Accept, O my Jesus ! for 
Thy lover a sinner who has so greatly offended Thee. Thou 
didst come from heaven to seek the lost sheep ; do Thou, there 
fore, seek me, and I will seek none other but Thee. Thou de- 
sirest my soul, and my soul desires nothing but Thee. Thou 
lovest him that loves Thee, and sayest, Those that love Me I 
love? I love Thee, do Thou also love me ; and if Thou lovest 
me, bind me to Thy love ; but bind me so that I may never again 
be able to disengage myself from Thee. Mary, my Mother, do 
thou help me. Let it be thy glory also to see thy Son loved by 
a miserable sinner, who has hitherto so greatly offended him. 

1 " Diliges Dominum Deum tuum." 

8 " Ego diligentes me diligo." Prov. viii. 17. 



Second Wednesday of Advent. 197 

MEDITATION XI. 
SECOND WEDNESDAY. 
Jesus charged with the Sins of the Whole World. 

Iniquitates eorum ipse portabit. 
" He bore their iniquities." Is. liii. n. 

Consider that the divine Word, in becoming man, 
chose not only to take the form of a sinner, but also to 
bear all the sins of men, and to satisfy for them as if 
they were his own: He bore their iniquities? Father Cor 
nelius adds, " as if he had committed them himself." 2 
Let us here reflect what an oppression and anguish the 
heart of the Infant Jesus must have felt, who had already 
charged himself with the sins of the whole world, in 
finding that the divine justice insisted on his making a 
full satisfaction for them. 

Well did our Lord know the malice of every Sin, 
whilst, through the divine light which accompanied him, 
he knew immeasurably more than all men and angels 
the infinite goodness of his Father, and how infinitely 
deserving he is of being revered and loved. And then 
he saw drawn up in array before him an innumerable 
number of transgressions which were to be committed 
by men and for which he was to suffer and die. Our 
Lord once showed to St. Catharine of Sienna the hid- 
eousness of one single venial sin; and such was the dread 
and sorrow of the saint that she fell senseless to the. 
ground. What, then, must have been the sufferings of 
the Infant Jesus when, on his entrance into the world, 
he saw before him the immense array of all the crimes 
of men for which he was to make satisfaction ! 

And then he knew in particular every sin of each one 



"Iniquitates eorum ipse portabit." 
2 "Ac si ipse ea patrasset." 



198 Meditation XL 

of us: " He had regard to every particular sin," 1 says St. 
Bernard of Sienna. And Cardinal Hugo says that the 
executioners "caused him exterior pain by crucifying 
him, but we interior pain by sinning against him." 2 He 
means that each one of our sins afflicted the soul of Jesus 
Christ more than crucifixion and death afflicted his body. 
Such is the beautiful recompense which has been ren 
dered to our divine Saviour for his love by every one 
who remembers to have offended him by mortal sin. 

Affections and Prayers. 

My Beloved Jesus, I, who have offended Thee, am not worthy 
of Thy favors, but through the merit of that pain which Thou 
didst suffer, and which Thou didst offer up to God at the sight 
of my sins, and to satisfy divine justice for them, give me a 
share in that light by which Thou didst see their malice, and in 
that hatred with which Thou didst then abominate them. Can 
it then be true, my amiable Saviour, that ever since Thou wert 
an- infant, and in every moment of Thy life, I have been a mur 
derer of Thy sacred heart, and a murderer more cruel than all 
those who crucified Thee ? And I have renewed and increased 
this suffering every time I have repeated my offences against 
Thee? O Lord! Thou hast indeed died to save me; but Thy 
death will not save me, if I do not on my part detest every evil, 
and have true sorrow for the sins I have committed against Thee. 
But even this sorrow must be given me by Thee. Thou givest 
it to him that asks it of Thee. I ask it of Thee through the 
merits of all the sufferings Thou didst endure on this earth ; give 
me sorrow for my sins, but a sorrow that will correspond to my 
transgressions. Help me, O Lord ! to make that act of contri 
tion which I now intend to do. O eternal God, supreme and 
infinite Good ! I, a miserable worm, have dared to lose respect 
for Thee, and to despise Thy grace , I detest above every evil 
and abhor the injuries I have committed against Thee ; I repent 

1 "Ad quamlibet culpam singularem habuit aspectum." T. ii. s. 
56, a. i, c. i. 

2 " Fecerunt eum dolore extrinsecus crucifigendo, sed nos peccando 
intrinsecus." 



Second Thursday of Advent. 199 

of them with my whole heart, not so much on account of hell, 
which I have deserved, as because I have offended Thy infinite 
goodness. I hope for pardon from Thee through the merits of 
esus Christ: and I hope also to obtain, together with Thy par 
don the grace of loving Thee. I love Thee, O God, who art 
worthy of infinite love, and I will always repeat to Thee, I love 
Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee ; and as Thy beloved St. Catha 
rine of Genoa said to Thee, while she stood in spirit at Thy 
feet, O Thou crucified one, so will I also say to Thee now that 
I am standing also at Thy feet, My Lord, no more sins, no more 
sins! No, for Thou indeed dost not deserve to be offended, O 
my Jesus, but Thou only deservest to be loved. My blessed 
Redeemer, help me. My mother Mary, assist me, I pray thee , 
I only ask of thee to obtain for me that I may love God during 
the time that is left me in this life. 

MEDITATION XII. 

SECOND THURSDAY. 

Jesus suffers during His Whole Life. 

Dolor me us in conspectu meo semper. 
" My sorrow is continually before me." Ps. xxxvii. 18. 

Consider that all the sufferings and ignominy that 
Jesus endured in his life and death, all were present to 
him from the first moment of his life: My sorrow is con 
tinually before me; 1 and even from his childhood he be 
gan to offer them in satisfaction for our sins, beginning 
even then to fulfil his office of Redeemer. He revealed 
to one of his servants that from the commencement of 
his life even until his death, he suffered continually; and 
suffered so much for each of our sins that if he had had 
as many lives as there are men, he would as many times 
have died of sorrow, if God had not preserved his life 
that he might suffer more. 

Oh, what a martyrdom did the loving heart of Jesus 
constantly endure in beholding all the sins of men ! 

1 " Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper." 



2oo Meditation XII. 

He beheld every single fault? Even whilst he was in the 
womb of Mary every particular sin passed in review be 
fore Jesus, and each sin afflicted him immeasurably. St. 
Thomas says that this sorrow which Jesus Christ felt at 
the knowledge of the injury done to his Father, and of the 
evil that sin would occasion to the souls that he loved, 
surpassed the sorrows of all the contrite sinners that 
ever existed, even of those who died of pure sorrow; be 
cause no sinner ever loved God and his own soul as 
much as Jesus loved his Father and our souls. Where 
fore that agony which our Redeemer suffered in the gar 
den at the sight of our sins was endured by him even 
from his mother s womb: I am poor, and in labors from my 
youth? Thus through the mouth of David did our Sa 
viour prophesy of himself, that all his life should be 
a continual suffering. From this St. John Chrysostom 
deduces that we ought not to afflict ourselves for any 
thing but for sin alone; and that since Jesus was afflicted 
all his life long on account of our sins, so we who have 
committed them ought to feel a continual sorrow for 
them, remembering that w r e have offended God who has 
loved us so much. St. Margaret of Cortona never ceased 
to shed tears for her sins: one day her confessor said to 
her, "Margaret, no more tears; it is enough, our Lord 
has already forgiven thee." " What," answered the saint, 
" how can my tears and my sorrows suffice for the sins 
for which my Jesus was afflicted all his life long !" 

Affections and Prayers. 

Behold, my Jesus, at Thy feet the ungrateful sinner, the per 
secutor who kept Thee in continual affliction during all Thy 
life. But I will say to Thee with Isaias : But Thou hast deliv 
ered my sold that it should not perish ; Thou hast cast all my sins 

1 "Ad quamlibet culpam singularem habuit aspectum." 

2 " Pauper sum ego et in labor! bus a juventute mea." Ps, Ixxxvii. 
16. 



Second Friday of Advent. 201 

behind Thy back. 1 I have offended Thee, I have pierced Thee 
through witii all my sins ; but Thou hast not refused to bear on 
Thy shoulders all my sins ; I have voluntarily cast my soul into 
the fire of hell every time that I have consented to offend Thee 
gravely; and Thou, at the cost of Thy own blood, hast continu 
ally liberated me and prevented me from being entirely lost. 
My beloved Redeemer, I thank Thee. I could wish to die of 
sorrow when I think how I have abused Thy infinite goodness; 
forgive me, my Love, and come and take entire possession of my 
heart. Thou hast said that Thou wouldst not disdain to enter 
into the abode of him that opens to Thee, and to remain in his 
company : If any man shall open to Me the door, I will come in to 
him, and will sup with him? If I have hitherto driven Thee 
away from me, I now love Thee, and desire nothing but Thy 
favor. Behold, the door is open, enter Thou into my heart, but 
enter never to depart from it again. I am poor; but if Thou 
enter Thou wilt make me rich. I shall always be rich as long as 
1 possess Thee, the sovereign good. O Queen of Heaven, 
sorrowful Mother of this suffering Son, I have also been a 
cause of sorrow to thee, because thou hast participated, in 
great part, in the sufferings of Jesus: my Mother, do thou 
also forgive me, and obtain for me the grace to be faithful to 
thee, now that I hope my Jesus has returned into my soul. 



MEDITATION XIII. 

SECOND FRIDAY. 
Jesus wished to suffer so much in order to gain our Hearts. 

Baptismo habeo baptiznri; et quomodo coarctor usque dum perficieitur! 

" I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how am I straitened until 
it be accomplished !" St. Luke, xii. 50. 

Consider that Jesus suffered, even from the first mo 
ment of his life, and all for the love of us. During the 
whole of his life he had no other object in view, after 

1 "Tu autem eruisti animam meam, ut non periret; projecisti post 
tergum tuum omnia peccatamea." Isa. xxxviii. 17. 

8 "Si quis , . , aperuerit mihi januam, intrabo ad ilium, et 
coenabo cum illo." Apoc. iii. 20. 



202 Meditation XIII. 

the glory of God, than our salvation. He, as the Son of 
God, had no need to suffer in order to deserve Paradise ; 
but whatever he suffered of pain, of poverty, of igno 
miny, he applied it all towards meriting for us eternal 
salvation. And even although he could have saved us 
without suffering, yet he chose to embrace a life of noth 
ing but sufferings, poor, despised, and deprived of every 
comfort, with a death the most desolate and bitter that 
was ever endured by any martyr or penitent, only to 
make us understand the greatness of the love he bore 
us, and to gain our affections. 

He lived thirty-three years, and he lived sighing after 
the hour in which he was to sacrifice his life, which he 
desired to offer up to obtain for us divine grace and 
eternal glory, in order that he might have us with him 
forever in paradise. It was this desire which made him 
say, / have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how 
am I straitened until it be accomplished! 1 He desired to be 
baptized with his own blood, not to wash out his own 
sins, since he was innocent and holy, but the sins of men 
whom he loved so much: He loved us, and washed us in his 
own blood. 2 Oh, excess of the love of God, which all the 
men and angels that ever existed will never arrive at 
understanding or praising as it deserves. 

St. Bonaventure complains on considering the great 
ingratitude of men for so great love: " It is wonderful 
that the hearts of men do not break for love of Thee." 3 
It is a wonder, says the saint, to see a God endure such 
sufferings, shedding tears in a stable, poor in a workshop, 
languishing on a cross ; in short, afflicted and troubled 

1 "Baptismo habeo baptizari; et quomodo coarctor usque dum 
perficiatur !" 

2 " Dilexit nos, et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine suo." 
Apoc. i. 5. 

3 " Mirum est quomodo pro tuo amore corda hominum non scin- 
duntur." Stim. div. am. p. 2, c. 2. 



Second Friday of Advent. 203 

the whole of his life for the love of men ; and then to 
see iliese men, who not only do not burn with love 
towards such a loving God, but even have the boldness 
to despise his love and his grace. O Lord, how is it 
possible to know that a God should have given himself 
up to so much suffering for men, and yet that there should 
be men who can offend, and not love this merciful God! 

Affections and Prayers. 

My beloved Redeemer, I am also one of those ungrateful 
wretches who have repaid Thy immense love, Thy sorrows, and 
Thy death, with offences and contempt. O my dearest Jesus! 
how is it possible that, seeing as Thou didst the ingratitude 
that I should show Thee for all Thy mercies, Thou couldst yet 
love me so much, and resolve to endure so much contempt and 
suffering for me ! But I will not despair. The evil is already 
done. Give me, therefore, O my Saviour, that sorrow which 
Thou hast merited for me by Thy tears ; but let it be a sorrow 
equal to my iniquities. O loving heart of my Saviour, once so 
afflicted and desolate for my sake, and now all burning with 
love for me, I beseech Thee, change my heart, give me a heart 
that will make reparation for the offences I have committed 
against Thee, give me a love that will equal my ingratitude ! 

But I already feel a great desire of loving Thee. I give Thee 
thanks, my Saviour, because I see that Thy mercy has already 
changed my heart. I hate, above every evil, the insults I have 
offered Thee; 1 detest them, I abhor them. I now esteem Thy 
friendship above all the riches and kingdoms of the world. I 
desire to please Thee as much as is possible to me ; I love Thee, 
who art infinitely amiable ; but I see that this my love is too 
small. Do Thou increase the flame, give me more love. Thy 
love for me ought to be responded to by a greater degree of 
love by me, who have so much offended Thee, and who, instead 
of chastisement, have received so many special favors from 
Thee. O sovereign Good, permit me not to be any longer un 
grateful for all the favors that Thou hast bestowed upon me : 
" I will die with love of the love of Thee," I will say with St. 
Francis, " who hast deigned to die for love of the love of me." 
Mary, my hope, help me ; pray to Jesus for me ! 

1 " Moriar amore amoris tui, qui amore amoris mei dignatus es 
mori !" 



204 Meditation XIV. 



MEDITATION XIV.* 

SECOND SATURDAY. 
The Greatest Sorrow of Jesus. 

Qua utilitas in sanguine meo, dum descendo in corruptionem ? 
" What profit is there in my blood, whilst I go down to corruption ?"/*?. xxix. 10. 

Jesus Christ revealed to the Venerable Agatha of the 
Cross that whilst he was in his Mother s womb, that 
which afflicted him more than any other sorrow was the 
hardness of the hearts of men, who should, after his Re 
demption, despise the graces which he came into the 
world to diffuse. And he had expressed this sentiment 
before, by the mouth of David, in the words just quoted, 
which are generally thus understood by the holy Fa 
thers: What profit is there in my blood, whilst I go down, to 
corrupton ? l St. Isidore explains whilst / descend into cor 
ruption, " whilst I descend to take the nature of man, so 
corrupted by vices and sins;" as if he had said, U O my 
Father, I am indeed going to clothe myself with human 
flesh, in order to shed my blood for men; but what profit 
is there in my blood?" the greater part of the world will 
set no value on my blood, and will go on offending me, 
as if I had done nothing for the love of them." 

This sorrow was the bitter chalice which Jesus begged 
the Eternal Father to remove from him, saying: Let this 
chalice pass from Me" 2 What chalice ? The sight of the 
contempt with which his love was treated. This made 
him exclaim again on the cross: My God, my God, why hast 
thou forsaken Me? 3 Our Lord revealed to St. Catharine 

" Quae utilitas in sanguine meo, dum descendo in corruptionem?" 



" Transeat a me calix iste V Matt. xxvi. 39. 



"Deus meus! Deus meus ! ut quid dereliquisti me?" Matt. 
xxvii. 46. 

* On December 16 we begin the Novena, page 214. 



Second Saturday of Advent. 205 

of Sienna, that this was the abandonment of which he 
complained the knowledge, namely, that his Father 
would have to suffer that his Passion and his love should 
be despised by so many men for whom he died. 

And this same sorrow tormented the Infant Jesus in 
the womb of Mary, the foresight of such a prodigality of 
sorrows, of ignominy, of blood-shedding, and of so 
cruel and ignominious a death, and all to so little pur 
pose. The holy Child saw, even there, what the Apostle 
says, that many (indeed the greater number) should 
trample under foot his blood, and despise his grace, 
which this blood would obtain for them: Treading under 
foot the Son of God, ami offering an affront to the Spirit of 
grace? But if we have been of the number of these un 
grateful men, let us not despair; Jesus, at his birth, 
came to offer peace to men of good-will, as he made the 
angels sing : And on earth peace to men of good-lull!.* Let 
us, then, change our will, repent of our sins, and resolve 
to love this good God, and we shall find peace, that is, 
the divine friendship. 

Affections and Prayers. 

my most amiable Jesus, how much have I too caused Thee 
to suffer during Thy lifetime ! Thou hast shed Thy blood for 
me with so much sorrow and love, and what fruit hast Thou 
hitherto drawn from me but contempt, offences, and insults ? 
But, my Redeemer, I will no longer afflict Thee ; I hope that in 
future Thy Passion will produce fruit in me by Thy grace, 
which I feel is already assisting me. I will love Thee above 
every other good ; and to please Thee, I am ready to give my 
life a thousand times. Eternal Father, I should not have the 
boldness to appear before Thee to implore either pardon or 
graces, but Thy Son has told me, that whatever grace I ask of 
Thee in his name Thou wilt grant it to me : If ye shall ask any- 

1 " Filium Dei conculcaverit . . . , et spiritui gratiae contumeliam 
fecerit VHeb. x. 29. 

9 " Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis." Luke, ii. 14. 



206 Meditation XV. 

thing of the Father in my name, he will give it you.* I offer 
Thee, therefore, the merits of Jesus Christ, and in his name I 
ask of Thee first a general pardon of all my sins; I ask holy 
perseverance even unto death ; I ask of Thee, above all, the gift 
of Thy holy love, that it may make me always live according to 
Thy divine will. As to my own will, I am resolved to choose a 
thousand deaths sooner than offend Thee, and to love Thee 
with my whole heart, and to do everything that I possibly can 
to please Thee. But in order to do all this, I beg of Thee, and 
hope to receive from Thee, grace to execute what I purpose. 
My Mother Mary, if thou wilt pray for me, I am safe. Oh, pray 
for me, pray ; and cease not to pray till thou seest that I am 
changed, and made what God wishes me to be. 

MEDITATION XV. 

SECOND SUNDAY. 
The Poverty of the Infant Jesus. 

Invenientes infantem . . . positum in priesepio. 
" You shall find the infant laid in a manger." St. Luke, ii. 16. 

The Holy Church, in contemplating this great mys 
tery and prodigy of a God being born in a stable, ex 
claims, full of admiration, "O great mystery! O won 
derful sacrament ! for animals to behold the Lord lying 
in a manger." 2 

In order to contemplate with tenderness and love the 
birth of Jesus, we must pray the Lord to give us a lively 
faith. If without faith we enter into the grotto of Beth 
lehem, we shall have nothing but a feeling of compassion 
at seeing an infant reduced to such a state of poverty 
that, being born in the depth of winter, he is laid in a 
manger of beasts, without fire, and in the midst of a cold 
cavern. But if we enter with faith, and consider what 

1 "Si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis." John, 
xvi. 23. 

2 " O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia 
viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in prsesepio !" Off. Nat.resp. 4. 



Second Sunday of Advent. 207 

an excess of bounty and love it was in a God to humble 
himself to appear like a little child, wrapped in swad 
dling-clothes, placed on straw, crying and shivering with 
cold, unable to move, depending for subsistence on his 
mother s milk, how is it possible that we should not feel 
ourselves gently constrained to give all our affections to 
this Infant God, who has reduced himself to this state 
to make us love him ! St. Luke says that the shepherds, 
after having visited Jesus in the manger, returned glorify 
ing and praising God for all the things they had heard and 
seen. 1 And yet what had they seen ? Nothing more than 
a poor child trembling with cold on a little straw ; but, 
being enlightened by faith, they recognized in this child 
the excess of divine love ; and inflamed by this love they 
went on their way glorifying God, that they had the 
happiness to behold a God who had emptied himself * and 
annihilated himself for the love of men. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my amiable and sweet Infant! although I behold Thee so 
poor and lying on straw, yet I confess and adore Thee as my 
Lord and Creator. I know what it was that reduced Thee to so 
miserable a state : it was the love that Thou didst bear me. But 
when I remember, O my Jesus! how I have treated Thee in 
times past, the injuries I have committed against Thee, I won 
der in myself how Thou hast borne with me. Accursed sins, 
oh, what have you done ! You have made me cause bitterness 
to the heart of my beloved Saviour. Oh, my dearest Redeemer, 
for the sake of the sufferings Thou didst endure and the tears 
Thou didst shed in the stable of Bethlehem, give me tears, give 
me a great sorrow, that may make me all my life long lament 
the displeasure I have caused Thee. Grant me a love for Thee, 
but such a love as may compensate for the offences I have com 
mitted against Thee. I love Thee, my Infant Saviour; I love 
Thee, my Infant God ; I love Thee, my love, my life, my all. I 

1 " Reversi sunt pastores glorificantes et laudantes Deum in omni 
bus quae audierantet viderant." Luke, ii. 20. 
9 Semetipsurn exinanivit \" Phil. ii. 7. 



208 Meditation XVI. 

promise Thee from this day forth to love none but Thee. Do 
Thou help me by Thy grace, without which I can do nothing. 
Mary, my hope, thou dost obtain whatever thou wiliest from 
thy Son, obtain for me his holy love ; my Mother, hear me ! 

MEDITATION XVI. 

THIRD MONDAY. 
Jesus is the Fountain of Grace 

Haurietis aquas in gaudio de fontlbus Sal- atoris. 
" You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour s fountains." Isa. xii. 3. 

Consider the four fountains of grace that we have in 
Jesus Christ, as contemplated by St. Bernard. 

The first is that of mercy, in which we can wash our 
selves from all the filthiness of our sins. This fountain 
was formed for us by our Redeemer with his tears and 
his blood: He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his 
own blood. 1 

The second fountain is that of peace and consolation 
in our tribulations: Call upon me (saith Jesus Christ)/// 
the day of trouble, and I will console thee? He that thirtieth, 
let him come to me? He that thirsteth for true consolations 
even in this world, let him come to me, for I will satisfy 
him. He that once tastes the water of my love will for 
ever disdain all the delights of the world: But he that 
shall drink of the water that I will give him shall not thirst 
forever." And thoroughly contented will he be when he 
shall enter into the kingdom of the blessed, for the water 
of my grace shall raise him from earth to heaven. It 
will become in him a fountain of water springing up into life 

" Dilexit nos, et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine suo.*- 
Apoc. i. 5. 

" Invoca me in die tribulationis ; eruam te." Ps. xlix. 15. 
"Si quis sitit, veniat ad me, et bibat." John, vii. 37. 
" Qui autem biberit ex aqua quam ego dabo ei, non sitiet in 
aeternum." John, iv. 13. 



Third Monday of Advent. 209 

everlasting. The peace which God gives to the souls 
that love him is not the peace that the world promises 
from sensual pleasures, which leave in the soul more bit 
terness than peace ; the peace which God bestows ex 
ceeds all the pleasures of the senses: Peace which surpass- 
eth all understanding? Blessed are those who long for 
this divine fountain. Blessed are they that hunger and 
thirst after justice? 

The third fountain is that of devotion. Oh, how de 
vout and ready to execute the divine will, and increasing 
every day in virtue, is he who constantly meditates on 
all that Jesus Christ has done for our sake! He will be 
like the tree planted by a stream of water: He shall be 
like a tree that is planted near the running waters? 

The fourth fountain is that of love: In my meditation a 
fire shall flame out." It is impossible to meditate on the 
sufferings and ignominy borne by Jesus Christ for the 
love of us, and not to feel inflamed by that blessed fire 
which he came upon earth to enkindle. How true it is, 
then, that he who avails himself of these blessed foun 
tains of Jesus Christ will always draw from them waters 
of joy and of salvation! You shall draw waters with joy 
out of the Saviour s fountains? 

Affections and Prayers. 

my sweet and dearest Saviour, how much do I not owe 
Thee ! What an obligation hast Thou put upon me of loving 
Thee, since Thou hast done for me what no son would have 
done for his father, and no servant for his master! If Thou, 
therefore, hast loved me above every one else, it is only just 

1 " Fiet in eo fons aquae salientis in vitam setevnam." 

"Pax Dei, quae exsuperat omnem sensum." Phil. iv. 7. 
a " Beati, qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam !" Matt. v. 6. 

4 "Erit tamquam lignum quod plantatum est secus decursus aqua- 
rum." Ps. i. 3. 

5 " In meditatione mea exardescet ignis." Ps. xxxviii. 4. 
8 " Haurietis aquas in gaudio de fontibus Salvatoris," 

14 



2 1 o Meditation X VII. 

that I should love Thee above all others. I could wish to die 
with sorrow at the thought that Thou hast suffered so much 
for me, and that Thou didst accept for my sake the most painful 
and ignominious death that it is possible for a man to endure ; 
and yet I have so often despised Thy friendship. How many 
times hast Thou forgiven me, and I have despised Thee afresh ? 
But Thy merits are my hope. I now esteem Thy grace above 
all the kingdoms of the world. I love Thee, and for Thy love I 
accept every sorrow, every kind of death. And if I am not 
worthy to die for Thy glory by the hand of executioners, I 
accept at least willingly that death which Thou hast allotted to 
me; and I accept it in the manner and at the time that Thou 
shalt choose. My dear Mother Mary, obtain for me the grace 
always to live and to die loving Jesus. 

MEDITATION XVII. 

THIRD TUESDAY. 
Jesus the Charitable Physician of our Souls. 

Orietur vobis . . . Soljustitia^ et sanitas in pennis ejus. 
" But unto you the sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings." Mai. iy. 2. 

Your physician will come, says the prophet, to cure 
the infirm; and he will come swiftly like the bird that 
flies, and like the sun, which on rising from the horizon, 
instantly sends its light to the other pole. But behold 
him, he is already come. Let us console ourselves, and 
return thanks to him. 

St. Augustine says, " He descends to the bed of the 
sick;" 1 that is to say, even to taking upon him our flesh, 
for our bodies are the beds of our infirm souls. 

Other physicians, if they love their patients, do indeed 
use all their efforts to cure them; but what physician, in 
order to cure the sick man, ever took upon himself his 
disease ? Jesus Christ has been that physician, who 
charged himself with our infirmities in order to cure 
them. Neither would he content himself with sending 

1 Descendit usque ad lectum aegrotantis," Serm. 87, E. B. 



Third J^ues day of Advent. 211 

another in his place, but he chose to come himself to 
fulfil this charitable office, in order to gain to himself 
all our love: He hath borne our infirmities and carried our 
sorrows} He chose to heal our wounds with his own 
blood, and by his death to deliver us from eternal death, 
which we had deserved; in short, he chose to swallow 
the bitter draught of a life of continual sufferings and 
a painful death, to obtain for us life, and deliver us from 
our many evils. 

The chalice which My Father hath given Me y shall I not 
drink it ? 2 said he to St. Peter. It was necessary, then, 
that Jesus Christ should suffer so many ignominies to 
heal our pride; that he should embrace such a life of 
poverty to cure our covetousness; that he should be 
overwhelmed in a sea of troubles, and even die of pure 
sorrow, to cure our eagerness after sensual pleasures. 

Affections and Prayers. 

May Thy charity, O my Redeemer ! be forever praised and 
blessed. And what would become of my soul, thus infirm and 
afflicted with the many sores of my sins, if I had not Thee, my 
Jesus, who both art able and willing to heal me ? O blood of my 
Saviour, I trust in thee ; wash me and cure me. I repent, O my 
love, of having offended Thee. Thou hast led a life of such 
tribulations, and hast died so bitter a death to prove to me the 
love Thou dost bear me. I would fain show Thee how much I 
love Thee; but what can I do who am so miserable and weak? 

God of my soul ! Thou art omnipotent; Thou canst heal me, 
and make me holy. Oh, kindle in me a great desire of pleasing 
Thee. I renounce all my pleasures to please Thee, my Re 
deemer, who dost deserve to be pleased at all costs. O sovereign 
Good ! I esteem Thee and love Thee above every good ; make 
me love Thee with all my heart, and always implore Thy love, 

1 have hitherto offended Thee, and have not loved Thee, be- 

1 " Vere languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse por- 
tavit." Isa. liii. 4. 

2 " Calicem quern dedit mihi Pater, non bibam ilium?" John, 
xviii. ii. 



2 1 2 Meditation X VIII. 

cause I have not sought Thy love. I now beg of Thee this love, 
and the grace always to seek it. Oh, grant my prayer by the 
merits of Thy Passion. O Mary my Mother! thou art always 
prepared to hear the prayer of him that calls upon thee. Thou 
lovest him that loves thee. I love thee, my Queen; obtain for 
me the grace to love God, and I ask nothing more of thee. 

MEDITATION XVIII. 

THIRD WEDNESDAY. 
We should hope all Things from the Merits of Jesus Christ. 

Proprio Filio suo non pepercit; sed pro nobis omnibus tradidit ilium. 

" He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all." 
Rom. viii. 32. 

Consider that, since the Eternal Father has given us 
his ,own Son to be our mediator and advocate with 
him, and the victim in satisfaction for our sins, we can 
not despair of obtaining from God whatever favor we 
ask of him, if we avail ourselves of the help of such a 
Redeemer. How hath he not also, with Him, given us 
all things ? adds the Apostle. What can God deny us 
when he has not denied us his Son ? 

None of our prayers deserve to be heard or granted 
by the Lord, for we do not deserve graces but punish 
ment for our sins; but Jesus Christ who intercedes for us, 
an,d offers for us all the sufferings of his life, his blood, and 
his 4eath, does indeed deserve to be heard. The Father 
cannot refuse anything to so dear a Son, who offers him a 
price of infinite value. He is innocent; all that he pays 
to divine justice is to satisfy our debts; and the satis 
faction he offers is infinitely greater than all the sins of 
men. It would not be just that a sinner should perish 
who repents of his sins, and offers to God the merits of 
Jesus Christ, who has already superabundantly atoned 
for him. 

1 "Quomodo non etiain cum illo omnia nobis donavit?" 



Third Wednesday of Advent. 213 

Let us therefore thank God, and hope all things from 
the merits of Jesus Christ. 

Affections and Prayers. 

No, my God and my Father, I can no longer distrust Thy 
mercy; I cannot fear that Thou wilt refuse me the pardon of all 
the sins I have committed against Thee, and that Thou wilt 
withhold from me the graces necessary for my salvation, since 
Thou hast given me Thy Son, in order that I should offer him 
to Thee. Thou hast given me Jesus Christ on purpose to 
pardon me, and to render me capable of receiving Thy grace, 
and Thou hast commanded me to offer him to Thee, and to 
hope for salvation from Thee for his merits. Yes, my God, I 
will obey Thee, and I thank Thee. I offer Thee the merits of 
this Thy Son, and through them I hope for grace to remedy 
my weakness, and all the injuries that I have done myself by 
my sins. I repent, O infinite Goodness ! of having offended 
Thee, and I love Thee above everything; and from this day 
forth I promise Thee to love none but Thee. But my promise 
will be of no avail if Thou dost not help me. For the love of 
Jesus Christ, give me light and strength to accomplish all Thy 
holy will. Trusting, therefore, in the merits of Jesus Christ, I 
hope that Thou wilt grant my prayer. Mary, my mother and 
my hope, I beseech thee also, for the love of Jesus Christ, to 
obtain for me this grace. O my Mother, listen to my prayer. 



214 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 



for tfye Not^na for l)ri0ttnas.* 

MEDITATION I. 

DECEMBER 16. 
God has given Us his only Son to save Us. 

Dedi te in lucent gentium^ ut sis salus inea usque ad extremum terra. 

" I have given Thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My sal 
vation even to the farthest part of the earth." Isa. xlix. 6. 

Consider that the Eternal Father addressed these 
words to the Infant Jesus at the instant of his concep 
tion : / have given Thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that 
Thou mayest be My salvation? My Son, I have given Thee 
to the world for the light and life of all people, in order 
that Thou mightest procure for them their salvation, 
which I have as much at heart as if it were my own. 
Thou must therefore employ Thyself entirely for the 
well-being of men: " Wholly given to man, Thou must 
be wholly spent in his service." 2 Thou must therefore, 
at Thy birth, suffer extreme poverty, in order that men 
may become rich, that Thou mayest enrich them by 
Thy poverty." 3 Thou must be sold as a slave to acquire 
liberty for man; and Thou must be scourged and cruci 
fied as a slave to satisfy my justice for the punishment 
due to man. Thou must give Thy blood and Thy life 
to deliver man from eternal death; in short, Thou art no 

1 " Dedi te in lucem gentium, ut sis salus mea usque ad extremum 
terrse." 

2 "Totus illi datus, totus in suos usus impenderis." S. Bern. 

3 " Ut tua inopia dites." 

* Further on, page 300, we shall find another Novena of meditations 
with the chaplet to be recited before every meditation. 



First Meditation. 215 

longer Thine own, but Thou belongest to man: A child 
is born to us, a son is given to us. 1 Thus, my beloved Son, 
man will be constrained to love me, and to be mine, 
tthen he sees that I give Thee, my only-begotten one, 
entirely to him, and that there is nothing left for me to 
give him. 

God so loved the world (O infinite love ! only worthy 
of an infinite God !) God so loved the world as to give His 
only-begotten Son. The Infant Jesus, far from being sor 
rowful at this proposal, is pleased at it, accepts it with 
love, and exults in it: He Jiath rejoiced as a giant to run the 
way/ and from the first moment of his incarnation he 
gives himself entirely to man, and embraces with pleas 
ure all the sorrows and ignominy that he must suffer 
on earth for the love of man. These were (says St. Ber 
nard) the mountains and hills that Jesus Christ had to 
pass with so many labors in order to save man: Behold, 
He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills.* 

Here consider that the divine Father, in sending his 
Son to be our Redeemer and mediator between himself 
and man, has in a certain sense bound himself to forgive 
us and love us, on account of the covenant he made 
vo receive us into his favor, providing his Son satis 
fied for us his divine justice. On the other hand, the 
divine Word, having accepted the decree of his Father 
(who, by sending him to redeem us, has given him to us), 
has also bound himself to love us; not, indeed, for our 
own merits, but in order to fulfil the merciful will of 
his Father. 

1 " Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis." Isa. ix. 6. 
2 " Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret !" 
John, Hi. 16. 

3 " Exsultavit ut gigas ad currendam viam." Ps. Iviii. 6. 

4 " Ecce iste venit saliens in montibus, transiliens colles." Cant. 
ii. 8. 



216 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 



Affections and Prayers. 

My dearest Jesus, if it is true (as the law says) that dominion 
is acquired by gift, since Thy Father hath given Thee to me, 
Thou art mine; for me Thou wert born, to me hast Thou been 
given : A child is born to us, a Son is given to us. 1 Therefore I 
may well say, " My Jesus and my all." 2 Since Thou art mine, 
everything that belongs to Thee is also mine. Of this I am as 
sured by Thy Apostle: How hath He not also with Him given 
us all things? Thy blood is mine, Thy merits are mine, Thy 
grace is mine, Thy paradise is mine; and if Thou art mine, who 
shall be able to take Thee from me? " No man can take God 
away from me," 4 said with joy the abbot St. Anthony. So, 
from this day forth, will I also continually say. It is only 
through my own fault that I can lose Thee and separate myself 
from Thee ; but if in past times I have abandoned Thee and 
lost Thee, O my Jesus, I now repent of it with all my soul, and 
I am resolved to lose my life and everything sooner than lose 
Thee, O infinite Good, and only love of my soul ! I thank 
Thee, Eternal Father, for having given me Thy Son ; and since 
Thou hast given him entirely to me, I, miserable sinner, give 
myself entirely to Thee. For the sake of this same Son, accept 
me, and bind me with the chains of love to this my Redeemer; 
but bind me so strongly that I also may be able to say, Who 
shall separate me from the love of Christ? 5 What good shall 
there ever be in the world that shall separate me from my Jesus? 
And Thou, my Saviour, if Thou art all mine, know that I am 
all Thine. Dispose of me, and of all that belongs to me, as shall 
best please Thee. And how can I refuse anything to a God 
who has not refused me his blood and his life? Mary, my 
Mother, do thou guard me with thy protection. I will no long 
er be my own. I will be all my Saviour s. Do thou help m 
to be faithful ; I trust in thee. 

1 " Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis." Isa. ix. 6. 

2 "Jesus meus, et omnia." 

3 " Quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit?" Rom. 
viii. 32. 

4 " Deum a me tollere nemo potest." 

6 " Quis nos separabit a charitate Christ! ?" Rom. viii. 35. 



Second Meditation. 2 17 



MEDITATION II. 

DECEMBER 17. 

Bitterness of the Heart of Jesus in the Womb of his 
Mother. 

Hostiam et oblationem noluisti; corpus autem aptasti mihi. 

" Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldest not ; but a body Thou hast fitted 
to Me." Heb. x. 5. 

Consider the great bitterness with which the heart of 
the Infant Jesus must have felt itself afflicted and op 
pressed in the womb of Mary at the first moment when his 
Father proposed to his consideration all the series of 
contempt, sorrow, and agonies which he was to suffer 
during his life, to deliver men from their miseries: In 
the nwrning He wakeneth my ear, 1 and I do not resist; I have 
given my body to the strikers? 

Thus did Jesus speak by the mouth of the prophet: 
/// the morning He wakeneth my ear; that is to say, from the 
first moment of my conception my Father made me feel 
that it was his will that I should lead a life of sorrows, 
and in the end should be sacrifice! on the cross: And I 
do not resist; I have given my body to the strikers. And all 
this I accepted for your salvation, O ye souls of men, 
and from that time forth I gave up my body to the 
scourges, to the nails, and to the death of the cross. 

Consider that whatever Jesus Christ suffered in his 
life and in his Passion, was all placed before him whilst 
he was yet in the womb of Mary, and he accepted every 
thing that was proposed to him with delight; but in ac 
cepting all this, and in overcoming the natural repug 
nance of sense, O my God, what anguish and oppression 
did not the innocent heart of Jesus suffer ! Well did he 

1 " Mane erigit mihi aurem. . . ." Isa. 1. 4. 

* " Ego autem non contradico . . . ; corpus meum dedi percutien- 
tibus." Ibid. 6. 



218 Meditations for the Novena for Christinas. 

understand what he was first of all to endure, shut up 
for nine months in the dark prison of the womb of Mary; 
in suffering the shame and the sorrows of his birth, being 
born in a cold grotto that was a stable for beasts; in hav 
ing afterwards to lead for thirty years an humble life in 
the shop of an artisan; in considering that he was to be 
treated by men as ignorant, as a slave, as a seducer, and 
as one guilty of death, and of the most infamous and 
painful death that ever was allotted to the most worth 
less of criminals. 

All this did our dearest Redeemer accept every mo 
ment; but each moment that he accepted it he suffered 
at once all the the pains and humiliations that he 
would afterwards have to endure even unto death. The 
very knowledge of his divine dignity made him feel 
still more the injuries that he would have to receive from 
men: All the day long my shame is before me. 1 He had con 
tinually before his eyes his shame, especially that con 
fusion which he should one day feel at seeing himself 
stripped naked, scourged, and suspended by three iron 
nails; and so to end his life in the midst of the insults 
and curses of those very men for whom he was to die: 
Becoming obedient ujito death, even to the death of the cross? 
And for what? To save us miserable and ungrateful 
sinners. 

Affections and Prayers. 

My beloved Redeemer, oh, how much did it cost Thee, even 
from Thy first entrance into the world, to raise me from the 
ruin which I have brought on myself by my sins! Thou hast 
consented to be treated as the lowest of slaves, in order to de 
liver me from the slavery of the devil, to whom I had willingly 
sold myself by sin ; and yet, knowing all this, I have had the 
boldness to afflict continually Thy most amiable heart, which. 

1 " Tota die verecundia mea contra me esf." Ps. xliii. 16 

2 " Factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis." 
Phil, ii S. 



Third Meditation. 219 

has loved me so much ! But since Thou, who art so innocent, 
and art my God, hast accepted such a painful life and death, I 
accept for Thy love, O my Jesus, every trouble that shall come 
to me from Thy hands. 1 accept it and embrace it, because it 
comes from those hands which were once pierced through, in 
order to deliver me from the hell which I have so often de 
served. Thy love, O my Redeemer ! in offering Thyself to suf 
fer so much for me, does more than oblige me to accept for Thy 
sake every sorrow, every humiliation. O my Lord ! for Thy 
own merit s sake, give me Thy holy love ; Thy love will render 
all sufferings and ignominy sweet and pleasant to me. I love 
Thee above everything: I love Thee with my whole heart; I 
love Thee more than myself. But during Thy whole life how 
many and what great proofs of Thy love didst Thou not give 
me ; and yet, ungrateful that I am, how many years have I not 
lived in the world without giving Thee any proofs of my love ! 
I dread appearing before Thee when Thou shalt come to judge 
me, poor as I now am, without having done anything for the 
love of Thee. But what can I do without Thy grace? I can 
do nothing but pray that Thou wilt succor me ; but even this 
prayer comes simply from Thy grace. O my Jesus ! help me 
through the merits of Thy sufferings, and of the blood Thou 
hast shed for me. Most holy Mary, recommend me to thy Son, 
for the love that thou bearest him. Behold, I am one of those 
sheep for which thy Son has died. 



MEDITATION III. 

DECEMBER 18. 

Jesus made Himself a Child to gain our Confidence and our 

Love. 

Famulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis. 
" A child is born to us, and a son is given to us." Isa. ix. 6. 

Consider that after so many centuries, after so many 
prayers and sighs, the Messias, whom the holy patri 
archs and prophets were not worthy to see, whom the 
nations sighed for, " the Desire of the eternal hills," our 
Saviour, is come; he is already born, and has given him- 



220 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

self entirely to us : A child is born to us, and a son is given 
to us. 1 

The Son of God has made himself little, in order to 
make us great; he has given himself to us, in order that 
we may give ourselves to him; he is come to show us 
his love, in order that we may respond to it by giving 
him ours. Let us, therefore, receive him with affection; 
let us love him, and have recourse to him in all our ne 
cessities. 

"A child gives easily," 2 says St. Bernard; children 
readily give anything that is asked of them. Jesus came 
into the world a child, in order to show himself ready 
and willing to give us all good gifts: /// whom are hid all 
treasures? The Father hath given all things into His hands. 
If we wish for light, he is come on purpose to enlighten 
us. If we wish for strength to resist our enemies, he is 
come to give us comfort. If we wish for pardon and 
salvation, he is come to pardon and save us. If, in short, 
we desire the sovereign gift of divine love, he is come to 
inflame our hearts with it; and, above all, for this very 
purpose, he has become a child, and has chosen to show 
himself to us worthy of our love, in proportion as he was 
poor and humble, in order to takeaway from us all fear, 
and to gain our affections. "So," says St. Peter Chrys- 
ologus, "should he come who willed to drive away fear, 
and seek for love." 5 

Jesus has, besides, chosen to come as a little child to 
make us Jove him, not only with an appreciative but 
even with a tender love. All infants attract the tender 
affection of those who behold them; but who will not 

" Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis." 
"Puer facile donat." In Epiph. s. i. 
" In quo sunt omnes thesauri." Col. ii. 3. 
" Omnia dedit in manu ejus." John, iii. 35. 
" Taliter venire debuit, qui voluit timorem pellere, quzerere chari- 
tatem." Serm. 158. 



Third Meditation. 2 2 1 

love, with all the tenderness of which they are capable, 
a Gcd whom they behold as a little child, in want of 
milk to nourish him, trembling with cold, poor, abased, 
and forsaken, weeping and crying in a manger, and lying 
on straw ? It was this that made the loving St. Francis 
exclaim: "Let us love the child of Bethlehem, let us 
love the child of Bethlehem." Come ye souls, and love 
a God who is become a child, and poor; who is so ami 
able, and who has come down from heaven to give him 
self entirely to you." 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my amiable Jesus! whom I have treated with so much con 
tempt, Thou hast descended from heaven to save us from hell, 
and to give Thyself entirely to us; how can we, then, have so 
often despised Thee, and turned our backs upon Thee ? O my 
God ! how different is the gratitude of men towards their fellow- 
creatures ! If any one makes them a gift, if any one comes from 
afar to pay them a visit, if any one shows them a particular mark 
of affection, they cannot forget it, and feel themselves obliged 
to repay their benefactors. And yet they are so ungrateful 
towards Thee, who art their God, and so worthy of their love, 
and who, for their sake, didst not refuse to give Thy blood 
and Thy love. But, alas ! I have been worse than others in 
my conduct towards Thee, because I have been more loved 
by Thee, and more ungrateful towards Thee. Ah, if Thou 
hadst bestowed those graces with which I have been fe 
vered on a heretic, or an idolater, he would have become a 
saint; and yet I have done nothing but offend Thee. O my 
Saviour I pray Thee, forget the injuries I have committed 
against Thee. But Thou hast indeed said that when a sinner 
repents, Thou rememberest no longer the injuries Thou hast 
received from him: All his iniquities I will not remember. 1 If 
in times past I have not loved Thee, in future I will do nothing 
else but love Thee. Thou hast given Thyself entirely to me, 
and I give Thee my whole will ; O Lord, I love Thee, I love 

^ Omnium iniquitatum ejus . . . non recordabor. " Ezech. 
xviii. 22. 



222 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

Thee, I love Thee ; and I will continually repeat to Thee, I love 
Thee, I Jove Thee! While I live, I will constantly say this ; 
and when I die, I will yield my last breath with these sweet 
words on my lips, " My God, I love Thee ;" and from the mo 
ment of my entrance into eternity, I will begin to love Thee 
with a love that shall last forever, without ever again ceasing to 
love Thee. And in the mean time, O my Lord ! my only good 
and my only love, I intend to prefer Thy will to every pleasure of 
my own. Let the whole world offer itself to me; I will refuse it ; 
for I will never cease to love him that hath loved me so much ; 
I will never again offend him who deserves from me an infinite 
love. Do Thou, O my Jesus ! aid my desire with Thy grace. 
Mary, my Queen ! I acknowledge all the graces I have re 
ceived from God through thy intercession; cease not, then, to 
intercede for me. Do thou obtain for me perseverance, thou 
who aft the Mother of perseverance. 



MEDITATION IV. 

DECEMBER 19. 
The Passion of Jesus lasted during His Whole Life. 

Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper. 
" My sorrow is continually before me." P s . xxvii. 18. 

Consider that in the first moment that the soul of 
Jesus Christ was created and united to his little body in 
the womb of Mary, the Eternal Father intimated to his 
Son his will that he should die for the redemption of the 
world; and in this same moment he presented to his 
view the entire dreadful scene of the sufferings he would 
have to endure, even unto death, in order to redeem 
mankind. He brought before him in that moment all 
the labors, contempt, and poverty that he would have to 
suffer during his whole life, as well in Bethlehem as in 
Egypt and in Nazareth; and then all the sufferings and 
ignominy of his Passion, the scourges, the thorns, the 
nails, and the cross; all the weariness, the sadness, the 



Fourth Meditation. 223 

agonies, and the abandonment in which he was to end 
his life upon Calvary. 

When Abraham was leading his son to death, he would 
not afflict him by giving him notice of it beforehand, 
even during the short time that was necessary for them 
to arrive at the mount. But the Eternal Father chose 
that his Incarnate Son, whom he had destined to be the 
victim of his justice in atonement of our sins, should 
suffer then all the pains to which he was to be subject 
during his life and at his death. Wherefore, from the 
first moment that he was in his mother s womb, Jesus 
suffered continually that sorrow which he endured in 
the garden, and which was sufficient to have taken away 
his life (as he said, My soul is sorrowful unto death 1 ). So 
that from that time forth he felt most vividly, and en 
dured the united weight of all the sorrows and con 
tumely that awaited him. 

The whole life, then, of our blessed Redeemer, and all 
the years that he spent, were a life and years of pains 
and tears: My life is wasted with grief, and My years in 
sighs? His divine heart never passed one moment free 
from suffering. Whether he watched or slept, whether 
he labored or rested, whether he prayed or spoke, he 
had continually before his eyes that bitter representa 
tion which tormented his holy soul more than all their 
sufferings tormented the holy martyrs. The martyrs 
have suffered; but, assisted by grace, they suffered with 
joy and fervor. Jesus Christ suffered; but he suffered 
with a heart full of weariness and sorrow; and he ac 
cepted all for the love of us. 

1 " Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem." Matt. xxvi. 38. 

* " Defecit in dolore vita mea, et anni mei in gemitibus." JPs. 

XXX. II. 



224 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 



Affections and Prayers. 

O sweet, O amiable, O loving Heart of Jesus ! even from Thy 
infancy Thou wert full of bitterness, and Thou didst suffer ago 
nies in the womb of Mary without consolation, and without 
having any one to look upon Thee and to console Thee by 
their sympathy. All this Thou didst suffer, O my Jesus ! in 
order to satisfy for the eternal sorrow and agony which I de 
served to endure in hell for my sins. Thou didst then suffer, 
deprived of all relief, to save me, who have had the boldness to 
forsake God, and to turn my back upon him, in order to satisfy 
my miserable inclinations. I thank Thee, O afflicted and lov 
ing Heart of my Lord! I thank Thee, and I sympathize with 
Thee, especially when I see that whilst Thou dost suffer so 
much for the love of man, these very men do not even pity 
Thee. O love of God, O ingratitude of man ! O men, O men, 
behold this little innocent lamb who is in agony for you, to 
satisfy the divine justice for the injuries you have committed 
against him. See how he prays and intercedes for you with 
his eternal Father; behold him and love him. O my Redeem 
er! how few are those who think of your sorrows and your 
love ! O God, how few are those that love Thee ! But unhap 
py me, for I also have lived so many years in forgetfulness of 
Thee! Thou hast suffered so much in order to be loved by 
me, and I have not loved Thee. Forgive me, my Jesus, forgive 
me, for I will amend my life and love Thee. Ah, wretched me, 
O Lord, if I still resist Thy grace, and in resisting it damn 
myself! All the mercies that Thou hast shown me, and, above 
all, Thy sweet voice, which now calls me to love Thee, would 
be my greatest punishment in hell. My beloved Jesus, have 
pity on me, let me not live any longer ungrateful to Thy love ; 
give me light, give me strength to conquer everything, in order 
to accomplish Thy will. Grant my prayer, I beseech Thee, for 
the merits of Thy Passion. In this is all my confidence, and in 
thy intercession, O Mary ! My dearest Mother, help me ; it is 
thou who hast obtained for me all the favors I have received 
from God : I bless thee for them ; but if thou dost not perse 
vere in helping me, I shall persevere in being faithless, as I 
have been in times past. 



Fifth Meditation. 225 

MEDITATION V. 

DECEMBER 20. 
Jesus Offered Himself for our Salvation from the Beginning. 

Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit. 
"He was offered because it was His own will." Isa. liii. 7. 

The divine Word, from the first instant that he was 
made man and an infant in Mary s womb, offered him 
self of his own accord to suffer and to die for the ran 
som of the world : He was offered because it was His own 
will. 1 He knew that all the sacrifices of goats and bulls 
offered to God in times past had not been able to sat 
isfy for the sins of men, but that it required a divine 
Person to pay the price of their redemption ; wherefore 
he said, as the Apostle tells us, When He cometh into the 
world He saith : Sacrifice and oblation Thou woudst not, but 
a body Thou hast fitted to me. . . . Then said /, Behold, 
I come? "My Father," said Jesus, "all the victims hith 
erto offered to Thee have not sufficed, nor could they 
suffice, to satisfy Thy justice ; Thou hast given me this 
passible body, in order that by shedding my blood I 
might appease Thee and save men : Behold, I come ; 
here I am ready, I accept everything, and I submit my 
self in everything to Thy will." 

The inferior part felt repugnance, for it naturally was 
averse to this life and death, so full of sufferings and 
shame ; but the rational part, which was entirely sub 
ordinate to the will of his Father, conquered and ac 
cepted everything ; and Jesus began from that moment 
to suffer all the anguish and sorrows that he would have 
to suffer during all the years of his life. Thus did our 

1 " Oblatus est quia ipse voluit." 

2 " Ideo ingrediens mundum dicit : Hostiam et oblationem noluis- 
ti ; corpus autem aptasti mihi. , . . Tu"C dixi : Ecce venio." Heb. 
x. 5. 

15 



226 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

Redeemer act from the very first moment of his en 
trance into the world. 

But, O God ! how have we conducted ourselves tow 
ards Jesus since we began, as adults, to know by the 
light of faith the sacred Mysteries of Redemption ? 
What thoughts, what designs, what goods have we 
loved ! Pleasures, amusements, vengeance, sensuality ; 
these are the goods that have engrossed the affections 
of our hearts. But if we have faith, we must at last 
change our life and our affections. Let us love a God 
who has suffered so much for us. Let us represent to 
ourselves the sufferings which the heart of Jesus en 
dured for us, even from his infancy ; for then we shall 
not be able to love anything else but that heart which 
hath loved us so much. 

Affections and Prayers. 

My Lord, wilt Thou know how I have behaved towards Thee 
during all my life? Ever since I began to have the use of 
reason, I began to despise Thy grace and Thy love. But Thou 
knowest it much better than I do; nevertheless, Thou hast 
borne with me, because Thou still carest for my welfare. I 
fled from Thee, and Thou didst follow after and call me. The 
very same love that made Thee come down from heaven to 
seek the lost sheep has made Thee bear with me and not 
forsake me. My Jesus, Thou now seekest me, and I seek Thee. 
I feel that Thy grace is assisting me : it assists me with the 
sorrow I feel for my sins, which I abhor above every other 
evil; it assists me by making me feel a great desire to love 
Thee and to please Thee. Yea, Lord, I will love Thee and 
please Thee as much as I can. On one side I feel afraid, it is 
true, at the thought of my frailty and the weakness which I 
have contracted by my sins ; but Thy grace gives me a greater 
confidence, and causes me to hope in Thy merits; so that I 
can say, from the bottom of my heart: / can do all things in 
Him who strengtheneth me. 1 If I am weak, Thou wilt give me 
strength against my enemies ; if I am infirm, I hope that Thy 

1 " Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat." Phil. iv. 13. 



Sixth Meditation. 227 

blood will be my medicine ; if I am a sinner, I hope Thou wilt 
make me a saint. I acknowledge that I have hitherto co 
operated to my own ruin, because I have neglected, on danger 
ous occasions, to have recourse to Thee. But from this day 
forth, my Jesus and my hope, I will always have recourse to 
Thee ; and from Thee I hope for every assistance and every 
good. I love Thee above all things, and I will always love 
Thee alone. Have pity on me, and help me through the 
merits of all those sufferings which from Thy infancy Thou hast 
endured for me. Eternal Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ 
accept of my love. If I have offended Thee, let the tears of 
the Infant Jesus, who is praying for me, appease Thy wrath : 
" Look on the face of Thy Christ." * I do not deserve favors, 
but this Thy guiltless Son deserves them, who offers Thee a 
life of sufferings, in order that Thou mayest be merciful to me. 
And thou, O Mary, Mother of mercy, cease not to intercede 
for me. Thou knowest how much I confide in thee ; and I 
know well that thou dost not forsake him that has recourse to 
th 

MEDITATION VI. 

DECEMBER 21. 
Jesus a Prisoner in the Womb of Mary. 

Factus sum sicut homo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber. 
" I am become as a man without help, free among the dead." Ps. Ixxxvii. 5, 6. 

Consider the painful life that Jesus Christ led in the 
womb of his Mother, and the long-confined and dark 
imprisonment that he suffered there for nine months. 
Other infants are indeed in the same state ; but they 
do not fee) Jie miseries of it, because they do not know 
them. But Jesus knew them well, because from the 
first moment of his life he had the perfect use of reason. 
He had his senses, but he could not use them ; eyes, but 
he could not see ; a tongue, but he could not speak ; 
hands, but he could not stretch them out ; feet, but he 
could not walk ; so that for nine months he had to re- 

1 " Respice in faciem Christi tui." Ps. Ixxxiii. 10. 



228 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

main in the womb of Mary like a dead man shut up in 
the tomb : / am become as a man without help, free among 
the dead. 1 He was free, because he had of his own free 
will made himself a prisoner of love in this prison ; but 
love deprived him of liberty, and bound him there so 
fast in chains that he could not move : " Free among 
the dead ! oh, great patience of our Saviour!" * says St. 
Ambrose, while he considered the sufferings of Jesus in 
the womb of Mary. 

The womb of Mary was, therefore, to our Redeemer a 
voluntary prison, because it was a prison of love. But 
it was also not an unjust prison : he was indeed inno 
cent himself, but he had offered himself to pay our 
debts and to satisfy for our crimes. It was therefore 
only reasonable for the divine justice to keep him thus 
imprisoned, and so begin to exact from him the due 
satisfaction. 

Behold the state to which the Son of God reduces 
himself for the love of men ! he deprives himself of his 
liberty and puts himself in chains, to deliver us from the 
chains of hell. What gratitude and love should we not 
show in return for the love and goodness of our deliver 
er and our surety, who, not by compulsion but only out 
of love, offered himself to pay, and has paid for us, our 
debts and our penalties by giving up his divine life ! 
Forget not the kindness of thy surety; for He hath given His 
life for thee? 

Affections and Prayers. 

Forget not the kindness of thy surety.* Yes, my Jesus, the pro 
phet has reason to warn me not to forget the immense favor which 
Thou hast shown me. I was the debtor, I the criminal, and 

1 "Sicuthomo sine adjutorio, inter mortuos liber." 

2 " O grandis patientia Salvatoris !" 

" Gratiam fidejussoris ne obliviscaris ; dedit enim pro te ani- 
mam suam." Ecclns. xxix. 19, 
4 " Gratiam fidejussoris ne obliviscaris." 



Seventh Meditation. 229 

Thou the innocent one ; Thou, O my God ! hast chosen to satisfy 
for my sins by Thy sufferings and Thy death. But after all this 
kindness I have forgotten Thy favors and Thy love, and I have 
had the boldness to turn my back upon Thee, as if Thou hadst 
not been my Lord, and that Lord who has loved me so much. 
uut if in times past I have forgotten Thy mercies, O my dear Re 
deemer ! I will in future never forget them again. Thy sufferings 
and Thy death shall be the constant subjects of my thoughts, 
because they will always recall to my mind the love that Thou 
hast borne me. Cursed be the days in which, forgetting what 
Thou hast suffered for me, I have made so bad a use of my 
liberty. Thou hast given it to me to love Thee, and I have used 
it to despise Thee. But I now consecrate entirely to Thee this 
liberty which Thou hast given me. I beseech Thee, my Saviour, 
deliver me from the misery of seeing myself again separated 
from Thee, and again made the slave of Lucifer. I implore Thee 
to bind my poor soul to Thy feet by Thy holy love, so that it 
may never again be separated from Thee. Eternal Father, by 
the imprisonment of the infant Jesus in the womb of Mary, de 
liver me from the chains of sin and of hell. And thou, O Mother 
of God, help me ! Thou hast in thy womb the Son of God im 
prisoned and confined ; as, therefore, Jesus is thy prisoner, he 
will do everything that thou tellest him. Tell him to pardon 
me; tell him to make me holy. Help me, my Mother, for the 
sake of the favor and honor that Jesus Christ conferred upon 
thee by dwelling within thee for nine months. 



MEDITATION VII. 

DECEMBER 22. 
The Sorrow that the Ingratitude of Men has caused Jesus. 

In propria venit^ et sui eum non receperunt. 
" He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." St. John, i. u. 

In these days of the holy Nativity St. Francis of 
Assisi went about the highways and woods with sighs 
and tears and inconsolable lamentations. When asked 
the reason, he answered : How should I not weep when 
I see that love is not loved ! I see a God become, as it 



230 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

were foolish, for the love of man, and man so ungrateful 
to this God ! Now, if this ingratitude of man caused so 
great a sorrow to the heart of St. Francis, let us con 
sider how much more it must have afflicted the heart of 
Jesus Christ. 

He was hardly conceived in the womb of Mary when 
he saw the cruel return he was to receive from man. 
He had descended from heaven to enkindle the fire of 
divine love, and this desire alone had brought him down 
to this earth, to suffer there an abyss of sorrows and 
ignominies : / am come to cast fire on the earth ; and what 
will I but that it be kindled? And then he beheld an abyss 
of sins which men would commit after having seen so 
many proofs of his love. It was this, says St. Bernardine 
of Sienna, which made him feel an infinite sorrow: "And 
therefore he sorrowed infinitely." 2 

Even among us it is an insufferable sorrow for one 
man to see himself treated with ingratitude by another; 
for the blessed Simon of Cassia observes that ingrati 
tude often afflicts the soul more than any pain afflicts the 
body : "Ingratitude often causes more bitter sorrow in 
the soul than pain causes in the bod) ." 3 What sorrow, 
then, must our ingratitude have caused to Jesus, who 
was our God, when he saw that his benefits and his love 
would be repaid him by offences and injuries ! And they 
repaid Me evil for good, and hatred for My love.* But even 
at the present day it seems as if Jesus Christ was going 
about complaining: / am become a stranger to My brethren." 
For he sees that many neither love nor know him, as if 

" Ignem veni mittere in terram, et quid volo, nisi ut accendatur ?" 
Luke, xii. 49. 

2 " Et ideo infinite dolebat." 

" Tristitiam acriorem saepe in anima fecit ingratitude, quam dolor 
inflictus in corpore." 

" Et posuerunt adversum me mala pro bonis, et odium pro 
dilectione meal" Ps, cviii. 5. 
5 " Extraneus factus sum fratribus meis." Ps. Ixviii. 9. 



Seventh Meditation. 231 

he had not done them any good, nor had suffered any 
thing for love of them. O God, what value do the ma 
jority of Christians even now set upon the love of Jesus 
Christ ? Our blessed Redeemer once appeared to the 
blessed Henry Suso in the form of a pilgrim who went 
begging from door to door for a lodging, but every one 
drove him away with insults and injuries. How many, 
alas! are like those of whom Job speaks: Who said to God, 
Depart from us. Whereas he had filled their houses with 
good things. 1 

We have hitherto united ourselves to these ungrateful 
wretches; but shall we always be like them? No; for 
that loving Infant does not deserve it, who came from 
heaven to suffer and die for us, in order that we might 
love him. 

Affections and Prayers. 

Is it, then, true, O my Jesus, that Thou didst descend from 
heaven to make me love Thee ; didst come down to embrace a 
life of suffering and the death of the cross for my sake, in order 
that I might welcome Thee into my heart, and yet I have so 
often driven Thee from me, and said, " Depart from me, Lord ; 2 go 
away from me, Lord ; for I do not want Thee ?" O God, if Thou 
wert not infinite goodness, and hadst not given Thy life to ob 
tain my pardon, I should not have courage to ask it of Thee; 
but I feel that Thou Thyself dost offer me peace: Turn ye 
to me, saith the Lord, and I will turn to you? Thou Thyself, 
whom I have offended, O my Jesus, hast made Thyself my 
intercessor: He is the propitiation for our sins.* I will there 
fore not do Thee this fresh injury of distrusting Thy mercy. 
I repent with all my soul of having despised Thee, O sovereign 
Good ! receive me into Thy favor for the sake of the blood 
which Thou hast shed for me : Father, I am not worthy to be 

1 " Qui dicebant Deo: Recede a nobis; . . . cum ille implesset 
domos eorum bonis!" Job, xxii. 17. 

2 " Recede a me, Domine." 

3 " Convertimini ad me, . . . et convertar ad vos." Zach. i. 3. 

4 " Ipse est propititatio pro peccatis nostris." I John, ii. 2. 



232 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

called Thy Son? No, my Redeemer and my Father, I am no 
longer worthy to be Thy son, having so often renounced Thy 
love ; but Thou dost make me worthy of Thy merits. I thank 
Thee, O my Father! I thank Thee and I love Thee. Ah, 
the thought alone of the patience with which Thou hast 
borne with me for so many years, and of the favors Thou hast 
conferred upon me after so many injuries that I have done 
Thee, ought to make me live constantly on fire with Thy love. 
Come, then, my Jesus, for I will not drive Thee away any 
more, come and dwell in my poor heart. I love Thee, and 
will always love Thee ; but do Thou inflame my heart every day 
more and more by the remembrance of the love Thou hast 
borne me. O Mary, my Queen and Mother, help me, pray to 
Jesus for me ; make me during the days that are left me in 
this world live grateful to that God who has loved me ro 
much, even after I have so greatly offended him. 

MEDITATION VIII. 

DECEMBER 23. 
The Love of God manifested to Men by the Birth of Jesus. 

Apparuit gratia Dei Salvatoris nostri omnibus hominibus, erudiens nos, ut 

pie vivamus in hoc sceculo, expectantes beatawi spent et adventum gloricz magni 
Dei et Salvatoris nostrijesti Christ i. 

" The grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men, instructing us that 

we should live . . . godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope 

and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." 

Titus i ii. IT. 

Consider that by the grace that is said here to have 
appeared is meant the tender love of Jesus Christ towards 
men, a love that we have not merited, which therefore 
is called " grace." 

This love was, however, always the same in God, but 
did not always appear. It was at first promised in many 
prophecies, and foreshadowed by many figures; but at. the 
birth of the Redeemer this divine love indeed appeared, 
and manifested itself by the Eternal Word showing him- 

1 " Pater, . . . jam non sum dignus vocari filius tuus." Luke, 
xv. 21. 



Eighth Meditation. 233 

self to man as an infant, lying on straw, crying and shiver 
ing with cold; beginning thus to make satisfaction for us 
for the penalties we have deserved, and so making known 
to us the affection which he bore us, by giving up his life 
for us: In this we have known the charity of God, because he 
hath laid down his life for us. 1 Therefore the love of our 
God appeared to all men. 2 

But why is it, then, that all men -have not known it, 
and that even at this day so many are ignorant of it? 
This is the reason: The light is come into the world, and men 
loved darkness rather than the light." They have not known 
him, and they do not know him, because they do not 
wish to know him, loving rather the darkness of sin than 
the light of grace. 

But let us endeavor not to be of the number of these 
unhappy souls. If in past times we have shut our eyes 
to the fight, tbinking little of the love of Jesus Christ, 
let us try, during the days that may remain to us in this 
life, to have ever before our eyes the sufferings and death 
of our Redeemer, in order to love him who hath loved 
us so much: Looking for the blessed hope and corning of the 
glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.* Thus 
may we justly expect, according to the divine promises, 
that paradise which Jesus Christ has acquired for us by 
his blood. At his first coming Jesus appeared as an in 
fant, poor and humble, and showed himself on earth 
born in a stable, covered with miserable rags, and lying 
on straw; but at his second coming he will come on a 
throne of majesty: We shall see the Son of Man coming in 

1 " In hoc cognovimus charitatem Dei, quoniam ille animam suam 
pro nobis posuit." i John, iii. 16. 

2 "Omnibus hominibus." 

3 " Lux venit in mundum, et dilexerunt homines magis tenebras 
quam lucem." John, iii. 19. 

4 " Expectantes beatam spem et adventum gloriae magni Dei et 
Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi." 



234 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

the clouds with great power and majesty? Blessed then will 
he be who shall have loved him, and miserable those who 
have not loved him. 

Affections and Prayers. 

my holy Infant! now I see Thee lying on straw, poor 
afflicted, and forsaken ; but I know that one day Thou wilt come 
to judge me, seated on a throne of splendor, and attended by 
the angels. Forgive me, I implore Thee, before Thou dost 
judge me. Then Thou wilt have to conduct Thyself as a just 
judge; but now Thou art my Redeemer, and the Father of 
mercy. I have been one of those ungrateful ones who have 
not known Thee, because I did not choose to know Thee and 
therefore, instead of being inclined to love Thee by the con 
sideration of the love Thou hast borne me, I have only thought 
of satisfying my own desires, despising Thy grace and Thy love. 
But into Thy sacred hands I commend my soul, which I have 
lost; do Thou save it: Into Thy hands I commend my spirit 
Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of trttth? In Thee do 
I place all my hopes, knowing that, to ransom me from hell 
Thou hast given Thy blood and Thy life : Thou hast redeemed 
me, O Lord, the God of truth? Thou didst not condemn me 
to death when I was living in sin, but hast waited for me with 
infinite patience, in order that, having come to myself, I might 
repent of having offended Thee, and might begin to love Thee 
and that thus Thou mightest be able to forgive and save me 
Yes,, my Jesus, I will please Thee. I repent, above every other 
evil, of all the offences I have committed against Thee- I re 
pent, and love Thee above all things. Do Thou save me in 
Thy mercy, and let it be my salvation to love Thee always in 
this life and in eternity. My dearest Mother Mary, recommend 
me to thy Son. Do thou represent to him that I am thy ser 
vant, and that I have placed all my hope in thee. He hears 
thee, and refuses thee nothing. 

" Videbunt Filium hominis venientem in nubibus coeli, cum virtute 
magna et majestate." Matt. xxiv. 30. 

"In manus tuas commando spiritum meum ; redemisti me 
Domine, Deus veritatis." Ps. xxx. 6. 
3 "Redemisti me, Domine." 



Ninth Meditation. 235 



MEDITATION IX. 

DECEMBER 24. 
Saint Joseph goes to Bethlehem with His Holy Spouse. 

Ascendit autem et Joseph . . ., ut profiteretur cum Maria desponsata sibi uxore 
prcegnante. 

" And Joseph also went up ... to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who 
was with child." St. Luke, ii. 4. 

God had decreed that his Son should be born not in 
the house of Joseph, but in a cavern and stable of beasts, 
in the poorest and most painful way that a child can be 
born; and therefore he caused Caesar to publish an edict, 
by which people were commanded to go and enroll them 
selves, every one in his own city whence he drew his 
origin. 

When Joseph heard this order, he was much agitated 
as to whether he should take with him or leave behind 
the Virgin Mother, as she was now so near childbirth. 
My spouse and my lady, said he to her, on the one hand, 
I do not wish to leave you alone; on the other, if I take 
you with me, I am much afflicted at the thought of all 
that you will have to suffer during this long journey, 
and in such severe weather. My poverty will not per 
mit me to conduct you with that comfort which you re 
quire. But Mary answers him, and tries to give him 
courage with these words: My Joseph, do not fear. I 
will go with you; the Lord will assist us. She knew, 
both by divine inspiration, and also because she was well 
versed in the prophecy of Micheas, that the divine Infant 
was to be born in Bethlehem. She therefore takes the 
swaddling-clothes, and the other miserable garments al 
ready prepared, and departs with Joseph. And Joseph 
alss went up . . . to be enrolled with Mary. 1 

Let us now consider all the devout ond holy discourses 

1 " Ascendit autem et Joseph . . ., ut profiteretur cum Maria." 



236 Meditations for the Novena for Christmas. 

which these two holy spouses must have held together 
during this journey concerning the mercy, goodness, and 
love of the divine Word, who was shortly to be born, and 
to appear on the earth for the salvation of men. Let us 
also consider the praises, the benedictions, the thanks 
givings, the acts of humility and love, which these two 
illustrious pilgrims uttered on the way. This holy 
Virgin, so soon to become a mother, certainly suffered 
much in so longa journey, made in the middle of winter, 
and over rough roads; but she suffered with peace and 
with love. She offered to God all these her trials, unit 
ing them to those of Jesus, whom she carried in her 
womb. 

Oh, let us unite ourselves also, and let us accompany 
Mary and Joseph in the journey of our life; and, with 
them, let us accompany the King of Heaven, who is 
born in a cave, and makes his first appearance in the 
world as an infant, but as the poorest and most forsaken 
infant that ever was born amongst men. And let us be 
seech Jesus, Mary, and Joseph that, through the merits 
of the pains which they suffered in this journey, they 
would accompany us in the journey that we are making 
to eternity. Oh, blessed shall we be if, in life and in 
death, we keep company with these three great person 
ages, and are always accompanied by them ! 

Affections and Prayers. 

My beloved Redeemer, I know that in this journey Thou 
wast accompanied by hosts of angels from heaven; but on this 
earth who was there that bore Thee company? Thou hadst 
but Joseph and Mary who carried Thee with her. Refuse not, 
O my Jesus ! that I also accompany Thee. Miserable ungrate 
ful sinner that I have been, I now see the injuries I have done 
Thee ; Thou didst come down from heaven to make Thyself my 
companion on earth, and I by my frequent offences have un 
gratefully abandoned Thee ! When I remember, O my Saviour ! 
that for the sake of my own cursed inclinations I have often 



Ninth Meditation. 237 

separated myself from Thee and renounced Thy friendship, 1 
could wish to die of sorrow. But Thou didst come into the 
world to forgive me ; therefore forgive me now, I beseech Thee, 
for I repent with all my soul of having so often turned my back 
upon Thee and forsaken Thee. I purpose and hope, through 
Thy grace, nevermore to leave or separate myself from Thee, 
O my only love ! My soul has become enamoured of Thee, O 
my amiable Infant God ! I love Thee, my sweet Saviour ; and 
since Thou hast come upon earth to save me and to dispense to 
me Thy graces, I ask this one only grace of Thee, permit me not 
to be ever again separated from Thee. Unite me, bind me to 
Thyself, enchain me with the sweet cords of Thy holy love. O 
my Redeemer and my God, who will then have the heart to 
leave Thee, and to live without Thee, deprived of Thy grace ? 
Most holy Mary, I come to accompany thee in this journey; 
and thou, O my Mother, cease not to accompany me in the 
journey that I am making to eternity. Do thou assist me al 
ways, but especially when I shall find myself at the end of my 
life, and near that moment on which will depend either my re 
maining always with thee to love Jesus in paradise, or my being 
forever separated from thee and hating Jesus in hell. My 
Queen, save me by thy intercession ; and may my salvation be to 
love thee and Jesus forever, in time and in eternity. Thou art 
my hope ; I hope everything from thee. 



238 First Meditation. 



ittcoitalions for tl)e ODctaue of (ftljristmas, anb for ttye 
following EDajis until tl)e (Epipljang. 

MEDITATION I. 

DECEMBER 25. 
The Birth of Jesus. 

The birth of Jesus Christ caused a universal joy to the 
whole world. He was the Redeemer who ha^ been de 
sired and sighed after for so many years; and therefore 
lie was called the desired of the nations, and the desire 
of the eternal hills. Behold him already come, and born 
in a little cave. Let us consider that this day the angel 
announces to us also the same great joy that he an 
nounced to the shepherds: Behold, I bring you good ti 
dings of great joy, that shall be to all the people; for this day is 
born to you a Saviour? 

What rejoicing is there in a country when the first-born 
son is born to a king ! But surely we ought to keep still 
greater festival when we see the Son of God born and 
come down from heaven to visit us, urged to this by the 
bowels of his mercy: Through the bowels of the mercy of 
our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us? 
We were lost; and behold him who came to save us: He 
came down from heaven for our salvation:" Behold the 
shepherd who came to save his sheep from death by giv 
ing his life for their sake: I am the good shepherd; the good 
shepherd giveth Jiis life for his s/ieep.* Behold the Lamb of 

" Ecce enim evangelizo vobis gaudium magnum, quod erit omni 
populo, quia natus est vobis hodie Salvator. " Luke, ii. 10. 

2 " Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri, in quibus visitavit nos 
Oriens ex alto." Luke, i. 78. 

" Propter nostram salutem, descendit de coelis." Symb. Nic. 

"Ego sum Pastor bonus. Bonus Pastor animam suam dat pro 
ovibus suis." John, x. n. 



The Festival of Christmas. 239 

God, who came to sacrifice himself, to obtain for us the 
divine favor, and to become our deliverer, our life, our 
light, and even our food in the most Holy Sacrament ! 

St. Maximus says that for this reason, amongst others, 
Christ chose to belaid in the manger where the animals 
were fed, to make us understand that he has become man 
also to make himself our food: "In the manger, where 
the food of animals is placed, he allowed his limbs to be 
laid, thereby showing that his own body would be the 
eternal food of men." 1 Besides this, he is born every 
day in the Sacrament by means of the priests and the 
words of consecration; the altar is the crib, and there 
we go to feed ourselves on his flesh. Some one might 
desire to have the Holy Infant in his arms, as the aged 
Simeon had; but faith teaches us that, when we receive 
Communion, the same Jesus who was in the manger of 
Bethlehem is not only in our arms, but in our breasts. 
He was born for this purpose, to give himself entirely to 
us: A child is born to us, a son is given to us? 

Affections and Prayers. 

I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost; seek Thy servant? 
O Lord, I am that sheep which, by following after my own 
pleasures and caprices, have miserably lost myself ; but Thou, 
who art at once the shepherd and divine Lamb, art he who 
earnest down from heaven to save me by sacrificing Thyself as a 
victim on the cross in satisfaction for my sins. Behold, tJic 
Lamb of God ; behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world. 
If, therefore, I desire to amend my life, what need I fear? why 
should I not confide entirely in Thee, O my Saviour, who wert 
born on purpose to save me ? Behold, God is my Saviour ; I will 

1 " In praesepio, ubi pastus est animalium, sua collocari membra 
permittit; in aeternam refectionem vescendum a mortalibus suum 
corpus ostendit. In Nat. D. s. 5. 

2 " Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis." Isa. ix. 6. 

3 " Erravi sicut ovis quse periit; quaere servum tuum." Ps. cxviii. 

176. 

4 "Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccatum." John, i. 29. 



240 Second Meditation. 

put my trust in him, and will not fear. 1 What greater proof 
couldst Thou give me of Thy mercy, O my dearest Redeemer, 
to inspire me with confidence, than to give me Thyself? O my 
dear Infant, how grieved am I that I have offended Thee! I 
have made Thee weep in the stable of Bethlehem. But since 
Thou art come to seek me, I throw myself at Thy feet; and 
although I behold Thee afflicted and humbled, lying upon straw 
in the manger, I acknowledge Thee for my supreme king and 
sovereign. I feel that Thy tender infant-cries invite me to love 
Thee, and demand my heart. Behold it, my Jesus; I present it 
to-day at Thy feet ; change it and inflame it, O Thou who didst 
come into the world to inflame the hearts of men with Thy holy 
love. I feel as if I heard Thee say to me in Thy manger, Love 
the Lord thy God with thy whole heart." And I will answer, Ah, 
my Jesus, if I do not love Thee, who art my Lord and my God, 
whom shall I love? Thou callest Thyself mine, because Thou 
wert born in order to give Thyself entirely to me; and shall I 
refuse to be Thine ? No, my beloved Lord, 1 give myself en 
tirely to Thee; and I love Thee with my whole heart. I love 
Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, O sovereign Good, the one only 
love of my soul. I beseech Thee accept me this day, and per 
mit me not evermore to cease to love Thee. O Mary, my 
Queen, I pray thee, through that consolation which thou didst 
enjoy the first time thou didst behold thy new-born Son and 
didst give him thy first kiss, beseech him to accept me for his 
servant, and to enchain me forever to himself by the gift of his 
holy love. 

MEDITATION II. 

DECEMBER 26. 
Jesus is born an Infant 

Consider that the first sign which the angel gave to the 
shepherds whereby they might discover the new-born 
Messias was that they would find him under the form of 

1 " Ecce Deus Salvator meus; fiducialiter agam, et non timebo." 
Isa. xii. 2. 
" 2 " Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo." Matt. xxii. 

37- 



The Festival of Christmas. 241 

an infant: You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling- 
clothes, and laid in a manger. 1 The littleness of infants is 
a great attraction for love; but a still greater attraction 
must the littleness of the Infant Jesus be to us, who, 
being the incomprehensible God, has made himself 
small for the love of us: " For our sake he became a 
little child." 2 

Adam came into the world at a full age ; but the eter 
nal Word chose to appear as an infant a child is born to 
lis * that he might thus attract our hearts to himself 
with greater force: " so would he be born, who willed to 
be loved." 4 He came not into the world to inspire ter 
ror, but to be loved; and for this reason he preferred to 
show himself, at his first appearance, as a tender, weak 
infant. " Our Lord is great, and greatly to be praised," E 
says St. Peter Chrysologus. My Lord is great, and 
therefore he deserves highly to be praised for his divine 
majesty. But when the saint considered him as a little 
child in the stable of Bethlehem, he exclaimed with ten 
derness, "My Lord is a little child, and greatly to be 
loved." 6 My great and supreme God has made himself 
little for my sake. 

Ah, how is it possible that any one can reflect with 
faith on a God become a little child, crying and wailing 
on the straw in a cave, and yet not love him, and invite 
all men to love him, as did St. Francis of Assisi, who 
said, " Let us love the child of Bethlehem, let us love 
the child of Bethlehem." 7 He is an infant; he does not 
1 " Invenietis infantem pannis involutum, et positum in praesepio." 
Luke, ii. 12. 

" Propter nos factus est parvulus." In Ps. Iviii. s. i. 

" Parvulus natus est nobis." 

" Sic nasci voluit, qui voluit amari." 

" Magnus Dominus et laudabilis nimis." Ps. cxliv. 3. 

" Parvus Dominus et amabilis nimis." In Cant. s. 48. 
"Amemus Puerum de Bethlehem ! Amemus Puerum de Beth 
lehem !" 

16 



242 Second Meditation. 

speak, he only cries; but, O my God ! are not these cries 
all voices of love, with which he invites us to love him, 
and demands our hearts ! 

Let us consider, besides, that infants also gain our 
affections because we consider them innocent: but all 
other infants are born with the infection of original sin; 
Jesus was born an infant, but he was born holy; " holy, 
innocent, unpolluted." 1 My beloved, says the holy 
spouse, is all ruddy with love, and all white with inno 
cence, without a spot of any sin: My beloved is while and 
ruddy, chosen out of thousands? In this Infant did the 
eternal Father find his delight, because, as St. Gregory 
says, " in him alone he found no fault." 

Let us miserable sinners comfort ourselves, because 
this divine Infant has come down from heaven to com 
municate his innocence to us by means of his Passion. 
His merits, if we only know how to apply them to our 
selves, can change us from sinners into innocents and 
saints: in these merits let us place all our confidence; 
through them let us continually ask for graces from the 
eternal Father, and we shall obtain everything. 

Affections and Prayers. 

Eternal Father, I, a miserable sinner, worthy of hell, have 
nothing of my own to offer Thee in satisfaction for my sins; I 
offer Thee the tears, the sufferings, the blood, the death of this 
Infant, who is Thy Son ; and through them I implore pity from 
Thee. If I had not this Son to offer Thee, I should be lost; 
there would be no longer any hope for me ; but Thou hast given 
him to me for this purpose, in order that, in offering Thee his 
merits, I might have a good hope of my salvation. My ingrati 
tude, O Lord, is great ; but Thy mercy is still greater. And 
what greater mercy could I hope for from Thee, than that Thou 

1 "Sanctus, innocens, impoliutus." Heb. vii. 26. 
8 " Dilectus meus candidus et rubicundus, electus ex millibus." 
Cant. v. 10. 
8 "In hoc solo non invenit culpam." /;/ Ezech. horn. 8. 



The Festival of Christmas. 243 

shouldst give me Thy own Son for my Redeemer, and for the 
victim of my sins? For the love, therefore, of Jesus Christ, 
forgive me all the offences that I have committed against Thee, 
of which I repent with my whole heart, because by them I have 
offended Thee, O infinite Goodness. And for the sake of Jesus 
Christ, I ask of Thee holy perseverance. O my God, if I should 
again offend Thee, after Thou hast waited for me with so much 
patience ; after Thou hast assisted me with so much light, and 
forgiven me with so much love, I should indeed deserve a 
special hell for myself. O my Father, do not forsake me, I pray 
Thee. I tremble when I think of the number of times that I 
have betrayed Thee ; how many times have I promised to love 
Thee, and then have again turned my back upon Thee? O my 
Creator, let me not have to lament the misfortune of seeing 
myself again deprived of Thy favor : " Permit me not to be sep 
arated from Thee ; permit me not to be separated from Thee." * 
I repeat it, and will repeat it to my very last breath ; and do 
Thou always give me the grace to repeat to Thee this prayer : 
" Permit me not to be separated from Thee." 2 My Jesus, my 
dearest Infant, enchain me with Thy love. I love Thee, and 
will always love Thee. Permit me not to be ever again sep 
arated from Thy love. I love thee too, my Mother ; oh, do thou 
also love me. And if thou lovest me, this is the favor I beg 
thee to obtain for me, that I may never cease to love my God. 



MEDITATION III. 

DECEMBER 27. 
Jesus in Swaddling-clothes. 

Imagine that you see Mary, having now brought forth 
her Son, taking him with reverence in her arms, adoring 
him as herGod, and then wrapping him up in swaddling- 
clothes: She wrapped Him up in swaddling-clothes? The 
Holy Church says the same: 

1 " Ne permittas me separari a te ! ne permittas me separari a te . " 
2 " Ne permittas me separari a te." 
3 " Pannis eum involvit." Luke, ii. 7. 



244 Third Meditation. 

" His limbs, wrapped in swaddling-clothes, 
The Virgin Mother binds." 1 

Behold the Infant Jesus, who obediently offers his little 
hands and feet, and allows himself to be swaddled. 
Consider that every time the Holy Infant allowed him 
self to be swathed he thought of the cords with which 
he should one day be bound and led captive in the gar 
den, and of those also with which he should be tied to the 
column, and of the nails which should fasten him to the 
cross; and thinking of these things, he willingly allowed 
himself to be bound, in order to deliver our souls from 
the chains of hell. 

Bound, then, in these swaddling-clothes, and turning 
towards us, Jesus invites us to unite ourselves to him 
with the holy bonds of love. And turning to his eternal 
Father, he says: My Father, men have abused their lib 
erty, and by rebelling against Thee have made them 
selves the slaves of sin; but I will make satisfaction for 
their disobedience, and will be bound and confined in 
these swaddling-clothes. Bound with these, I offer Thee 
my liberty, in order that man may be delivered from the 
slavery of the devil. I accept these swaddling-clothes; 
they are dear to me, because they are the symbols of the 
cords with which, from this moment forth, I offer myself 
to be one day bound and led to death for the salvation 
of men. 

His bands are a healthful binding? The bands of Jesus 
were the healthful binding, to heal the wounds of our 
souls. Therefore, O my Jesus, Thou wouldst be bound 
in swaddling-clothes for the love of me. " O Love, how 
great is thy bond, which could bind a God." O divine 
Love, Thou alone couldst make my God Thy prisoner. 

1 " Membra pannis involuta Virgo Mater alligat." Off. de Pass. 

2 " Vincula illius, alligatura salutaris." Ecclus. vi. 31. 

3 "O Charitas ! quam magnum est vinculum tuum, quo Deus ligari 
potuit!" Lign. V. de Char. c. 6, 



The Festival of Christmas. 245 

And shall I then, O Lord, refuse to allow myself to be 
bound by Thy holy love ? Shall I for the future have 
the courage to detach myself from Thy sweet and 
amiable chains? And for what? To make myself a 
slave of hell ? O my Lord, Thou remainest bound up in 
this manger for the love of me; I desire always to re 
main bound to Thee. 

St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi said that the bands that 
we ought to take should be a firm resolution of uniting 
ourselves to God by means of love; detaching ourselves 
at the same time from all affection for anything that is 
not God. For this reason, also, it seems that our loving 
Jesus has allowed himself to be, as it were, bound and 
made a prisoner in the Most Holy Sacrament of the 
Altar, under the sacramental species, in order that he 
might behold his beloved souls made also prisoners of 
his love. 

Affections and Prayers. 

And what fear can I have of Thy chastisement, O my be 
loved Infant, now that I see Thee bound in the swaddling- 
clothes, depriving Thyself, as it were, of the power of raising 
Thy hands to punish me ? Thou dost give me to understand 
by these bands that Thou wilt not chastise me, if I will detach 
myself from the chains of my vices and bind myself to Thee. 
Yes, my Jesus, I will bind myself. I repent with all my heart 
of having separated myself from Thee, by abusing that liberty 
which Thou hast given me. Thou dost offer me a more desir 
able liberty; a liberty which delivers me from the chains of 
the devil, and places me among the children of God. Thou 
hast given Thyself up to be imprisoned in these swaddling- 
clothes for the love of me ; I will be in future a prisoner of 
Thy infinite love. O blessed chains, O beautiful emblems of 
salvation, which bind souls to God, bind also my poor heart; 
but bind it so fast that it may never in future be able to dis 
engage itself from the love of this sovereign Good. My Jesus, 
I love Thee ; I bind myself to Thee ; I give Thee my whole 
heart, my whole will. No, I will never leave Thee again, my 



246 Fourth Meditation. 

beloved Lord. O my Saviour, who, to pay my debts, wouldst 
not only be wrapped by Mary in swaddling-clothes, but even 
be bound as a criminal by the executioners, and thus bound 
wouldst go along the streets of Jerusalem, led to death as an 
innocent lamb to the slaughter-house; O Thou who wouldst 
be nailed to the cross, and didst not leave it until Thou hadst 
given up Thy life upon it, I beseech Thee permit me not to 
be ever separated again from Thee, so that I should again find 
myself deprived of Thy favor and of Thy love. O Mary, who 
didst one day bind in swaddling-clothes this thy innocent 
Son, I pray thee, do thou bind me also, a miserable sinner; 
bind me to Jesus, so that I may never again separate myself 
from his feet, that I may always live and die bound to him, 
so that one day I may have the happiness to enter into that 
blessed country where I shall never be able and shall never 
be afraid of detaching myself from his holy love. 

MEDITATION IV. 

DECEMBER 28. 
Jesus taking Milk. 

As soon as Jesus was swathed, he looked for and took 
milk from the breast of Mary. The spouse in the Canti 
cles desired to see her little brother taking milk from his 
mother : Who shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking 
the breast of my mother.^ The spouse desired it, but did 
not see him; but we have had the happiness to see the 
Son of God made Man and become our brother, taking 
milk from the breasts of Mary. Oh, what a spectacle 
must it not have been to Paradise to see the divine 
Word become an infant sucking milk from a virgin who 
was his own creature ! 

He, then, who feeds all men and all animals upon the 
earth, is become so weak and so poor that he requires a 
little milk to sustain life ! Sister Paula, the Camaldolese, 

1 " Quis mihi det te fratrem meum sugentem ubera matris meae ?" 
Cant, viii. I, 



The Festival of Christmas. 247 

in contemplating a little image of Jesus taking milk, 
felt herself immediately all inflamed with a tender love 
to God. Jesus took but little of this milk, and took it 
but seldom in the day. It was revealed to Sister Mary 
Anne, a Franciscan, that Mary only gave him milk three 
times in the day. O milk most precious to us, to be 
changed into blood in the veins of Jesus Christ, and so 
to be made by him a bath of salvation to cleanse our 
souls ! 

Let us consider also that Jesus took this milk in order 
to nourish the body which he wished to leave us as food 
in the Holy Communion. Therefore, my Blessed Re 
deemer, whilst Thou dost suck the breast of Mary, 
Thou art thinking of me; Thou art thinking of changing 
this milk into blood, to be shed afterwards at Thy death, 
as the price wherewith to ransom my soul, and as its 
food in the most Holy Sacrament, which is the salutary 
milk with which our Lord preserves our souls in the life 
of grace: " Christ is your milk," * says St. Augustine. 

beloved Infant, O my Jesus, let me also exclaim 
with the woman in the Gospel, Blessed is the womb that 
bare T/iee, and the paps that gave Thee suck. 1 Blessed art 
thoti, O Mother of God, who hadst the happiness to 
give milk to the Incarnate Word ! Oh, admit me, in 
company with this great Son, to take from thee the milk 
of a tender and loving devotion to the Infancy of Jesus, 
and to thyself, my dearest mother. 

And I thank Thee, O divine Infant, who didst deign to 
stand in need of milk for Thy support in order to show 
me the love that Thou bearest me. This is what our 
Lord once gave St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi to under 
stand that he had reduced himself to the necessity of 
taking milk in order to make us comprehend the love 
that he has for redeemed souls. 

1 " Lac vestrum Christus est !" In I Jo. tr. 3. 

a " Beatus venter qui te portavit, et ubera quze suxisti." Luke, xi. 
27. 



248 Fifth Meditation. 



Affections and Prayers. 

O my sweet and most amiable Infant, Thou art the bread of 
heaven, and dost sustain the angels: Thou dost provide all 
creatures with food ; and yet how art Thou reduced to the 
necessity of begging a little milk from a Virgin in order to pre 
serve Thy life ! O divine love, how couldst Thou reduce a God 
to such a state of poverty that he was in want of a little food ? 
But I understand Thee, O my Jesus ! Thou didst take milk 
from Mary in this stable to offer it to God changed into blood 
on the cross as a sacrifice, and in satisfaction for our sins. 
Give, O Mary! give all the milk thou canst to this Son, be 
cause every drop of this milk will serve to wash out the sins of 
my soul, and to nourish it afterwards in the Holy Communion. 
O my Redeemer! how can one not love Thee who believes 
what Thou hast done and suffered to save us? And I, how 
could I know this, and yet be so ungrateful to Thee? But Thy 
goodness is my hope ; and this makes me sure that if I wish for 
Thy grace it is mine. I repent, O sovereign Good ! of having 
offended Thee, and I love Thee above all things. Or, rather, I 
love nothing, I love and I will love only Thee ; Thou art and 
shalt always be my only good, my only love. My beloved Re 
deemer, give me, I pray Thee, a tender devotion to Thy holy 
Infancy, such as Thou hast given to so many souls, who, medi 
tating on Thee, as an Infant, forgetting all else, seem unable to 
think of anything but loving Thee. It is true that they are in 
nocent, and I am a sinner; but Thou didst become a child to 
make Thyself loved even by sinners. I have been such ; but 
now I love Thee with my whole heart, and I desire nothing but 
Thy love. O Mary, give me a little of that tenderness with 
which thou didst give suck to the Infant Jesus. 

MEDITATION V. 

DECEMBER 29. 
Jesus lying on the Straw. 

Jesus is born in the stable at Bethlehem. His poor 
Mother has neither wool nor down to make a bed for the 
tender Infant. What does she do, then ? She gathers 



The Festival of Christmas. 249 

together a small handful of straw into the manger, and 
puts it there for him to lie on : And she laid Him in the 
manger. But, O my God, how hard and painful is this 
bed for an infant just born ; the limbs of a babe are so 
delicate, and especially the limbs of Jesus, which were 
formed by the Holy Spirit with a special delicacy, in 
order that they might be the more sensible to suffering: 
A body Thou hast fitted to Me? 

Wherefore the hardness of such a bed must have 
caused him excessive pain, pain and shame; for what 
child, even of the lowest of the people, is ever laid on 
straw as soon as he is born ? Straw is only a fit bed for 
beasts; and yet the Son of God had none other on earth 
than a bed of miserable straw St. Francis of Assisi 
heard one day as he sat at table these words of the 
Gospel : And laid Him in the manger; 3 and exclaimed, 
" What ? my Lord was laid on the straw, and shall I con 
tinue to sit?" And thus he arose from his seat, threw 
himself on the ground, and there finished his scanty 
meal, mingling it with tears of tenderness as he contem 
plated the sufferings that the Infant Jesus endured whilst 
lie lay on the straw. 

But why did Mary, who had so earnestly desired the 
birth of this Son why did she, who loved him so much, 
allow him to lie and suffer on this hard bed, instead of 
keeping him in her arms? This is a mystery, says St. 
Thomas of Villanova : " Nor would she have laid him in 
such a place, unless there had been some great mystery 
in it." 4 This great mystery has been explained by many 
in different ways, but the most pleasing explanation to 
me is that of St. Peter Damian : Jesus wished as soon as 

1 " Et reclinavit eum in praesepio." Luke, ii. 7. 
4 " Corpus autem aptasti mihi." 11 eb. x. 5. 

3 " Et reclinavit eum in praesepio." 

4 " Neque ilium tali loco posuisset.nisi magnum aliquod mysterium 
ageretur." In Natal. D. cone. I. 



250 Fifth Meditation. 

he was born to be placed on the straw, in order to teach 
us the mortification of our senses : "He laid down the 
law of martyrdom." The world had been lost by sen 
sual pleasures; through them had Adam and multitudes 
of his descendants till then been lost. The Eternal Word 
came from heaven to teach us the love of suffering; and 
lie began as a child to teach it to us by choosing for him 
self the most acute sufferings that an infant can endure. 
It was, therefore, he himself who inspired his Mother to 
cease from holding him in her tender arms, and to re 
place him on the hard bed, that he might feel the more 
cold of the cave and the pricking of this rough straw. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O Lover of souls, O my loving Redeemer! is not, then, the 
sorrowful Passion that awaits Thee, and the bitter death that is 
prepared for Thee on the cross, sufficient, but Thou must, even 
from the commencement of Thy life, even from Thy infancy, 
begin to suffer? Yes, because even as an infant Thou wouldst 
begin to be my Redeemer, and to satisfy the divine justice for 
my sins. Thou didst choose a bed of straw to deliver me from 
the fire of hell, into which I have so many times deserved to be 
cast. Thou didst cry and mourn on this bed of straw to obtain 
for me pardon from Thy Father. Oh, how these Thy tears afflict 
and yet console me ! They afflict me from compassion at seeing 
Thee, an innocent babe, suffering so much for sins not Thy 
own ; but they console me, because Thy sufferings assure me of 
my salvation, and of Thy immense love for me. But, my Jesus, 
1 will not leave Thee alone to cry and to suffer. I myself will 
also weep ; for I alone deserve to shed tears on account of the 
offences I have committed against Thee. I, who have deserved 
hell, will not refuse any suffering whatever, so that I may regain 
Thy favor, O my Saviour. Forgive me, I beseech Thee ; receive 
me once more into Thy friendship, make me love Thee, and 
then chastise me as Thou wilt. Deliver me from eternal pun 
ishment, and then treat me as it shall please Thee. I do not 

J "Legem martyrii prsefigebat." 



The Festival of Christmas. 2 5 i 

seek for pleasures in this life; he does not deserve pleasure who 
has had the temerity to offend Thee, O infinite Goodness. I 
am content to suffer all the crosses Thou shalt send me ; but, 
my Jesus, I will love Thee still. O Mary, who didst sympathize 
by thy sufferings with the sufferings of Jesus, obtain for me the 
grace to suffer all my trials with patience. Woe to me if, after 
so many sins, I do not suffer something in this life ! And 
blessed shall I be if I have the happiness to accompany thee in 
thy sufferings, O my sorrowful Mother, and Thee, O my Jesus, 
always afflicted and crucified for love of me. 

MEDITATION VI. 

DECEMBER 30. 

Jesus sleeping. 

Very short and painful were the slumbers of the Infant 
Jesus. A manger was his cradle, straw was his bed, and 
Straw his pillow; so that Jesus was constantly interrupted 
in his sleep by the hardness of this rough and painful 
little bed, and by the severe cold of the cave. Notwith 
standing all this, nature succumbing to its wants, the 
sweet babe from time to time slept amidst his sufferings. 

But the sleep of Jesus differed very much from that of 
other children. The slumbers of other children are useful 
for the preservation of life, but not for the operations of 
the soul, because the soul, being buried in sleep with the 
senses, cannot then work; but such was not the sleep of 
Jesus Christ: / sleep, and My heart watcheth. 1 His body 
was asleep, but his soul was watching; because in Jesus 
there was united the person of the Word, who could not 
sleep, nor be influenced by the slumber of the senses. 
The Holy Infant slept therefore; but while he slept he 
thought of all the sufferings he was to endure for our 
sake during all his life and at his death. He thought of 
the labors he was to undergo in Egypt and in Nazareth 

i " Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat." Cant. v. 2. 



252 Sixth Meditation. 

during his miserable and despised life; he thought more 
particularly on the scourges, the thorns, the ignominies, 
the agonies, and on that miserable death that he should 
at last suffer upon the cross; and whilst he was sleeping 
he offered all this to his Eternal Father to obtain for us 
pardon and salvation; so that whilst our Saviour was 
sleeping he was meriting for us and appeasing his 
Father, and obtaining graces for us. 

Let us now beseech him, by the merit of his blessed 
slumbers, to deliver us from the deadly slumber of sin 
ners who unhappily sleep in the death of sin, forgetful 
of God and of his love; and to give us instead the blessed 
sleep of the holy spouse, of which he said, Stir not up, 
nor make the beloved to wake till she please? This is the 
sleep that God gives to his beloved souls, which is none 
other, as St. Basil says, " but the most profound oblivion 
of all things;" 2 and this is when the soul forgets all 
earthly things, to attend only to God and to the things 
that concern his glory. 

Affections and Prayers. 

My beloved and holy Infant, Thou sleepest, and oh, how do 
Thy slumbers enamour me ! With others sleep is the emblem 
of death ; but in Thee it is the sign of eternal life, because 
whilst Thou art sleeping Thou art meriting for me eternal sal 
vation. Thou sleepest ; but Thy heart sleeps not, it is thinking 
of suffering and dying for me. Whilst Thou art slumbering, 
Thou art praying for me, and obtaining for me from God the 
eternal rest of Paradise. But before Thou dost carry me (as I 
hope) to repose with Thee in heaven, I desire that Thou 
shouldst repose forever in my soul. There was a time, O my 
God ! when I drove Thee away from me ; but I trust that, by 
means of knocking so often at the door of my heart, now by 

"Ne suscitetis neque evigilare faciatis dilectam, quoadusque ipsa 
velit," Cant. ii. 7. 
8 " Summa rerum omnium oblivio." Reg. fus. disp. int. 6. 



The Festival of Christmas. 253 

making it afraid, now by enlightening it, now by the voice of 
love, Thou hast already obtained an entrance there. This, I 
say, is my hope, because I feel a great confidence that I have 
been forgiven by Thee; I feel a great hatred and penitence for 
the offences I have committed against Thee, penitence that 
causes me great sorrow ; but a sorrow of peace, a sorrow that 
comforts me and makes me hope most assuredly for pardon 
from Thy goodness. I thank Thee, my Jesus, and I pray Thee 
never again to separate Thyself from my soul. I know indeed 
that Thou wilt not leave me, if I do not drive Thee away ; but this 
is the favor I ask of Thee (and I pray Thee to give me Thy as 
sistance that I may always seek it of Thee), that Thou wouldst 
not permit me ever to drive Thee from me. Make me forget 
everything, in order to think of Thee who hast always thought 
of me and of my welfare. Make me always love Thee in this 
life, so that I may breathe forth my soul in Thy arms, united 
to Thee, and may repose eternally in Thee without fear of los 
ing Thee again. O Mary, assist me in life and in death, so that 
Jesus may always repose in me, and that I may always repose 
in Jesus. 

MEDITATION VII. 

DECEMBER 31. 
Jesus weeping. 

The tears of the Infant Jesus were very different from 
those of other new-born babes: these weep through pain; 
Jesus did not weep from pain, but through compassion 
for us and through love: "They weep because of suffer 
ing, Christ because of compassion," 1 says St. Bernard. 
Tears are a great sign of love. Therefore did the Jews 
say when they saw the Saviour weeping for the death of 
Lazarus: Behold how He loved him. Thus also might the 
angels have said on beholding the tears of the Infant 

1 "Illi ex passione lugent, Christus ex compassioine." In Nat. 

D. s. 3- 

2 "Ecce quomodo amat eum !" John, xi. 36. 



2 54 Seventh Meditation. 

Jesus: "Behold how he loves them." 1 Behold how our 
God loves men; since for the love of them we see him 
made man, become an Infant, and shedding tears. 

Jesus wept and offered to his Father his tears to ob 
tain for us the pardon of our sins. "These tears," says 
St. Ambrose, washed away my sins;" 2 by his cries and 
tears he implored mercy for us who were condemned to 
eternal death, and thus he appeased the indignation of 
his Father. Oh, how eloquently did the tears of this 
divine little one plead in our behalf ! Oh, how precious 
were they to God ! It was then that the Father caused 
the angels to proclaim that he made peace with men, 
and received them into his favor: And on earth peace to 
men of good will. 3 

Jesus wept through love, but he also wept through 
sorrow at the thought that so many sinners, even after 
all his tears and the blood he should shed for their sal 
vation, would yet continue to despise his grace. But 
who would be so hard-hearted, on seeing an Infant God 
weeping for our sins, as not to weep also, and to detest 
those sins that have made this loving Saviour shed so 
many tears ? Oh, let us not increase the sorrows of this 
innocent babe; but let us console him by uniting our 
tears to his ! Let us offer to God the tears of his Son, 
and let us beseech him for their sake to forgive us ! 

Affections and Prayers. 

My beloved Infant, whilst Thou wert weeping in the stable 
of Bethlehem, Thou wert thinking of me ; beholding even then 
my sins, which were the cause of Thy tears. And have I, then, 
O my Jesus! instead of consoling Thee by my love and grati- 
tude at the thought of what Thou hast suffered to save me, 
have I increased Thy sorrow and the cause of Thy tears ? If I 

" Ecce quomodo amat eos !" 

" Mea lacrymae illae delicta lavarunt." In Luc. ii. 

" Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis." Luke, ii. 14. 



The Festival of Christmas. 255 

had sinned less, Thou wouldst have wept less. Weep, oh, weep, 
for Thou hast cause to weep in seeing such great ingratitude of 
men to Thy great love. But since Thou weepest, weep also for 
me; Thy tears are my hope. I also will weep for the offences 
I have committed against Thee, O my Redeemer ! I hate them, 
I detest them, I repent of them with my whole heart. I weep 
for all those days and those wretched nights of mine in which 
I lived as Thy enemy and deprived of Thy beautiful face ; but 
what would my tears avail, O my Jesus, without Thine! 

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the tears of the Infant Jesus; 
for their sake forgive me. And Thou, my dearest Saviour, 
offer to him all the tears that Thou didst shed for me during 
Thy life, and with them appease his anger against me. I be-, 
seech Thee also, O my Love, to soften my heart by these tears, 
and to inflame it with Thy holy love. Oh that I could from 
this day forth console Thee by my love for all the pain I have 
caused Thee by offending Thee ! Grant, therefore, O Lord! 
that the days that remain to me in this life may not any more 
be spent in offending Thee, but only in weeping for the offences 
I have committed against Thee, and in loving Thee with all 
the affections of my soul. O Mary ! I beseech thee, by that 
tender compassion which thou didst so often feel at the sight 
of the Infant Jesus in tears, obtain for me a constant sorrow for 
the offences which I have so ungratefully been guilty of against 
him. 

MEDITATION VIII. 

JANUARY i. 
The Name of Jesus.* 

The name of Jesus is a divine name, announced to 
Mary on the part of God by St. Gabriel : and thou shalt 
call His name Jesus. 1 For that reason it was called ^ 
name above all names? And it was also called a name in 

1 " Et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum." Luke, i. 31. 

2 " Nomen quod est super omne nomen." Phil. ii. 9. 

* To-day is the feast of the circumcision of our Lord. . Further on, 
on page 316, there is a meditation on this mystery. 



256 Eighth Meditation. 

which alone salvation is found : whereby we must be 
saved} 

This great name is likened by the Holy Spirit unto 
oil: Thy name is as oil poured out? For this reason, says 
St. Bernard, that as oil is light, food, and medicine ; so 
the name of Jesus is light to the mind, food to the 
heart, and medicine to the soul. 

It is light to the mind. By this name the world was 
converted from the darkness of idolatry to the light of 
faith. We who have been born in these regions, where 
before the coming of Christ all our ancestors were Gen- 
-tiles, should all have been in the same condition had not 
the Messias come to enlighten us. How thankful ought 
we not, then, to be to Jesus Christ for the gift of faith ! 
And what would have become of us if we had been born 
in Asia, in Africa, in America, or in the midst of here 
tics and schismatics? He who believes not is lost: He 
that believeth not shall be condemned? And thus probably 
we also should have been lost. 

The name of Jesus is also food that nourishes our 
hearts ; yes, because this name reminds us of what Jesus 
has done to save us. Hence this name consoles us in 
tribulation, gives us strength to walk along the way of 
salvation, supplies us with courage in difficulties, and 
inflames us to love our Redeemer, when we remember 
what he has suffered for our salvation. 

Lastly, this name is medicine to the soul, because it 
renders it strong against the temptations of our ene 
mies. The devils tremble and fly at the invocation of 
this holy name, according to the words of the Apostle : 
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those 
that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth? He who 

" In quo oporteat nos salvos fieri." Acts, iv. 12. 
"Oleum effusum, nomen tuum." Cant. i. 2. 
"Qui non crediderit, condemnabitur." Mark, xvi. 16. 
4 " In nomine Jesu, omne genu flectatur coelestium, terrestrium, et 
infernorum." Phil. ii. 10. 



The Festival of Christmas. 257 

in temptation calls upon Jesus shall not fall ; and he 
who constantly invokes him shall not fall, and shall be 
saved : Praising, I will call upon the Lord ; and / shall be 
saved from my enemies. 1 And who was ever lost, who 
when he was tempted invoked Jesus? He alone is lost 
who does not invoke his aid, or who, whilst the tempta 
tion continues, ceases to invoke him. 

Affections and Prayers. 

Oh, that I had always called upon Thee, my Jesus ; for then 
I should never have been conquered by the devil ! I have mis 
erably lost Thy grace, because in temptation I have neglected 
to call Thee to my assistance. But now I hope for all things 
through Thy holy name : lean do all things in Him who com 
forts me* Write, therefore, O my Saviour, write upon my poor 
heart Thy most powerful name of Jesus, so that, by having it 
always in my heart by loving Thee, 1 may have it always on my 
lips by invoking Thee, in all the temptations that hell prepares 
for me, in order to induce me to become again its slave, and to 
separate myself from Thee. In Thy name I shall find every 
good. If I am afflicted, it will console me when I think 
how much more afflicted Thou hast been than I am, and all 
for the love of me ; if I am disheartened on account of my 
sins, it will give me courage when I remember that Thou 
earnest into the world to save sinners ; if I am tempted, Thy 
holy name will give me strength, when I consider that Thou 
canst help me more than hell can cast me down ; finally, if I 
feel cold in Thy love, it will give me fervor, by reminding me of 
the love that Thou bearest me. I love Thee, my Jesus ! Thou 
art, and I trust Thou wilt always be, my only Love. To Thee 
do I give all my heart, O my Jesus ! Thee alone will I love ! 
Thee will I invoke as often as I possibly can. I will die 
with Thy name upon my lips ; a name of hope, a name of salva 
tion, a name of love. O Mary, if thou lovest me, this is the 
grace I beg of thee to obtain for me, the grace constantly to 

1 " Laudans invocabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero." 

Ps. xvii. 4. 

2 " Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat." Phil. iv. 13. 

17 



258 Ninth Meditation. 

invoke thy name and that of thy Son ; obtain for me that these 
most sweet names may be the breath of my soul, and that I may 
always repeat them during my life, in order to repeat them at 
my death with my last breath. Jesus and Mary, help me; 
Jesus and Mary, I love you ; Jesus and Mary, 1 recommend my 
soul to you. 

MEDITATION IX. 

JANUARY 2. 
The Solitude of Jesus in the Stable. 

Jesus chose at his birth the stable of Bethlehem for 
his hermitage and oratory; and for this purpose he so 
disposed events as to be born out of the city in a soli 
tary cave, in order to recommend to us the love of soli 
tude and of silence. Jesus remains in silence in the 
manger; Mary and Joseph adore and contemplate him 
in silence. It was revealed to Sister Margaret of the 
Blessed Sacrament, a discalced Carmelite, who was 
called the Spouse of the Infant Jesus, that all that passed 
in the cave of Bethlehem, even the visit of the shepherds 
and the adoration of the holy Magi, took place in silence, 
and without a word. 

Silence in other infants is impotence; but in Jesus 
Christ it was virtue. The Infant Jesus does not speak; 
but oh ! how much his silence says ! Oh, blessed is he 
that converses with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, in this holy 
solitude of the manger. The shepherds, though ad 
mitted there but for a very short time, came out from 
the stable all inflamed with love to God; for they did 
nothing but praise and bless him: They returned, glorify 
ing and praising God. Oh, happy the soul that shuts it 
self up in the solitude of Bethlehem to contemplate the 
divine mercy, and the love that God has borne, and still 

" Reversi sunt pastores glorificantes etlaudantes Deum." Luke, 
ii. 20, 



The Festival of Christmas. 259 

bears, to men ! / will lead her into the wilderness, and I 
will speak to her heart. 1 There the divine Infant will 
speak, not to the ear, but to. the heart, inviting the soul to 
love a God who hath loved her so much. When we see 
there the* poverty of this wandering little hermit, who 
remains in that cold cave, without fire, with a manger 
for a crib, and a little straw for a bed; when we hear 
the cries, and behold the tears of this innocent Child, 
and consider that he is our God, how is it possible to 
think of anything but of loving him ! Oh, what a sweet 
hermitage for a soul that has faith in the stable of 
Bethlehem ! 

Let us also imitate Mary and Joseph, who, burning 
with love, remain contemplating the great Son of God 
clothed in flesh, and made subject to earthly miseries, 
Wisdom become an infant that cannot speak, the Great 
One become little, the Supreme One become so abased, 
the Rich One become so poor, the Omnipotent so 
weak. In short, let us meditate on the divine majesty 
shrouded beneath the form of a little Infant, despised 
and forsaken by the world, and who does and suffers 
everything in order to make himself loved by men, and 
let us beseech him to admit us into this sacred retreat; 
there stop, there remain, and never leave it again. "O 
solitude," says St. Jerome, " in which God speaks and 
converses familiarly with his servants;" 2 O beautiful soli 
tude, in which God speaks and converses with his 
chosen souls, not as a sovereign, but as a friend, as a 
brother, as a spouse! Oh, what a paradise it is to converse 
alone with the Infant Jesus in the little grotto of Beth 
lehem ! 

1 " Ducam earn in solitudinem, et loquar ad cor ejus." Os. ii. 14. 

2 "O solitude, in qua Deus cum suis familiariter loquitur etconver- 
satur !" 



260 Ninth Meditation. 



Affections and Prayers. 

My dearest Saviour, Thou art the King of Heaven, the King 
of kings, the Son of God ; and how is it, then, that ! see Thee 
in this cave, forsaken by all ? I see no one assisting Thee but 
Joseph and Thy holy Mother. I desire to unite myself also to 
them in keeping Thee company. Do not reject me. I do not 
deserve it; but I feel that Thou dost invite me by Thy sweet 
voice, speaking to my heart. Yes, I come, O my beloved 
Infant ! I will leave all things to pass my whole life alone with 
Thee, my dear little hermit, the only love of my soul. Fool that 
I was, I have hitherto forsaken Thee and left Thee alone, O my 
Jesus, whilst I was seeking miserable and empoisoned pleasures 
from creatures ; but now, enlightened by Thy grace, I desire 
nothing but to live in solitude with Thee, who didst will to live 
Thyself in solitude on this earth : Who will give me wings like 
a dove, and I will fly and be at rest ? 1 Ah, who will enable me 

to fly from this world, where I have so often found my ruin, 

to fly, and to come and remain always with Thee, who art the 
joy of paradise and the true lover of my soul ? Oh, bind me, I 
pray Thee, to Thy feet, so that I may no longer be separated from 
Thee, but may find my happiness in continually keeping company 
with Thee ! Ah, by the merits of Thy solitude in the cave of 
Bethlehem, give me a constant interior recollection, so that my 
soul may become a solitary little cell, where I may attend to 
nothing but to conversing with Thee ; where I may take coun 
sel with Thee in all my thoughts and all my actions ; where I 
may dedicate to Thee all my affections ; where I may always 
love Thee, and sigh to leave the prison of this body to come 
and love Thee face to face in heaven. I love Thee, O infi 
nite Goodness, and I hope always to love Thee, in time and in 
eternity. O Mary, thou who canst do all things, pray to him 
to enchain me with his love, and not to permit me ever again 
to lose his grace. 

" Quis dabit mihi pennas sicut columbae, et volabo, et requi- 
/v. liv. 7. 



The Festival of Christmas. 261 



MEDITATION X. 
JANUARY 3. 

The Occupations of the Infant Jesus in the Stable of Beth 
lehem. 

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 this time the divine Majesty had been, it is 
true, adored by men and by angels; but God had not 
received from all these creatures that honor which the 
Infant Jesus gave him by adoring him in the stable 
where he was born. Let us, therefore, constantly unite 
our adorations to those 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 ful 
filled it in a degree infinitely superior to Mary. The 
love of the seraphim may be said to be cold in compari 
son 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. 

Oh, how beautiful, perfect, and dear to God were the 



262 Tenth Meditation. 

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 one of us has received from the Lord, and our being 
called to the true faith, our having had time given us 
for repentance, the lights, the sorrow for sins, the par 
don of them, the holy desires, the victory over tempta 
tions, and all the other good acts that we have made, or 
shall make, of confidence, of humility, of love, of thanks 
giving, of offering, of resignation, all these Jesus has 
obtained for us, and all has 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 ! 

Affections and Prayers. 

My dear Redeemer, how much do I owe Thee ! If Thou 
hadst not prayed for me, in what a state of ruin should I 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. I know that Thou dost continue 
even in heaven to be our advocate : We have an advocate, Jesus 
Christ; 1 and I know that Thou dost continue to pray for us: 
Who also maketh intercession for its. 2 Continue therefore to 
pray; but pray, O my Jesus, more particularly for me, who am 
more in want of Thy prayers. 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 friend 
ship. Ah, my Jesus, Thou art my hope ; it is Thou that must 
give me fortitude to resist ; from Thee I seek it, and of Thee I 
hope for it! But I will not content myself only with the grace 
not to fall again ; I desire also the grace to love Thee exceeding- 

" Advocatum habemus apud Patrem, Jesum Christum." i John, 



ii. i. 



Qui etiam interpellat pro nobis." Rom. viii. 34. 



The Festival of Christmas. 263 

ly. My death approaches. If I were to die now, I should in 
deed hope to be saved ; but I should love Thee but little in 
paradise, because I have hitherto loved Thee so little. 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 so much. Thou dost so much 
desire that he should be loved, beseech him to give me a great 
love for his goodness, and let this love be constant and eternal. 



MEDITATION XI. 

JANUARY 4. 
The Poverty of the Infant Jesus. 

O God ! who would not feel compassion if he saw a 
little prince, the son of a monarch, born in such poverty 
as to be left to lie in a damp, cold cavern, not having 
bed, servants, fire, or clothes sufficient to warm him ? 
Ah, my Jesus, Thou art the Son of the Lord of heaven 
and earth, and yet Thou liest in this cold grotto without 
other cradle than a manger, with nothing but straw for 
Thy bed, and miserable rags to cover Thee. The angels 
stand round Thee and sing Thy praises, but they do not 
relieve Thy poverty. My dear Redeemer, the poorer 
Thou art, the more amiable Thou dost render Thyself 
in our eyes, because Thou bast embraced so great a 
poverty for this end, to make us love Thee more. If 
Thou hadst been born in a palace, if Thou hadst had a 
cradle of gold, if Thou hadst been assisted by the first 
princes of the earth, Thou wouldst have acquired more 
respect from men, but less love; but this stable where 
Thou dost sleep, these miserable rags that cover Thee, 
chis straw that serves as Thy bed, this manger that is Thy 
only cradle, oh, how do they attract our souls to love 
Thee, because Thou hast made Thyself thus poor in 
order to become more dear to us! " The viler he was for 



264 Eleventh Meditation. 

me," says St. Bernard, "the dearer he is to me." Thou 
hast made Thyself poor to enrich us with Thy riches; 
that is, with grace and glory: He became poor, that through 
His poverty you might be rich. 2 

The poverty of Jesus Christ was for us great riches, 
inasmuch as it moves us to acquire the treasures of heav 
en and to despise those of earth. Ah, my Jesus ! this 
Thy poverty has induced so many saints to leave all- 
riches, honors, and kingdoms in order to become poor 
with Thee! Oh, detach me also, my Saviour, from all 
affection to earthly goods, so that I may be made worthy 
to acquire Thy holy love, and thus to possess Thee, who 
art the infinite Good ! 



Affections and Prayers. 

Oh that I also could say to Thee, O holy Infant, with thy 
dear St. Francis, " My God and my All !" 3 and with David, What 
have I in heaven ? and besides Thee, what do I desire upon earth ? 
. . . God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever ; 4 so 
that from this day forth I might desire no other riches but those 
of Thy love, and that my heart might be no more under the 
dominion of the vanities of the world, but that Thou alone, my 
love, mightest be its only Lord. But I even now wish to begin 
to say it : God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for. 
ever? Miserable that I was, I have hitherto only sought after 
worldly goods, and have found nothing but thorns and gall. I 
feel more satisfaction at finding myself at Thy feet, to thank 
Thee and love Thee, than I have ever experienced from all my 
sins. One fear alone afflicts me the fear that Thou hast not 
yet forgiven me; but Thy promises of forgiveness to the peni- 

1 " Quanto pro me vilior, tanto mihi carior !" In Epiph. s. i. 

2 "Egenus factus est . . . , ut illius inopia vos divites essetis." 
2, Cor. viii. 9. 

3 " Deus meus, et omnia !" 

4 " Quid enim mihi est in coelo ? et a te quid volui super terram ? 
. . . Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus, in aeternum !" Ps. Ixxii. 25. 

6 " Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus, in aeternum !" 



The Festival of Christmas. 265 

tent, the thought that Thou didst make Thyself poor for the 
love of me, that Thou art still calling me to love Thee; the 
tears, the blood Thou hast shed for me, the sorrows, the igno 
miny, the bitter death Thou hast endured for me, all console 
me/and make me hope certainly for pardon. And supposing 
Thou hast not forgiven me, what shall I then do? Dost Thou 
desire that I should repent ? I repent with my whole heart of 
having offended Thee, O my Jesus! Dost Thou desire that I 
should love Thee ? I love Thee more than myself. Dost Thou 
desire that I should give up everything? Behold, I give up all 
and give myself to Thee; and I know that Thou dost accept 
me, otherwise I should not have sorrow, nor love, nor the de 
sire to give myself to Thee. I give myself then to Thee, and 
Thou hast already accepted me. I love Thee, and Thou dost 
also love me. Do not permit that this love between Thee and 
me should evermore be interrupted. O my Mother Mary! do 
thou obtain for me the grace that I may always love Jesus, and 
that I may always be loved by him ! 

MEDITATION XII. 

JANUARY 5. 

The Abasement of Jesus.* 

The eternal Word descends on earth to save man; and 
whence does he descend? His going out is from the end 
of heaven. 1 He descends from the bosom of his divine 
Father, where from eternity he was begotten in the 
brightness of the saints. And where does he descend? 
He descends into the womb of a virgin, a child of Adam, 
which in comparison with the bosom of God is an object 
of horror; wherefore the Church sings, Thou didst not 
abhor the Virgin s womb." 2 Yes, because the Word, 
being in the bosom of the Father, is God like the Father 
is immense, omnipotent, most blessed and supreme 
Lord, and equal in everything to the Father. But in 
the womb of Mary he is a creature, small, weak, afflicted, 

1 "A summo coelo egressio ejus." Ps. xviii. 7. 

2 " Non horruisti virginis uterum." 

* This meditation is the same as Meditation V., for the first Thurs 
day of Advent, p. 182. 



266 Twelfth Meditation. 

a servant inferior to the Father, Taking the form of a ser- 
vant. 1 

It is related as a great prodigy of humility in St. 
Alexis that, although he was the son of a Roman gen- 
tleman, he chose to live as a servant in his father s house. 
But how is the humility of this saint to be compared 
with the humility of Jesus Christ ? Between the son and 
the servant of the father of St. Alexis there was, it is 
true, some difference; but between God and the servant 
of God there is an infinite difference. Besides, this Son 
of God having become the servant of his Father in obe 
dience to him, made himself also the servant of his 
creatures; that is to say, of Mary and Joseph: And he was 
subject to them? Moreover, he made himself even a ser 
vant of Pilate, who condemned him to death, and he was 
obedient to him, and accepted it; he became a servant 
to the executioners, who scourged him, crowned him 
with thorns, and crucified him: and he humbly obeyed 
them all, and yielded himself into their hands. 

O God ! and shall we, after this, refuse to submit our 
selves to the service of so loving a Saviour, who, to save 
us, has subjected himself to so painful and degrading a 
slavery? And rather than be the servants of this so 
great and so loving a Lord, shall we be content to be 
slaves of the devil, who does not love his servants, but 
hates them and treats them like a tyrant, making them 
miserable and wretched in this world and in the next? 
But if we have been guilty of this great folly, why do we 
not quickly give up this unhappy servitude ? Courage, 
then, since we have been delivered by Jesus Christ from 
the slavery of hell; let us now embrace and bind around 
us with love those sweet chains, which will render us 
servants and lovers of Jesus Christ, and hereafter obtain 
for us the crown of the eternal kingdom amongst the 
blessed in Paradise. 

" For mam servi accipens." Phil. ii. 7. 
" Et erat subditus illis." Luke, ii. 51. 



The Festival of Christmas. 267 



Affections and Prayers. 

My beloved Jesus, Thou art the Sovereign of heaven and 
earth ; but for the iove of me Thou hast made Thyself a servant 
even of the executioners who tore Thy flesh, pierced Thy head, 
and finally left Thee nailed on the cross to die of sorrow. I 
adore Thee as my God and Lord, and I am ashamed to appear 
before Thee when I remember how often, for the sake of some 
miserable pleasure, I have broken Thy holy bonds, and have 
told Thee to Thy face that I would not serve Thee. Ah, Thou 
mayest justly reproach me : Thou hast burst my bands, and Thou 
saidst : I will not serve. 1 But still, O my Saviour, Thy merits 
and Thy goodness, which cannot despise a heart that repents 
and humbles itself, give me courage to hope for pardon : A con 
trite and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." 1 I confess, 
my Jesus, that I have offended Thee greatly; I confess that I 
deserve a thousand hells for the sins that I have committed 
against Thee ; chasten me as Thou seest fit, but do not deprive 
me of Thy grace and love. I repent above every other evil for 
having despised Thee. I love Thee with my whole heart. I 
propose from this day forth to desire to serve Thee and love 
Thee alone. I pray Thee bind me by Thy merits with the 
chains of Thy holy love, and never suffer that I see myself re 
leased from them again. I love Thee above everything, O my 
Deliverer, and I would prefer being Thy servant to being master 
of the whole world. And of what avail would all the world be 
to him who lives deprived of Thy grace ? My sweetest Jesus, 
permit me not to separate myself from Thee, permit me not to 
separate myself from T/iee. 3 This grace I ask of Thee, and I 
intend always to ask it ; and I beg of Thee to grant me this day 
the grace to repeat continually to the end of my life this prayer : 
My Jesus, grant that I may never again separate myself from 
Thy love. I ask this favor of thee also, O Mary, my Mother : 
help me by thy intercession, that I may never separate myself 
again from my God. 

1 " Rupisti vincula mea, et dixisti: Non serviam." Jer. ii. 20. 

2 " Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies." Isa. \.. 19. 

3 " Jesu dulcissime ! ne permittas me separari a te; ne permittas 
me separari a te." 



268 Octave of the Epiphany. 



ittebitations far tfje etae of tlje 

MEDITATION I. 

JANUARY 6. 
The Adoration of the Magi. 

Jesus is born poor in a stable; the angels of heaven in 
deed acknowledge him, but men abandon and forsake 
him on earth. Only a few shepherds come and pay him 
homage. But our Redeemer was desirous of communi 
cating to us the grace of his redemption, and begins 
therefore to manifest himself to the Gentiles, who knew 
him least. Therefore he sends a star to enlighten the 
holy Magi, in order that they may come and acknow 
ledge and adore their Saviour. This was the first and 
sovereign grace bestowed upon us, our vocation to the 
faith; which was succeeded by our vocation to grace, of 
which men were deprived. 

Behold the wise men, who immediately, without delay, 
set off upon their journey. The star accompanies them 
as far as the cavern where the holy Infant lies: on their 
arrival they enter; and what do they find ? They found 
the child with Mary. 1 They find a poor maiden and a 
poor Infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes, without 
any one to attend on him or assist him. But, lo ! on en 
tering into the little shed these holy pilgrims feel a joy 
which they had never felt before; they feel their hearts 
chained to the dear little Infant which they behold. The 
straw, the poverty, the cries of their little Saviour, oh, 
what darts of love ! oh, what blessed flames are they to 

1 " Invenerunt puerum cum Maria." Matt. ii. n. 



First Meditation. 269 

their enlightened hearts ! The Infant looks upon them 
with a joyful countenance, and this is the mark of affec 
tion with which he accepts them amongst the first-fruits 
of his redemption. 

The holy kings then look at Mary, who does not speak 
she remains silent; but with her blessed countenance 
that breathes the sweetness of paradise she welcomes 
them, and thanks them for having been the first to come 
and acknowledge her son (as indeed he is) for their 
Sovereign Lord. See also how, out of reverence, they 
adore him in silence, and acknowledge him for their God, 
kissing his feet, and offering him their gifts of gold, 
frankincense, and myrrh. Let us also with the holy 
Magi adore our little King Jesus, and let us offer him all 
our hearts. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O amiable Infant ! though I see Thee in this cavern lying on 
straw poor and despised, yet faith teaches me that Thou art my 
God, who earnest down from heaven for my salvation. I ac 
knowledge Thee, then, for my sovereign Lord and Saviour; but 
I have nothing, alas ! to offer Thee. I have no gold of love, be 
cause I have loved creatures ; I have loved my own caprices, but 
I have not loved Thee, O amiable infinite One ! I have not the 
incense of prayer, because I have lived in a miserable state of 
forgetfulness of Thee. I have no myrrh of mortification, for I 
have often displeased Thy infinite goodness that I might not 
be deprived of my miserable pleasures. What then shall I offer 
Thee ? I offer Thee my heart, filthy and poor as it is ; do Thou 
accept it, and change it. Thou earnest into the world for this 
purpose, to wash the hearts of men from their sins by Thy blood, 
and thus change them from sinners into saints. Give me, there 
fore, I pray Thee, this gold, this incense, and this myrrh. Give me 
the gold of Thy holy love; give me the spirit of holy prayer, 
give me the desire and strength to mortify myself in everything 
that displeases Thee. I am resolved to obey Thee and to love 
Thee ; but Thou knowest my weakness, oh, give me the grace to 
be faithful to Thee ! Most holy Virgin, thou who didst welcome 



270 Octave of the Epiphany. 

with such affection and didst console the holy Magi, do thou 
welcome and console me also, who come to visit thy Son and to 
offer myself to him. O my Mother, I have great confidence in 
thy intercession ! Do thou recommend me to Jesus. To thee 
do I intrust my soul and my will ; bind it forever to the love of 
Jesus ! 

MEDITATION II. 

JANUARY 7. 
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. 

The time having now come when, according to the 
law, Mary had to go to the Temple for her purification, 
and to present Jesus to the divine Father, behold she 
sets out in company witli Joseph. Joseph carries the 
two turtle-doves that they are to offer to God, and Mary 
carries her dear Infant: she takes the Lamb of God to 
offer him to the Almighty, in token of the great sacrifice 
that this Son should one day accomplish on the cross. 

Consider the holy Virgin entering the Temple; she 
makes an oblation of her Son on the part of the whole 
human race, and says: Behold, O Eternal Father, Thy 
beloved only-begotten One, who is Thy Son and mine 
also; I offer him to Thee as a victim to Thy divine 
justice, in order to appease Thy wrath against sinners. 
Accept him, O God of mercy ! have pity on our miseries; 
for the love of this immaculate Lamb do Thou receive 
men into Thy grace. 

The offering of Mary is joined to that of Jesus. Be 
hold me (says also the holy Infant), behold me, O My 
Father; to Thee do I consecrate my whole life; Thou 
hast sent me into the world to save it by my blood; be 
hold my blood and my whole self. I offer myself entirely 
to Thee for the salvation of the world. He delivered 
Himself . . . an oblation and a sacrifice to God. 1 

1 " Tradidit semetipsum pro nobis oblationem et hostiam Deo." 
Eph. v. a. 



Second Meditation. 271 

No sacrifice was ever so acceptable to God as this 
which his dear Son then made to him; who had become, 
even from his irJancy, a victim and priest. If all men 
and angels had offered their lives, their oblation could 
not have been so dear to God as was this of Jesus Christ, 
because in this offering alone the Eternal Father received 
infinite honor and infinite satisfaction. 

If Jesus offers his life to his Father for the love of us, 
it is just that we should offer him our life and our entire 
being. This is what he desires, as he signified to the 
blessed Angela da Foligno, saying to her, " I have offered 
myself for thee, in order that thou shouldest offer thyself 
to me." 

Affections and Prayers, 

Eternal Father, I, a miserable sinner, who have deserved a 
thousand hells, present myself this day before Thee, O God of 
infinite majesty, and I offer Thee my poor heart. But, O God, 
what a heart is it that I offer Thee? a heart that has never 
known how to love Thee, but has, on the contrary, so often 
offended Thee and so often betrayed Thee ; but now I offer it 
to Thee full of penitence, and resolved to love Thee at all costs 
and to obey Thee in all things. Pardon me, and draw me en 
tirely to Thy love. I do not deserve to be heard ; but Thy in 
fant Son, who offers himself to Thee in the Temple as a sacri 
fice for my salvation, merits for me this grace. I offer Thee this 
Thy Son and his sacrifice, and in this I place all my hopes. I 
thank Thee, O my Father, for having sent him upon the earth 
to sacrifice himself for me. And I bless Thee, O Incarnate 
Word, Lamb of God, who didst offer Thyself to die for my soul. 
I love Thee, my dear Redeemer, and Thee alone will I love; 
for I find none but Thee that has offered and sacrificed his life 
to save me. It makes me shed tears to think how grateful I 
have been to others and how ungrateful to Thee alone ; but 
Thou wiliest not my death, but that I should be converted and 
live. Yes, my Jesus, I turn to Thee, and repent with my whole 
heart of having offended Thee, and of having offended my God, 
who has thus sacrificed himself for me. Do Thou give me 



272 Octave of the Epiphany. 

iife, and that life shall consist in loving Thee, the sovereign 
Good ; make me love Thee, I ask Thee nothing more. Mary, 
my Mother, thou didst offer at that time thy Son in the Temple 
even for me ; do thou offer him again for me ; and beseech the 
Eternal Father, for the love of Jesus, to accept me for his own. 
And thou, my Queen, do thou also accept me for thy perpetual 
servant. If I am thy servant, I shall also be the servant of thy 
Son. 

MEDITATION III. 

JANUARY 8. 
The Flight of Jesus into Egypt. 

The angel appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, and in 
formed him that Herod was seeking the Infant Jesus to 
destroy his life; wherefore he said, Arise, and take the 
Child and His Mother, and fly into Egypt. 1 Behold, then, 
how Jesus is no sooner born than he is persecuted unto 
death. Herod is a figure of those miserable sinners who, 
as soon as they see Jesus Christ born again in their souls 
by the pardon of sin, persecute him to death by return 
ing to their sins: They seek the Child to destroy Him? 

Joseph immediately obeys the command of the angel 
without delay, and gives notice of it to his holy spouse. 
He then takes the few tools that he can carry, in order 
to make use of them in his trade, and to be able in Egypt 
to support his poor family. Mary at the same time puts 
together a little bundle of clothes for the use of the holy 
Child; and then she goes into her cell, kneels down first 
before her Infant Son, kisses his feet, and then with tears 
of tenderness says to him, O my Son and my God, hardly 
art Thou born and come into the world to save men, 
when these men seek Thee to put Thee to death. She 
then takes him; and the two holy spouses, shedding tears 

1 " Surge, et accipe Puerum et Matrem ejus et fuge in ^Egyptum." 
Matt. ii. 13. 

9 "Quserunt Puerum ad perdendum eum." 



Th ird M edit a tion. 273 

as they go, shut the door, and the same night set out on 
their journey. 

Let us consider the occupations of these holy pilgrims 
during their journey. All their conversation is upon 
their dear Jesus alone, on his patience and his love; and 
thus they console themselves in the midst of the trials 
and inconveniences of so long a journey. Oh, how sweet 
it is to suffer at. the sight of Jesus suffering! O my soul, 
says St. Bonaventure, do thou also keep company with 
these three poor holy exiles; and have compassion with 
them in the long, wearisome, and painful journey which 
they are making. And beseech Mary that she will give 
thee her divine Son to carry in thy heart. 

Consider how much they must have suffered, especially 
in those nights which they had to pass in the desert of 
Egypt. The bare earth serves them for a bed in the cold 
open air. The Infant weeps, Mary and Joseph shed tears 
of compassion. O holy faith! who would not weep at 
seeing the Son of God become an infant, poor and for 
saken, flying across a desert in order to escape death? 



Affections and Prayers. 

My dear Jesus, Thou art the King of Heaven, but now I be 
hold Thee as an infant wandering over the earth ; tell me whom 
art Thou in search of ? I pity Thee when I see Thee so poor 
and humbled ; but I pity Thee more when I see Thee treated 
with such ingratitude by those same men whom Thou earnest to 
save. Thou dost weep ; but I also weep, because I have been 
one of those who in times past have despised and persecuted 
Thee. But now I value Thy grace more than all the kingdoms 
of the world ; forgive me, O my Jesus! all the evil I have com 
mitted against Thee, and permit me to carry Thee always in 
my heart during the journey of my life to eternity, even as Mary 
carried Thee in her arms during the flight into Egypt. My be 
loved Redeemer, I have many times driven Thee out of my soul ; 
but now I hope that Thou hast again taken possession of it. I 
18 



2 74 Octave of the Epiphany. 

beseech Thee, do Thou bind it to Thyself with the sweet chains 
of Thy love. I will never again drive Thee from me. But I 
fear lest I should again abandon Thee, as I have done in past 
times. O my Lord ! let me die rather than treat Thee with 
fresh and still more horrible ingratitude. I love Thee, O infinite 
Goodness ; and I will always repeat to Thee, I love Thee, I love 
Thee, I love Thee; and so I hope to die saying, God of my 
heart, and the God that art my portion forever? O my Jesus! 
Thou art so good, so worthy of being loved, oh do Thou make 
Thyself loved ; make Thyself loved by all the sinners who perse 
cute Thee ; give them light, make them know the love Thou 
hast borne them and the love that Thou deservest since Thou 
goest wandering ahout the earth as a poor Infant, weeping and 
trembling with cold, and seeking souls to love Thee ! O Mary, 
most holy Virgin, O dearest Mother and companion of the suf 
ferings of Jesus, do thou help me always to carry and preserve 
in my heart thy Son, in life and in death ! 



MEDITATION IV. 

JANUARY 9. 
The Dwelling of Jesus in Egypt. 

Jesus chose to dwell in Egypt during his infancy, that 
he might lead a more hard and abject life. According 
to St. Anselm and other writers, the holy family lived in 
Heliopolis. Let us with St. Bonaventure contemplate the 
life that Jesus led during the seven years that he re 
mained in Egypt, as it was revealed to St. Mary Mag 
dalene of Pazzi. 

The house they live in is very poor, because St. Joseph 
has but little wherewith to pay rent; their bed is poor, 
their food poor; their life, in short, is one of strict pov 
erty, for they barely gain their livelihood day by day by 
the workci their hands, and they live in a country where 

1 " Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus, in aeternum." Ps. 
Ixxii. 26. 



Foiirth Meditation. 275 

the}- are unknown and despised, having there neither 
relatives nor friends. 

This holy family does indeed live in great poverty; 
but oh, how well-ordered are the occupations of these 
three sojourners! The holy Infant speaks not with his 
tongue; but in his heart he speaks indeed and continually 
to his heavenly Father, applying all his sufferings, and 
every moment of his life, for our salvation. Neither does 
Mary speak; but at the sight of that dear Infant she 
meditates on the divine love, and the favor that God has 
conferred upon her by choosing her for his Mother. 
Joseph also works in silence; and at the sight of the 
divine Child his heart is inflamed, while he thanks him 
for having chosen him for the companion and guardian 
of his life. 

In this house Mary weans Jesus: at first she fed him 
from her breast, now she feeds him with her hands; 
she holds him on her lap, takes from the porringer a little 
bread soaked in water, and then puts it into the sacred 
mouth of her Son. In this house Mary made her Infant 
his first little garment; and when the time was come, she 
took off his swaddling-clothes, and began to put on this 
vestment. In this house the Child Jesus began to walk 
and speak. Let us adore the first steps that the Incar 
nate Word began to take in this house, and the first 
words of eternal life that he began to utter. Here he 
began also to do the work of a little servant-boy, occupy 
ing himself in all the little services that a child can 
render. 

Ah, weaning ! ah, little garment ! ah, first steps ! ah, 
lisping words ! ah, little services of the little Jesus, how 
do you not wound and inflame the hearts of those who 
love Jesus and meditate on you ! Behold a God trem 
bling and falling, a God lisping, a God become so weak 
that he can occupy himself in nothing but in little house 
hold affairs, and unable even to lift a bit of wood, if too 



2 76 Octave of the Epiphany. 

heavy for the strength of a child ! O holy faith, enlighten 
us, and make us love this good Lord, who for the love of 
us has submitted himself to so many miseries ! It is said 
that on the entrance of Jesus into Egypt all the idols of 
the country fell down; oh, let us pray to God that he 
will make us love Jesus from our hearts, since in that 
soul where the love of Jesus enters, all the idols of 
earthly affections are overthrown. 



Affections and Prayers. 

O Holy Infant, who livest in this country of barbarians poor, 
unknown, and despised, I acknowledge Thee for my God and 
Saviour, and I thank Thee for all the humiliations and sufferings 
Thou didst endure in Egypt for the love of me. By Thy man 
ner of life there Thou dost teach me to live as a pilgrim on this 
earth, giving me to understand that this is not my country ; but 
that Paradise, which Thou hast purchased for me by Thy death 
is my home. Ah, my Jesus, I have been ungrateful to Thee 
because I have thought but little of what Thou hast done and 
suffered for me. When I think that Thou, the Son of God, didst 
lead a life of such tribulation upon this earth, so poor and 
neglected, how is it possible that I should go about seeking the 
amusements and good things of the earth ? Take me, I pray 
Thee, my dear Redeemer, for Thy companion ; admit me to 
live always united with Thee upon this earth, in order that 
united with Thee in heaven, I may love Thee there, and be Thy 
companion throughout eternity. Give me light, increase my 
faith. What goods, what pleasures, what dignities, what honors ! 
All is vanity and folly. The only real riches, the only real good, 
is to possess Thee, who art the infinite Good. Blessed he who 
loves Thee ! I love Thee, O my Jesus, and I seek none other 
but Thee. I desire Thee, and Thou desirest me. If I had a 
thousand kingdoms, I would renounce them all to please Thee, 
"my God and my All." 1 If in times past I have sought after 
the vanities and pleasures of this world, I now detest them, and 
am sorry that I have done so. My beloved Saviour, from this 

1 " Deus meus, et omnia," 



Fifth Meditation. 277 

day forward Thou shalt be my only delight, my only love, my 
only treasure. Most holy Mary, pray to Jesus for me ; beseech 
him to make me rich in his love alone, and I desire nothing 
else. 

MEDITATION V. 

JANUARY 10. 
The Return of Jesus from Egypt. 

After the death of Herod, and an exile of seven years, 
according to the common opinion of the Doctors, during 
which time Jesus lived in Egypt, the angel again ap 
peared 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 cour 
teously 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 
by the hand the divine Child, 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, be 
cause he was now become too large for Mary and Joseph 
to carry him much in their arms ; but at the same time 
the Holy Child, at his age, was not able to make a long 
journey ; so that Jesus was obliged through fatigue fre 
quently to stop .and rest himself 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 recol 
lection does that happy soul travel through this life who 
keeps before its eyes the love and the examples of Jesus 
Christ! 

The holy pilgrims interrupt now and then tke silence 
of this journey by some holy conversation; but with 



278 Octave of the Epiphany. 

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 speaks of him. 

Consider again the pain that our little Saviour must 
have endured during the nights of this 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 in 
this desert, in which 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 suf 
ferings of the Child Jesus. 

Affections and Prayers. 

Beloved and adored Child, Thou dost return to Thy country; 
but where, O God, where dost Thou return ? Thou comest to 
that place where Thy countrymen prepare for Thee insults dur 
ing life, and then scourges, thorns, ignominy, and a cross at Thy 
death. But all was already present to Thy divine eyes, O my 
Jesus ! and yet Thou comest of Thy own will to meet that Pas 
sion which men prepare for Thee. But, my 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. 
Thy death hath been my salvation. But how is it, Lord, that 
by despising Thy grace I have again condemned myself to hell, 
even after Thy death, by which Thou didst deliver me from it. 
I acknowledge that hell is but a slight punishment for me. 
But Thou hast waited to pardon me. I thank Thee for it, O 
my Redeemer, and 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 myjife on the love that 
Thou hast borne me ! It would not be so much the fire of hell 
as Thy love, O my Jesus, that would be my hell. But Thou 
didst come into the world to kindle the fire of Thy holy love; 
I desire to burn with this fire, and not with that which would 



Sixth Meditation. 279 

keep me forever separated from Thee. I repeat, therefore, O 
my Jesus ! deliver me from hell, because in hell I cannot love 
Thee. O Mary, my Mother ! I hear it everywhere said and 
preached that those who love thee and trust in thee, provided 
they desire to amend their lives, will not go to hell. I love thee, 
my Lady, and I trust in thee ; I will amend my life : O Mary, 
do thou remember to deliver me from hell ! 

MEDITATION VI. 

JANUARY n. 
The Dwelling of Jesus at Nazareth. 

St. Joseph, on his return to Palestine, heard that Arche- 
laus reigned in Judea instead of his father, Herod, where 
fore he was afraid to go and live there; and being 
warned in a dream, he went to live in Nazareth, a city 
of Galilee, and there in a poor little cottage he fixed his 
dwelling. O blessed house of Nazareth, I salute and 
venerate you ! There will come a time when you will 
be visited by the great ones of the earth: when the pil 
grims find themselves inside your poor walls, they will 
never be satisfied with shedding tears- of tenderness at 
the thought that within them the King of Paradise 
passed nearly all his life. 

In this house, then, the Incarnate Word lived during 
the remainder of his infancy and youth. And how did 
he live ? Poor and despised by men, performing the 
offices of a common working-boy, and obeying Joseph 
and Mary: and He was subject to them. 1 O God, how 
touching it is to think that in this poor house the Son of 
God lives as a servant ! Now he goes to fetch water; 
then he opens or shuts the shop; now he sweeps the 
room; now he collects the shavings for the fire; now he 
labors in assisting Joseph at his trade. O wonder ! To 
see a God sweeping ! A God serving as a boy ! O 

1 " Et erat subditus illis." Luke, ii. 51. 



280 Octave of the Epiphany. 

thought that ought to make us all burn with holy love 
to our Redeemer, who has reduced himself to such hu 
miliations in order to gain our love ! 

Let us adore all these servile actions of Jesus, which 
were all divine. Let us adore, above all, the hidden and 
neglected life that Jesus Christ led in the house of Naz 
areth ! O proud men, how can you desire to make your 
selves seen and honored, when you behold your God, 
who spends thirty years of his life in poverty, hidden 
and unknown, to teach us the love of retirement and of 
an humble and a hidden life ! 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my adorable Infant, I see Thee an humble servant-boy, 
working even in the sweat of Thy brow in this poor shop. I 
understand it all ; Thou art serving and working for me. But 
since Thou dost employ Thy whole life for the love of me, so 
grant, I pray Thee, my dear Saviour, that I may employ all the 
rest of my life for Thy love. Look not at my past life : it has 
.been a life of sorrow and tears both for me and for Thee, a life 
of disorder, a life of sins. Oh, permit me at least to keep Thee 
company during the remainder of my days, and to labor and 
suffer with Thee in the shop of Nazareth, and afterwards to die 
with Thee on Calvary, embracing that death which Thou hast 
destined for me. My dear Jesus, my love, suffer me not to leave 
and forsake Thee again, as I have done in times past. Thou, 
my God, art suffering such poverty in a shop, hidden, unknown, 
and despised ; and I, a vile worm, have gone about seeking 
honors and pleasures, and for the sake of these have separated 
myself from Thee, O sovereign Good ! No, my Jesus, I love 
Thee; and because I love Thee, I will not remain any longer 
separated from Thee. I renounce all things, in order to unite 
myself to Thee, my hidden and despised Redeemer. Thy grace 
gives me more happiness than have all the vanities and pleas 
ures of the world, for which I have so miserably forsaken Thee. 
Eternal Father, for the merits of Jesus Christ, unite me to Thy 
self by the gift of Thy holy love. Most holy Virgin, how blessed 
wert thou, who, being the companion of thy Son in his poor 



Seventh Meditation. 281 

and hidden life, didst make thyself so like to thy Jesus ! O my 
Mother, grant that I also, at least during the short remainder of 
my life, may endeavor to become like to thee and to my Re 
deemer. 

MEDITATION VII. 

JANUARY 12. 
The Same Subject continued. 

St. Luke, speaking of the residence of the Infant Jesus 
in the house at Nazareth, writes: And Jesus advanced in 
wisdom and age, and grace with God and men.* As Jesus 
grew in age, so did he increase in wisdom: not that he 
went on every year acquiring a greater knowledge of 
things, as is the case with us; for, from the first moment 
of his life, Jesus was full of all divine knowledge and 
wisdom: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge;* but it is said that he advanced, because 
every day as he advanced in age he manifested more 
and more his sublime wisdom. 

Thus it is also said that he advanced in grace with 
God and men; with God, because all his divine actions, 
though they did not render him more holy or increase 
his merit, since Jesus was from the first full of sanctity 
and merit, of whose fulness we have received all graces: 
of his fulness we have all received; yet, nevertheless, 
these operations of the Redeemer were all sufficient in 
themselves to increase his grace and merit. 

He advanced also in grace with men, increasing in 
beauty and amiability. Oh, how Jesus showed himself 
more and more amiable every day of his youth, showing 

1 " Et Jesus proficiebat sapientia, et aetate, et gratia, apud Deum 
et homines." Luke, ii. 52. 

* " In quo sunt omnes thesauri sapientiae, et scientias absconditi." 
Col. ii. 3- 

8 " De plenitudine ejus nos omnes accepimus " John, i. 16. 



282 Octave of the Epiphany. 

more and more every day the claims he had upon men s 
love ! With what delight did the holy youth obey Mary 
and Joseph ! With what recollection of mind did he 
work! With what moderation did he take his food ! 
With what modesty did he speak! With what sweet 
ness and affability did he converse with all ! With what 
devotion did he pray! In a word, every action, every 
word, every motion of Jesus, inflamed with love the 
hearts of all those who beheld him, and especially of 
Mary and of Joseph, who had the good fortune to see 
him always at their side. Oh, how these holy spouses 
remained always intent on contemplating and admiring 
all the operations, the words, and gestures of this Man- 
God ! 

Affections and Prayers. 

Grow, my beloved Jesus, grow continually for me ; grow to 
teach me Thy virtues by Thy divine examples; grow to con 
summate the great sacrifice on the cross, on which depends my 
eternal salvation ! Grant also, my Saviour, that I too may grow 
more in Thy love and grace. Miserable that I have been, I 
have hitherto only increased in ingratitude towards Thee who 
hast loved me so much. O my Jesus, grant that in future it 
may be just the contrary with me ; Thou knowest all my weak 
ness, it is from Thee that I must receive light and strength. 
Make me know the claims which Thou hast to my love. Thou 
art a God of infinite beauty and of infinite majesty, who didst 
not refuse to come down upon this earth and become man for 
us, and for our sakes to lead an abject and painful life, and to 
end it by a most cruel death. And where can we ever find an 
object more amiable and more worthy of love than Thee ? Fool 
that I was, in times past I refused to know Thee, and therefore 
I have lost Thee. I implore Thy pardon ; I am heartily sorry, 
and I am determined to be entirely devoted to Thee in future. 
But do Thou assist me ; remind me constantly of the life of suf 
fering and the bitter death Thou hast endured for the love of 
me. Give me life and give me strength. When the devil pre 
sents to me forbidden fruit, grant me strength to despise it; 



Eighth Meditation. 283 

and let me not for some vile and momentary good risk losing 
Thee, O infinite Good. I love Thee, my Jesus, who hast died 
for me ; I love Thee, infinite Goodness ; I love Thee, O Beloved 
of my soul. O Mary, thou art rny hope ; through thy interces 
sion I hope to obtain grace to love my God from this time forth 
and forever, and never to love any but God. 

MEDITATION VIII. 

JANUARY 13. 
The Loss of Jesus in the Temple. 

St. Luke relates that Mary and Joseph went every 
year to Jerusalem on the Feast of the Pasch, and took 
the Infant Jesus with them. It was the custom, says the 
Venerable Bede, for the Jews to make this journey to the 
temple, or at least on their return home, the men sepa 
rated from the women ; and the children went at their 
pleasure, either with their fathers or their mothers. Our 
Redeemer, who was then twelve years old, remained 
during this solemnity for three days in Jerusalem. Mary 
thought he was with Joseph, and Joseph that he was 
with Mary: Thinking that He was in the company. 1 

The Holy Child employed all these three days in hon 
oring his eternal Father by fasts, vigils, and prayers, 
and in being present at the sacrifices, which were all fig 
ures of his own great sacrifice on the cross. If he took 
a little food, says St. Bernard, he must have procured it 
by begging ; and if he took any repose, he could have 
had no other bed but the bare ground. 

When Mary and Joseph arrived in the evening at 
their home, they did not find Jesus ; wherefore, full of 
sorrow, they began to seek him amongst their relatives 
and friends. At last, returning to Jerusalem, the third 
day they found him in the Temple, disputing with the 
Doctors, who, full of astonishment, admired the ques- 

1 " Existimantes ilium esse in comitatu." Luke, ii. 44. 



284 Octave of the Epiphany. 

tions and answers of this wonderful child. On seeing 
him, Mary said, Son, why hast Thou done so to us ? Behold 
Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. 1 

There is not upon earth a sorrow like to that which is 
felt by a soul that loves Jesus, when she fears that Je 
sus Christ has withdrawn himself from her through 
some fault of hers. This was the sorrow of Mary and 
Joseph, which afflicted them so much during these days; 
for they perhaps feared, through their humility, as says 
the devout Lanspergius, that they had rendered them 
selves unworthy of the care of such a treasure. Where 
fore, on seeing him, Mary said to him, in order to ex 
press to him this sorrow : Son, why hast Thou done so to 
us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing? 
And Jesus answered, Did you not know that I must be about 
My Father s business ? 2 

Let us learn from this mystery two lessons ; the first, 
that we must leave all our friends and relatives when 
the glory of God is in question. The second, that God 
easily makes himself found by those who seek him: The 
Lord is good to the soul that seeketh 



Affections and Prayers. 

O Mary, thou weepest because thou hast lost thy Son for a 
few days ; he has withdrawn himself from thy eyes, but not 
from thy heart. Dost thou not see that that pure love with 
which thou lovest him keeps him constantly united and bound 
to thee? Thou knowest well that he who loves God cannot 
but be loved by God, who says, / love those that love Me ; 4 and 
with St. John, He that abideth in charity abideth in God, and 

" Fili, quid fecisti nobis sic ? ecce pater tuus et ego dolentes quaa- 
rebamus te." 

" Nesciebatis quia, in his quae Patris mei sunt, oportet me esse ?" 

"Bonus est Dominus .... animae quserenti ilium." Lam. 
iii. 25. 

"Ego diligentes me diligo." Prov. viii. 17. 



Eighth Meditation. 285 

God in him. 1 Wherefore, then, dost thou fear? Wherefore dost 
thou weep ? Leave these tears to me, who have so often lost 
God through my own fault, by driving him away from my soul. 

my Jesus ! how could I offend Thee thus with my eyes open, 
when I knew that by sinning I should lose Thee? But Thou 
wiliest not that the heart that seeks Thee should despair, but 
rather that it should rejoice : Let the heart of them rejoice that 

seek the Lord? If hitherto I have forsaken Thee, O my Love, 

1 will now seek, and will seek none but Thee. And provided I 
possess Thy grace, I renounce all the goods and pleasures of 
this world ; I renounce even my own life, Thou hast said that 
Thou lovest him who loves Thee ; I love Thee, do Thou also 
love me. I esteem Thy love more than the dominion of the 
whole world. O my Jesus, I desire not to lose Thee any more ; 
but I cannot trust to myself, I trust in Thee : In Thee, O Lord, 
have I put my trust ; I shall not be confounded forever? I be 
seech Thee, do Thou bind me to Thee, and permit me not to 
be again separated from Thee. O Mary ! through thee have I 
found my God, whom 1 had once lost ; do thou obtain for me 
also holy perseverance ; wherefore I will also say to thee, with 
St. Bonaventure, In thee, O Lady, have I hoped ; let me not be 
confounded forever, 4 

1 " Qui manet in charitate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo." i John, 
iv. 16. 

2 " Leetetur cor quaerentium Dominum." Ps. civ. 3. 

3 "In te, Domine. speravi ; non confundar in aeternum." Ps. 
xxx. 6. 

4 "In te, Domina, speravi ; non confundar in seternum." 



286 



tljer iflebitati0ns for tlje first ig!)t jEDajia of 



MEDITATION I. 

The Love that God has manifested to us in the Incarnation of 
the Word. 

Et Verbum caro factum est. 
"And the Word was made flesh." John, i. 14. 

I. 

God has created us to love him in this life, and after 
wards to enjoy him in the next; but we ungratefully 
rebelled against God by sinning, and refused to obey 
him, and therefore we have been deprived of divine grace 
and excluded from paradise, and besides condemned to 
the eternal pains of hell. Behold us, therefore, all lost; 
but this God, moved by compassion for us, resolved to 
send on earth a Redeemer, who should repair our great 



ruin. 

II. 



But who shall this Redeemer be ? Shall it be an angel 
or a seraph ? No; to show us the immense love that he 
bears us, God sends us his own Son: God sent His Son 
in the likeness of sinful flesh." He sent his only-begotten 
Son to clothe himself with the same flesh as we sinners 
but without the stain of sin; and he willed that bv his 
sufferings and his death he should satisfy the divine jus 
tice for our crimes, and should thus deliver us from 



Similitudinem carnj s peccati." 

These eight meditations, with the twelve others that follow them 

some 



For the First Eight Days of Advent. 287 

eternal death, and render us worthy of divine grace and 
eternal glory. 

I thank Thee, O my God, on behalf of all mankind; 
for, if Thou hadst not thought of saving us, I and all the 
world would have been lost forever. 

ill. 

Let us dwell here on the infinite love which our God 
has shown for us in this great work of the Incarnation 
of the Word, ordaining that his Son should come and 
sacrifice his life upon the Cross by the hands of execu 
tioners, in a sea of sorrows and of shame, to obtain fet 
us pardon and eternal salvation. O infinite goodness! 
O infinite mercy! O infinite love ! A God to become 
man and die for us poor worms! 

I beseech Thee, my Saviour, make me know how much 
Thou hast loved me, in order that, at the sight of Thy 
loving-kindness, I may discover my own ingratitude. 
Thou hast delivered me by Thy death from perdition; 
and I, ungrateful that I am, have turned my back upon 
Thee, to ruin myself again! I repent with all my heart 
of having done Thee this great injury. O my Saviour! 
forgive me and save me in future from sin; do not suffer 
me again to lose Thy grace. I love Thee, O my dear 
Jesus; Thou art my hope and my love! O Mary, Mother 
of this great Son, recommend to him my soul! 

MEDITATION II. 

Goodness of God the Father and of God the Son in the Work 
of the Redemption. 

Et incarnatux est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine* et homo factus est. 

"And became incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made, 
man." Symb. Const. 

I. 

God created Adam, and enriched him with gifts; but 
man, ungrateful, offended him by sinning, and thus both 



288 Other Meditations. 

he and all we, his descendants, remained deprived of 
divine grace and paradise. Thus, then, all mankind 
was lost and without a remedy. Man had offended 
God, and therefore was incapable of giving him an ade 
quate satisfaction ; it was necessary then that a divine 
person should satisfy for man. What does the eternal 
Father to save lost man? He sent this same Son to 
become man, and clothe himself with the same flesh as 
sinful men, in order that by his death he might pay 
their debts to divine justice, and thus obtain for them a 
restoration to divine grace. 

O my God, if Thy infinite bounty had not discovered 
this remedy, who of us could ever have asked it, or even 
imagined it ? 

II. 

O God, what a subject of wonder must not this great 
love which God showed to rebellious man have been to 
the angels ! What must they have said when they saw 
the eternal Word become man, and assume the same 
flesh as sinful man, insomuch that this Word incarnate 
appeared to the whole world in the form of a sinful man, 
as were all others. O my Jesus, how much do we not 
owe Thee, and how much more than others am I not 
indebted to Thee, who have offended Thee so much more 
than others ! If Thou hadst not come to save me, what 
would have become of me for all eternity? Who could 
have saved me from the pains that I deserve? Mayest 
Thou be ever blessed and praised for so great love! 

in. 

Thus, then, the Son of God comes from heaven on 
earth, and becomes man; he comes to live a life of suf 
fering; he comes to die upon the cross for the love of 
man; and shall men who believe all this love any other 
object besides this incarnate God? 

O Jesus my Saviour, I will love none other but Thee; 



For the First Eight Days of Advent. 289 

Thou alone hast loved me, Thee alone will I love. I re 
nounce all created goods; Thou alone art sufficient for 
me, O immense and infinite Good! If hitherto I have 
displeased Thee, I am now heartily sorry for it, and 
would wish that this sorrow might make me die, to com 
pensate in some measure for the displeasure I have 
caused Thee. Oh, permit me not in future to be ever 
again ungrateful for the love Thou hast borne me. No, 
my Jesus, make me love Thee, and then treat me as 
Thou pleasest. O infinite Bounty, O infinite Love, I 
will only live henceforth to love Thee ! O Mary, Mother 
of mercy, this one favor I ask of thee, obtain for me the 
grace of always, always loving God. 

MEDITATION III. 

Motives of Confidence that are given to us by the Incarnation 
of the Word. 

Quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit? 
" How hath he not also, with him, given us all things ?" Rom. viii. 32. 

I. 

Consider, my soul, that the eternal Father, in giving 
us his beloved Son for our Redeemer, could have given 
us no stronger motives for confiding in his mercy and 
loving his infinite bounty; for he could have given us 
no more certain token of the desire he has for our good, 
and of the immense love which he bears us, inasmuch as 
in giving us his Son, he has nothing left to give us. Let 
all men, therefore, O eternal God, praise Thy infinite 
charity. 

II. 

How hath He not also, with Him, given us all things f 
Since God has given us his Son, whom he loved as him 
self, how can we fear that he will deny us any other 

1 " Quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit?" 
IQ 



290 Other Meditations. 

good that we ask of him ? If, therefore, he has given us 
his Son, he will not refuse us pardon for the offences 
v/hicli we have committed against him, provided we de 
test them; he will not refuse us the grace to resist temp 
tations, if we implore it of him; he will not refuse us his 
holy love, if we desire it; he will not, finally, refuse us 
Paradise, if we do not render ourselves unworthy of it 
by falling into sin. Behold how Jesus himself assures 
us of this: If you ask the Father any t hi tig in My name, He 
will give it you? 

Encouraged, therefore, O my God, by this promise, I 
beg of Thee, for the love of Jesus Thy Son, to pardon 
me all the injuries that I have done Thee; give me holy 
perseverance in Thy grace until death; give me Thy 
holy love; may I detach myself from everything to love 
Thee alone, O infinite Goodness; give me Paradise in 
order that I may come and love Thee there with all my 
strength, and forever, without fear of ever ceasing to 
love Thee. 

in. 

In a word, the Apostle says that, having obtained 
Jesus Christ, we have been enriched with every good, so 
that there is no grace wanting to us: /;/ all things you are 
made rich in Him . . . , so that nothing is wanting to you in any 
grace? 

Yes, my Jesus, Thou art every good; Thou alone suf- 
ficest me; for Thee alone do I sigh; if once I drove Thee 
away from me by my sins, I repent of it now with my 
whole heart. Forgive me, and return to me, O Lord; 
and if Thou art already with me, as I hope, leave me 
not again, or, rather, suffer me not to drive Thee away 

"Si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis." John, 
xvi. 23. 

* " In omnibus divites facti estis in illo . . . , ita ut nihil vobis 
desit in ulla gratia." I Cor. i. 5. 



For the First Eight Days of Advent. 291 

from my soul again. My Jesus, my Jesus, my treasure, 
my love, my All, I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, 
and will love Thee forever. O Mary, my hope, make 
me always to love Jesus. 

MEDITATION IV. 

Happiness of having been born after the Redemption and in 
the True Church. 

Ubi venit plenitudo temporis, inisit Deus Filium suum . . . , ut eos qui sub lege 
erant, redimeret. 

" When the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son . . . that he might 
redeem them who were under the law." Gal. iv. 4. 

I. 

How thankful should we not be to Almighty God for 
having caused us to be born after the great work of man s 
redemption was accomplished ! This is what is meant by 
the fulness of time* a time blessed by the fulness of grace, 
which Jesus Christ obtained for us by coming into the 
world. Miserable should we have been if, guilty as we 
are of manifold sins, we had lived on this earth before 
the coming of Jesus Christ. 

H. 

Oh, what a miserable state were all men in before the 
coming of the Messias; the true God was hardly known 
even in Judea, and in every other part of the world 
idolatry reigned, so that our forefathers worshipped 
stones, and wood, and devils; they worshipped innumer 
able false gods, but the true God was neither loved nor 
known by them. Even now, how many countries are there 
in which there are scarcely any Catholics, and all the 
rest of the inhabitants are either infidels or heretics ! and 
all these are certainly in the way to be lost. What ob 
ligation do we not owe to God for causing us to be born, 

1 "Plenitudo temporis." 



292 Other Meditations. 

not only after the coming of Jesus Christ, but also in 
countries where the true faith reigns ! 

I thank Thee, O Lord, for this. Woe to me if, after 
so many transgressions, it had been my lot to live in the 
midst of infidels or heretics ! I know, O my God, that 
Thou wiliest that I should be saved; and I, miserable 
wretch, have willed so many times to damn myself by 
losing Thy favor. Have pity, my Blessed Redeemer, 
on my soul, which has cost Thee so much. 

in. 

God sent His Son that He might redeem them that were un 
der the law. 1 The slave therefore sins, and by sinning 
gives himself into the power of the devil, and his own 
Lord comes and ransoms him by his death. 

O immense love, O infinite love of God towards man ! 
O my Saviour, if Thou hadst not redeemed me by Thy 
death, what would have become of me? Of me, who so 
many times have deserved hell by my sins. Oh, if Thou, 
my Jesus, hadst not died for me, I should have lost Thee 
forever, and there would have been no hope for me of 
recovering Thy grace, or of seeing Thy beautiful face in 
paradise. My dearest Saviour, I thank Thee; and I 
hope to come to heaven, there to thank Thee for all 
eternity. I regret above every evil that of having de 
spised Thee in times past. In future, I purpose to 
choose every trouble, every kind of death, rather than 
offend Thee. I beseech Thee, my Jesus, let me never 
do so; "never let me be separated from Thee, never let 
me be separated from Thee." 2 I love Thee, O infinite 
Goodness ! and I will always love Thee in this life, and 
in all eternity. O my queen and advocate, Mary, keep 
me always under thy protection, and deliver me from 
sin. 

" Misit Filium suum, ut eos, qui sub lege erant, redimeret." - 
Qal. iv. 4. 
* " Noli me separari a te; noli me separari a te." 



For the First Eight Days of Advent. 293 



MEDITATION V. 
Jesus has done and suffered Everything to save us. 

Dilexit me, et tradidit setnetipsum pro me. 
" He loved me, and delivered Himself for me." Gal. ii. 20. 

I. 

If, therefore, my Jesus, Thou hast for love of me em 
braced a laborious life and a bitter death, I may, indeed, 
say that Thy death is mine, Thy sufferings are mine, Thy 
merits are mine, Thou Thyself art mine; since for me 
Thou hast given Thyself up to so great sufferings. Ah, 
my Jesus, there is no trouble that afflicts me more than 
the thought that once Thou wert mine, and that I have 
so often willingly lost Thee. Forgive me, and unite me 
to Thyself; suffer me not in future ever to offend Thee 
again. I love Thee with all my heart. Thou wiliest to 
be all mine; and I will be entirely Thine. 

II. 

The Son of God being true God is infinitely happy; 
and yet, as St. Thomas says, he has done and suffered as 
much for man as if he could not be happy without him. 1 
If Jesus Christ had been obliged to earn for himself 
upon this earth his eternal beatitude, what could he 
have done more than to burden himself with all our 
weaknesses, and assume all our infirmities, and then end 
his life with a death so severe and ignominious? But 
no, he was innocent, he was holy, and was in himself 
blessed; whatever he did and suffered was all to gain for 
us divine grace and paradise, which we had lost. 

Miserable is he that does not love Thee, my Jesus, and 
that does not pass his life enamoured with so much 
goodness. 

1 " Quasi sine ipso beatus essc non posset," Of use, 63, c. 7. 



2 94 Other Meditations. 



in. 



If Jesus Christ had permitted us to ask him for the 
greatest proofs of his love, who would have dared to pro 
pose to him to become a child like one of us, to embrace 
all our miseries, to make himself of all men the most 
poor, the most despised, the most ill-used, even to dying 
m torments the infamous death of the cross, cursed and 
forsaken by all, even by his own Father ? But that which 
we should not have dared even to think of, he has both 
thought of and done. 

My beloved Redeemer, I beseech Thee to obtain for 

that grace which Thou hast merited for me by Thy 

death. I love Thee, and am sorry for having offended Thee 

3h, take my soul into Thy hands; I will not let the devil 

have dominion over it any more; I desire that it may be 

entirely Thine, since Thou hast bought it with Thy 

blood. Thou alone lovest me, and Thee alone will I 

Deliver me from the misery of living without 

Thy love, and then chastise me as Thou wiliest Q 

Mary, my refuge, the death of Jesus and thy intercession 

are my hopes. 

MEDITATION VI. 

The Sight of our Sins afflicted Jesus from the First Moment 
of his Life. 

Dolor meus in conspectu rneo semper. 
"My sorrow is continually before me." Ps. xxxvii. 18, 

All the afflictions and ignominies which Jesus Christ 
suffered in life and death, all were present to his mind 
from the first moment of his life. 1 And he offered them 
all every moment of his life in satisfaction for our sins. 
Our Lord revealed to one of his servants that every sin 
Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper." 



For the First Eight Days of Advent. 295 

of men gave him during his life so much sorrow that it 
would have sufficed to cause his death, if his life had not 
been preserved in order that he might suffer more. Be 
hold, O my Jesus ! what gratitude hast Thou received 
from men, and especially from me. Thou hast spent 
thirty-three years of life for my salvation, and I have 
done as much as I could, as far as it depended on me, to 
make Thee die with sorrow, as often as I have committed 
sin. 

n. 

St. Bernardine of Sienna writes that Jesus Christ 
" had a particular regard to every single sin." Each of 
our sins was present continually to our Saviour, even 
from his infancy, and afflicted him grievously. St. 
Thomas adds 2 tha*t this one sorrow of knowing all the 
injury which resulted to the Father from every sin, and 
all the evil which it occasioned to us, surpassed the sor 
row of all the contrite sinners that ever were, even of 
those who died of pure contrition; because no sinner 
ever arrived at loving God and his own soul as Jesus 
Christ has loved the Father and our souls. 

Therefore, my Jesus, if no man ever loved me more 
than Thou hast done, it it only just that I should love 
Thee above all men. Since, then, I can say that Thou 
alone hast really loved me, so will I love Thee alone. 

in. 

That agony which Jesus suffered in the garden at the 
sight of our sins, for which he had taken upon himself 
to satisfy, he suffered from the time he was conceived in 
his mother s womb. If, therefore, Jesus Christ passed a 
life full of tribulations for no other reason than on ac 
count of our sins, we ought not, during our life, to afflict 

1 "Ad quamlibet culpam singularem habet aspectum." T. ii. s. 
56, a. i, c. i. 

2 P. 3, q. 46, a. 6. 



296 Other Meditations. 

ourselves for any other evils than for the sins which we 
have committed. 

My beloved Redeemer, I could wish to die of sorrow 
at the thought of all the bitterness that I have caused 
Thee during my life. My Love, if Thou lovest me, give 
me such a sorrow as may take away my life, and so 
obtain for me Thy pardon, and the grace to love Thee 
with all my strength. I give Thee my whole heart; and 
if I do not know how to give it to Thee entirely, oh, do 
Thou take it Thyself, and inflame it with Thy holy love. 
O Mary, advocate of the wretched, I recommend myself 
to thee. 

MEDITATION VII. 

Baptisnto habeo baptizari ; et quomodo coarctor, u squedutn perfi ciaturt 

" I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how am I straitened until 
it be accomplished ?" Luke, xii. 50. 

The Desire that Jesus had to suffer for us. 



Jesus could have saved us without suffering; but he 
chose rather to embrace a life of sorrow and contempt, 
deprived of every earthly consolation, and a death of 
bitterness and desolation, only to make us understand 
the love which he bore us, and the desire which he had 
that we should love him. He passed his whole life in 
sighing for the hour of his death, which he desired to 
offer to God, to obtain for us eternal salvation. And it 
was this desire which made him exclaim: I have a bap 
tism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how am I straitened 
until it be accomplished? 1 He desired to be baptized in 
his own blood, to wash out, not, indeed, his own, but 
our sins. O infinite Love, how miserable is he who does 
not know Thee, and does not love Thee ! 

" Desiderio desideravi hoc pascha manducare vobiscnm." Luke, 
xxii. 15. 



For the First Eight Days of Advent. 297 

ii. 

This same desire caused him to say, on the night be 
fore his death, With desire I have desired to eat this pasch 
with you. By which words he shows that his only desire 
during his whole life had been to see the time arrive for 
his Passion and death, in order to prove to man the 
immense love which he bore him. So much, therefore, 
O my Jesus, didst Thou desire our love, that to obtain 
it Thou didst not refuse to die. How could I, then, deny 
anything to a God who, for love of me, has given his 
blood and his life ? 



in. 



St. Bonaventure says that it is a wonder to see a God 
suffering for the love of men; but that it is a still greater 
wonder that men should behold a God suffering so much 
for them, shivering with cold as an infant in a manger, 
living as a poor boy in a shop, dying as a criminal on a 
cross, and yet not burn witli love to this most loving 
God; but even go so far as to despise this love, for the 
sake of the miserable pleasures of this earth. But how 
is it possible that God should be so enamoured with 
men, and that men, who are so grateful to one another, 
should be so ungrateful to God ? 

Alas ! my Jesus, I find myself also among the number 
of these ungrateful ones. Tell me, how couldst Thou 
suffer so much for me, knowing the injuries that I should 
commit against Thee ? But since Thou hast borne with 
me, and even desirest my salvation, give me, I pray 
Thee, a great sorrow for my sins, a sorrow equal to my 
ingratitude. I hate and detest, above all things, my 
Lord, the displeasure which I have caused Thee. If, 
during my past life, I have despised Thy grace, now I 
value it above all the kingdoms of the earth. I love 
Thee with my whole soul, O God, worthy of infinite 
love, and I desire only to live in order to love Thee, 



2 9 8 Other Meditations. 

Increase the flames of Thy love, and give me more and 
more love. Keep alive in my remembrance the love that 
Thou hast borne me, so that my heart may always burn 
with love for Thee, as Thy heart burns with love for me 

burning heart of Mary, inflame my poor heart with 
holy love. 

MEDITATION VIII. 

Haurietis aquas in gaudio de fontibus Salvatoris. 
"You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour s fountains."-/,*, xii. 3. 

Three Fountains of Grace that We have in Jesus Christ. 

I. 

We have three fountains of grace in Jesus Christ. 
The first is the fountain of mercy, in which we may 
purify ourselves from all the filth of our sins. For this 
end did our blessed Redeemer form, for our good, this 
fountain out of his own blood. He hath loved us, and 
washed us from our sins in His own blood. 1 

My dearest Saviour, how much do I owe Thee ! Thou 
hast done for me what no servant would have done for 
his master, and no son for his father. No, I cannot 
cease to love Thee; for Thou hast, by Thy love, entailed 
on me the necessity of loving Thee. 

ii. 

The second fountain is that of love. He that medi 
tates on the sufferings and degradations undergone by 
Jesus Christ, for the love of us, from his birth even 
until his death, must of necessity feel himself inflamed 
with that blessed fire which he came on earth to enkindle 
in the hearts of men. Thus it is that the waters of this 
fountain wash, and at the same time inflame, our souls. 
Grant, therefore, O my Jesus! that the blood which 

1 " Dilexit nos, et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine suo " 
Apoc. i. 5. 



For the First Eight Days of Advent. 299 

Thou hast shed for me may not only wash away all the 
sins which I have committed against Thee, but may also 
inflame me with holy ardor towards Thee. Make me 
forget everything, so that I may be intent only on loving 
Thee, my God, who art worthy of infinite love. 

in. 

The third fountain is that of peace. This is what 
Jesus Christ meant when he said, If any man thirst, let 
him come to Me. 1 He that desireth peace of mind, let 
him come to me, who am the God of peace. The peace 
which the Lord gives to the souls that love him is not 
the peace which the world promises in the pleasures of 
sense or in temporal goods which do not satisfy the 
heart of man. The peace which God gives to his ser 
vants is true peace, perfect peace, which satisfies the 
heart, and surpasses all the enjoyments that creatures 
can afford. But he that shall drink of the water that I will 
give him shall not thirst forever? He that truly loves God 
leaves everything, despises everything, and seeks noth 
ing but God. " Yes, my God, I desire Thee alone, and 
nothing else." There was, indeed, a time when I sought 
for other goods besides Thee; but when I think of the in 
justice which I have done Thee, in preferring so vile and 
fleeting goods to Thee, I am ready to die of sorrow. I 
acknowledge the sin I have committed, and I grieve for 
it with my whole heart. I acknowledge also that Thou 
art worthy of all my love; and therefore I repeat, and 
hope always to repeat in this life and in the next, " My 
God, my God, I desire Thee alone, and nothing more; 
I desire Thee alone, and nothing more." O Mary, thou 
wert the first lover of this God; oh, make me partake in 
thy love ! 

"Si quis sitit, veniat ad me." John, vii. 37. 

9 " Qui autem biberit ex aqua quam ego dabo ei, non sitiet in aeter- 
num." John, iv. 13. 



|00 Other Meditations. 



<*3>tl)er iltebilalions for tl)e 2Cot>ena of Christmas. 

Chaplet to be recited before every Meditation. 

1. My most sweet Jesus, who wert born in a cave and 
wert afterwards laid in a manger upon straw, have mer 
cy upon us. R. Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy upon 
us. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc. 

2. My most sweet Jesus, who wert presented and of 
fered by Mary in the temple, to be afterwards one day 
sacrificed for us upon the cross, have mercy upon us. 
R. Have Mercy, O Lord, have mercy upon us. Our Fa 
ther, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc. 

3. My most sweet Jesus, who wert persecuted by Her 
od and constrained to fly into Egypt, have mercy upon 
us. R. Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy upon us. Our 
Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc. 

4. My most sweet Jesus, who didst dwell in Egypt for 
seven years, poor, unknown, and despised by that bar 
barous nation, have mercy upon us. R. Have mercy, O 
Lord, have mercy upon us. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory 
be to the Father, etc. 

5. My most sweet Jesus, who didst return to Thy 
country to be one day crucified there in the midst of two 
thieves, have mercy upon us. R. Have mercy O Lord, 
have mercy upon us. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be 
to the Father, etc. 

6. My most sweet Jesus, who at the age of twelve 
years didst remain in the temple to dispute with the Doc 
tors, and after three days wert found by Mary, have 
mercy upon us. R. Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy 
upon us. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, 
etc. 



Novena of Christmas. I. 301 

7. My most sweet Jesus, who didst live concealed from 
the world for so many years in the shop at Nazareth, 
serving Mary and Joseph, have mercy upon us. R, Have 
mercy, O Lord, have mercy upon us. Our Father, Hail 
Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc. 

8. My most sweet Jesus, who for three years before 
Thy Passion didst go about preaching and teaching the 
way of salvation, have mercy upon us. R. Have mercy, 
O Lord, have mercy upon us. Our Father, Hail Mary, 
Glory be to the Father, etc. 

9. My most sweet Jesus, who for the love of us didst 
terminate Thy life by dying on the cross, have mercy 
upon us. R. Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy upon us. 
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, etc. 

MEDITATION I. 

DECEMBER 16. 
The Love that God has shown to us in becoming Man. 

Let us consider the immense love which God showed 
us in becoming man in order to procure us eternal life. 

Our first parent, Adam, having sinned and rebelled 
against God, was driven out of paradise and condemned 
to everlasting death with all his descendants. But be 
hold the Son of God, who, seeing man thus lost, in order 
to deliver him from death offers to take upon himself hu 
man flesh, and to die condemned as a malefactor upon 
the cross. But, my Son, we may suppose the Father say 
ing to him : Consider what a life of humiliation and suffer 
ing Thou wilt have to lead upon earth. Thou wilt have 
to be born in a cold cave, and to be laid in a manger 
for beasts. Thou wilt have to fly as an infant into Egypt 
to escape from the hands of Herod. On Thy return 
from Egypt Thou wilt have to live in a shop as an hum 
ble servant, poor and despised. And, finally, worn out 
by sufferings, Thou wilt have to give up Thy life upon a 



3O2 Other Meditations. 

cross, insulted and forsaken by all. Father, all this mat 
ters not, replies the Son ; I am content with enduring 
all, provided man is saved. 

What should we say if a prince were to take compas 
sion upon a dead worm, and were to choose to become a 
worm himself, and to make, as it were, a bath of his own 
blood, to die in order to restore the worm to life? But 
the eternal Word has done even more than this for us ; 
for, being God, he has chosen to become a worm like us, 
and to die for us, in order to purchase for us the life of 
divine grace which we had lost. When he saw that all 
the gifts he had bestowed upon us could not secure to 
him our love, what did he do ? He became man, and he 
gave himself entirely to us : " The Word was made flesh, 
and gave Himself for us." 1 

Man by despising God, says St. Fulgentius, separated 
himself from God ; but God, through his love for man, 
came from heaven to seek him. And why did he come ? 
He came in order that man might know how much God 
loved him, and that thus, out of gratitude at least, he 
might love him in return. Even the beasts, when they 
approach themselves to us, make us love them ; and why, 
then, are we so ungrateful towards a God who descends 
from heaven to earth to make us love him ? 

One day, when a priest was saying these words in 
Mass, Et verbum caro factum est " And the Word was 
made flesh" a man who was present neglected to make 
an act of reverence ; upon which the devil gave him a 
blow, saying, "Ah, ungrateful man! if God had done 
as much for me as he has done for thee, I should remain 
with my fa*ce always bent down to the ground return 
ing thanks to him." 

" Verbum caro factum est" -John, i. 14 " et tradidit semetipsum 
pro nobis." Eph. v. 2. 



Novena of Christmas. II. 



Affections and Prayers. 

O great Son of God ! Thou hast become man in order to make 
Thyself loved by men ; but where 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 with such ingratitude ? Alas ! I myself, 
Lord, have been one of those who more than others have thus 
illtreated Thee. But Thy Passion is my hope. Oh, for the 
sake of that 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 ; I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness ; and 
I repent of all the injuries I have done Thee. Would that I could 
die of sorrow for Thee ! O my Jesus ! grant me the gift of Thy 
love; let me not live any longer ungrateful for the affliction 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 al 
ways even unto death. 

MEDITATION II. 

DECEMBER 17. 
The Love of God in being born an Infant. 

The Son of God, in becoming man for our sake, might 
have appeared in the world at the age of a perfect man, 
as Adam appeared when he was created ; but, as chil 
dren generally attract to themselves greater love from 
those who take care of them, therefore he chose to ap 
pear upon earth as an infant; and as the poorest and 
most abject infant that ever was born. St. Peter Chrys- 
ologus writes: "Thus did our God choose to be born; 
because thus did he wish to be loved." The prophet 
Isaias had already predicted that the Son of God was to 
be born an infant, and thus to give himself entirely to us 



304 Other Meditations. 

through the love that he bore us: A Child is born to us, a 
Son is given to us. 1 

O my Jesus, my supreme and true God ! what can have 
attracted Thee from heaven to be born in a cave, if it be 
not the love that Thou bearest to man ? What has 
drawn Thee from the bosom of Thy Father to lay Thy 
self down in a manger? What has brought Thee down 
from Thy throne above the stars, to stretch Thyself on 
a little straw? What, from the midst of the nine choirs 
of angels, has placed Thee between two animals ? Thou 
dost inflame the seraphim with holy fire, and lo, Thou 
art trembling with cold in this stable ! Thou dost give 
motion to the heavens and the sun, and now Thou canst 
not move without being carried in some one s arms ! 
Thou dost provide with food both man and beast, and 
dost Thou now require a little milk to sustain Thy life? 
Thou art the delight of heaven, and now how is it that I 
hear Thee weep and moan ? Tell me who hath reduced 
Thee to such misery? " Who hath done this? Love 
hath done it," 2 says St. Bernard; the love that Thou 
bearest to man hath done it. 

Affections and Prayers. 

dearest Infant! tell me what Thou earnest on earth to do ? 
Tell me whom Thou art seeking ? Ah, I understand Thee now ; 
Thou art come in order to die for me, to deliver me from hell. 
Thou art come to seek me, a lost sheep, in order that I may no 
more fly from Thee, but love Thee. Ah, my Jesus, my treasure, 
my life, my love, myall ; if I do not love Thee, whom then shall 
I love ? Where can I find a father, a friend, a spouse more 
amiable than Thou, and who has loved me more than Thou hast 
done ? I am sorry to have been so many years in the world, and 
yet not to have loved Thee ; yea, rather to have offended and 
despised Thee. Forgive me, O my beloved Redeemer ; for I 
repent of having treated Thee thus ; I am sorry for it with all 

1 " Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis." Isa. ix. 6, 

2 " Quis hoc fecit? Amor fecit," 



Novena of Christmas. III. 305 

my heart. Pardon me, and give me Thy grace, that I may never 
again separate myself from Thee, and that I may love Thee 
constantly during the years that remain to me in this life. My 
love, I give myself entirely to Thee; accept me, and do not 
reject me, though I deserve it. O Mary, thou art my advocate ; 
thou dost obtain by thy prayers whatever thou wilt from thy 
Son ; beg of him to forgive me, and to give me holy perse 
verance unto death. 



MEDITATION III. 

DECEMBER 18. 
The Life of Poverty which Jesus led even from His Birth. 

It was ordained by God that at the time when his 
Son was born on this earth the decree of the emperor 
should be promulgated, obliging every one to go and 
enroll himself in the place of his birth. And thus 
it happened that Joseph had to go with his spouse to 
Bethlehem to enroll himself according to the decree of 
Caesar. And now, the time of her delivery having ar 
rived, Mary, having been driven from the other houses, 
and even from the common asylum for the poor, was 
obliged to remain that night in a cave, and there 
brought forth the King of Heaven. It is true that, if 
Jesus had been born in Nazareth, he would equally 
have been born in a state of poverty; but then he would 
at least have had a dry room, a little fire, warm clothes, 
and a more comfortable cradle. But no, he chose to be 
born in this cold cavern without a fire to warm him; he 
chose to have a manger for a cradle, and a little prickly 
straw for a bed, in order that he might suffer more. 

Let us, then, enter into the cave of Bethlehem; but let 
us enter there with faith. If we go there without faith, 
we shall see nothing but a poor infant, who moves us to 
compassion at beholding him so beautiful, shivering and 
crying with cold, and with the prickling of the straw on 
20 



306 Other Meditations. 

which he lies. But if we enter in with faith, and consider 
that this Child is the Son of God, who for the love of us 
has come down to this earth and suffered so much to 
pay the penalty of our sins, how can it be possible not to 
thank him and love him ? 

Affections and Prayers. 

my sweet Infant ! how is it possible that, knowing how 
much Thou hast suffered for me, I can have been so ungrateful 
to Thee, and offended Thee so often ? But these tears which 
Thou sheddest, this poverty which Thou hast chosen for the 
love of me, make me hope for the pardon of all the offences 
that I have committed against Thee. I repent, my Jesus, of 
having so often turned my back upon Thee ; and I love Thee 
above all things, " my God and my All." 1 My God, from this 
day forth Thou shalt be my only treasure and my only good. I 
will say to Thee, with St. Ignatius of Loyola, " Give me Thy 
love, give me Thy grace, and I am sufficiently rich." I wish for, 
I desire nothing else. Thou alone art sufficient for me, my 
Jesus, my life, my love. 

MEDITATION IV. 

DECEMBER 19. 
The Life of Humility which Jesus led even from His Infancy. 

All the marks that the angel gave to the shepherds to 
find the Saviour, who was just born, were marks of hu 
mility: And this shall be a sign unto you; you sJiall find the 
infant wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger? 
This shall be the sign, said the angel, to find the new 
born Messias: you will find him an infant, wrapped in 
poor ragged clothes, in a stable, lying on straw in a 
manger for animals. Thus would the King of Heaven, 
the Son of God, be born, because he came to destroy the 
pride which had been the cause of man s ruin. 

1 " Deus meus, et omnia." 

" Et hoc vobis signum : invenietis infantem pannis involutum, 
et positum in praesepio," Luke, ii. 12. 



Novena of Christmas. IV. 307 

The prophets had already foretold that our Redeemer 
should be treated as the vilest man upon earth, and 
overwhelmed with insults. How much contempt had 
not Jesus to suffer from men ! He was treated as a 
drunkard, as a magician, as a blasphemer, and a heretic. 
How many affronts did he endure during his Passion ! 
He was forsaken by his own disciples; even one of them 
sold him for thirty pieces of silver, and another denied 
having ever known him. He was led through the streets 
bound like a criminal, scourged like a slave, treated like 
a madman, as a mock king; struck, spit upon in the 
face; and at length he was put to death on a cross, sus 
pended between two thieves, as the greatest malefactor 
in the world. 

Thus, says St. Bernard, the noblest of men is treated 
like the vilest of all. "But, my Jesus," adds the saint, 
" the viler Thou art, the dearer art Thou to me." ] The 
more Thou appearest to me humbled and despised, the 
more dear and worthy of love dost Thou become to me. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my sweet Saviour ! Thou hast embraced so much contempt 
for the love of me, and I have not been able to bear a word of 
insult without thinking immediately of revenging myself of it, 
I who so often have deserved to be trodden underfoot by the 
devils in hell ! I am ashamed of appearing before Thee, a proud 
sinner that I am. O Lord ! do not drive me from Thy presence, 
as I deserve. Thou hast said that Thou couldst not despise a 
heart that repents and humbles itself : 1 repent of all the offences 
I have committed against Thee. Forgive me, my Jesus; for 
I will not offend Thee any more. Thou hast suffered so many 
injuries for my sake, I will for Thy sake bear with all the in 
juries that may be offered me. I love Thee, my Jesus, despised 
for my sake ; I love Thee, my Good, above every other good. 
Gfve me Thy help, that I may always love Thee, and suffer every 
insult for the love of Thee. O Mary ! recommend me to thy 
Son ; pray to Jesus for me. 

1 " Quanto pro me vilior, tanto mihi carior." 



308 Other Meditations. 

MEDITATION V. 

DECEMBER 20. 

The Life of Sorrow which Jesus led even from His Birth. 
Jesus Christ could have saved man without suffering 
and without dying; but no, he chose a life full of tribu 
lations, in order to make us know how much he loved 
us. Therefore the prophet Isaias called him the Man of 
sorrows, 1 because the life of Jesus Christ was to be a 
life full of sorrows. His Passion did not commence at 
the time of his death, but from the commencement of 
his life. 

Behold him, as soon as he is born, laid in a stable, where 
for Jesus everything is a torment. His sight is tor 
mented by seeing nothing else in this cave but. black 
rough walls. His sense of smelling is tormented by the 
stench of the dung of the beasts that are lying there. 
His sense of touch is tormented by the pricking of the 
straw that serves him for a bed. Soon after his birth 
he is obliged to fly into Egypt, where he passed several 
years of his childhood poor and despised; the life which 
he led afterwards in Nazareth was not much better. 
Behold him at length terminating his life in Jerusalem, 
dying on a cross by dint of torments. 

Thus, then, the life of Jesus was one continual suffer 
ing, and indeed a double suffering; for he had constantly 
before his eyes all the sorrows that would afflict him un 
til the day of his death. Sister Mary Magdalene Orsini, 
complaining one day before the crucifix, said to him: 
"O Lord, Thou didst remain on the cross for three 
hours, but I have suffered this pain for several years." 
But Jesus answered her: "Oh, ignorant that thou art, 
what dost thou say? I suffered even from my Mother s 
womb all the pains of my life and my death." But all 
these sufferings did not so much afflict Jesus Christ 
J " Virum dolorum." Isa. liii. 3. 



Novena of Christinas. VI. 309 

because he chose voluntarily to suffer them as did the 
sight of our sins and our ingratitude for his great love. 
St. Margaret of Cortona was never satisfied with lament 
ing over the offences committed against God; wherefore 
her confessor said to her one day: " Margaret, cease cry 
ing, because God has already forgiven thee." But she 
replied: "Ah, Father, how can I cease crying, when I 
know that my sins kept Jesus Christ in a state of afflic 
tion all his life ?" 

Affections and Prayers. 

my sweet Love, have I then by my sins kept Thee in a state 
of affliction all Thy life long ? Oh, tell me, then, what I can do, 
in order that Thou mayest forgive me ; for I will leave nothing 
undone. I repent, O sovereign Good, of all the offences I have 
committed against Thee; I repent, and love Thee more than 
myself. I feel a great desire to love Thee ; it is Thou that 
givest me this desire ; give me, therefore, strength to love Thee 
ardently. It is only just that I, who have offended Thee so 
much, should also love Thee much. Oh, remind me constantly 
of the love Thou hast borne me, in order that my soul may al 
ways burn with the love of Thee ; that it may think of Thee 
alone, desire Thee alone, and strive to please Thee alone. O 
God of love, I, who once was the slave of hell, now give myself 
entirely to Thee. Accept me in Thy mercy, and bind me with 
Thy love, my Jesus, from this day forth. I will love Thee in 
life; and in loving Thee I will die. O Mary, my Mother and 
my hope, help me to love thy dear Jesus and mine; this favor 
alone I desire and hope from thee. 

MEDITATION VI. 
DECEMBER 21. 

The Mercy of God in coming down from Heaven to save Us 
by His Death. 

St. Paul says, The goodness and kindness of God our Sav 
iour appeared. 1 When, therefore, the Son of God made 

1 " Benignitas et humanitas apparuit Salvatoris nostri Dei." Tit, 
iii. 4. 



3 1 o Other Meditations. 

Man appeared upon earth, then was seen how great the 
goodness of God was towards us. St. Bernard writes 
that the power of God appeared first in the creation of 
the world, and his wisdom in sustaining it; but his 
mercy appeared to a still greater degree when he took 
human flesh to save lost man by his sufferings and 
death. And what greater mercy could the Son of God 
show us than to take upon him the pains we have de 
served ? 

Behold him a new-born infant, weak, and wrapped in 
swaddling-clothes in a manger; not able either to move 
or feed himself, he requires for his sustenance that Mary 
should feed him with a little milk. Behold him after 
wards in the judgment-hall of Pilate, bound to a column 
by cords from which he cannot loosen himself, and there 
scourged from head to foot. Behold him in the journey 
to Calvary, falling down as he goes along the road 
through weakness and the weight of the cross that he 
carries. Behold him finally nailed to that infamous tree, 
whereon he finishes his life by dint of suffering. 

Jesus Christ wished to gain all the affections of our 
hearts by his love for us, and therefore he would not 
send an angel to redeem us, but he would come himself 
to save us by his Passion. If an angel had been our re 
deemer, man must have divided his heart, loving God as 
his Creator, and the angel as his redeemer; but God, 
who desired the whole heart of man, as he was his Crea 
tor, chose also to be his Redeemer. 

Affections and Prayers. 

Ah, my dear Redeemer, where should I be now, if Thou hadst 
not borne with me with so much patience, but hadst condemned 
me to death whilst I was yet in sin ? Since, then, Thou hast 
hitherto waited for me, my Jesus, forgive me speedily, before 
death surprises me whilst I am guilty of so many offences 
against Thee. I repent, O sovereign Good, of having thus de 
spised Thee ; I should like to die of sorrow for my sins. Thou 



Novena of Christinas. VII. 3 1 1 

canst not forsake a soul that seeks Thee ; if I have hitherto neg 
lected Thee, I will henceforth seek Thee and love Thee. Yes, 
O my God ! I love Thee above all things ; I love Thee more 
than myself. Help me, Lord, to love Thee always during the 
remainder of my life ; I ask nothing more ; I ask this, and I 
hope it of Thee. Mary, my hope, do thou pray for me ; if thou 
prayest for me, I am sure of grace. 



MEDITATION VII. 

DECEMBER 22. 
The Journey of the Infant Jesus to Egypt. 

The Son of God came from heaven to save mankind; 
but as soon as he was born, they began to persecute him 
even until death. Herod, fearing that this Infant would 
deprive him of his kingdom, tried to put him to death; 
wherefore St. Joseph was advised by the angel in a dream 
to take Jesus with his Mother and to fly into Egypt. 
Joseph promptly obeyed, and informed Mary of it; so 
he took the few implements of his trade that lie pos 
sessed, in order that they might serve him to gain a live 
lihood in Egypt for himself and his poor family. Mary, 
on her part, added a small packet of clothes that were 
to serve for the Holy Infant; and then, drawing near to 
the crib, she said with tears to her sleeping child, "O 
my Son and my God, Thou art come down from heaven 
to save men, and hardly art Thou born when they seek 
Thee tq take away Thy life." She then took him, and, 
continuing to weep, in the same night she and Joseph set 
off on their journey. 

Let us consider how much these holy pilgrims must 
have suffered whilst they were making so long a journey, 
deprived of every comfort. The Infant was not yet able 
to walk; therefore first Mary and then Joseph were 
obliged by turns to carry him in their arms. During 
their journey through the desert of Egypt, their only 



3 I 2 Other Meditations. 

bed at night was the bare earth in the open air. The 
Infant weeps with the cold, and Joseph and Mary weep 
also from compassion. And who would not weep, in see 
ing the Son of God, poor and persecuted, wandering 
about on the earth, that he may not be killed by his 
enemies ? 

Affections and Prayers. 

Ah, dearest Infant, Thou dost weep ; and well mayest Thou 
weep, in seeing Thyself so persecuted by those men whom Thou 
hast so much loved. Alas, my God, I also have persecuted 
Thee by rny sins ; but now I love Thee more than myself; and 
there is no sorrow that afflicts me more than the remembrance 
that I have despised Thee, my sovereign Good. Oh, forgive 
me, my Jesus, and permit me to carry Thee with me in my 
heart in all the journey of life that I have yet to make, and then 
to enter together with Thee into eternity. I have so often 
driven Thee from my soul by offending Thee; but now I love 
Thee above everything, and I repent above every other evil of 
having offended Thee. My beloved Lord, I will never leave 
Thee more ; but do Thou give me strength to resist temptations ; 
permit me not to separate myself any more from Thee ; let me 
rather die than ever again lose Thy favor. O Mary, my hope, 
make me always live and die in the love of God. 

MEDITATION VIII. 

DECEMBER 23. 
The Sojourn of the Infant Jesus in Egypt and in Nazareth. 

Our blessed Redeemer passed his first infancy in 
Egypt, leading there for seven years a life of poverty and 
contempt. Joseph and Mary were both strangers and 
unknown there, having there neither relatives nor friends; 
and they could hardly earn their daily bread by the 
labor of their hands. Their cottage was poor, their bed 
was poor, and their food was poor. In this miserable 
hut Mary weaned Jesus. First she had fed him from 



Novena of Christmas. VIII. 

her breast; and afterwards with her hands she took from 
the porringer a little bread soaked in water, and then 
she put it in the sacred mouth of her Son. In this cot 
tage she made him his first little garment; she took off 
his swaddling-clothes and began to dress him. In this 
cottage the Child Jesus began to take his first steps; but 
he kept falling*many times and trembling, as it happens 
to other children. Here he began to utter his first words, 
but in stammering. O wonder ! to what has not a God 
reduced himself for the love of us ! A God trembling 
and falling as he walks ! a God stammering whilst he 

speaks ! 

Not unlike this was the poor and abject life that Jesus 
led on his return from Egypt to the house of Nazareth. 
Until the age of thirty he held no other office than that 
of a simple shop-boy, being obedient to Joseph and Mary. 
And he was subject to them. 1 Jesus went to fetch the 
water; Jesus opened and shut up the shop; Jesus swept 
the house; he collected the fragments of wood for the 
fire, and worked all day, helping Joseph in his labors. 
O wonder ! A God serving as a boy ! a God sweeping 
the house ! a God working and sweating to plane a piece 
of wood ! And who is this ? The omnipotent God, who 
by a nod created the world, and can destroy it when he 
pleases ! Ought not the mere thought of this to move 
our hearts to love him ? How sweet it must have been 
to observe the devotion with which Jesus said his prayers, 
the patience with which he labored, the promptitude 
with which he obeyed, the modesty with which he took 
his food, and the sweetness and affability with which he 
spoke and conversed ! Oh, every word, every action of 
Jesus was so holy that it filled every one with love for 
him; but especially Mary and Joseph, who were con 
stantly observing him ! 

1 " Et erat subditus illis." Luke, ii. 51. 



3 I 4 Other Meditations. 

MEDITATION IX. 

DECEMBER 24. 
The Birth of the Infant Jesus in the Cave of Bethlehem. 

The edict of the Roman emperor having gone forth, 
by which every one was to go and enroll himself in his 
own country, Joseph and his spouse Mary departed, to 
go and enroll themselves in Bethlehem. O God ! how 
much must the Blessed Virgin have suffered in this 
journey, which was of four days, over mountainous 
roads, and in the winter, with cold, wind, and rain ! 

As soon as they arrived there, the time of her delivery 
was at hand; wherefore Joseph went about the town 
looking for a lodging, where Mary could bring forth her 
child. But, because they are poor, they are driven away 
by every one; they are even driven from the inn where 
the other poor had been received. They went away 
therefore from the town in the night; and having found 
a cave, Mary entered in there. But Joseph said to her: 
" My spouse, how can you pass the night in this damp, 
cold place ? Do you not see that this is a stable for ani 
mals ?" But Mary answered: " O my Joseph! it is 
nevertheless true that this shed is the royal palace in 
which the Son of God chooses to be born." 

And behold, the hour of the birth being come, whilst 
the Holy Virgin was kneeling in prayer, she saw all at 
once the cave illuminated by a brilliant light; she cast 
her eyes upon the ground, and beheld the Son of God 
already born, a tender infant, crying and trembling 
with cold: whereupon she first adores him as her God; 
she then places him in her bosom, and wraps him in the 
poor swaddling-clothes which she had with her; and, 
finally, she lays him on a little straw in the mLnger. 
Behold, how the Son of the eternal Father chose to be 
born for the love of us. 



Novena of Christmas. IX. 3 r 5 

St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi says that the souls enam 
oured of Jesus Christ ought to kneel in spirit at the feet 
of the Holy Child, and perform for him the same office 
that the beasts of the stable of Bethlehem did, which 
warmed Jesus with their breath; they should, therefore, 
warm him also with the sighs of love. 

Affections and Prayers. 

O my adorable Infant ! I should not have the boldness to 
prostrate myself at Thy feet, if I did not know that Thou Thyself 
invitest me to approach Thee. I am he who by my sins have 
caused Thee to shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem. 
But since Thou earnest upon earth to forgive repentant sinners, 
forgive me also ; for I repent with all my heart of having de 
spised Thee, my Saviour, my God, who art so good, and hast 
loved me so much. Thou dost dispense great graces to so many 
souls during this sacred night; do Thou, therefore, console my 
soul also. The grace I desire is the grace to love Thee from 
this day forth with my whole heart. Oh, inflame me wholly 
with Thy holy love ! I love Thee, my God, become a child for 
me. Oh, permit me not ever to cease from loving Thee. O 
Mary, my Mother, thou canst do all things by thy prayers; I 
ask thee only this, to pray to Jesus for me. 



3 1 6 Feast of the Circumcision. 



QUwtljer itteMtation for tlje Jfrast of llje OTircnmcision. 

i. 

Behold the eternal Father, having sent his Son to suffer 
and die for us, commands that on this day he should be 
circumcised, and should begin to shed his divine blood, 
which he was to shed for the last time on the day of his 
death upon the cross in a sea of contumely and sorrow. 
And wherefore ? In order that this innocent Son should 
thus pay the penalties which we have deserved. " O 
admirable," sings the Holy Church, "admirable conde 
scension of divine pity towards us! O inestimable love 
of charity! to redeem Thy servant Thou hast given Thy 
Son to death!" 

O eternal God, who could ever have bestowed upon 
us this infinite gift, but Thou who art infinite goodness 
and infinite love ? O my Lord, if in giving me Thy Son 
Thou hast given me the dearest treasure Thou hast, it is 
but right that I should give myself entirely to Thee. 
Yes, my God, I give Thee my whole self; accept of me, 
I pray Thee, and let me never depart from Thee again. 

II. 

Behold, on the other hand, the divine Son, who, full of 
humility and love towards us, embraces the bitter death 
destined for him in order to save us sinners from eternal 
death, and willingly begins on this day to make satisfac 
tion for us to the divine justice with the price of his 
blood. He humbled Himself, says the Apostle, becoming 
obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. 1 

" Humiliavit semetipsum, factus obediens usque ad mortem, mor 
tem autem crucis." Phil. ii. 8. 



Feast of the Circumcision. 3 1 7 

Thou, therefore, O my Jesus, hast accepted death for 
my sake; what, then, shall I do ? shall I continue to 
offend Thee by my sins ? No, my Redeemer, I will no 
longer be ungrateful to Thee. I am sorry from my 
heart that I have caused Thee so much bitterness in 
times past. I love Thee, O infinite Goodness, and for 
the future I will never cease to love Thee. 

III. 

Our Redeemer said, Greater love c-m no man have than 
to lay down his life for Ms friends. 1 But Thou, O my 
Jesus, says St. Paul, hast shown greater love than this 
towards us, by giving Thy life for us who were Thy 
enemies. 

Behold one of them, O Lord, at Thy feet. How many 
times have I, a miserable sinner, renounced Thy friend 
ship because I would not obey Thee ! I now see the 
evil I have done; forgive me, O my Jesus. Would that I 
could die of sorrow for my sins! I now love Thee with 
my whole soul, and I desire nothing else but to love 
Thee and to please Thee. O Mary, Mother of God and 
my Mother, pray to Jesus for me. 

1 " Majorem hac dilectionem nemo habet, ut animam suam ponat 
quis pro amicis: suis." John, xv. 13. 



3 i 8 Feast of the Epiphany. 



&noti)er Habitation for tlje J^ast 0t tlje <jrijjf)ann. 

i. 

The Son of God is born humble and poor in a stable. 
There indeed the angels of heaven acknowledge him, 
singing, Glory to God in the highest; 1 but the inhabitants 
of the earth, for whose salvation Jesus was born, leave 
him neglected: only a few shepherds come and acknowl 
edge him, and confess him to be their Saviour. But our 
loving Redeemer desired from the very beginning to 
communicate to us the grace of redemption, and there 
fore he begins to make himself known even to the Gen 
tiles, who neither knew him nor expected him. For 
this purpose he sends the star to give notice to the holy 
Magi, enlightening them at the same time with internal 
light, in order that they might come and acknowledge 
and adore him as their Redeemer. This was the first 
and sovereign grace bestowed upon us; our calling to 
the true faith. 

O Saviour of the world, what would have become of 
us if Thou hadst not come to enlighten us ? we should 
be like our forefathers, who worshipped as gods animals, 
stones, and wood, and consequently we should have 
been all damned. I give Thee thanks to-day on the part 
of all men 



II. 



Behold, the Magi without delay set out on their jour 
ney; and by means of the star they arrive at the place 
Where the Holy Infant is lying: They found the child with 
"Gloria in altissimis Deo," Luke, ii. 14. 



Feast of the Epiphany. 3 1 9 

Mary} They find there only a poor maiden, and a poor 
infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes; on entering 
into that abode, which was a stable for beasts, they feel 
an interior joy, and their hearts are drawn towards this 
sweet infant. That straw, that poverty, those cries of 
their Infant Saviour, are all darts of love and fire to 
their enlightened hearts. 

Yes, my Infant Jesus, the more humbled and poor I 
behold Thee, the more dost Thou inflame me with Thy 
love. 

III. 

The Infant looks upon these holy pilgrims with a joy 
ful countenance, and thus shows that he accepts these 
first-fruits of his redemption. The divine Mother is also 
silent, but by her smiling looks welcomes them, and 
thanks them for the homage done to her Son. They 
adore him also in silence, and acknowledge him for 
their Saviour and their God, offering him gifts of gold, 
frankincense, and myrrh. 

O Jesus, my Infant King ! I also adore Thee, and offer 
Thee my miserable heart. Accept of it and change it. 
Make it wholly Thine own, so that it may love nothing 
but Thee. My sweet Saviour, save me, and let my sal 
vation be to love Thee always and without reserve. O 
Mary, most holy Virgin ! I hope for this grace from 
thee. 

1 "Invenerunt Puerum cum Maria." Matt. ii. n. 



320 Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. 



&notl)er ifteMtation for ll)e feast of tlje 4{joi|i 3 
of Jksus.* 

i. 

The name of Jesus was given to the Incarnate Word 
not by men, but by God himself: And his name shall be 
called Jesus, 1 that is, Saviour. A name of gladness, a 
name of hope, a name of love. 

A name of gladness, because if the remembrance of 
past transgressions afflicts us, this name comforts us, re 
minding us that the Son of God became man for this 
purpose, to make himself our Saviour. 

My beloved Saviour, Thou earnest down from heaven 
to seek me, and I, a miserable sinner, have turned my 
back upon Thee and despised Thy grace and Thy love ! 
But, notwithstanding this, Thou wiliest my salvation, O 
my Jesus ! and I thank Thee for it and love Thee. 

II. 

A name of hope, because he that prays to the Eternal 
Father in the name of Jesus may hope for every grace 
he asks for: If you ask the Father anything in My name, He 
will give it you? 

O my God ! trusting to this promise, in the name of 
Jesus I ask of Thee the pardon of my sins, holy perse 
verance, and the gift of Thy love. Grant, above all, 
that the remainder of my life may not be spent in dis 
pleasing Thee, but only in loving Thee and doing Thy 
will, as Thou deservest that I should do. 
1 " Et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum." Luke, i. 31. 
* "Si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis." -John, 
xvi. 23. 



* On page 151 there is a discourse, and on page 255 a meditation, 
and at the end of the volume, page 451, a novena on the same sub 
ject. ED, 



Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. 321 



III. 

A name of love. St. Bernardine of Sienna says that 
the name of Jesus is a sign that represents to us how 
much God has done for the love of us. For the name of 
fesus brings to our remembrance all the sufferings which 
Jesus has endured for us in his- life and at his death. 
Wherefore a devout writer says to him, u O Jesus ! how 
much hath it cost Thee to be Jesus, that is to say, my 
Saviour !" J 

my Jesus ! I beseech Thee, do Thou write Thy name 
on my poor heart and on my tongue, in order that when 
I am tempted to sin, I may resist by invoking Thee; so 
that if I am tempted to despair, I may trust in Thy 
merits; and that if I feel myself tepid in loving Thee> 
Thy name may inflame my heart at the recollection of 
how much Thou hast loved me. Thy name, then, will 
always be my defence, my comfort, and the fire that 
shall keep me always inflamed with Thy love. Make 
me, therefore, always to call Thee my Jesus, and to live 
and die with Thy holy name on my lips, saying even 
with my last breath, "I love Thee, my Jesus; my Jesus, 
I love Thee." O Mary, my Queen ! make me when I am 
dying invoke thee continually, together with thy Son 
Jesus. 

1 "O Jesu! quanti tibi constitit esse Jesum, Salvatorem meum!" 

21 



.22 Hymns. 



HYMNS 



Ode on the Birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

WHEN Jesus first appeared on earth 

A babe in Bethlehem, 
The winter midnight of his birth 
Did fair as noontide seem ; 
Ne er shone the stars so bright 
As on that wondrous night : 
Swift to the East the brightest of them all 
Darts through the sky, the Magi kings to call. 

Awakened by th unwonted light, 

The startled songster birds 
Broke the lone stillness of the night 
With songs like angels words; 
While chirping in the field, 
The grasshoppers revealed 
The joy of earth : "Jesus is born !" they cried ; 
"Our God is born !" the warbling birds replied. 

Fresh, as when washed by summer showers, 

Now bud the roses sweet ; 
And thousand, thousand fragrant flowers 
The Infant Saviour greet ; 
While e en the arid hay 
That in the manger lay 

Decked out with leaf and bloom the poor abode, 
And kissed the infant members of its God. 

In fair Engaddi s flowery clime 

Now blooms the fragrant vine, 



Hymns. 323 

And ripening grapes, ere nature s time, 
In purple clusters twine. 

Sweet Babe! divinely fair! 

Thou art Love s cluster rare ! 
Coolness to burning lips Thou dost impart, 
And warmth of love divine to frozen heart. 



Now gentle peace reigned far and wide, 

In joy and liberty ; 
The sheep and lion side by side 
Were pastured happily ; 
The kid, with frolic gay, 
Near tiger fierce can play, 
And ox with savage bear secure from harm, 
And lambkin near the wolf without alarm. 

Joy, too, awoke at Jesus birth, 
And roamed creation free, 
In heaven, in every tribe of earth, 
O er every land and sea; 
And many a sleeper smiled 
As when a little child, 

And felt his heart rebounding in his breast, 
While dreams of gladness mingled with his rest. 

The watchful shepherds kept by night 

The flocks of Bethlehem, 
When lo ! an angel clothed in light 
Appeared, and said to them, 
" Good shepherds ! do not fear, 
Our gladsome tidings hear; 
For peace and joy upon the world arise, 
And sinful earth becomes a paradise ! 

"To you this day in Bethlehem 
A Saviour king is born ; 
The long-expected, to redeem 
And save a world forlorn. 



324 Hymns. 

Then haste, and you will find 

The Saviour of mankind, 
An infant, swathed, and lying in a stall, 
Amongst the poor, the poorest one of all." 

The angel choirs in glittering throng 

From heaven to earth descend, 
And in one sweet melodious song 
Their countless voices blend. 
" Glory to God above ! 
Born is the King of Love! 

Peace be, on earth, to men who have good will ; 
Let grateful concerts earth and heaven fill !" 

Each shepherd s heart within his breast 

Bounded with love inflamed, 
And eagerly unto the rest 

His ardor thus proclaimed : 
" Why longer thus delay ? 
Come, haste, away, away ! 
For ah ! I languish with desire untold 
My Infant God and Saviour to behold I" 

The shepherds o er the hill-top hie, 

Like herd of startled deer ; 

With joy they soon the cave descry, 

And to the crib draw near; 

They see that Infant sweet, 

Witn Mary at his feet, 

And looks of love all beaming from his eyes 
Appear like rays of bliss from paradise. 

Astonished, raptured, and enchained 

At this great sight they saw, 
Long time the shepherds thus remained 
In solemn silent awe ; 

Then sweet and loving sighs 
Deep from their hearts arise, 

While mingled tears and words their love confess, 
And in a thousand fervent acts express. 



Hymns. 325 

Then entering the poor abode, 
With knees devoutly bent, 
They humbly to the Infant God 
Their simple gifts present ; 
And Jesus does not scorn 
The poor and lowly-born, 
But raising up to them his tiny hand, 
He smiles a blessing on this humble band. 

Then do the flames of heavenly fire, 

Which in their bosoms glow, 
Such tender confidence inspire 
As love alone can know. 
They venture to embrace 
That Child of heavenly grace, 
And on his hands and feet O happiness! 
A thousand times their fervent lips they press. 

Then in their pipes these joyful swains 

Such heavenly music breathed, 
And rivalling angelic strains, 
With tuneful Mary wreathed 
In sweetest harmony 
Such soothing lullaby, 
That slumber o er the infant eyelids crept, 
And Jesus closed his lovely eyes, and slept. 

The lullaby these shepherds blest 

To Jesus sung was this ; 
Which gently, softly, lulled to rest 

The Infant God of bliss. 
But while I now repeat 

This cradle-song so sweet, 

Think that with them beside the crib you kneel, 
And pray the ardors of their love to feel. 

"Gentle slumber, from above, 

Hush to sleep your heavenly king, 
Born an Infant for our love ! 

Hasten, sleep, soft slumbers bring ! 



26 Hymns. 

" Lovely Jewel of my heart ! 

Would that I could be the sleep, 
Softly, swiftly, to impart 

Closing eyes and slumbers deep. 



"But, if love of men to gain, 

Thus a babe Thou deign st to be, 
Love alone can sing the strain, 

Which can slumbers bring to Thee! 

" Since, then, love has power on Thee, 

Lo ! my heart and soul are Thine! 

Yes ! 1 love Thee, love but see ! 

Sleep has closed those eyes divine. 



" Thee, my God, atone I love ! 

Treasure ! Beauty ! Love, 1 . . 

***** 



Then breaking off their loving strain, 

All happy and content, 
They hastened to their flocks again, 
Rejoicing as they went; 
But such a heavenly fire, 
So ardent a desire 

Of this dear Infant in their bosoms burns 
That to their thoughts he evermore returns. 

In hell alone, where mortal hate, 

Despair, and terror dwell, 
And in the hearts as obstinate 
As demons loosed from hell, 
The splendors of that night 
Awakened strange affright ; 
Hardened in guilt, they trembled with dismay; 
They hate the light which shows to heaven the way. 



Hymns. 327 

Jesus ! Thou art a Sun of Love, 

Whence beams of mercy dart ; 
Thy rays enlighten from above, 
And warm the sinner s heart. 
Though black and hard his soul, 
As changed to earthy coal, 
Yet if repentant once he turns to Thee, 
Thou show st still more Thy loving clemency. 

But, sweetest child, ah ! Jesus, say, 

Why flow those infant tears ? 
Yes, tis that 1 may wash away, 
My sins of bygone years ! 
Alas ! what have I done ? 
Unkind, ungrateful one! 
I sinned, I sinned, yet still Thou lovedst me : 
Would I had died ere I offended Thee! 

Oh for a fountain flowing o er 

With tears both night and day, 
My sins unnumbered to deplore, 
And weep them all away 
To bathe my Infant s feet, 
And by my sobs entreat 

His mercy! Then, oh, grant me once to hear 
The word Thou art forgiven ; do not fear / 

Thrice blest, thrice happy should I be 

With this too favored lot ! 
All else on earth would seem to me 
Not worth one care, one thought. 
Thou Hope of the distressed, 
Hear, Mary, my request ! 
Cease not to pray for this poor sinful one, 
Who asks to love once more thy Blessed Son ! 



328 Hymns. 



II. 

The Madonna s Lullaby. 

Mary sings, the ravished heavens 
Hush the music of their spheres ; 

Soft her voice, her beauty fairer 
Than the glancing stars appears: 

While to Jesus, slumbering nigh, 

Thus she sings her lullaby : 

" Sleep, my Babe, my God, my Treasure, 

Gently sleep ; but ah ! the sight 
With its beauty so transports me, 

I am dying with delight ; 
Thou canst not Thy mother see, 
Yet Thou breathest flames to me. 

"If within your lids unfolded, 

Slumbering eyes, you seem so fair ; 
When upon my gaze you open, 

How shall I your beauty bear? 
Ah ! I tremble when you wake, 
Lest my heart with love should break. 

Cheeks than sweetest roses sweeter, 
Mouth where lurks a smile divine, 

Though the kiss my Babe should waken, 
I must press those lips to mine. 

Pardon, Dearest, if I say 

Mother s love will take no nay." 

As she ceased, the gentle Virgin 
Clasped the Infant to her breast, 

And, upon his radiant forehead 
Many a loving kiss impressed, 

Jesus woke and on her face 

Fixed a look of heavenly grace. 



Hymns. 329 

Ah ! that look, those eyes, that beauty, 
How they pierce the Mother s heart ! 

Shafts of love from every feature 
Through her gentle bosom dart. 

Heart of stone ! can I behold 

Mary s love, and still be cold ? 

Where, my soul, thy sense, thy reason ? 

When will these delays be o er ? 
All things else, how fair so ever, 

Are but smoke : resist no more! 
Yes ! tis done ! I yield my arms 
Captive to those double charms. 

If, alas, O heavenly beauty! 

Now so late those charms I learn, 
Now at least, and ever, ever 

With thy love my heart will burn, 
For the Mother and the Child, 
Rose and Lily undefiled. 

Plant and fruit, and fruit and blossom, 

I am theirs, and they are mine ; 
For no other prize I labor, 

For no other bliss I pine. 
Love can every pain requite, 
Love alone is full delight. 



230 Hymns. 



m. 

St. Joseph addressing the Divine Child Jesus. 

Since Thou the name of Father hast bestowed 
On me, my Jesus, let me call Thee Son. 

My Son ! I love I love Thee ; yes, my God ! 
Forever wi . I love Thee, dearest One! 

Thou art my God ! I humbly Thee adore; 

But, as my Son, ah ! bid me kiss Thy face, 
And make my heart remain for evermore 

Close bound with sweetest chains in Thy embrace ! 

Since Thou hast deigned to choose me here below 
The nurse and guardian of Thy life to be, 

My sweetest Love ! my Good ! ah ! let me know 
What wiliest Thou ? what dost Thou ask of me? 

All, all I am, to Thee I now resign ; 

My love I consecrate to Thee alone; 
And know, my heart is mine no more Tis Thine ; 

My very life I do not call my own. 

Since Thou art pleased to share my humble home, 
And be on earth companion of my love, 

Well may I hope, dear Jesus, to become 
Thy loved companion in Thy home above. 



Hymns. 332 



IV. 

To the Infant Jesus in the Crib 

Oh, how I love Thee, Lord of Heaven above ! 
Too well hast Thou deserved to gain my love ; 
Sweet Jesus, I would die for love of Thee, 
For Thou didst not disdain to die for me. 

I leave Thee, faithless world, farewell ! depart! 
This lovely Babe has loved and won my heart. 
I love Thee, loving God, who from above 
Didst come on earth, a Babe, to gain my love. 

Thou tremblest, darling Child, and yet I see 
Thy heart is all on fire with love for me : 
Love makes Thee thus a child, my Saviour dear ; 
Love only brought Thee down to suffer here ; 

Love conquered Thee, Great God, love tied Thy hands, 
A captive here for me, in swathing-bands ; 
And love, strong love, awaits Thy latest breath, 
To make Thee die for me a cruel death. 



33 2 Hymns. 



v. 

To the Infant Jesus. 

O King of Heaven ! from starry throne descending, 
Thou takest refuge in that wretched cave ; 

God of bliss ! I see Thee cold and trembling, 
What pain it cost Thee fallen man to save! 

Thou, of a thousand worlds the great Creator, 
Dost now the pain of cold and want endure ; 

Thy poverty but makes Thee more endearing, 
For well I know tis love has made Thee poor. 

1 see Thee leave Thy Heavenly Father s bosom, 
But whither has Thy love transported Thee ? 

Upon a little straw I see Thee lying ; 

Why suffer thus? Tis all for love of me. 

But if it is Thy will for me to suffer, 
And by these sufferings my heart to move, 

Wherefore, my Jesus, do I see Thee weeping ? 
Tis not for pain Thou weepest, but for love. 

Thou weepest thus to see me so ungrateful ; 

My sins have pierced Thee to the very core-; 
I once despised Thy love, but now I love Thee, 

I love but Thee ; then, Jesus, weep no more. 

Thou sleepest, Lord, but Thy heart ever watches, 
No slumber can a heart so loving take ; 

But tell me, darling Babe, of what Thou thinkest, 
" I think," he says, " of dying for Thy sake." 

Is it for me that Thou dost think of dying ! 

What, then, O Jesus ! can I but love Thee ? 
Mary, my hope ! If I love him too little, 

Be not indignant, love him thou for me. 



It is not certain that this devotion is by St. Alphonsus; 
but the tradition in the Congregation of the Most Holy 
Redeemer has always ascribed it to him. It is found in 
the Italian Directory of the Novices, which was certainly 
written by the saint, and which has always been used in 
the novitiate of the Congregation. ED. 



334 The Way of Bethlehem. 



0lations of tfje Infant 



V. Incline unto my aid, O God. 
-/?. O Lord, make haste to help me. 
Glory be to the Father, etc. 

STATION I. 
The Son of God becomes an Infant. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that the Son of God, the Infinite Majesty, the 
Creator of the world, and who has need of no one, became 
incarnate to save lost man by his sufferings, and was for 
nine months enclosed as a little Infant in the most chaste 
womb of Mary. 

Affections, 

O most amiable Infant Jesus, God and Man, it was Thy 
burning love for me which urged Thee do do all this. 
I give Thee thanks; and I beseech Thee, by Thy Incar 
nation, to give me the grace to correspond to such great 
goodness. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service: en 
kindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy 



The Way of Bethlehem. 335 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord. 

And ever loving still; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 

STATION II. 
Jesus is born an Infant. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that Jesus at his birth has not even a wretched 
cabin, such as the poorest have; but is born in a cold 
cavern, and is laid in a manger upon straw. 

Affections. 

O most holy Infant Jesus, I thank Thee for this; and 
I beseech Thee, by Thy most poor and bitter birth, 
grant that I may reap the fruits of Thy coming on this 
earth. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service: en 
kindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 



336 The Way of Bethlehem. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 

STATION III. 
Jesus is suckled. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that God, Majesty itself, who gives food to 
men and beasts, is born an Infant, and has recourse to 
Mary for his food; and he, through whom not a spar 
row hungers, is fed with a little milk. 

Affections. 

O most lovely Infant, Thou takest milk, to be changed 
into that flesh which one day is to be bruised and torn 
for me. I thank Thee for this goodness; and I beseech 
Thee by this purest milk, grant me grace to act always 
with a pure intention of pleasing Thee, even as Thou 
didst ever act with the sole aim of obtaining my eternal 
happiness. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service: en 
kindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 



The Way of Bethlehem. 337 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 

STATION IV. 
Jesus is wrapped in Swaddling-clothes. 

O Jesus, born o.f Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that the Infinite God, whom the heavens 
cannot contain, made an Infant for us, vouchsafed to be 
wrapped by Mary in swaddling-clothes, and covered 
with poor rags. And thus the hands and feet of God 
by swathing-bands are tied. 

Affections. 

O gentlest Infant, Thou art tied in swathing-bands to 
deliver my soul from the chains of sin and hell. I thank 
Thee; grant, by Thy holy humility, that, casting away 
every other bond, I may ever live bound and united to 

Thee. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire always to be faithful in Thy service : 
enkindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 
22 



338 The Way of Bethlehem. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION V. 
Jesus is circumcised. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consider a tion . 

Consider that the Infant Jesus, eight days after his 
birth, showed himself to be even then our Saviour, by 
shedding for us his divine blood in the Circumcision. 

Affections. 

O most merciful Infant God, I give Thee thanks; and 
I beseech Thee, by the pain which Thou didst feel, and 
by the blood which Thou didst shed in Thy Circumci 
sion, grant me grace and power to pluck out of my 
heart, and to cast from it, all earthly affections. 

O my sweetest love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service : 
enkindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 



The Way of Bethlehem. 339 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION VI. 
Jesus is adored by the Magi. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that the Infant God is visited and adored by 
the Magi, who, though Gentiles, were enlightened by 
faith to acknowledge this Man-God for their Saviour, 
and offered him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

Affections. 

Most adorable Redeemer, I too have received from 
Thee this great gift of faith. I thank Thee for it; and I 
beseech Thee, by the glory of this Thy manifestation, 
grant that, like the Magi, I may correspond and be 
faithful to Thy grace. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service : 
enkindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 



340 The Way of Bethlehem. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still ; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION VII. 
Jesus is presented in the Temple. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that the Virgin Mary, forty days after the 
birth of the Infant Jesus, carries him in her arms to the 
Temple, and, offering him to God for us, consents that by 
his Passion and Death he should become our Redeemer. 

Affections. 

O most loving Infant, for this one end didst Thou 
deliver Thyself up to death, to bestow on me eternal life. 
I give Thee thanks, and pray Thee, by this offering of 
Thyself, to make me constantly ready to mortify and 
die to myself for the love of Thee. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service : 
enkindle in me Thy love ; make me chaste and holy. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus, 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 



The Way of Bethlehem. 341 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION VIII. 
Jesus flees into Egypt. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that Herod, fearing that Jesus would deprive 
him of his kingdom, plans his death; and therefore 
orders all the children of Bethlehem to be murdered. 
The most blessed Virgin, warned by an angel, takes the 
Infant Jesus into Egypt. 

Affections. 

O dearest Infant, what sufferings didst Thou not en 
dure during this journey of a whole month and even 
longer, and that too in the depth of winter ! How often 
wert Thou drenched with rain and stiffened with the 
cold! How many nights didst Thou pass in the open 



air 



I thank Thee ; and beseech Thee by Thy flight to give 
me strength to avoid all the dangers of eternal death. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service : 
enkindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy. 



342 The Way of Bethlehem. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to Thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still ; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION IX. 
Jesus with His Hands freed from the Swaddling-clothes. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that the Infant Jesus, some months after his 
birth, is still swathed by the blessed Virgin, though his 
hands are freed from the swaddling-clothes. 

Affections. 

Most tender Infant, I imagine to myself that first mo 
ment when Thou didst join Thy little hands, and, lifting 
up Thy divine eyes to heaven, didst intercede with the 
Eternal Father in my behalf. I give Thee thanks; and 
beseech Thee to grant by the merits of Thy prayer that 
my prayers may be always pleasing and acceptable in 
Thy sight. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service : en 
kindle in me Thy love; make me chaste and holy. 



The Way of Bethlehem. 343 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still ; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION X. 
Jesus begins to walk. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that the Infant Jesus, now a little older, be 
gins to walk, and plans out in his mind the journeys he 
would make in the surrounding country of Judaea to 
preach by his most holy words the way of salvation; and 
at the same time figures to himself the road to Calvary, 
which he would tread in going to die for us. 

Affections. 

O most loving Infant, I thank Thee ; and beseech Thee 
by Thy first steps, grant me grace always to walk in the 
way which Thou hast pointed out to me. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service : en 
kindle in me Thv love ; make me chaste and holy. 



344 The Way of Bethlehem. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still ; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION XI. 
Jesus sleeps. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider that the Infant Jesus lies in a poor cradle in 
the little house of his Mother Mary, and takes his rest; 
and oftentimes the bare ground serves him as a bed. 

Affections. 

O most amiable Infant, even while sleeping Thy heart 
watches, and Thou wert loving me, and thinking upon 
me; and Thy heart was consoled with the good which 
Thou hadst bestowed, and would bestow, upon me. I 
thank Thee ; and pray Thee, by Thy loving slumbers, to 
give me grace to live forever in loving Thee, who art the 
most loving Good. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be always faithful in Thy service : en 
kindle in me Thy love ; make me chaste and holy. 



The Way of Bethlehem. 345 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still ; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 



STATION XII. 
Jesus in the Form of a Fisher. 

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Immortal glory be to Thee ; 
Praise to the Father infinite, 

And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Consideration. 

Consider to yourself the Infant Jesus represented in the 
form of a fisher, holding in his hands a rod, to which is 
attached the hook wherewith he will catch the hearts 
of men. When we think on his beauty, and on the love 
with which he seeks us, and on all that he has done to 
allure us to his love, we must needs consecrate our hearts 
to his service. 

Affections. 

O Divine Infant, I give Thee thanks ; and pray Thee 
by the zeal which Thou hast shown in endeavoring to 
draw my heart to Thee, give me the grace never to leave 
Thee more, and grant that, having continual recourse to 
Thee, I may become one with Thee, and never separate 
myself from Thee again. 



346 The Way of Bethlehem. 

O my sweetest Love, I am sorry that I have offended 
Thee. I desire to be faithful in Thy service : enkindle 
in me Thy love ; make me chaste and holy. 

O Mary, grant that I may belong entirely to thee and 
to thy Son Jesus. 

Hail Mary, etc. Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary, which 
bore the Son of the Eternal Father. 

^R. And blessed are the breasts which gave suck to 
Christ our Lord. 

O Jesus, ever sweetest Lord, 

And ever loving still ; 
From this dear crib sweet drops of love 

Into my heart distil. 

Prayer. 

I offer and present unto Thee, O most sweet Infant Jesus, the 
steps which I have made to venerate the mysteries of Thy In 
fancy, and the homage which I have paid Thee. 

I pray Thee graciously to accept it, and to reward me with 
the virtues of childhood, chastity, humility, and simplicity. 

It is a joy and consolation to me when I behold Thee on the 
altar, surrounded with so many and so lovely flowers. I ar 
dently desire and wish to see my heart in like manner adorned 
with the flowers of all holy virtues, that Thou mayest find Thy 
pleasure, and dwell in it ; and may it be my lot to live in this 
world ever united to Thee, that, one with Thee, I may dwell in 
Thy presence in heaven for all eternity. Amen. 



Indulgences. 347 



JttimLgences &ttacl)e& ta ttye Qfcmises of pets in 
IJonor of tlje Jnfant Jkstts. 

I. 

EVERY YEAR. 
Novena Preparatory to Christmas-day. 

AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, CVCry day, 

to all those who, with at least contrite heart and devo 
tion, prepare themselves for this solemnity by a novena 
(from the i6th to the 25th of December) with pious 
exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, etc. (As the good 
works have not been determined, it seems to be sufficient 
for gaining this indulgence that we make every day a 
spiritual reading or a meditation, or say some prayer, 
such as the Chaplet, page 

A PLENARY INDULGENCE on Christmas-day, or on any 
day in its octave, to those who have made this novena, 
provided that, being truly penitent after confession and 
Communion, they pray devoutly (for instance, by saying 
five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys] for the welfare of 
the Church, and for the intention of the Holy Father. 

These indulgences may be gained once more within 
the year by making the novena in honor of the Child 
Jesus, as directed above. 

* We think that it will be pleasing to St. Alphonsus, as well as to 
his pious readers, to add here, as an appendix, the list of indulgences 
with which the Sovereign Pontiffs have enriched the devotion to the 
Infant Jesus, and which we copy from the Kaccolta. All these indul 
gences are applicable to the souls in purgatory. ED. 



Indulge 



ences. 



Christmas-day. 

INDULGENCE OF A HUNDRED YEARS for each of the fol 
lowing offices which the faithful recite or at which they 
are present in any church, being truly contrite, after con 
fession and Communion, namely : The First Vespers, 
Matins and Lauds, the Mass (without doubt each of the 
three Masses), and the Second Vespers. 

AN INDULGENCE OF FORTY YEARS, on the same condi 
tions, for each of the following Hours: Prime, Tierce, 
Sext, None, and Complins. 

II. 

EVERY MONTH. 
Novena from the i6th to the 24th. 

AN INDULGENCE OF ONE YEAR for every day of the 
novena on which, with a contrite heart, we make, either 
in public or private, the following offering : 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost. Amen. 

I. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and 
glory, and for my own salvation, and for the salvation of 
the whole world, the mystery of the birth of our divine 
Saviour. 

Glory be to the Father, etc. 

II. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor 
and glory, and for my eternal salvation, the sufferings of 
the most holy Virgin and of St. Joseph in that long and 
weary journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I offer 
Thee the sorrows of their hearts when they found no 
place wherein to shelter themselves, when the Saviour 
of the world was to be born. 

Glory be to the Father, etc. 

III. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor 
and glory, and for my eternal salvation, the sufferings o< 



Indulgences. 349 

Jesus in the stable where he was born, and the cold he 
suffered, the swaddling-clothes which bound him, the 
tears that he shed, and his tender infant cries. 

Glory be to the Father, etc. 

IV. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor 
and glory, and for my eternal salvation, the pain which 
the holy child Jesus felt in his tender body when he sub 
mitted to circumcision. I offer Thee that precious blood 
which then, for the first time, he shed for the salvation 
of the whole human race. 

Glory be to the Father, etc. 

V. Offering. Eternal Father, I offer to Thy honor and 
glory, and for my eternal salvation, the humility, morti 
fication, patience, charity, all the virtues of the child 
Jesus ; and I thank Thee, and I love Thee, and I bless 
Thee without end, for the ineffable mystery of the In- 
carnation of the divine TT ord. 

Glory be to the Father, etc. 

Verbum caro factum cst. The Word was made flesh. 

Et habitavit in nobis. And dwelt amongst us. 

Or emus. Let us pray. 

Dens, ciijus Unigenitus in sub- O God, whose only-begotten 

stantia nostrce carnis apparuit: Son was made manifest to us 

prcrsta, qucesumiis, ut per eum, in the substance of our flesh ! 

quern similem nobis forts agno- gnt, we beseech Thee, that 

vimus, intus reformari merea- through him, whom we ao 

mur. Qui tecum vivit et reg- knowledge to be like unto our- 

nat in scecula sceculorum. selves, our souls may be in- 

Amen. wardly renewed. Who liveth 

and reigneth with Thee forever 
and ever. Amen. 

The 25th of the Month. 

A PLENARY INDULGENCE for those who, being truly 
contrite, after confession and Communion, are present in 



35 Indulgences. 

some church or public oratory at the pious exercise 
that is performed in honor of the Infant Jesus, recite the 
following prayer, to venerate the twelve mysteries of the 
holy infancy, and pray to the intention of his Holiness. 

V. Deus, in adjutorium meum V. Incline unto my aid, O 
intende. God. 

R. Domine, ad adjuvandum R. O Lord, make haste to 
me festina. help me. 

V. Gloria Patri et Filio et V. Glory be to the Father, and 
Spiritui Sancto. to the Son, and to the Holy 

R. Sicut erat in principio, et Ghost. 

nunc, et semper, et in s&cula R- As it was in the begin- 
sceculorum. Amen. ning, is now, and ever shall be- 

worH without end. Amen. 
Pater roster. Our Father. 

IST MYSTERY. THE INCARNATION. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime! e Jesus, sweetest child, who 
sinu Pair is propter nostram coming down from the bosom 
salutcm descendens, de Spiritu of the Father for our salvation, 
Sancto conceptus, Virginis didst not disdain the womb of 
uterum non horrens, et, Ver- the Virgin, where, conceived by 
bum caro factum, formam ser- the Holy Ghost, Thou, the 
vi accipiens, miserere nostri. Word incarnate, didst take up 
on Thee the form of a servant: 
have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 
fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

2. VISITATION. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime! per Jesus, sweetest child, who in 

Virginem Matrem tuam i>isi- Thy virgin mother s womb, 

tans Elisabeth, Joannem Baptis- didst visit St. Elizabeth, and 

tarn pracursorem tuum Spiritu fill Thy precursor, John the 

Sancto replcns, et adhuc in utero Baptist, with the Holy Ghost, 



Indulgences. 351 

matris suce sanctificans, miserere sanctifying him from his moth- 
nostri. er s womb : have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 
fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

3. THE EXPECTATION. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime ! Jesus, sweetest child, who, 

novemmensibus imitero clausus, for nine months hidden in Thy 

summis votis a Maria Vir- mother s womb, and awaited 

gine et a Sancto Joseph ex- with eager expectation by the 

pectatus, et Deo Patri pro Virgin Mother Mary and by St. 

salute mundi oblatus, miserere Joseph, wast by them offered to 

nostri. God the Father for the salvation 

of the world : have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 

fans ! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

4. THE BIRTH. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime! in Jesus, sweetest child, born in 

Bethlehem ex Virgine Maria Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, 

natus, pannis involutes, in prce- wrapped in swaddling-clothes, 

sepio redinatus, ab Angelis an- laid in the manger, heralded 

nuntiatus,et a pastoribus visi- by angels, visited by shepherds : 

tatus, miserere nostri. have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 

fans ! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

Jesu, tibi sit gloria, O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Qui natus es de Virgine, Infinite glory be to Thee ; 

Cum Patre et alnw Spiritu, Praise to the Father infinite, 

In sempiterna scecula ! And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Amen. Amen. 

Christits prope est nobis. V. Christ is at hand. 

Venite, adoremus. R- Come, let us adore him. 

Pater noster. Our Father, 



3 5 2 Indu Igences. 

5. THE CIRCUMCISION. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime ! in Jesus, sweetest child, wound- 
circumcisione post dies octo ed in the circumcision on the 
vulneratus, glorioso Jesu no- eighth day, called by the glo- 
mine vocatus, et in nomine rious name of Jesus, and, by 
simitl et sanguine Salvatoris Thy name and by Thy blood, 
officio prcesignatus, miserere foreshown as the Saviour of 
1lostri - the world : have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 
fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 



6. THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime I stel- Jesus, sweetest child, made 

la duce tribus Magis demonstra- known to three Magi by a star, 

/us, in sinu Matris adoratus, et adored on Mary s bosom, hon- 

mysticis muneribus, auro, thure, ored with the mystical gifts of 

et myrrha, donatus, miserere gold, frankincense, and myrrh: 

nostri. have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 

fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 



7. THE PRESENTATION. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime! in Jesus, sweetest child, present- 
Templo a Matre Virgine prce- ed in the temple by Thy Vir- 
sentatus, inter brachia a Simeone gin Mother; Jesus, whom 
amplexatus, et ab Anna pro- Simeon took into his arms and 
phetissa Israeli revelatus, mi- embraced, and Anna the proph- 
serere nostri. etess made known to Israel: 

have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 
fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us, 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary, 



Indulgences. 353 

8. THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime! ab Jesus, sweetest child, whom 

iniquo Her ode ad mortem qua- Herod sought to slay, whom 

situs, a Sancto Joseph in St. Joseph carried with Mary 

jEgyptum cum matre deporta- into Egypt, who was saved by 

tus, a crudeli cade sublatus, et flight from a cruel death, and 

a prcEconiis martyr um In- glorified by the praises of the 

nocentium glorificatus, miserere holy Innocents: have mercy on 

nostri. us - 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 

fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

Jesu, tibi sit gloria, O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Qut natus es de Virgine, Infinite glory be to Thee ; 

Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, Praise to the Father infinite, 

In sempiterna sacula ! And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Amen. Amen. 

Christus prope est nobis. V. Christ is at hand. 

Venite, adoremus. R. Come, let us adore him. 

Pater noster. Our Father. 

9. THE SOJOURN IN EGYPT. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime! in Jesus, sweetest child, who, 

jEgypto cum Maria sanctissima with Mary most holy and the 

ei patriarcha Sancto Joseph patriarch St. Joseph, didst dwell 

usque ad obitum Herodis com- in Egypt until the death of 

moratus, miserere nostri. Herod : have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 

fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 



10. THE RETURN FROM EGYPT. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime! ex Jesus, sweetest child, who 

A^gypto cum parentibus in ter- didst return with Thy parents 

ram Israel reversus, multos la- from Egypt into the land of 

bores in itinere perpessus, et in Israel, who didst suffer many 

23 



354 Indulgences. 

civitatem Nazareth ingressus, toils by the way, and enter the 
miserere nostri. city of Nazareth : have mercy 

on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 
fans ! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

ii. THE LIFE OF JESUS AT NAZARETH. 

Jesu Infans dukissime ! in Jesus, sweetest child, who 

sancta Nazarena domo subditus didst live most holily in the 

parentibus sanctissime conimo- blessed house of Nazareth, sub- 

ratus, paupertate et laboribus ject to Thy parents, spending 

fatigatus, in sapientice, atatis, et Thy life in poverty and toil, and 

gratice, profectu confortatus, growing in wisdom, in age, and 

miserere nostri. in grace : have mercy on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 

fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

12. JESUS IN THE MIDST OF THE DOCTORS. 

Jesu Infans dulcissime ! in Jesus, sweetest child, brought 

Jerusalem duodennis ductus, a to Jerusalem when twelve years 

parentibus cum dolor e qucesitus, old, sought by Thy parents with 

et post triduum cum g audio in- much sorrow, and, after three 

ter Doctores inventus, miserere days, found, to their great joy, 

nostri. among the doctors : have mercy 

on us. 

R. Miserere nostri, Jesu In- R. Have mercy on us, child 

fans! miserere nostri. Jesus, have mercy on us. 

Ave Maria. Hail Mary. 

Jesu, tibi sit gloria, O Jesus, born of Virgin bright, 

Qui natus es de Virgine, Infinite glory be to Thee ; 

Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, Praise to the Father infinite, 

In sempiterna scecula. And Holy Ghost eternally. 

Amen. Amen. 

Christus prope est nodi s. V. Christ is at hand. 

Venite, adoremus. R. Come, let us adore him. 

Pater noster. Our Father. 



Indulgences. 355 

VERSICLE FOR THE FEAST AND OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS. 

V. Verbum caro factum est. V. The Word was made 
Alleluia. flesh. Alleluia. 

R. Et habitavit in nobis. Al- R. And dwelt amongst us. 
leluia. Alleluia. 

This versicle is also recited throughout the year, but the Al 
leluia is omitted. 

FOR THE FEAST OF EPIPHANY AND ITS OCTAVE WE SAY : 

V. Christus manifestavit se V. Christ manifested himself 

nobis. Alleluia. to us. Alleluia. 

R. Venite, adoremus. Alle- R. Come, let us adore him. 

luia. Alleluia. 

Or emus. Let its pray. 

Omnipotent sempiterne Deus, Almighty and everlasting 

Domine cali et terra;, qui te re- God, Lord of heaven and earth, 

velas parvulis ! concede, qua;- who dost reveal Thyself to lit- 

sumus, ut nos sacrosancta Filii tie ones ; grant us, we beseech 

tuilnfantis Jesu mysteria digno Thee, to honor meekly the holy 

honor e recolentes, ac digna irni- mysteries of Thy Son, the child 

tatione sectantes, ad Regnum Jesus, and to follow him hum- 

cczlorum promissum parvulis bly in our lives, so that we may 

pervenire valeamus. Per cum- come to the eternal kingdom 

dem Christum Dominum nos- promised by Thee to little ones. 

trum. Amen. Through the same Jesus Christ 

Amen. 

III. 
Every Day. 

INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day, if 
privately, with a contrite heart, we recite the aforesaid 
exercise in honor of the twelve mysteries of the Holy 
Infancy of Jesus. 

A PLENARY INDULGENCE once a month to all the faith 
ful who every day, at the sound of the bell in the morn 
ing, or at noon, or in the evening at sunset, shall devoutly 
say the Angelas Domini with the Hail Mary three times, 



356 Indulgences. 

on any day when, being truly penitent, after confession 
and Communion, they shall pray to the intention of the 
Church. This prayer is said kneeling during the week 
and standing on Saturday evenings and Sundays. During 
the Paschal time this prayer is replaced by the Regina 
C(K/i with the proper versicle and prayer, and is recited 
every day standing; but if the faithful do not know it by 
heart they may say the Angelus standing. 

AN INDULGENCE OF A HUNDRED DAYS each time that the 
faithful, being truly contrite, recite the above-mentioned 
prayer in the manner indicated. 

In regard to the recitation of the Angelus, we here 
subjoin the translation of a late decree published by 
Pope Leo XIII.: 

To gain the indulgences which Benedict XIII. granted 
the faithful who recite the Angelus Domini, with the three 
Hail Marys, and which were extended by Benedict XIV. 
to all who, during the Paschal season, say the Regina Coeli, 
with the versicles and proper prayer, it was necessary to 
recite the Hail Marys, versicles, and prayer at the sound 
of the bell. It was further necessary to recite the Ange 
lus and the Hail Marys on bended knees, except on 
Saturday evenings and Sundays, when they were said 
standing, and the Paschal season, when the Regina 
Cxli, with its versicle and prayer, was likewise said 
standing. Recently, many pious men implored the 
Sacred Congregation of Indulgences to mitigate to 
some extent these two conditions. For the Angelus 
bell is not rung in all places, nor rung three times a 
day, nor at the same hours; and if rung it is not always 
heard; and even if heard, the faithful may be prevented 
by reasonable cause from kneeling down just at that 
moment to say the prayer. Besides, there are any num 
ber of the faithful who know neither the Angelus nor 
the Regina Coeli by heart, and cannot even read it in 
print. 



Indulgences. 357 

Wherefore, his Holiness Pope Leo XIII., in order not 
to have so many of the faithful deprived of these spirit 
ual favors, owing to the non-fulfilment of the conditions, 
and in order to stir up in all an abiding and grateful re 
membrance of the mysteries of our Lord s incarnation 
and resurrection, in an audience granted the under 
signed secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Indul 
gences on the i5th of March last, graciously granted 
that all the faithful (a) who say the Angelus, with the 
three Hail Marys, the Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, 
and the prayer Pour forth, we beseech Thee, though for 
reasonable cause they do not say them on bended knees, 
nor at the sound of the bell ; or (b) who recite during 
Paschal time the Regina Cceli, with its versicle and 
prayer; or who say in the morning, about midday, and 
evening, five Hail Marys in a becoming manner with 
attention and devotion (in case they do not know the 
Angelas or the Regina Cceli and cannot read it), may 
gain the indulgences mentioned above. 

Given at the Secretariate of the same Congregation, 
Rome, April 3, 1884. 

A. Cardinal OREGLIA, a S. STEPHANO, Prefect. 

F. BELLA VOLPE, Secretary. 

IV. 
At all Times. 

AN INDULGENCE OF FIFTY DAYS each time for saying 
to one another when meeting: 

Laudetur Jesus Christus. Praise be to Jesus Christ. 

In scccula. Amen. Forever. Amen. 

AN INDULGENCE OF TWENTY-FIVE DAYS granted every 
time to all those who devoutly invoke the most holy 
names of Jesus and Mary. 

A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death granted 
to all those who during life have had the pious practice 



358 Indulgences. 

of saluting one another and answering as above directed, 
or of frequently invoking the above-mentioned most 
holy names, provided they invoke them then, at least 
with the heart, if they are unable to do so with their 
lips. 

The same indulgences are granted to preachers, and 
to all those who exhort the faithful to salute one another 
in the manner prescribed, and to invoke frequently the 
most holy names of Jesus and Mary. 

AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS every time the 
faithful say this pious ejaculation: 

My Jesus, mercy ! 

AN INDULGENCE OF A HUNDRED DAYS granted every 
time to all who with at least contrite heart and devotion 
recite these three ejaculations: 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my 
soul. 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my sou 
in peace with you. 

AN INDULGENCE OF FIFTY DAYS granted every time to 
those who recite the following ejaculation: 

Dulctssime Jesu, ne sis mihi My sweetest Jesus, be not my 
Jude.r. sed Salvator. judge, but my Saviour. 

A PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted once a year, on 
the feast of St. Jerome Emiliani (July 20), beginning 
from the first vespers and during the whole octave, on 
the day when, being truly penitent, after confession and 
Communion, they visit any church or public oratory 
and pray there for some time, to the intention of his 
Holiness. 



Darts of Fire. 359 



of 



OR PROOFS THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS GIVEN US OP 
HIS LOVE IN THE WORK OF REDEMPTION* 

To any one who considers the immense love which 
Jesus Christ has shown us in his life, aird especially in 
his death, it is impossible not to be stirred up and ex 
cited to love a God who is so enamoured of our souls. 
St. Bonaventure calls the wounds of our Redeemer 
wounds which pierce the hardest hearts, and inflame 
divine love in the coldest souls. 1 

Therefore, in this short examination of the love of 
Jesus Christ, let us consider, according to the testimony 
of the divine Scriptures, how much our loving Redeemer 
has done to make us understand the love that lie bears 
us, and to oblige us to love him. 

1 " Vulnera corda saxea vulnerantia et mentes congelatas inflam- 
mantia." Stim. div. am. p. I, c. i. 

* Saint Alphonsus set a high value on this little treatise. He 
recommends it in several places of his works, and we read in one of 
his spiritual letters (December 18, 1767) that he himself used it nearly 
every day. In it is to be found the expression of those sentiments 
with which the saintly author mostly loved to nourish himself, and by 
which he sanctified his soul. In this treatise are chiefly repeated, 
under every form, the most fervent acts of contrition and of love. 
"They are irresistible darts that pierce the hardest hearts, and in 
flame divine love in the coldest souls." These pious reflections may 
be especially used when we are in the presence of the Blessed Sacra 
ment, in our Visits, before and after Holy Communion, during Holy 
Mass and other divine services, or when we meditate on the Passion 
of our Lord. This treatise, entitled Darts of Fire, was published by 
the holy author in 1767. ED. 



360 Darts of Fire. 



Dilexit nos, et tradidit semctipsum pro nobis. 
" He hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us." Ephes. v. 2. 

God had conferred so many blessings on men, thereby 
to draw them to love him; but these ungrateful men not 
only did not love him, but they would not even acknow 
ledge him as their Lord. Scarcely in one corner of the 
earth, in Judea, was he recognized as God by his chosen 
people; and by them he was more feared than loved. He, 
however, who- wished to be more loved than feared by 
us, became man like us, chose a poor, suffering, and ob 
scure life, and a painful and ignominious death; and 
why ? to draw our hearts to himself. If Jesus Christ 
had not redeemed us, he would not have been less great 
or less happy than he has always been; but he deter 
mined to procure our salvation at the cost of many 
labors and sufferings, as if his happiness depended on 
ours. He might have redeemed us without suffering; 
but no, he willed to free us from eternal death by his 
own death ; and though he was able to save us in a 
thousand ways, he chose the most humiliating and pain 
ful way of dying on the cross of pure suffering, to pur 
chase the love of us, ungrateful worms of the earth. 
And what indeed was the cause of his miserable birth 
and his most sorrowful death, if not the love he had for 
us? 

Ah, my Jesus, may that love which made Thee die for 
me on Calvary destroy in me all earthly affections, and 
consume me in the fire which Thou art come to kindle 
on the earth. I curse a thousand times those shame 
ful passions which cost Thee so much pain. I repent, 
my dear Redeemer, with all my heart for all the offences 
I have committed against Thee. For the future I will 
rather die than offend Thee; and I wish to do all that I 
can to please Thee. Thou hast spared nothing for my 



Darts of Fire. 361 

love; neither will I spare anything for Thy love. Thou 
hast loved me without reserve; I also without reserve 
will love Thee. I love Thee, my only good, my love, my 
all. 

II. 

Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret. 
" God so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son." John, iii. 16. 

Oh, how much does that little word so mean ! It 
means that we shall never be able to comprehend the ex 
tent of such a love as this which made a God send his 
Son to die, that lost man might be saved. And who 
would ever have been able to bestow on us this gift of 
infinite value but a God of infinite love ? 

I thank thee, O Eternal Father ! for having given me 
Thy Son to be my Redeemer; and I thank Thee, O 
great Son of God, for having redeemed me with so much 
suffering and love. What would have become of me, 
after the many sins that I have committed against Thee, 
if Thou hadst not died for me? Ah, that I had died 
before I had offended Thee, my Saviour ! Make me feel 
some of that detestation for my sins which Thou hadst 
while on earth and pardon me. But pardon is not suffi 
cient for me, Thou dost merit my love; Thou hast loved 
me even to death, unto death will I also love Thee. I 
love Thee, O infinite goodness, with all my soul; I love 
Thee more than myself; in Thee alone will I place all 
my affections. Do thou help me; let me no longer live 
ungrateful to Thee, as I have done hitherto. Tell me 
what Thou wouldst have of me, for, by Thy grace, all, 
all will I do. Yes, my Jesus, I love Thee, my treasure, 
my life, my love, my all. 



362 Darts of Fire. 



in. 



Neque per sanguinem hircorum aut vitulorum, sed per proprium sanguinem in- 

troivit semel in sancta, aterna redemptione inventa. 

" Neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His own blood, entered once 
into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption."/^. i x . 12. 

And of what worth would the blood of all goats or 
even of all men be, if they were sacrificed to obtain 
divine grace for us? It is only the blood of this Man- 
God which would merit for us pardon and eternal 
salvation. But if God himself had not devised this 
way to redeem us, as he did by dying to save us, 
who ever would have been able to think of it? His 
love alone designed it and executed it. Therefore holy 
Job did well to cry out to this God who loves man 
so much: What is man, O Lord, that Thou dost so exalt 
him? why is Thy heart so intent upon loving him ? what is 
man that Thou shoiildst magnify him ? or why dost Thou set 
Thy heart upon him? 1 Ah, my Jesus, one heart is but 
little with which to love Thee; if I loved Thee even with 
the hearts of all men, it would be too little. What in 
gratitude, then, would it be if I were to divide my heart 
between Thee and creatures ! No, my love, Thou 
wouldst have it all, and well dost Thou deserve it; I will 
give it all to Thee. If I do not know how to give it Thee 
as I ought, take it Thyself, and grant that I may be able 
to say to Thee with truth, God of my heart? Ah, my Re 
deemer, by the merits of the abject and afflicted life that 
Thou hast willed to live for me, give me true humility, 
which will make me love contempt and an obscure life 
May I lovingly embrace all infirmities, affronts, persecu 
tions and interior sufferings, and all the crosses which mav 
come to me from Thy hands. Let me love Thee, and then 

" Quid est homo, quia magnificas eum? aut quid apponis erga 
eum cor tuum?" Job, vii. 17. 
J " Deus cordis mei." Ps. Ixxii. 26. 



Darts of Fire. 363 

dispose of me as Thou wilt. O loving heart of my Jesus ! 
make me love Thee by discovering to me the immense 
good that Thou art. Make me all Thine before I die. I 
love Thee, my Jesus, who art worthy to be loved. I love 
Thee with all my heart, I love Thee with all my soul. 

IV. 

Benignitas et humanitas apparuit Salvatoris nostri Dei. 
" The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared." Tit. iii. 4. 

God has loved man from all eternity / have loved 
thee with an everlasting love? " But," says St. Bernard, 
" before the Incarnation of the Word the divine Power 
appeared in creating the world, and the divine Wisdom 
in governing it ; but when the Son of God became man, 
then was made manifest the love which God had for 
men." 2 And, in fact, after seeing Jesus Christ go through 
so afflicted a life and so painful a death, we should be 
offering him an insult if we doubted the great love which 
he bears us. Yes, he does surely love us; and because he 
loves us, he wishes to be loved by us. And Christ died 
for a!/, that they also who live may not now live to themselves, 
but for Him who died for them and rose again. 3 

All, my Saviour, when shall I begin to understand the 
love which Thou hast had for me ? Hitherto, instead 
of loving Thee, I have repaid Thee with offences and 
contempt of Thy graces, but since Thou art infinite in 
goodness I will not lose confidence. Thou hast promised 
to pardon him who repents; for Thy mercy s sake fulfil 
Thy promise to me. I have dishonored Thee by putting 
Thee aside to follow my own pleasures; but now I grieve 
for it from the bottom of my soul, and there is no sor- 

1 "In charitate perpetua dilexi te." Jer. xxxi. 3. 

2 In Nat. Domini, s. I. 

3 " Pro omnibus mortuus est Christus, ut et qui vivunt, jam non 
sibi vivant, sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est et resurrexit. " 2. Cor. 
v. 15. 



364 Darts of Fire. 

row that afflicts me more than the remembrance of hav 
ing offended Thee, my Sovereign Good ; pardon me 
and unite me entirely to Thee by an eternal bond of 
love, that I may not leave Thee any more, and that I 
may only live to love Thee and to obey Thee. Yes, my 
Jesus, for Thee alone will I live, Thee only will I love. 
Once I left Thee for creatures, now I leave all to give 
myself wholly to Thee. I love Thee, O God of my soul, 
I love Thee more than myself. O Mary, Mother of 
God, obtain for me the grace to be faithful to God till 
death. 

V. 

In hoc apparuit charit.is Dei in nobis, quoniam Filium suum unigenitum misit 
Deus in mutidum, ut vivamus per eum. 

" By this hath the charity of God appeared toward us, because God hath sent His 
only-begotten Son into the world that we might live by Him." ijohn, iv. 9. 

All men were dead by sin, and they would have re 
mained dead if the eternal Father had not sent his Son 
to restore them to life by his death. But how ? what is 
this? A God to die for man! A God! And who is this 
man? <% Who am I ?" says St. Bonaventure. "OLord, 
why hast Thou loved me so much ?" 9 But it is in this 
that the infinite love of God shines forth. By this hath 
the charity of God appeared? The Holy Church exclaims 
on Holy Saturday, "O wonderful condescension of Thy 
mercy toward us ! O inestimable affection of charity ! 
that Thou mightest redeem a slave, Thou didst deliver 
up Thy Son. " O immense compassion! O prodigy! 
O excess of the love of God ? to deliver a servant and a 
sinner from the death that he deserves, his innocent Son 
is condemned to die. 

1 " Quid sum ego ?" 

" Quare, Domine, cur me tarn amasti TStim. div. am. p. i, c. 13. 
"In hoc apparuit charitas Dei." i John, iv. 9. 
"O mira circa nos tuae pietatis dignatio! O inaestimabilis dilectio 
charitatis ; ut servum redimeres, Filium tradidisti!" 



Darts of Fire. 

Thou, then, O my God, hast done this that we might 
live by Jesus Christ: that we might live by Him} Yes, in 
deed, it is but meet that we should live for him, who 
has given all his blood and his life for us. My dear 
Redeemer, in the presence of Thy wounds and of the 
cross on which I see Thee dead for me, I consecrate to 
Thee my life and my whole will. Ah, make me all Thine, 
for from this day forward I seek and desire none but 
Thee. I love Thee, infinite Goodness; I love Thee, in 
finite Love; while I live may I always repeat, My God, I 
love Thee, I love Thee; let my last words in death be, My 
God, I love Thee, I love Thee. 

VI. 

Per viscera misericordia Dei nostri, in quibus visitavit nos Oriens ex alto. 

Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high 

hath visited us." Luke, \. 78. 

Behold, the Son of God comes on earth to redeem 
us, and he comes stimulated alone by the bowels of his 
mercy. But, O God! if Thou hast compassion on lost 
man, is it not enough that Thou shouldst send an angel 
to redeem him ? No, says the Eternal Word, I will come 
myself, that man may know how much I love him. 
St. Augustine writes: " For this reason chiefly did Jesus 
Christ come, that man should know how much God 
loves him." 2 But, my Jesus, even now that Thou hast 
come, how many men are there who truly love Thee ? 
Wretch that I am, Thou knowest how I have hitherto 
loved Thee; Thou knowest what contempt I have had 
for Thy love. Oh that I might die of grief for it ! I re 
pent, my dear Redeemer, of having so despised Thee. 
Ah, pardon me, and at the same time give me grace to 
love Thee. Let me no longer remain unmindful of that 

1 " Ut vivamus per eum." i John, iv. 9. 

2 " Maxima propterea Christus advenit, ut cognosceret homo quan 
turn eum diligat Deus." De catech. rud. c. 4. 



366 Darts of Fire. 

great affection which Thou hast borne me. I love Thee 
now, but I love Thee but little. Thou dost merit an 
infinite love. Grant me 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 rne, 
I offer myself to suffer as much as it shall please Thee. 
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver its from evil. 1 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 to 
live without loving Thee. 

VII. 

Et Verbum caro factum est. 
" And the Word was made flesh." -John, \. 14. 

God sent the Archangel Gabriel to ask Mary s consent 
that he should become her Son; Mary gives her consent, 
and behold the Word is made man. O wonderful prod 
igy ! at which the heavens and all nature stand in 
astonishment ! The Word made flesh ! A God made 
man ! What if we were to see a king become a worm, 
to save the life of a little worm of earth by his death ? 

So, then, my Jesus, Thou art my God, and not being 
able to die as God, Thou hast been pleased to become 
man capable of dying in order to give Thy life for me. 
My sweet Redeemer, how is it that, at the sight of such 
mercy and love Thou hast shown towards me, I do not 
die of grief? Thou didst come down from heaven to 
seek me, a lost sheep; and how many times have I not 
driven Thee away, preferring my miserable pleasures be 
fore Thee ! But since Thou dost wish to have me, I 
leave all; I wish to be Thine, and I will have none other 
1 " Ne nos inducas ir rentationem, sed libera nos a malo." 



Darts of Fire. 367 

but Thee. Thee do I choose for the only object of my 
affections. My Beloved to me, and I to Him. 1 Thou dost 
think of me, and I will think of none but Thee. Let me 
always love Thee, and may I never leave off loving Thee. 
Provided I can love Thee, I am content to be deprived of 
all sensible consolation, and even to suffer all torments. 
I see that Thou dost indeed wish me to be all Thine, and 
I wish to belong entirely to Thee. I know that every 
thing in the world is a falsehood, a deceit, nothing but 
smoke, filth, and vanity. Thou alone art the true and 
only good; therefore Thou alone art sufficient for me. 
My God, I wish for Thee alone, and nothing else ; God hear 
me, for Thee alone do I wish, and nothing else. 

VIII. 

Setnetipsum exinanivit. 
" He emptied Himself." Phil. ii. 7. 

Behold theonly-begotton Son of God, omnipotent and 
true God, equal to the Father, born a little Infant in a 
stable. He emptied Himself , taking the form of a servant, 
being made to the likeness of men? If any one would see a 
God annihilated, let him enter into the cave of Bethle 
hem, and he will find him as a little Infant, bound in 
swaddling-clothes, so that he carn.ot move, weeping and 
trembling with cold. Ah, holy faith, tell me whose Son 
is this poor child ? Faith answers, he is the Son of God, 
and he is true God. And who has brought him to so 
miserable a condition ? It was the love he had for men. 
And yet there are men to be found who do not love this 
God ! 

Thou, then, my Jesus, hast spent all Thy life amidst 
sorrows to make me understand the love Thou dost bear 
me, and I have spent my life in despising and displeasing 

1 " Dilectus meus mihi, et ego illi." Cant. ii. 16. 

2 " Semetipsum exinanivit, formam servi accipiens, in similitudinem 
hominum factus." Phil. ii. 7. 



3^8 Darts of Fire. 

Thee by my sins ! Ah, make me know the evil I have 
committed, and the love which Thou desirest to have. 
But since Thou hast borne with me till now, permit me 
not to give Thee any more cause for sorrow. Inflame 
me altogether with Thy love, and remind me always of 
all Thou hast suffered for me, that from this day forth I 
may forget everything, and think of nothing but loving 
and pleasing Thee. Thou didst come on earth to reign 
in our hearts; take, then, from my heart all that could 
prevent Thee from possessing it entirely ! Make my will 
to be wholy conformed to Thy will; may Thine be mine, 
and may it be the rule of all mv actions and desires. 



IX. 

Parvulus natus est nobis, et Filius datus est vobis. 
" For a child is born to us, and a Son is given to us. 1 Isa. ix. 6, 

Behold the end for which the Son of God will be born 
an Infant, to give himself to us from his childhood, and 
thus to draw to himself our love. Why (writes St. 
Francis de Sales) does Jesus take the sweet and tender 
form of an Infant, if it be not to stimulate us to love him 
and to confide in him ? St. Peter Chrysologus had said 
before, "Thus he willed to be born, because he wished to 
be loved." * 

Oh, dear child Jesus, my Saviour ! I love Thee, in Thee 
do I trust, Thou art all my hope cind all my love. What 
would have become of me if Thou hadst not come down 
from heaven to save me? I know the hell which would 
have awaited me for the offences I have offered Thee. 
Blessed be Thy mercy, because Thou art ever ready to 
pardon me if I repent of my sins. Yes, I repent with all 
my heart, my Jesus, of having despised Thee. Receive 
me into Thy favor, and make me die to myself to live 
only to Thee, my only good. Destroy in me, O thou 

"Sic nasci voluit, qui voluit amari. " Serm. 158. 



Darts of Fire. 3 6 9 

consuming fire, everything that is displeasing in Thine 
eyes, and draw all my affections to Thee. I love Thee, 
6 God of my soul, I love Thee, my treasure, my life, my 
all. I love Thee, and I wish to die saying, my God, I 
love Thee; and begin then to love Thee with a perfect 

love which shall have no end. 

\ 

X. 

Rorate, *//, desuper, et nubes pluant Justvm.-Emitte Agnum, Domine,domina- 

torcin terra". Salutare tuuin da nobis. 

" Drop down dew, O ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just."- 

" Send forth the Lamb, the Ruler of the earth."/, xlv. 8; xvi. i. 

"Grant us Thy salvation. "-P.*. Ixxxiv. 8. 

Thus did the holy Prophets desire for so many years 
the coming of the Saviour. The same prophet Isaias 
said: Oh, that Thou wouldst send the heavens, and wouldst 
come down : the mountains would melt away at Thy presence, 

. the waters would burn with fire. Lord, he said, when 
men shall see that Thou hast come on earth out of love 
for them, the mountains shall be made smooth, that is, 
men in serving Thee will conquer all the difficulties that 
at first appeared to them insuperable obstacles. The 
waters would burn with fire, and the coldest hearts will 
feel themselves burning with Thy love, at the sight of 
Thee made man, and how well has this been verified in 
many happy souls ! in St. Teresa, in St. Philip Neri, St. 
Francis Xavier, who even in this life were consumed by 
this holy fire. But how many such are there? Alas! 
but too few. 

Ah, my Jesus, amongst these few I wish also to be. 
How many years ought I not already be burning in 
hell, separated from Thee, hating and cursing Thee for 
ever. But no, Thou hast borne with me with so much 
patience, that Thou mightest see me burn, not with that 
unhappy flame, but with the blessed fire of Thy love; 

1 "Utinam dirumperes coelos et descenderes; a facie tua monies 
defluerent . . ., aquae arderent igni." Isa. Ixiv. i, 2. 



37 Darts of Fire. 

for this end Thou hast given me so many illuminations, 
and hast so often wounded my heart while I was far 
from Thee; finally, Thou hast done so much that Thou 
hast forced me to love Thee by Thy sweet attractions. 
Behold, I am now Thine. I will be Thine always and 
altogether. It remains for Thee to make me faithful, 
and this I confidently hope from Thy goodness. O my 
God ! who could ever have the heart to leave Thee again 
and to live even a moment without Thy love? I love 
Thee, my Jesus, above all things; but this is little. I 
love Thee more than myself, but this is little also; I love 
Thee with all my heart, and this also is little. My Jesus, 
hear me, give me more love, more love, more love. O 
Mary, pray to God for me. 



XI. 

Despectum, et no-vissimum virorum. 
"Despised, and the most abject of men." Isa. liii. 3. 

Behold what was the life of the Son of God made 
man, the most abject of men. He was treated as the 
vilest, the least of men. To what extreme of meanness 
could the life of Christ be reduced greater than that of 
being born in a stable? of living as a servant in an un 
known and despised shop ? struck, treated as a mock 
king, having his face spit upon? and, finally, of dying 
condemned as a malefactor on an infamous gibbet ? 

St. Bernard exclaims, "Oh, lowest and highest!" 1 
A God, Thou art the Lord of all, and how art Thou con 
tented to be the most despised of all ? And I, my Jesus, 
when I see Thee so humiliated for me, how can I wish to 
be esteemed and honored by all ? A sinner to be proud! 
Ah, my despised Redeemer, may Thy example inspire 
me with love of contempt and of an obscure life; from 
this time forward I hope, with Thy help, to accept from 
1 "O novissimum et altissimum." 3. de Passione. 



Darts of Fire. 371 

my heart all opprobrium that I may have to suffer for the 
love of Thee, who hast endured so much for the love of 
me. Pardon me the pride of my past life, and give me 
love in its place. I love Thee, my despised Jesus. Go 
before me with Thy cross. I will follow Thee with 
mine, and I will not leave Thee till I die crucified for 
Thee, as Thou didst die crucified for me. My Jesus, my 
despised Jesus, I embrace Thee; in Thy embrace will I 
live and die. 

XIL 

Virum dolorum. 
" A man of sorrows." Isa. liii, 3. 

What was the life of Jesus Christ ? A life of sorrows; 
a life of internal and external sorrows from the begin 
ning to the end. But what most afflicted Jesus Christ 
during the course of his life was the sight of the sins 
and the ingratitude with which men repaid the pains he 
had suffered with so much love for us. This thought 
had made him the most afflicted amongst all men that 
had ever lived on the earth. 

So, then, my Jesus, I also added to the affliction Thou 
didst suffer during the whole of Thy life by my sins. 
And why do I not also say, as did St. Margaret of Cor- 
tona, who, when exhorted by her confessor to calm her 
grief and not to weep any more because God had par 
doned her, redoubled her tears and answered, "Ah, my 
Father, how can I leave off weeping when I know that 
my sins afflicted my Jesus through the whole of his 
life?" Oil that I could die of grief, my Jesus, whenever 
I think of all the bitter anguish I have caused Thee 
every day of my life ! Alas, how many nights have I 
slept deprived of Thy grace ! How many times hast 
Thou pardoned me, and I have again turned my back 
upon Thee ! My dear Lord, I repent above all things 
for having offended Thee. I love Thee with all my 



372 Da rts of Fire. 

heart; I love Thee with all my soul. "Ah, my sweet 
Jesus, permit me not to be separated any more from 
Thee." Let me die rather than betray Thee afresh. 

Mary, Mother of perseverance, obtain for me the gift 
of holy perseverance. 

XIII. 

Cum dilexisset suos, qui erant in mundo, in finem dilexit eos. 

" Having loved his own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end." 
John, xiii. i. 

The love of friends increases at the time of death, 
when they are on the point of being separated from 
those they love; and it is then, therefore, that they try 
more than ever, by some pledge of affection, to show 
the love they bear to them. Jesus during the whole of 
his life gave us marks of his affection, but when he came 
near the hour of his death he wished to give us a special 
proof of his love. For what greater proof could this 
loving Lord show us than by giving his blood and his 
life for each of us? And not content with this, he left 
this very same body, sacrificed for us upon the cross, to 
be our food, so that each one who should receive it 
should be wholly united to him, and thus love should 
mutually increase. 

infinite goodness ! O infinite love ! Ah, my en 
amoured Jesus, fill my heart with Thy love, so that I 
may forget the world and myself, to think of nothing but 
loving and pleasing Thee. I consecrate to Thee my 
body, my soul, my will, my liberty. Up to this time I 
have sought to gratify myself to Thy great displeasure; 

1 am exceedingly sorry for it, my crucified love; hence 
forth I will seek nothing but Thee, my God and my all." 
My God, Thou art my all, I wish for Thee alone and 

1 " Jesu dulcissime! ne permittas me separari a te, ne permittas 
me separari a te." 

2 " Deus meus et omnia." 



Darts of Fire. 373 

nothing more. Oh that I could spend myself all for 
Thee, who hast spent Thyself all for me ! I love Thee, 
my only good, my only love. I love Thee, and abandon 
myself entirely to Thy holy will. Make me love Thee, 
and then do with me what Thou wilt. 



XIV. 

Tristis est anima me a usque ad mortem. 
" My soul is sorrowful even unto death." Matt. xxvi. 38. 

These were the words that proceeded from the sor 
rowful heart of Jesus Christ in the garden of Geth- 
semani, before he went to die. Alas, whence came this 
extreme grief of his, which was so great that it was 
enough to kill him? Perhaps it was on account of the 
torments that he saw he should have to suffer? No; for 
he had foreseen these torments from the time of his in 
carnation. He had foreseen them, and had accepted them 
of his own free will: He was offered because it was His own 
will. 1 His grief came from seeing the sins men would 
commit after his death. It was then, according to St. 
Bernardine of Sienna, that he saw clearly each particular 
sin of each one of us. He had regard to every individual 
sin. 2 

It was not, then, my Jesus, the sight of the scourges, 
of the thorns, and of the cross which so afflicted Thee 
in the garden of Gethsemani; it was the sight of my sins, 
each one of which so oppressed Thy heart with grief 
and sadness that it made Thee agonize and sweat blood. 
This is the recompense I have made Thee for the love 
Thou hast shown me by dying for me. Ah, let me 
share the grief Thou didst feel in the garden for my 
sins, so that the remembrance of it may make me sad 



1 "Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit." Isa. liii. 7. 

"A 
s. 56, a. 



"Ad quamlibet culpam singularem habuit aspectum." T. ii. 



374 Darts of Fire. 

for all my life. Ah, my sweet Redeemer, if I could but 
console Thee as much now by my grief and love as I 
then afflicted Thee ! I repent, my Love, with all my 
heart for having preferred my own miserable satisfac 
tion to Thee. I am sorry, and I love The above all 
things. Although I have despised Thee, yet I hear Thee 
ask for my love. Thou wouldst have me love Thee 
with all my heart: Love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart, and with all thy soul. 1 Yes, my God, I love Thee 
with all my heart, I love Thee with all my soul. Do Thou 
give me the love Thou requirest of me. If I have 
hitherto sought myself, I will now seek none but Thee. 
And seeing that Thou hast loved me more than others, 
more than others will I love Thee. Draw me always 
more, my Jesus, to Thy love by the odor of Thy ointments, 
which are the loving attractions of Thy grace. Finally, 
give me strength to correspond to so much love which 
God has borne to an ungrateful worm and traitor. Mary, 
Mother of mercy, help me by thy prayers. 

XV. 

Comfrehenderunt jfesitm, et ligaverunt eum. 
" They took Jesus and bound him." John, xviii. ia. 

A God taken and bound ! What could the angels 
have said at seeing their king with his hands bound, led 
between soldiers through the streets of Jerusalem ! And 
what ought we to say at the sight of our God, who is 
content for our sake to be bound as a thief, to be pre 
sented to the judge who is to condemn him to death ? St. 
Bernard laments, saying, "What hast Thou to do with 
chains?" 2 What have malefactors and chains to do with 
Thee, O my Jesus, Thou who art infinite goodness and 

1 " Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et in tota anima 
tua." Matt. xxii. 37. 

2 "Quid tibi et vinculis?" Lib. de Pass. c. 4. 



Darts of Fire. 375 

majesty ? They should belong to us sinners, guilty of hell, 
and not to Thee who art innocent and the Holy of holies. 
St. Bernard goes on to say, on seeing Jesus guilty of 
death, " What hast Thou done, my innocent Saviour, that 
Thou shouldst be thus condemned ?" l O my dear Saviour, 
Thou art innocence itself ; for what crime hast Thou 
been thus condemned ? Ah, I will tell Thee, he replies: 
the crime Thou hast committed is the too great love 
Thou hast borne to men. Thy sin is love. 2 

My beloved Jesus, I kiss the cords that bind Thee, 
for they have freed me from those eternal chains which 
I have deserved. Alas ! how many times have I re 
nounced Thy friendship rnd made myself a slave of 
Satan, dishonoring Thy infinite majesty! I grieve above 
all things for having so grievously insulted Thee. Ah, 
my God, bind my will to Thy feet with the sweet cords 
of Thy holy love, that it may wish for nothing but 
what is pleasing to Thee. May I take Thy will for the 
sole guide of my life. As Thou hast had so great care 
for my good, may I not care for anything but to love 
Thee. I love Thee, my sovereign Good; I love Thee, the 
only object of my affections. I know that Thou alone 
hast loved me truly, and Thee alone will I love. I re 
nounce everything. Thou alone art sufficient for me. 

XVI. 

Ipse autetn vulneratus est propter iniquitates nostras, attritus est propter scelera 

nostra. 

"But He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins." 

Isa. liii. 5. 

One single blow suffered by this Man -God was suf 
ficient for the sins of the whole world; but Jesus Christ 
was not satisfied with that; he wished to be wounded and 

1 " Quid fecisti, innocentissime Salvator, quod sic condemnareris ?" 
Lib. de Pass. c. 4. 

* " Peccatum tuum amor tuus." 



376 Darts of Fire. 

bruised^ for our iniquities, which means to say, wounded 
and torn from head to foot, so that there should be no 
whole part remaining in his sacred body. Hence the 
same prophet beheld him full of sores like a leper. And 
7c>e have thought Him as it were a leper, and as one struck by 
God and afflicted? 

O wounds of my sorrowful Jesus, you are all living 
evidences of the love which my Redeemer preserves for 
me; with tender words do you force me to love him 
for the many sufferings that he has undergone for the love 
of me. Ah, my sweet Jesus, when shall I give myself 
all to Thee, as Thou hast given Thyself all to me? I 
love Thee, my sovereign good. I love Thee, my God, 
lover of my soul. O God of love, give me love. By my 
love let me atone to Thee for the bitterness I have 
given Thee in times past. Help me to drive from my 
heart everything that does not tend to Thy love. Eternal 
Father, look at the face of Thy Christ? look at the wounds 
of Thy Son, which seek pity for me, and for their sake 
pardon me the outrages that! have committed against 
Thee; take my heart entirely to Thyself, that it may not 
love, seek, nor sigh after any other but Thee. I say to 
Thee, with St. Ignatius, " Give me only love of Thee and 
Thy grace and I am rich enough." 4 Behold this is all I 
ask of Thee, O God of my soul; give me Thy love, to 
gether with Thy grace, and I desire nothing else. O Mary, 
Mother of God, intercede for me. 

1 " Vulneratus, attritus." 

" Et nos putavimus eum quasi leprosum, et percussum a Deo, et 
humiliatum." Isa. liii. 4. 

" Respice in faclem Christ! tui." Ps. Ixxxiii. 10. 

"Amorem tui solum cum gratia tua mihi dones, et dives sura 



satis. 



Darts of Fire. 377 

XVII. 

A ve, Rex Judceorum. 
"Hail, King of the Jews. 1 Matt, xxvii. 29. 

Thus was our Redeemer scornfully saluted by the 
Roman soldiers. After having treated him as a false 
king, and having crowned him with thorns, they knelt 
before him and called him king of the Jews, and then, 
rising up with loud cries and laughter, they struck him 
and spit in his face. St. Matthew writes : And platting a 
crown of thorns, they put it on His head. . . . And bowing the 
knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the 
Jews; and spitting upon Him they took the reed and struck His 
head. And St. John adds, And they gave Him blows. 1 

my Jesus! this barbarous crown that encircles Thy 
head, this vile reed that Thou dost hold in Thy hand, 
this torn purple garment that covers Thee with ridicule, 
make Thee known indeed as a king, but a king of love. 
The Jews will not acknowledge Thee for their king, and 
they say to Pilate, We have no King but Ccesar? My beloved 
Redeemer, if others will not have Thee for their king, I 
accept Thee, and desire that Thou shouldst be the only 
King of my soul. To Thee do I consecrate my whole 
self; dispose of me as Thou pleasest. For this end hast 
Thou endured contempt, so many sorrows, and death 
itself, to gain our hearts and to reign therein by Thy 
iove. For this end Christ died, . . . that he might be Lord 
both of the dead and of the living. 3 Make Thyself, therefore, 
master of my heart, O my beloved King, and reign and 

1 " Et plectentes coronam de spinis, posuerunt super caput ejus, et 
arundinem in dextera ejus. Et genu flexo ante eum, illudebant ei 
dicentes: Ave, Rex Judaeorum. Et expuentes in eum, acceperunt 
arundinem, et percutiebant caput ejus." Matt, xxvii. 29. " Et dabant 
ei alapas." John, xix. 3. 

* " Non habemus regem, nisi Csesarem." -John, xix. 15. 
3 " In hoc enim Christus mortuus est et resurrexit, ut et mortuorum 
et vivorum dominetur." Rom. xiv. 9. 



37^ Darts of Fire. 

exercise Thy sway there forever. Formerly I refused 
Thee for my Lord, that I might serve my passions; now 
I will be all Thine and Thee alone will I serve. Ah, bind 
me to Thee by Thy love, and make me always remember 
the bitter death that Thou hast willed to suffer for me. 
Ah, my King, my God, my love, my all, what do I wish 
for if not for Thee alone \-Thee, God of my heart, and my 
portion, forever? O God of my heart ! I love Thee; Thou 
art my portion, Thou art my only good. 

XVIII. 

Et bajulans sibi crucem, exivit in cum, qui dicitur Calvaries, locum. 

"And bearing His own Cross, He went forth to that place which is called 

Calvary." Joh n, xix. 17. 

Behold the Saviour of the world has now set out on 
his journey with his cross on his shoulders, going forth 
to die in torments for the love of men. The divine Lamb 
allows himself to be led without complaining, to be sac 
rificed upon the cross for our salvation. Go thou, also, 
my soul, accompany and follow thy Jesus, who goes to 
suffer death for thy love, to satisfy for thy sins. Tell me 
my Jesus and my God, what dost Thou expect from 
men by giving Thy life for their sake? St. Bernard 
answers, Thou dost expect nothing but to be loved by 
them: -When God loves, he wishes for nothing but to be 
loved in return." 2 

Is it, then, my Redeemer, at so great a cost that Thou 
hast desired to gain our love ? And shall there be any 
among men who believe in Thee, and not love Thee? 
1 comfort myself with the thought that Thou art the 
love of all the souls of the saints, the love of Marv the 
love of Thy Father; but, O my God, how many are there 
who will not know Thee, and how many that know Thee 



" Cum amat Deus, non aliud vult, quam amari."-7 Cant, s 83. 



Darts of Fire. 3 79 

and yet will not love Thee ! Infinite Love, make Thy 
self known, make Thyself loved. All, that I could by 
my blood and my death make Thee loved by all ! But 
alas that I have lived so many years in the world while 
I knew Thee, but did not love Thee ! But now at last 
Thou hast drawn me to love Thee by Thy so great good 
ness. At one time I was so unhappy as to lose Thy 
grace ; but the grief I now feel for it, the desire of being 
all Thine, and still more the death Thou hast suffered 
for me, give me a firm confidence, O my Love, that 
Thou hast already pardoned me, and that now Thou 
dost love me. Oh that I could die for Thee, my Jesus, 
as Thou hast died for me! Although no punishment 
awaited those who love Thee not, I would never leave off 
loving Thee, and I would do all I could to please Thee. 
Thou who givest me this good iesire, give me strength to 
follow it out. My love, my hope, do not abandon me; 
make me correspond, during the remainder of my life 
to the especial love that Thou has borne me. Thou de- 
sirest to have -me for Thine own, and I wish to be all for 
Thee. I love Thee, my God, my treasure, my all. I will 
live and die always repeating, I love Thee, I love Thee, 
I love Thee. 

XIX. 

Quasi agnus coram tondente se, obmutescet, et non aperiet os suum. 

" And shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and He shall not open his 
mouth." /.y. liii. 7. 

This was precisely the passage which the eunuch of 
Queen Candace was reading; but not understanding of 
whom it was written, St. Philip, inspired by God, entered 
the carriage in which the eunuch was, and explained to 
him that these words referred to our Redeemer Jesus 
Christ. Jesus was called a lamb because he was dragged 
into the praetorium of Pilate, and then led to death just 



Darts of Fire. 

like an innocent lamb. Therefore the Baptist calls him 
a lamb. Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh 
away the sins of the world. 1 A lamb who suffers and dies 
a victim on the cross for our sins. Surely he hath borne 
our infirmities and carried our sorrows? Miserable are 
those who do not love Jesus Christ during their life. In 
the last day the sight of this Lamb in his wrath will 
make them say to the mountains, Fall upon us and hide 
us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, and 
from the wrath of the Lamb* 

No, my divine Lamb, if in times past I have not loved 
Thee, now I will love Thee forever. Before, I was blind ; 
but now that thou hast enlightened me, and hast made 
me know the great evil I have done in turning my back 
upon Thee, and the infinite love which is due to Thee 
for Thy goodness and for the love Thou hast borne me, 
I repent with all my heart for having offended Thee, 
and I love Thee above all things. O wounds, O blood 
of my Redeemer, how many souls have you not inflamed 
with love ! inflame my soul also. Ah, my Jesus, contin 
ually call to my remembrance Thy Passion and the pains 
and ignominies that Thou hast suffered for me, that I 
may detach my affections from earthly goods and place 
them all on Thee, my only and infinite good. I love 
Thee, Lamb of God, sacrificed and annihilated on the 
cross for my sake. Thou hast not refused to suffer for 
me; I will not refuse to suffer for Thee whatever Thou 
requirest. I will no longer complain of the crosses that 
Thou dost send me. I ought to have been in hell these 
many years; how, then, can I complain ? Give me grace 
to love Thee, and then do with me what Thou wilt. 

Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi." John, \. 29. 
" Vere languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse porta- 
vit." Isa. liii. 4. 

"Cadite super nos, et abscondite nos a facie sedentis super 
thronum, et ab ira Agni." Apoc. vi. 16. 



Darts of Fire. 3 8 1 

Who shall separate me from the love of Christ ? 1 Ah, my 
Jesus, sin alone can separate me from Thy love. Ah, 
let it not be; rather let me die a thousand times; this 
I beg of Thee by Thy sacred Passion. I beseech thee, 
O Mary, by thy sorrows deliver me from the death 
of sin. 

XX. 

Deus meus ! Deus meus ! ut quid dereliquisti me ? 
" My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me 1"Matt. xxvii. 46. 

O God ! who shall not compassionate the Son of God, 
who for love of men is dying of grief on a cross ? He is 
tormented externally in his body by the innumerable 
wounds, and internally he is so afflicted and sad that 
he seeks solace for his great sorrow from the Eternal 
Father; but his Father, in order to satisfy his divine 
justice, abandons him, and leaves him to die desolate 
and deprived of every consolation. 

O desolate death of my dear Redeemer, Thou art my 
hope. O my abandoned Jesus, Thy merits make me 
hope that I shall not remain abandoned and separated 
from Thee forever in hell. I do not care to live in con 
solation on this earth; I embrace all the pains and 
desolations that Thou mayest send me. He is not 
worthy of consolation who by offending Thee has 
merited for himself eternal torments. It is enough for 
me to love Thee and to live in Thy grace. This alone do 
1 beg of Thee, let me nevermore see myself deprived 
of Thy love. Let me be abandoned by all; do not Thou 
abandon me in this extremity. I love Thee, my Jesus, 
who didst die abandoned for me. I love Thee, my 
only good, my only hope, my only love. 

* " Quis ergo nos separabit a charitate Christ! TRom. viii. 35. 



382 Darts of Fire. 



XXI. 

Crucifixerunt eum, et cum eo alias duos hinc et /tine, medium autem Jesum. 

" They crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the 
midst." John, xix. 18. 

The incarnate Word was called by the sacred spouse, 
All lovely; such is my beloved. 1 At whatever period of his life 
Jesus Christ presents himself to us, he appears alto 
gether desirable and most worthy of love, whether we 
see him as an infant in the stable, as a boy in the shop 
of St. Joseph, as a solitary meditating in the desert, or 
bathed in sweat as he walked about preaching through 
out Judea. But in no other form does he appear more 
loving than when he is nailed to the cross on which the 
immense love he bears us forced him to die. St. Francis 
de Sales has said, the Mount of Calvary is the hill of 
lovers. All love which does not take its rise from the 
Passion of the Saviour is weak. How miserable is the 
death where there is no love of the Redeemer! Let us 
stop, then, and consid.er that this man, nailed to the 
tree of shame, is our true God, and that he is here suf 
fering and dying for nothing but for the love of us. 

Ah, my Jesus, if all men would stand still and contem 
plate Thee on the cross, believing with a lively faith, 
that Thou art their God, and that Thou hast died for 
their salvation, how could they live far from Thee and 
without Thy love? And how could I, knowing all this, 
have displeased Thee so often ? If others have offended 
Thee, they have at least sinned in darkness; but I have 
sinned in the light. But these pierced hands, this 
wounded side, this blood, these wounds which I see in 
Thee, make me hope for pardon and Thy grace. I am 
grieved, my Love, for having ever so despised Thee. But 
now I love Thee with all my heart; and my greatest 

1 "Totus desiderabilis, tails est Dilectus meus." Cant. v. 16. 



Darts of Fire. 

grief is the remembrance of my having despised Thee. 
This grief, however, which I feel, is a sign that Thou hast 
pardoned me. O burning heart of my Jesus, inflame my 
poor heart with Thy love. O my Jesus, dead, consumed 
with sorrow for me, make me die consumed with sorrow 
for having offended Thee, and with the love Thou dost 
merit, I sacrifice myself entirely to Thee, who hast sac 
rificed Thyself entirely for me. O sorrowful Mother 
Mary, make me faithful in loving Jesus! 

XXII. 

Et inclinato capite^ tradidit spiritum. 
" And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost." John, xix. 30 

Behold, my Redeemer, to what Thy love for men has 
brought Thee even to die of sorrow on across, drowned 
in a sea of grief and ignominy; as David had predicted 
of Thee. / am come into the depth of the sea, and a tempest 
hath overwhelmed me. 1 St. Francis de Sales writes thus: 
"Let us contemplate this divine Saviour stretched on 
the cross, as upon the altar of his glory, on which he is 
dying of love for us. Ah, why, then, do we not in 
spirit throw ourselves upon him to die upon the cross 
with him who has chosen to die there for the love of 
us? I will hold him, we ought to say; I will never let 
him go. I will die with him, and will burn in the 
flames of his love; one and the same fire shall devour 
this divine Creator and his miserable creature. My 
Jesus is all mine, and I am all his. I will live and 
die on his bosom. Neither life nor death shall ever 
separate me from my Jesus." 

Yes, my dear Redeemer, I hold fast to Thy cross; I 
kiss Thy pierced feet, touched with compassion and con- 

1 "Veni in altitudinem maris, et tempestas demersit me." /V. 

Ixviii. 3. 

2 love of God, book vii., ch. 8. 



Darts of Fire. 

founded at seeing the affection with which Thou hast 
died for me. Ah, accept me, and bind me to Thy feet, 
that I may no more depart from Thee, and may from 
this day forward converse with Thee alone, consult with 
Thee on all my thoughts ; in a word, may I henceforth 
direct all my affections so as to seek nothing but to love 
Thee and please Thee, always longing to leave this valley 
of dangers to come and love Thee face to face with all my 
strength in Thy kingdom, which is a kingdom of eternal 
love. In the mean time let me always live, grieving for 
the offences I have committed against Thee, and always 
burning with love for Thee, who for love of me hast 
given Thy life. I love Thee, my Jesus, who hast died for 
me; I love Thee, O infinite lover ; I love Thee, O infinite 
love ; I love Thee, infinite goodness. O Mary, Mother 
of beautiful love, pray to my Jesus for me. 



XXIII. 

Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit. 
" He was offered because it was His own will." Isa. liii. 7. 

The incarnate Word, at the moment of his conception, 
saw before him all the souls that he was to redeem! 
Then thou also, my soul, wast presented with the guilt 
of all thy sins upon thee, and for thee did Jesus Christ 
accept all the pains that he suffered in life and death; 
and in doing so he obtained for thee thy pardon, and all 
the graces that thou hast received from God the lights, 
the calls of his love, the helps to overcome temptations, 
the spiritual consolations, the tears, the compassionate 
feelings thou hast experienced when thinking of the love 
he had for thee, and the sentiments of sorrow in remem 
bering how thou hast offended him. 

Thou didst, then, my Jesus, from the very beginning 
oi Thy life, take upon Thee all my sins, and didst offer 
Thyself to satisfy for them by Thy sufferings. By Thy 



Darts of Fire. 385 

death Thou hast delivered me from eternal death: But 
Thou hast delivered my soul, that it should not perish; Thou 
hast cast all my sim behind Thy back. Thou, my love, 
instead of punishing me for the insults which I have 
added to those that Thou hadst already received, hast 
gone on adding to Thy favors and mercies towards me, in 
order to win my heart one day to Thyself. My Jesus, this 
day is come; I love Thee with all my soul. Who should 
love Thee if I do not? This is the first sin, my Jesus, that 
Thou hast to forgive me, that I have been so many years 
in the world without loving Thee. But for the future I 
will do all I can to please Thee. I feel by Thy grace a 
great desire to live to Thee alone, and to detach myself 
from all created things, I have also a great compunction 
for the displeasure that I have caused Thee. This desire 
and this sorrow, I see, my Jesus, are all Thy gift. Con 
tinue, then, my love, to keep me faithful in Thy love; 
for Thou knowest my weakness. Make me all Thine, as 
Thou hast made Thyself all mine. I love Thee, my only 
good; I love Thee, my only love; I love Thee, my treas 
ure, my all; My Jesus, I love Thee, I love Thee, I love 
Thee. Help me, O Mother of God, 

XXIV. 

Deus Filium suum mittens in similitudinem carnis peccati, et de peccato dam- 
navit peccatum in ccirne. Christus nos redemit de maledictolegis factus pro 
nobis maledictum, quid scriptum est: Maledictns omnis qui pendet in ligno. 

"God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, even of sin, hath con 
demned sin in the flesh." Rom. viii. 3. "Christ hath redeemed us from the 
curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is every 
one that hangeth on a tree." Gal. iii. 13. 

Hence we see that Jesus Christ willed to appear in 
the world as a guilty and an acused man, hanging on 
the cross to deliver us from eternal malediction. 

1 " Tu autem eruisti animam meam, ut non periret ; projecisti post 
tergum tuum omnia peccata mea." I$a. xxxviii. 17. 

25 



386 Darts of Fire. 

O eternal Father, for the love of this Son so dear to 
Thee, have pity on me! And Thou, Jesus, my Redeemer, 
who by Thy death hast liberated mS*from the slavery of 
sin in which I was born, and of the sins that I have com 
mitted since my baptism, ah, change the miserable chains 
which once bound me a slave to Satan into chains of 
gold, which may bind me to Thee with a holy love. 
Arise and show forth in me the efficacy of Thy merits, 
by changing me, a sinner, into a saint. I have deserved 
to be burning in hell for many years past: but I hope by 
Thy infinite mercy, for the glory of Thy death, to burn 
with Thy love, and to be all Thine. I wish that my 
heart should love none but Thee. Thy kingdom come. 
Reign, my Jesus, reign over my whole soul. May it 
obey Thee alone, seek Thee alone, desire Thee alone. 
Away from my heart, ye earthly affections! and come, O 
ye flames of divine love ; come and remain alone to 
possess and consume me for that God of love who 
didst die consumed for me. I love Thee, my Jesus; I 
love Thee, O infinite Sweetness and my true lover, I 
have no one who has loved me more than Thou; and 
therefore I give and consecrate myself to Thee, my 
treasure and my all. 

XXV. 

Dilexit nos, et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine suo. 
" He hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood." Apoc. i. 5. 

So, then, my Jesus, in order to save my soul, Thou 
hast prepared a bath of Thine own blood wherein to 
cleanse it from the filth of its sins. If, then, our souls 
have been bought by Thy blood, For you are bought with 
a great price, 1 it is a sign that Thou lovest them much; 
and as Thou dost love them, let us pray thus to Thee: 
We therefore pray Thee to help Thy servants, whom Thou 

* " Empti enim estis pretio magno." j Cor. vi. ?o. 



Darts of Fire. 387 

hast redeemed with Thy precious blood. 1 It is true that by 
my sins I have separated myself from Thee, and have 
knowingly lost Thee. But remember, my Jesus, that 
Thou hast bought me with Thy blood. Ah, may this 
blood not have been given in vain for me, which was 
shed with so much grief and so much love. 

By my sins I have driven Thee, my God, from my soul, 
and have merited Thy hatred; but Thou hast said that 
Thou wouldst forget the crimes of a repentant sinner. 
But if he do penance . . . I will not remember all his 
iniquities? Thou hast further said, / love them that love 
me? I pray Thee, therefore, my Jesus, to forget all the 
injuries that I have offered Thee, and love me; whilst I 
also will now love Thee more than myself, and repent 
above all things for having offended Thee. Ah, my 
beloved Lord, for the sake of that blood which Thou 
hast shed for the love of me, hate me no longer, but love 
me. It is not enough for me that Thou shouldst only 
forgive me the chastisement I deserve, I desire to love 
Thee and to be loved by Thee. O God, who art all love, 
all goodness, unite me and bind me to Thyself, and per 
mit not that I should ever be separated from Thee any 
more, and that thus I should deserve Thy hatred. No, 
my Jesus, my love, let it not be, I will be all Thine, and 
I desire that Thou shouldst be all mine. 

XXVI. 

Humiliavit semetipsum,factus obcdiens usque ad mortem, mortem autem cruets. 

"He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death; even the death of the 

cross." Phil, ii. 8. 

What great thing is that the martyrs have done in 
giving their lives for God, while this God has humbled 

1 " Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine 
redemisti." 

2 "Si impius egerit poenitentiam . . ., omnium iniquitatum ejus . . . 
non recordabor." Ezek. xviii.2i. 

3 " Ego diligences me diligo. " Prov. viii. 17. 



388 Darts of Fire. 

himself to the death of the cross for their love? To 
render a just return for the death of a God, it would not 
be sufficient to sacrifice the lives of all men ; the death of 
another God for his love would alone compensate for it. 
O my Jesus! allow me, a poor sinner, to say to Thee, with 
Thy true lover St. Francis of Assissi, " May I die, O 
Lord, for the love of Thy love, as Thou didst deign to 
die for the love of my love." l 

Is it true, my Redeemer, that hitherto, for the love of 
my own pleasures, unhappy that I am! I have renounced 
Thy love ? Would that I had died before, and had never 
offended Thee ! I thank Thee that Thou givest me time 
to love Thee in this life, that I may afterwards love Thee 
throughout all eternity. Ah, remind me continually, my 
Jesus, of the ignominious death that Thou hast suffered 
for me, that I may never forget to love Thee in consid 
eration of the love that Thou hast borne me. I love 
Thee, infinite goodness; I love Thee, my supreme good; 
to Thee I give myself entirely, and by that love which 
caused Thee to die for me, do Thou accept my love, and 
let me die, destroy me, rather than ever permit me to 
leave off loving Thee. I will say to Thee, with St. 
Francis de Sales, " O eternal Love, my soul seeks Thee, 
and chooses Thee for all eternity. Come, O Holy Spirit, 
inflame our hearts with Thy love. Either to love or to 
die. To die to all other affections, to live only to the 
love of Jesus." 3 

XXVII. 

Charitas enim Christi urget nos. 
"The Charity of Christ presseth us." 2 Cor. v. 14. 

How tender and full of unction are the words with 
which St. Francis de Sales comments on this passage in 

1 "Moriar, Domine, amore amoris tui, qui amoreamoris mei digna-. 
tus es mori." 

2 Love o/ Cod, book #ii. ch, 13, 



Darts of Fire. 389 

his book of the divine love ! " Hear Theotimus," he 
says; " nothing forces and presses the soul of man so 
much as love. If a man knows that he is loved by any 
one, he feels himself forced to love him ; but if a peasant 
is loved by a lord, he is still more strongly forced; and 
if by a monarch, how much more so ! Know, then, that 
Jesus, the true God, has loved us so far as to suffer death, 
even the death of the cross for us. Is not this to have 
our hearts put under a press, and to feel them squeezed 
and crushed so as to force out our love with a violence 
which is all the stronger for being so loving." 

Ah, my Jesus, since Thou dost desire to be loved by 
me, remind me always of the love that Thou hast borne 
me, and of the pains Thou hast suffered to show me this 
love. May the remembrance of them be ever present in 
my mind and in the minds of all men, for it is impossible 
to believe what Thou hast suffered to oblige us to love, 
and yet not love Thee. Till now the cause of my negli 
gent and wicked life has been, that I have not thought 
of the affection which Thou, my Jesus, hast had for me. 
All this time, however, I knew the great displeasure my 
sins gave Thee, and nevertheless I went on multiplying 
them. Every time I remember this I should wish to die 
of grief for it, and I should not now have courage to ask 
Thy pardon, if I did not know that Thou didst die to ob 
tain forgiveness for me. Thou hast borne with me in 
order that at the sight of the wrong I have done Thee ? 
and of the death that Thou hast suffered for me, my 
sorrow and love towards Thee should be increased. I 
repent, my dear Redeemer, with all my heart, for having 
offended Thee, and I love Thee with all my soul. After 
so many signs of Thy affection, and after the many 
mercies that Thou hast shown me, I promise Thee that 
I will love none but Thee. Thee will I love with all my 
strength; Thou art my Jesus, my love, my all. Thou art 
my love, because in Thee I have placed all my affections 



39 Darts of Fire. 

Thou art my all, because I will have none othei but 
Thee. Grant, then, that always, both in life and death 
and through all eternity, I may ever call Thee my God. 
my love, and my all. 

XXVIII. 

Charitas enim Christi urget nos. 
" The charity of Christ presseth us." 2 Cor. v. 14. 

Let us consider anew the force of these words. The 
Apostle means to say that it is not so much the thought 
of all that Christ has suffered for us that should con 
strain us to love him, as the thought of the love that he 
has shown us in wishing to suffer so much for us. This 
love made our Saviour say, while he was yet alive, that 
he was dying with the desire that the day of his death 
should draw near to make us know the boundless love 
that he had for us. I have a baptism wherewith I am to be 
baptized, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished ! 1 
And the same love made him say the last night of his 
life. With desire, I have desired to eat this pasch with you 
before I suffer. * 

So great, then, my Jesus, was the desire that Thou 
hadst to be loved by us, that all through Thy life Thou 
didst desire nothing but to suffer and to die for us, and 
so to put us under the necessity of loving Thee at least 
out of gratitude for so much love. Dost Thou so thirst 
for our love ? How is it, then, that we so little desire 
Thine. Alas, that I should have been up to this time so 
foolish ! Not only have I not desired Thy love, but I 
have brought down upon myself Thy hatred by losing 
my respect for Thee. My dear Redeemer, I know the 
evil I have done, I detest it above all my other sins, and 

1 " Baptismo habeo baptizari; et quomodo coarctor, usquedum per- 
ficiatur!" Luke, xii. 50. 

" 2 " Desiderio desideravi hoc pascha manducare vobiscum, antequam 
patiar." Ibid. xxii. 15. 



Darts of Fire. 39 1 

am soi ry from the bottom of my heart. Now I desire 
Th)i love more than all the goods of the world. My best 
and only treasure, I love Thee above all things, I love 
Thee more than myself, I love Thee with all my soul, 
and I desire nothing but to love Thee and to be loved by 
Thee. Forget, my Jesus, the offences that I have com 
mitted against Thee; do Thou also love me, and love me 
exceedingly, that I may exceedingly love Thee. Thou 
art my love, Thou art my hope, Thou knowest how weak 
I am; help me, Jesus, my love; help me, Jesus, my hope. 
Succor me also with thy prayers, O Mary, great Mother 
of God. 

XXIX. 

Majorem hac dilectionem nemo habet, ut aniinam suam ponat quis pro amicissuis, 

" Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." 
Jo/in, xv. 13. 

What more, O my soul ! could thy God do than to 
give his life in order to make thee love him ? To give 
his life is the greatest mark of affection that a man can 
give to another man who is his friend. But what love 
must that have been which our Creator has shown to us, 
in choosing to die for us his creatures ! This is what St. 
John was considering when he wrote: /// this we have 
know/i the charity of God, because He hath laid down His life 
for us. 1 Indeed, if faith did not teach us that a God has 
willed to die to show us his love, who would ever have 
been able to believe it ? 

Ah, my Jesus, I believe that Thou hast died for me, 
and therefore I confess that I deserve a thousand hells 
for having repaid with insults and ingratitude the love 
that Thou hast borne me in giving Thy life for me. I 
thank Thy mercy, which nas promised to forgive those 
that repent. Trusting, then, in this sweet promise, I 

1 " In hoc cognovimus charitatem Dei, quoniam ille animam suam 
pro nobis posuit." i John, iii. 16. 



Darts of Fire. 

hope for pardon from Thee, repenting, as I do, with all 
my heart for having so often despised Thy love. But 
since Thy love has not abandoned me, overcome by Thy 
love I consecrate myself all to Thee. Thou, my Jesus, 
hast finished Thy life by dying in agony on a cross; and 
what recompense can I, a miserable creature, make Thee? 
I consecrate to Thee my life, accepting with love all the 
sufferings that will come to me from Thy hand, both in 
life and in death. Softened and confounded at the 
great mercy that Thou hast used towards me, I hold fast 
Thy cross; at Thy feet will I thus live and die. Ah, my 
Redeemer, by the love that Thou hast borne me in dying 
for me, do not permit me ever to separate myself from 
Thee again. Make me always live and die in Thy em 
brace. My Jesus, my Jesus, I repeat, make me always 
live and die united with Thee. 



XXX. 

Et ego, si exaltatusfuero a terra, otnnia traham ad me ipsum. 

" I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things unto Myself." 
John, xii. 32. 

Thou hast said, then, my Saviour, that when hanging 
on the cross Thou wouldst draw all our hearts unto Thy 
self ; why is it that for so many years my heart has gone 
far away from Thee ? Ah, it is not Thy fault. How 
many times hast Thou called me to Thy love and I have 
turned a deaf ear? How many times too hast Thou 
pardoned me, and affectionately warned me by remorse 
of conscience not to offend Thee again, and I have re 
peated my offence? Ah, my Jesus, send me not to hell, 
because there I shall be cursing forever these graces 
which Thou hast given me; so that these graces, the 
illuminations Thou hast given me, Thy calls, Thy patience 
in bearing with me, the blood that Thou didst shed to 
save me, would be the most cruel of all the torments of 



Darts of Fire. 393 

hell. But now I hear Thee call me again, and Thou dost 
say to me, with the greatest love, as if I had never of 
fended Thee: Love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart? 
Thou dost command me to love Thee, and to love Thee 
with all my heart. But if Thou didst not command me, 
O Jesus ! how could I live without loving Thee, after so 
many proofs of Thy love ? Yes, I love Thee, my supreme 
good; I love Thee with all my heart. I love Thee be 
cause Thou dost command me to love Thee. I love 
Thee because Thou art worthy of infinite love. I love 
Thee, and desire nothing else but to love Thee, and noth 
ing else do I fear except being separated from Thee, and 
living without Thy love. Ah, my crucified love, permit 
not that I ever leave off loving Thee. Ever call to my 
remembrance the death that Thou hast undergone for 
me. Remind me of the endearments that Thou hast used 
towards me, and may the remembrance of them incite 
me more and more to love Thee, and to spend myself 
for Thee, who hast spent Thyself as a victim of love on 
the cross for me. 

XXXI. 

Qui etiani proprio Filio suo non pepercit^ sed pro nobis omnibus tradidit ilium 
quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit f 

u He that spared not His only Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He 
not also . . . given us all things ? Kom. viTi. 32. 

What flames of love ought not these words enkindle 
in our hearts: Delivered Him up for us all! 2 Divine 
justice, offended by our sins, must be satisfied; what, 
therefore, does God do ? To pardon us, he wills that his 
Son should be condemned to death, and should himself 
pay the penalty due from us: He spared not His only Son.* 

1 " Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo." Matt. xxii. 

37- 

a <( p ro no 5i s omnibus tradidit ilium." Rom. viii. 32. 
3 " Proprio Filio non pepercit." Rom. viii. 32. 



394 Darts of Fire. 

O God ! if the eternal Father were capable of suffering, 
what grief would he not have experienced in condemn 
ing to death, for the sins of his servants, his well-beloved 
and innocent Son ! Let us imagine that we see the 
eternal Father, with Jesus dead in his arms, and saying, 
For the wickedness of My people have I struck Him. 1 Rightly 
did St. Francis of Paula exclaim, in ecstasy of love, when 
meditating on the death of Jesus Christ, "O love! O 
love! O love!" On the other hand, with what confi 
dence should not the following words inspire us: How 
hath He not also, with Him, given us all things ? 2 And how, 
my God, should I fear that Thou shouldst not give me 
pardon, perseverance, Thy love, Thy Paradise, and all 
the graces that I can hope for, now that Thou hast given 
me that which is most dear to Thee, even Thine own 
Son ? I know what I must do to obtain every good from 
Thee, I must ask for it for the love of Jesus Christ; of 
this Jesus Christ himself assures me: Amen, amen, I say 
to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will 
give it you? 

My supreme and eternal God, I have hitherto despised 
Thy majesty and goodness; now I love Thee above all 
things; and because I love Thee, I repent with all my 
heart of having offended Thee, and would rather accept 
any chastisement than evermore offend Thee. Pardon 
me, and grant me those graces which I now ask of Thee, 
confiding in the promise of Jesus Christ. In the name of 
Jesus Christ I beseech Thee to give me holy persever 
ance to death, give me a pure and perfect love towards 
Thee, give me an entire conformity to Thy holy will, give 
me finally Paradise. I ask for all, and hope for all, from 

"Propter scelus populi mei percussi eum." Isa. liii. 8. 
"Quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit ?" Rom. 
viii. 32. 

"Amen, amen dico vobis: si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine 
meo, dabit vobis." John, xvi. 23. 



Darts of Fire. 395 

Thee through the merits of Jesus Christ. I deserve 
nothing; I am worthy of punishment, not of graces, but 
Thou dost deny nothing to those who pray to Thee for 
the love of Jesus Christ. Ah, my good God, I see that 
Thou dost wish me to be all Thine; I also wish to be 
Thine, and will not fear that my sins should prevent me 
from being all Thine, Jesus Christ has already satisfied 
for them, and Thou, besides, art ready, for the love of 
Jesus Christ, to give me all that I desire. This is my 
desire and my request; my God, hear me ! I wish to love 
Thee, to love Thee exceedingly; and to be altogether 
Thine. Most holy Mary, help me. 

XXXII. 

Nos autem pradicamus Christum crucifexuin, Judeeis quidem scandalum, Genti- 
bus autem stultitiam. 

" But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling-block, and unto 
the Gentiles foolishness." i Cor. i. 23. 

St. Paul assures us that the Gentiles, hearing it 
preached that the Son of God had been crucified for the 
salvation of mankind, reckoned it folly: But unto the 
Gentiles foolishness; 1 as if they said, Who can believe 
such folly, that a God should have willed to die for the 
love of his creatures! "It seems a foolish thing," says 
St. Gregory, " that a God should wish to die for the sal- 
. vation of man." a St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, also rapt 
in love, exclaims in an ecstasy, Do you not know, my 
sisters, that my Jesus is nothing but love ? rather he is 
mad with love. I say that Thou art mad with love, my 
Jesus, and I will always say so. 

My beloved Redeemer, oh that I could possess the 
hearts of all men, and with them love Thee as Thou de- 
servest to be loved ! O God of love, why, after Thou 

1 "Gentibus autem stultitiam." i Cor. i. 23. 

2 "Stultum visum est ut pro hominibus Auctor vitse moreretur."- 
In Evang. horn. 6. 



Darts of Fire. 

hast shed all Thy blood in this world and given Thy life 
for the love of mankind, why, I say, are there so few 
men who burn with Thy love ? For this end didst Thou 
come, namely, to kindle in our hearts the fire of Thy 
love, and Thou desirest nothing but to see it enkindled. 
I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that 
it be kindled? 1 I pray, then, with the Holy Church, in 
my name and in the name of every one living, kindle in 
them the fire of Thy love; enkindle them, enkindle them, 
enkindle them ! My God, Thou art all goodness, all 
love, all infinite sweetness, boundless in love; make Thy 
self known to all, make Thyself loved. I am not ashamed 
of praying thus to Thee, although up to this time I have 

been more guilty than others in despising Thy love, 

because now, enlightened by Thy grace, and wounded 
by the many arrows of love Thou hast shot forth from 
Thy burning and loving heart into my soul, I am deter 
mined no longer to be ungrateful to Thee as I have 
hitherto been ; but I will love Thee with all my strength, 
I desire to burn with Thy love, and this Thou hast to 
grant me. I look not for sensible consolations in loving 
Thee; I do not deserve them, neither do I ask for them; 
it is enough for me to love Thee. I love Thee, my sov 
ereign good; I love Thee, my God and my all. 

XXXIII. 

Posuit Dominus in eo iniquitatem omnium nostrum. . . , et voluit conterere eum. 
"The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. . . . And the Lord hath 
pleased to bruise Him." Isa. liii. 6, 10. 

Behold the extent of divine love towards man ! The 
eternal Father loads the shoulders of his Son with our 
sins; And He was pleased to bruise Him: He willed that 
his own son should suffer with the utmost rigor all the 

" Ignem veni mittere in terram: et quid volo, nisi ut accendatur? 
Luke, xii. 49. 

2 " Et voluit conterere eum." 



Darts of Fire. 397 

punishment due to us, making him die on an ignominious 
cross overwhelmed with torments. The apostle is just, 
then, when speaking of this love, to call it too much love 
to ordain that we should receive life through the death 
of his beloved Son. For His exceeding charity wherewith 
He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened 
us together in Christ? 

Thou hast, then, my God, loved me too much, and I 
have been too ungrateful in offending Thee and turning 
my back upon Thee. Ah, eternal Father, look upon 
Thine only-begotten, mangled and dead upon that cross 
for me, and for the love of him pardon me and draw my 
heart wholly to Thyself to love Thee. A contrite and 
humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise? For the love of 
Jesus Christ who died for our sins, Thou canst not de 
spise a soul that humbles itself and repents. I know 
myself to be deserving of a thousand hells, but I repent 
with my whole heart for having offended Thee, the su 
preme Good. Reject me not, but have pity on me. But 
I am no: content with a simple pardon; I desire that 
Thou shouldst give me a great love towards Thee, that 
I may compensate for all the offences that I have com 
mitted against Thee. I love Thee, infinite Goodness, I 
love Thee, O God of love. It is but little if I should die 
and annihilate myself for Thy sake. I desire to know 
how to love Thee as Thou deservest. But Thou knowest 
I can do nothing; do Thou make me grateful for the 
immense love that Thou hast had for me. I beg this of 
Thee for the love of Jesus, Thy Son. Grant that I may 
overcome everything in this life to please Thee, and that 
in death I may expire entirely united to Thy will, and so 
come to love Thee face to face with a perfect and eternal 
love in Paradise. 

1 " Propter nimiam charitatem suam qua dilexit nos, et cum essemus 
mortui peccatis, convivificavit nos in Christo." Eph. ii. 5. 

2 " Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies." /V. 1. 19. 



3 9$ Darts of Fire. 



xxxiv. 

Ego sum Pastor bonus. Bonus Pastor animam suam dat pro ovibus suis. 

" I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep." 
John, x. ii. 

My Jesus, what dost Thou say? What shepherd would 
ever give his life for his sheep? Thou alone, because 
Thou art a God of infinite love, canst say, And I lay 
down My life for My sheep .^ Thou alone hast been able 
to show to the world this excess of love, that being our 
God and our supreme Lord, Thou hast yet willed to die 
for us. It was of this excess of love that Moses and 
Elias spoke on Mount Tabor: They spoke of his decease 
that he should accomplish in Jerusalem? Hence St. John 
exhorts us to love a God who was the first to love us: 
Let us therefore love God because God first hath loved us. 3 
As if he said, If we will not love this God for his infinite 
goodness, let us love him at least for the love that he has 
borne us in suffering willingly the pains that were due 
to us. 

Remember, then, my Jesus, that I am one of those 
sheep for whom Thou hast given Thy life. Ah, cast on 
me one of those looks of pity with which Thou didst re 
gard me once when Thou wast dying on the cross for 
me; look on me, change me, and save me. Thou hast 
called Thyself the loving Shepherd who, finding the lost 
sheep, takes it with joy and carries it on his shoulders, 
and then calls his friends to rejoice with him: Rejoice 
with me, for I hare found the sheep that was lost* Behold, 

" Et animam meam pono pro ovibus meis." John, x. 15. 
"Dicebant excessum ejus, quern completurus erat in Jerusalem." 
Ltike, ix. 31. 

"Nos ergo diligamus eum, quoniam Deus prior dilexit nos." 
I John, iv. 19. 

" Congratulamini mihi, quia inveni ovem meam quee perierat." 
Luke. xv. 6. 



Darts of Fire. 3 99 

I am the lost sheep; seek me and find me: I have gone 
astray like a sheep that is lost; seek Thy servant. 1 If through 
my fault Thou hast not yet found me, take me now and 
unite me and bind me to Thee, that Thou mayest not 
lose me again. The bond must be that of Thy love; if 
Thou dost not bind me with this sweet chain Thou wilt 
again lose me. Ah, it is not Thou who hast been want 
ing in binding me by holy love; but I, an ungrateful 
wretch, who have continually fled from Thee. But now 
I pray Thee, by that infinite mercy which caused Thee 
to come down to the earth to find me. Ah, bind me; 
but bind me with a double chain of love, that Thou 
mayest not lose me again, and that I may no more lose 
Thee. I renounce all the goods and pleasures of the 
world, and offer myself to suffer every pain, every death, 
provided that I live and die always united to Thee. I 
love Thee, my sweet Jesus; I love Thee, my good Shep 
herd, who hast died for Thy lost sheep; but know that 
this sheep now loves Thee more than himself, and desires 
nothing but to love Thee and to be consumed by Thy 
love. Have pity on him, then, and permit him never 
again to be separated from Thee. 

XXXV. 

Ego pono aniinam meant. . . . Nemo tollit earn a me, sed ego pono earn a meipso. 

" I lay down My life. ... No one taketh it away from Me; but I lay it down of 

Myself." Jokn,x. 17, 18. 

Behold, then, the Word Incarnate, urged alone by the 
love that he preserves towards us, accepts the death of the 
cross to give to man the life that he had lost. Behold, 
says St. Thomas, a God does for man more than he 
could have done if man had been (so to speak) his God, 
and as if God could never have been happy without man. 

1 "Erravi sicut ovis quse periit; quaere servum tuum." Ps. cxviii. 
176. 



400 Darts of Fire. 

"As if," these are the words of the saint, "man had been 
God s god, as if God could not be happy without him." J 
We sinned, and by sinning merited eternal punishment; 
and what does Jesus do ? He takes upon himself the 
obligation of satisfaction, and he pays for us by his suf 
ferings and his death: Surely he hath borne our infirmities 
and carried our sorrows? 

Ah, my Jesus, since I have been the cause of all the 
bitterness and anguish that Thou didst suffer while liv 
ing on this earth, I pray Thee make me share the grief 
that Thou didst feel for my sins, and give me confidence 
in Thy Passion. What would have become of me, my 
Lord, if Thou hadst not deigned to satisfy for me ? O 
infinite Majesty, I repent with my whole heart for hav 
ing outraged Thee; but I hope for pity from Thee, who 
art infinite Goodness. Arise, O Saviour of the world, 
and apply to my soul the fruit of Thy death, and from 
an ungrateful rebel make me become such a true son as 
to love Thee alone, and to fear nothing but to displease 
Thee. May that same love which made Thee die on the 
cross for me destroy in me all earthly affections. My 
Jesus, take my whole body to Thyself in such a way that 
it may only serve to obey Thee; take my heart, that it 
may desire nothing but Thy pleasure; take my whole 
will, that it may wish for nothing but what is according 
to Thy will. I embrace Thee and press Thee to my 
heart, my Redeemer. Ah, do not disdain to unite Thy 
self to me. I love Thee, O God of love. I love Thee, 
my only good. How could I have the heart to leave 
Thee again, now that Thou hast taught me how much 
Thou hast loved me, and how many mercies Thou hast 
shown me, changing the punishments that were due to 

" Quasi homo Dei Deus esset, quasi sine ipso beatus esse non 
posset." Opusc. 63, c. 7. 

"Vere languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse por- 
tavit," Jsa. liii. 4. 



Darts of Fire. 4 ! 

me into graces and caresses ? O holy Virgin, obtain for 
me the grace of being grateful to thy Son. 

XXXVI. 

Debits quod adversus nos crat chirographum decreti, quod erat contrarium 

nobis, et ipsuin tulit de media, affigens illud cruet. 

" Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was con 
trary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the 
cross." Coloss. ii. 14. 

The sentence was already recorded against us that was 
to condemn us to eternal death, as rebels of the offended 
Majesty of God. And what has Jesus Christ done? 
With his blood he has cancelled the writing of the con 
demnation, and, to deliver us from all fear, he has fast 
ened it to his own cross, on which he died to satisfy for 
us to the divine justice. My soul, behold the obligation 
that thou art under to thy Redeemer; and hear how the 
Holy Spirit now reminds thee: Forget not the kindness of 
thy surety^ Forget not the kindness of thy surety, who, 
taking upon himself thy debts, has paid them for thee; 
and behold, the pledge of the payment has been already 
fixed to the cross. When, therefore thou dost remem 
ber thy sins, look upon the cross, and have confidence; 
look on that sacred wood stained with the blood of the 
Lamb of God sacrificed for thy love, and hope in and 
love a God who has loved thee so much. 

Yes, my Jesus, I hope everything from Thy infinite 
goodness^ It is property of Thy divine nature to render 
good for evil to those who repent of their sins, are sorry 
for having committed them, and who love Thee. Yes, I 
am sorry above all things, my beloved Redeemer, for 
having so much despised Thy goodness, and, wounded 
by Thy love, I love Thee, and I ardently desire to please 
Thee in everything that is Thy will. Alas ! when I was 

1 "Gratiam fidejussoris ne obliviscaris; dedit enim pro te animam 
suam." Ecclus, xxix. 20, 
26 



4O2 Darts of Fire. 

in sin, I was the servant of the devil, and he was my 
master. Now that I hope to remain in Thy grace, Thou 
alone, my Jesus, art the only Lord of my heart, and my 
only Love. Take possession of me, then; keep me al 
ways, possess me entirely; for Thine only do I desire to 
be. No, nevermore will I forget the pains that Thou 
hast suffered for me; so shall I be more and more inflamed, 
and increase in Thy love. I love Thee, my most dear 
Redeemer; I love Thee, O Word Incarnate; my treasure, 
my all, I love Thee, I love Thee. 



XXXVII. 

Si quis peccaverit, advocatum habcmus npud Patrem Jesuin Christum justum^ 
et ipse est propitiatio pro peccaiis nostris. 

" But if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Just, 
and he is the propitiation for our sins." i John, ii. i. 

Oh, what great confidence do these words give to 
penitent sinners! Jesus Christ is in heaven, advocating 
their cause, and he is certain to obtain pardon for them. 
The devil, when a sinner has escaped from his chains, 
tempts him to be diffident of obtaining pardon. But St. 
Paul encourages him, saying, Who is He that sJiall con 
demn ? Jesus Christ that died, . . . who also maketh inter 
cession for us. 1 The Apostle means to say, If we detest 
the-sins that we have committed, why do we fear? Who is 
he who will condemn us? It is Jesus Christ, the same 
who died, that we might not be condemned, and who is 
now in heaven, where he is advocating our cause. He 
goes on to say, Who then shall separate us from the lore of 
Christ? 1 As if he would say, But after we have been 
pardoned with so much love by Jesus Christ, and have 
been received into his grace, who could have the heart 

1 Quis est quicondemnet ? Christus Jesus, qui mortuus est . . . , 
qui etiam interpellat pro nobis." Rom. viii. 34. 

2 "Quis ergo nos separabita charitate Christi ?" Rom. viii. 35. 



Darts of Fire. 4 3 

to turn his bacK upon him, and separate himself from 
his love ? 

No, my Jesus, I no longer rely upon myself so as to 
live separated from Thee and deprived of Thy love. I 
weep over the unhappy days when * lived without Thy 
grace. Now I hope that Thou hast pardoned me I 
love Thee, and Thou lovest me. But Thou dost love 
with a boundless love, and I love Thee so little; give me 
more love. Infinite Goodness, I repent above all things 
for having hitherto so ill-treated Thee; now I love Thee 
above all things, I love Thee more than myself; and I 
take more delight, my God, in knowing that Thou art 
infinitely blessed than in my own happiness, because I 
love Thee better being, as Thou art, worthy of infinite 
love than myself, who deserve nothing but hell. My 
J^sus, I wish for nothing from Thes, but Thyself. 



XXXVIII. 

Venite ad me omnes, qui laboratis et onerati estz s, et ego reficiam vos. 

" Come to Me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you." 
Matt. xi. 28. 

Let us listen to Jesus Christ, who from the cross to 
which he is nailed, and from the altar where he dwells 
under the sacramental species, calls us poor afflicted sin 
ners to console us and enrich us with his graces. Oh, 
what two great mysteries of hope and love to us are the 
Passion of Jesus Christ and the Sacrament of the 
Eucharist ! mysteries which, if faith did not make us 
certain of them, would be incredible. That God should 
deign to shed even the very last drop of his blood ! (for 
this is the signification of effundetur}. This is My Blood, 
. . . which shall be shed for ma?iy. 1 And why ? To atone 
for our sins. But then to will to give his own body as 

1 " Hie est sanguis meus, qui pro multis effundetur. " Matt, 

xxvi. 28. 



404 Darts of Fire. 

food for our souls, that body which had already been 
sacrificed on the cross for our salvation ! These sub 
lime mysteries must surely soften the hardest hearts, and 
raise up the most desperate sinners. Finally, the Apos 
tle says that in Jesus Christ we are enriched with every 
good, so that no grace is wanting to us: In all things you 
are made rich in Him. . . . So that nothing is wanting to 
you in any graced It is enough that we invoke this God 
for him to have mercy on us; and he will abound in 
grace to all who pray to him, as the same Apostle- as 
sures us: Rich nnto all who call upon Him? 

If, then, my Saviour, I have reason to despair of par 
don for the offences and treacheries that I have been 
guilty of towards Thee, I have still greater reason to trust 
in Thy goodness. My Father, I have forsaken Thee, 
like an ungrateful son; but I now return to Thy feet, 
full of sorrow and covered with confusion for the many 
mercies that Thou hast shown me; and I say with shame, 
Father, I am not worthy to be called Thy son? Thou hast 
said that there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner is 
converted: There shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that 
doth penance." Behold, I leave all and turn to Thee, my 
crucified Father; I repent with my whole heart for hav 
ing treated Thee with such contempt as to turn my back 
upon Thee. Receive me again to Thy grace, and in 
flame with Thy holy love, so that I may never leave Thee 
again. Thou hast said, I am come that they may have life, 
and may Jiave it more abundantly? Wherefore I hope to re 
ceive from Thee, not only Thy grace as I enjoyed it be- 

" In omnibus divites facti estis in illo . . . ita ut nihil vobis desit 
in ulla gratia." i Con i. 5. 

"Dives in omnes qui invocant ilium." Rom. x. 12. 

"Pater, non sum dignus vocari filius tuus." Luke, xv. 21. 

"Gaudium erit in coelo super uno peccatore poenitentiam agente." 
.Luke, xv. 7. 

5 " Veni ut vitam habeant, et abundantius habeant." John, x. IO. 



Darts of Fire. 405 

tore I offended Thee, but a grace more abundant, which 
shall make me become all on fire with Thy love. Oh 
that I could love Thee, my God, as Thou dost deserve 
to be loved ! I love Thee above all things. I love Thee 
more than myself. I love Thee with all my heart; and 
I aspire after heaven, where I shall love Thee for all 
eternity. What is there to me in heaven, and besides TJiee 
what have I desired on earth ? O God, God of my heart and 
my portion forever? Ah, God of my heart, take and keep 
possession of all my heart, and drive from it every af 
fection that does not belong to Thee. Thou art my only 
treasure, my only love. I wish for Thee alone, and 
nothing more. O Mary, my hope, by thy prayers draw 
me all to God. 

1 "Quid enim mihi est in coelo ? et a te quid volui super terrain ? 
. Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus, in seternum." Ps. Ixxii. 

25. 



406 Hymn. 

HYMN. 
The Soul sighing for Jesus. 

This heart of mine is sighing, 
And yet I know not why ; 

Its sighs with love are laden, 
But whither do they fly ? 

My trembling heart, oh, tell me, 
Wherefore these burning sighs j* 

" I sigh for God, I languish 
For Jesus," it replies. 

Sigh on, my heart, and cease not 
With sighs of love to swell ; 

Spend all thy life in loving 
Him who loves thee so well. 

Sigh on, and let thy Jesus 
Alone possess thy breast, 

And all thy hope in Mary 
With childlike spirit rest. 

Send forth thy sighs like arrows 
To wound thy conqu ror s heart, 

Then hope for gifts the choicest 
His goodness can impart. 

My trembling sighs, ah, hasten, 
To Jesus haste away ; 

Then at his feet take refuge, 
And there forever stay. 

Say that a heart all burning 
With love has sent you there; 

And ask what it shall bid you, 
For he will grant its prayer. 

To love with all its being 
Is all the gift it sues ; 

Ask, for to one that loves him 
No prayer can God refuse, 



Pioiis Sentiments. 407 



Sentiments of a Soul tfyat IDcsircs to Belong 
(Entire IB to lesus Christ. 

I. 

Sentiments of a Lively Faith. 

O ye atheists, who believe not in God, fools that you 
are; if you do not believe that there is a God, tell me 
who created you ? How can you imagine that there are 
creatures existing, without a previous power having 
created them ? This world which you admire, governed 
as it is in so beautiful and constant an order, could 
chance, which has neither order nor mind, ever have made 
it ? Poor wretches ! you try to persuade yourselves 
that the soul dies like the body; but, O God, what will 
you say, when in the next world you find that your souls 
are immortal, and that throughout eternity you will be 
unable to repair the ruin you have incurred ? 

But if you believe that there is a God, you must also be 
lieve that there is a true religion : and if you do not be 
lieve that the religion of the Roman Catholic Church is 
the true one, tell me which is the true one ? Perhaps that 
of the Pagans, who admit many gods, and so destroy 
and deny all of them. Perhaps that of the Mahome 
tans, which is a mixture of fables, of follies, and of con 
tradictions ; a religion invented by an infamous im 
postor, and framed rather for beasts than for men. Per 
haps that of the Jews, who, indeed, had at one time the 
true faith ; but because they rejected their expected 
Redeemer, who taught the new law of grace, they have 
lost their faith, their country, and all. Perhaps that of 
those heretics who, separating themselves from our 
Church, which was first founded by Jesus Christ, and 



408 Pioits Sentiments. 

to whom he promised that she should never fail, have 
confused all revealed dogmas in such a way that the 
belief of each one is contrary to that of his neighbor. 

Ah ! it is most evident that our faith is the only true 
one. Either there is faith, and then there can be no 
other true religion but ours ; or there is no faith, and 
then all religions are false. But this cannot be ; for if 
there is a God, there must be a true faith and a true 
religion. 

But what much greater fools are those Christians 
who hold the true faith, and live as if they did not be 
lieve it ! They believe that there is a God, a just 
Judge, that there is a paradise and an eternal hell ; and 
yet they live as if there were no judgment, no heaven, no 
hell, no eternity, no God. 

O God, how can Christians believe in Jesus Christ, 
believe in a God born in a stable, a God living obscurely 
in a shop for thirty years, working for his livelihood 
every day as a simple servant ; in fine, how can they be 
lieve in a God nailed on a cross, and dying, consumed 
with grief ; and not only not love him, but even make 
a mockery of him by their sins ! 

O holy faith, enlighten all those poor blind creatures 
who run to eternal perdition ! But this light does ever 
shine forth and enlighten all men, both the faithful and 
unbelievers : True light, which enlighteneth every man. 1 
How is it, then, that so many are lost ? O cursed sin, 
thou dost blind the minds of so many poor souls, who 
open their eyes when they enter eternity ; but then they 
can no more remedy their error ! 

How is it, my Jesus, that so many of Thy servants 
have shut themselves up in caves and deserts, to attend 
only to their salvation ; so many nobles and even 
princes have retired to the cloister, in order to live in 
poverty and unknown to the world, to make sure of 
1 "Lux vera, quae illuminat omnem hominem. John, i. 9. 



Pious Sentiments. 

their eternal salvation ; so many martyrs have left all; 
so many tender virgins have renounced marriage with 
the highest nobles of the earth, and have embraced such 
torments as the rack, have braved the axe, the coat of 
mail, the red-hot gridirons, and the most cruel deaths, 
rather than lose Thy grace ; while so many others live 
in sins and far from Thee for months and years ? 

I thank Thee, my Jesus, for the light Thou givest me, 
by which Thou makest me know that the goods of this 
world are but smoke, filth, vanity, and deceit, and that 
Thou art the true and only good. 

My God, I thank Thee that Thou hast given me this 
faith, and that Thou hast made it so clear to us by the 
fulfilment of prophecies, by the truth of miracles, by 
the constancy of martyrs, by the sanctity of the doc 
trine, and by the wonderful propagation of the same 
throughout all the world; so that if it were not true, it 
would be impossible not to say that Thou hadst deceived 
us, in proving it to us by the numerous testimonies that 
Thou hast given us of it. 

I believe all that the Church teaches me to believe, 
because Thou hast revealed all to us. Nor do I pretend 
to comprehend intellectually those mysteries which are 
above my mind; it is enough that Thou hast said so. I 
pray Thee to increase Thy faith in me. 1 

II. 

Sentiments of Confidence. 

My Jesus, the sight of my sins makes me afraid; but 
the sight of Thee cnicified animates and consoles me 
still more. Thou wilt not deny me pardon, since Thou 
hast given me Thy blood and Thy life. Wounds of 
Jesus, ye are my hope ! 

My dear Redeemer, at my death, in those last and 

1 " Adauge nobis fidem." Luke, xvii. 5. 



4 J O Pious Sentiments. 

more vehement assaults which hell will make against 
me, Thou must be my consolation. I hope that by the 
bitter death Thou didst undergo for me, Thou wilt 
make me die in Thy grace and burning with love to 
Thee. And by those three hours of agony which Thou 
didst suffer on the cross, give me the grace to suffer 
with resignation and for Thy love all the pains of my 
agony. And thou, Mary, by that grief which thou didst 
feel when Jesus thy Son expired, obtain for me the 
grace that my soul may expire while making an act of 
the love of God; and may come and love him, together 
with thee, for all eternity in Paradise. 

My Jesus, by Thy merits I hope for the pardon of all 
the outrages that I have committed against Thee. How 
can I, my crucified Love, fear to obtain forgiveness, if 
Thou hast died in order to pardon me ? How can I 
doubt Thy mercy, whilst it is that which made Thee 
come down from heaven to seek after my soul ? How 
can I fear that Thou wilt deny me grace to love Thee, 
if Thou hast suffered so much to gain my heart ? How 
can I fear that the sins which I have committed, and of 
which I repent with all my heart, may deprive me of 
Thy grace, if Thou hast shed all Thy blood to wash me 
from my sins, and to enable me to regain Thy friend 
ship ? I see that Thou dost give me an abhorrence of 
the insults I have offered Thee, Thou givest me light to 
know the vanity of the things of the world, Thou 
makest me know the love that Thou hast borne me, 
Thou givest me the desire of being all Thine ; all these 
are signs that Thou dost desire to save me; and I desire 
to be saved, to come to heaven, where I shall praise Thy 
mercies forever. 1 May the grief that I feel for having 
offended Thee remain always present to my mind, and 
may the desire ot loving Thee with all my heart be fixed 
there too ! 

" Misericordias Domini in sternum cantabo." Ps. Ixxxviii. 2. 



Pious Sentiments, 411 

My beloved Redeemer, my Judge, when, at the point 
of death, I shall enter into Thy presence, ah, drive me 
not away from Thy face: When Thou comest to judge, 
condemn me not. 1 Send me not to hell, because in hell 
I cannot love Thee. Ah, let not those wounds which 
Thou bearest imprinted in Thee as signs of the love 
that Thou hast borne me, be an eternal torment to me ! 
Pardon me, then, before the hour of judgment shall 
come. Grant that, the first time I see Thee, Thy look 
may be one of mercy, and not of anger ; declare me 
then to be Thy chosen sheep, and not a lost goat. 

"Thou sufferedst upon the tree ; 
Let not vain Thy labor be." 

Let not Thy blood have been wasted in my regard. 

I am a sinner, it is true ; but Thou sayest Thou de- 
sirest not the death of the sinner: I desire not the death 
of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn from his way and 
live. 2 I give up all, I renounce all the goods of this 
world, pleasures, riches, dignities, honors. I see that 
they are all filth, lies, and poison ; and I turn to Thee, 
my God. My crucified Jesus, Thee alone do I desire, 
and nothing more ! 

God ! Thou hast given Thy life, my dear Redeemer, 
to gain heaven for me ; and I, by my accursed pleasures, 
have lost heaven, and Thee the Infinite Good. I am not 
worthy to come into that kingdom of saints ; but Thy 
blood and Thy death encourage me to hope this. Yes, 
I hope and wish for heaven ; I desire it, my Jesus, not 
in order to enjoy more, but to be able to love Thee bet 
ter, and to be certain of loving Thee always. 

When, my love and my all, shall I see myself embrac- 

1 "Cum veneris judicare, noli me condemnare." 

* 2 " Nolo mortem impii, sed ut convertatur . . . et vivat. Ezek. 
xxxiii. ii. 



412 Pioits Sentiments. 

ing Thy feet, and kissing those wounds which have been 
the pledge of Thy love, and the cause of my salvation ? 
I read, my Jesus, in my conscience, the sentence of death 
which I deserve for the offences that I have committed 
against Thee ; but I read also upon Thy cross the sen 
tence of pardon which Thou hast obtained for me by 
Thy death : In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall never be 
confounded, 1 

My dear Saviour, I hope Thou hast pardoned me all 
the past. When I call to mind the many times I have 
betrayed Thee, I tremble for the future ; but this very 
fear increases my confidence, because, knowing my 
weakness, I see that I can no longer trust in myself nor 
in the resolutions I have taken, and therefore I hope in 
Thee alone to give me strength to be faithful. 

I am terrified at the thought of not knowing whether 
I shall be saved or lost ; but seeing Thee, Jesus, my Be 
loved, expiring on the cross for my salvation, I am ani 
mated by a sweet hope, which consoles me, and tells me 
that I shall love Thee without ceasing both in this life 
and in the next ; it tells me that one day I shall find 
myself in the kingdom of love, where I shall be entirely 
and forever consumed with Thy love, without the fear 
of losing Thee again. At this moment I do not even 
know whether I am worthy of Thy love or Thy hatred ; 
but I feel a great hatred of sin, I am disposed to suffer 
any death rather than lose Thy grace, I have a great de 
sire to love Thee and to be all Thine ; these are all Thy 
gifts, and they are signs that Thou lovest me. If, then, 
I have reason to fear on account of my sins, I have still 
greater reason to confide in Thy goodness through the 
mercies Thou dispensest to me. I abandon myself 
therefore into Thy hands, those hands which were 
pierced and nailed to the Cross, to rescue me from hell : 

1 " In te, Domine, speravi ; non confundar in seternum." Ps. 

XXX. 2. 



Pious Sentiments. 413 

Into Thy hands I commend my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, 
O Lord, the God of truth. 1 

The Apostle says : He that spared not even His own 
Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, 
with Him, given us all things ? 2 If, then, O my Jesus, 
Thy Father has given Thee to us, and has sent Thee to 
die for us, how can we fear that he will refuse us par 
don, his grace, perseverance, his love, and paradise ? 
With Him all things, all things without exception, has He 
given us. Yes, my Redeemer, I hope all from the Blood 
Thou hast shed for me : Help Thy servants, whom Thou 
hast redeemed by Thy precious blood? 

O Queen of Heaven ! O Mother of God, our hope, 
and the refuge of sinners, have pity on us ! 4 

III. 
Sentiments of Penitence. 

My Jesus, by that hatred which Thou hadst for my 
sins in the garden of Gethsemani, give me a true sorrow 
for all the offences that I have committed against Thee. 
O my accursed sins, I hate and detest you ; ye have 
made me lose the grace of my Lord. I repent, my 
Jesus, for having turned my back upon Thee. Would 
that I had suffered any evil, rather than ever have of 
fended Thee ! 

Ah, my sweet Redeemer, when I remember all the 
displeasure that I have given Thee, I do not weep so 
much on account of the hell I have deserved, as on ac- 

1 " In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum ; redemisti me, 
Domine, Deus veritatis." Ps. xxx. 6. 

2 " Qui etiam proprio Filiosuo non pepercit, sed pro nobis omnibus 
tradidit ilium ; quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit?" 
Rom. viii. 32. 

3 " Tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti." 

4 " Spes nostra ! salve ; Refugium peccatorum ! ora pro nobis." 



4 1 4 Pious Sentiments. 

count of the /ove Thou hast borne me ! Yes ; because 
the fire of hell which I have deserved is not so great as 
the immense love that Thou hast shown me in Thy Pas 
sion. And how is it, O God, that, knowing that Thou, 
my Lord, didst allow Thyself to be bound for me, 
scourged for me, spit upon for me, hanged upon a cross 
to die for me, how is it that I could have so often 
despised Thy grace, and turned my back upon Thee ? 
I should wish to die of grief ; I repent, and am sorry 
above all things. 

I know the evil that I have done in separating myself 
from Thee, my Sovereign Good. I ought to have suf 
fered any pain, any evil, any death, rather than to offend 
Thee ; and what greater evil could I commit than that 
of voluntarily losing Thy grace? Ah, my Jesus, my 
greatest affliction is, that I have despised Thy infinite 
goodness ! 

I thank Thee, my Lord, for the sweet promise of par 
don that Thou hast made to sinners, of forgetting the 
sins of those who repent of having offended Thee : / 
will not remember any of their iniquities. 1 It is all the 
fruit of Thy Passion. O sweet Passion ! O sweet 
mercy ! O sweet love of Jesus Christ ! Thou art my 
hope. What would have become of me, my Jesus, if 
Thou hadst not died, and paid the debt of my sins ? 

O God, I thought of offending Thee, whilst Thou 
thoughtest of using mercy towards me ! After my sin, 
I thought not of repenting ; but Thou didst think to call 
me. Finally, I have done all in my power to procure 
my own damnation ; and Thou, so to say, hast done all 
Thou couldst not to see me damned. Thou art, then, an 
Infinite Good, and I have despised Thee ; Thou art my 
Lord, and I have lost the respect due to Thee ; Thou 
art infinite goodness, and I have turned my back upon 

"Omnium iniquitatum ejus . . . non recordabor." Ezek. xviii 
22. 



Pious Sentiments. 4 1 5 

Thee ; Thou art worthy of infinite love, and hast loved 
me so much, and I have denied Thee my love, and dis 
pleased Thee so often. But Thou hast said that Thou 
canst not despise a heart that humbles itself and re 
pents. Behold, I embrace Thy cross as a penitent ; I 
repent with all my heart for having despised Thee. Re 
ceive me to Thy favor, for the sake of that blood which 
Thou hast shed for me. 

Mary, hope of sinners, do thou obtain pardon for 
me, perseverance, and the love of Jesus Christ ! 

IV. 
Sentiments of Purpose of Amendment. 

My Jesus, I love Thee, and firmly resolve to lose all 
rather than forfeit Thy grace. I am weak, but Thou 
art strong. Thy strength will make me strong against 
my enemies. This I hope through Thy Passion : The 
Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear ^ 1 

1 am not afraid, my crucified Lord, of losing my pos 
sessions, my relatives, or even my life ; I fear only to 
lose Thy friendship and Thy love. I am afraid that I 
may displease Thee, and may so see myself deprived of 
Thy grace. I pray Thee to keep alive in me this holy 
love ; help me to conquer all, that I may please Thee in 
everything. 

" Most sweet Jesus, never permit me to be separated 
from Thee." I am the work of Thy hands ; I have been 
redeemed by Thy Blood ; do not abandon me to the 
misfortune of losing Thy love, and of separating myself 
from Thee. Assist me always in the dangers which 
shall befall me, and make me ever have recourse to Thee 
in them. I have a great desire to be faithful to Thee, 
and to live alone for Thee during the remainder of my 

1 " Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea ; quern timebo ?" PS, 
I, 



416 Pious Sentiments. 

life ; do Thou give me the necessary strength. This do 
I hope from Thee. 

My Jesus, increase in me the fear of displeasing Thee. 
I am horrified at my former treachery to Thee. But 
Thy merits console me ; and the many graces that Thou 
hast given me, these make me hope that Thou wilt not 
abandon me, now that I love Thee, since Thou hust 
shown me so much mercy while I thought not of loving 
Thee. I do not trust in my own strength, I know well 
how little it is worth, I confide altogether in Thy good 
ness ; and I firmly hope nevermore to see myself sepa 
rated from Thee. 

Oh that I could be assured that I should never lose 
Thee again, and that I should always love Thee ! But 
I resign myself to Thy divine will, which so disposes 
and ordains everything for my. good, that I should live 
always in this uncertainty till death, to make me strive 
after a closer union with Thee, and to pray always, 
" Permit me nevermore to be separated from Thee." 
Yes, my Jesus, I repeat it (and give me grace always to 
repeat it) : " Let me never be separated from Thee ! let 
me never be separated from Thee !" 

My Redeemer, I will no more depart from Thee. If 
all men should leave Thee, I will not leave Thee, even 
if it should cost me my life. I protest that, even if there 
was neither a heaven nor a hell, I would not leave off 
loving Thee ; because Thou, my Love, art worthy of 
infinite love, though there should be no reward for those 
who love Thee, nor any punishment for those who love 
Thee not. 

Oh, if the years of my past life were to return, I 
would spend them all in loving Thee ! But they will 
never return. I thank Thee for having waited for me, 
and for not having sent me to hell as I deserved. And 
since Thou hast waited for me, I consecrate the rest of 
my life to Thee : I wish that all my thoughts, my de- 



Pious Sentiments. 417 

sires, and my affections should serve only to please Thee, 
and to fulfil Thy holy will. 

My beloved Jesus, I will not wait till Thou shalt be 
given to me at the point of death to embrace Thee. I em 
brace Thee now, and press myself closely to Thy nailed 
feet. My crucified love, to obtain for me a good death, 
Thou hast condescended to die a most agonizing and 
sorrowful death. At that hour, when every one will 
abandon me, do not Thou abandon me, my Redeemer ; 
permit me not to lose Thee, or to separate myself from 
Thee. Receive me into Thy sacred wounds ; and may 
my soul there breathe itself out in loving sighs, that it 
may come where Thou art to love Thee forever. 

V. 
Sentiments of Love. 

O most loving Pastor of Thy sheep ! for Thou hast 
spent, not all Thy riches, but all Thy Blood for them. 
O the goodness ! O the love ! O the tenderness of a God 
for souls ! Oh that I also, my Jesus, could give my 
blood and my life on a cross, or under the axe, for the 
love of Thee, who hast given Thy life on the cross for 
me ! May all angels and men eternally praise Thy in 
finite charity towards men ! Oh that by my death I 
could make all men love Thee ! Graciously receive, my 
Lord, this my desire; and give me grace to suffer some 
thing for Thee before I die. 

Ah, the martyrs have done but little, O Saviour of the 
world, in suffering torments, the rack, iron hooks, burn 
ing helmets, and in embracing the most cruel deaths for 
the love of Thee, their God, who didst die for the love 
of them. Thou hast died for me also; and what have I 
done as yet, during all my life, for Thy love ? My 
Jesus, let me not die in this state. I love Thee; and I 
offer myself to suffer for Thee as much as Thou wilt, 
27 



4i 8 Pious Sentiments. 

Accept this my offer, and give me strength to put it in 
execution. 

My crucified Jesus ! from Thy cross Thou didst fore 
see the offences I should commit against Thee; and, at 
the same time, Thou were procuring my pardon. Thou 
didst foresee my destruction, and didst prepare the 
remedy. Thou didst foresee my ingratitude, and Thou 
didst prepare for me remorse, fear, lights of salvation, 
calls to repentance, spiritual consolations, the tenderness 
and all the endearments of Thy charity. Thou didst 
vie with me to see which should conquer, I in offending 
Thee, or Thou in redoubling Thy graces to me; I in 
provoking Thee to punish me, or Thou in drawing me 
to Thy love. When, my God, shall I have overcome all 
things to please Thee, who hast given Thy life for me? 
When shall I see myself detached from all, to be united 
to Thee and to Thy holy will ? I desire it, and wish to 
perform it; but Thou must enable me to do so. I have 
not the strength to put it in effect. Thou hast promised 
to hear those that pray to Thee; I beseech Thee, with 
all my heart, not to let me live and die ungrateful for 
so much goodness. 

O Word Incarnate ! O Man of sorrows, born to live a 
life full of woes ! O first and last of men ! first, because 
Thou art God, Lord of all ; last, because in this world 
Thou wast contented to be ill-treated like the vilest of 
men, even to suffer blows, spitting, mockeries, and 
curses from the very scum of the people. O divine 
lamb ! O Infinite love, and worthy of infinite love ! who 
hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I love Thee, 
and I offer Thee my blood and my life; but what is the 
blood of a worm in comparison to the blood of a God ? 
the life of a sinner to the life of an Infinite Majesty? 

My beloved Jesus, who, urged, on by the bowels of 
Thy mercy, didst come on earth to seek us lost sheep, 
ah ; do not cease to seek me in my misery till Thou hast 



Pious Sentiments. 419 

found me ! Remember that for me also Thou didst shed 
Thy blood. 

O my Jesus ! who for my love didst deign to be sacri 
ficed on the cross, there to die consumed with grief, I 
love Thee; and I desire to sacrifice myself entirely to 
Thy love. Stretch forth one of Thy pierced hands, and 
raise me from the mire of my sins; heal the many 
wounds of my soul; burn, destroy in me all those affec 
tions which belong not to Thee. Thou canst do this; 
grant it, then, for the sake of Thy Passion. This do I 
hope. 

Because Thou hast loved me, Thou hast not denied 
me Thy blood and Thy life: I, because I love Thee, will 
deny Thee nothing Thou dost require of me. Without 
reserve Thou hast given Thyself all to me in Thy Pas 
sion and in the Sacrament of the Altar; I, without re 
serve, give myself all to Thee. Tell me what Thou de- 
sirest of me, and by Thy help I will do it all. 

O ye damned souls ! speak, and say, from the prison 
in which you are, what torments you most in hell, the 
fire that burns you, or the love which Jesus Christ has 
borne you ? Ah, assuredly the hell of your hell is this : 
to see that a God came down from heaven to earth to 
save you, and you, shutting your eyes to the light, have 
chosen of your own free will to be lost, and to lose this 
infinite good, even your God, who will be yours no 
longer, nor will you ever be able to regain him. 

Ah, my Jesus ! my treasure, my life, my consolation, 
my love, my all ! I thank Thee for the light that Thou 
givest me. I love Thee; and I fear nothing but to lose 
Thee, and to see myself deprived of the power to love 
Thee. Grant that I may love Thee, and then do with 
me what Thou wilt. 

My crucified Jesus ! ah, break the chains of my inor 
dinate affections, which prevent me from being wholly 
united to Thee, and bind me by the golden links of Thy 



420 Pious Sentiments. 

love; but bind me so tightly, that I shall never be able 
to loose myself from Thee. The artifices of love that 
Thou hast used towards me were sufficient to bind me ; 
but I do not see myself united to Thee as I would wish. 
Do Thou accomplish this; Thou alone canst do it. O 
love of my Jesus, Thou art my love and my hope ! My 
Jesus, I desire Thy pure love, free from all interest of 
my own; and I care not if I am deprived of all personal 
satisfaction. Make me love Thee, and that alone is 
sufficient for me. I know, my Lord, that Thou desirest 
my love. This is why Thou hast not sent me to hell, 
and why for so many years Thou hast drawn near to 
me, and hast made these words sound in my ears : 
" Love Me, love me with all thy heart." Tell me what I 
must do in order to please Thee fully. Behold me now; 
I give Thee my w y ill, my liberty, my whole self: I 
know not what more to give Thee. In this world I de 
sire neither pleasures nor honors; the only happiness and 
honor that I desire is to be all Thine. Do Thou accept 
me. Help me with Thy grace, and never abandon me : 
Be Thou my helper; forsake me not. Do not Thou despise 
me, O God, my Saviour. 1 My love and my Saviour, 
despise me not as I have deserved. Remember how 
much my soul has cost Thee, and save me. My salva 
tion is to love Thee, and to love none but Thee." 

My Jesus, I wish for none but Thee. Thou hast said 
that Thou lovest those that love Thee. 2 I love Thee; 
do Thou also love me. There was a time when I saw 
myself hated by Thee for my sins; but now I detest 
them more than any other evil, and I love Thee above 
all things. Do Thou also love me, and hate me no 
more. I fear Thy hatred more than all the pains of 
hell. 

1 "Adjutor meus esto; ne derelinquas me, neque despicias me, 
Deus salutaris meus." Ps. xxvi. 9. 
* "Ego diligentes me diligo." Prov. viii. 17. 



Ptous Sentiments. 421 

My beloved Redeemer, I will say to myself, with St. 
Teresa: "Since I must live, may I live only for Thee. 
Let our own interests be put an end to. What can be 
a greater gain than to please Thee ?" 

VI. 
Sentiments of Conformity to the Will of God. 

My Jesus, every time that I say " Blessed be God," or 
" May the divine will be done," I intend to accept all 
that Thau hast ordained for me both in time and in 
eternity. 

I desire no other office, no other habitation, no other 
clothing, no other food, no other health, but what it 
shall please Thee to send me. 

I wish for no other employment, no other talent, no 
other fortune than that which Thou hast destined for 
me. 

If Thou dost will that I should not succeed in my 
affairs; that my undertakings should fail; that my law 
suits should be lost; that my possessions should be 
taken away from me, this also is my will. 

If Thou wishest me to be despised, looked upon with 
ill-will, that others should be preferred to me, that I 
should be defamed and ill-treated even by my dearest 
friends, this is my will also. 

If Thou dost will that I should be made poor in all 
things, that I should be an exile from my country, im 
prisoned in a dungeon, and should be forced to live in 
continual sorrow and affliction, this also is my will. 

If Thou wiliest that I should be always ill, full of 
wounds, lame, obliged to remain in my bed abandoned 
by all, this I desire also. 

May all be as Thou pleasest, and as long as Thou 
pleasest. I put my very life into Thy hands, and accept 
whatever death Thou hast destined for me ; and I also 



422 Pious Sentiments. 

accept the death of my relatives and friends, and all that 
Thou shalt ordain. 

I also unite my will to Thine in all that regards my 
spiritual welfare. I desire to love Thee in this life with 
all my strength, and to attain paradise, that I may love 
Thee as the seraphim love Thee ; but I am content with 
that which Thou dost will for me. If Thou dost will to 
give me but one single degree of love, of grace, of glory, 
I wish for no more, because it is Thy will. I value more 
the fulfilment of Thy will than anything that I could 
gain for myself. 

In fine, my God, dispose of me and of my affairs as it 
pleases Thee. Look not at my pleasure ; for I desire 
nothing but what is in conformity to Thy will. Whether 
Thy treatment of me be harsh or kind, pleasant or un 
pleasant to me, I accept and embrace it, because both 
the one and the other come to me from Thy hand. 

My Jesus, I accept besides, in an especial manner, my 
death, with all the pains which shall accompany it, ac 
cording to Thy will, where Thou wilt, and at the time 
Thou wilt. I unite them, my Saviour, with Thy death ; 
and I offer them to Thee in testimony of the love I bear 
Thee. I desire to die to please Thee, and to fulfil Thy 
holy will. 

VII. 

Diverse Affections. 

Oh, the unhappy state of a soul that is in sin and that 
has lost God! It lives on in wretchedness, but lives 
without God. God sees it, but no longer loves it ; he 
hates and abhors it. There was then, my soul, a time 
when thou didst live without Gel The sight of thee 
no longer rejoiced the heart of Jesus Christ, as it did 
when thou wast in his grace, but was hateful to him. 
The blessed Virgin regarded thee with compassion, but 
detested thy deformity. When hearing Mass thou didst 



Pious Sentiments. 423 

see Jesus Christ in the consecrated Host, who had 
become thine enemy. 

Ah, my God, despised and lost by me, pardon me, and 
let me again find Thee ! I wished to lose Thee, but 
Thou wouldst not abandon me. And if Thou hast not 
yet returned to me, I pray Thee to come to me now that 
I repent with all my heart for having offended Thee. 
Let me be sensible of Thy return to me, by feeling a 
great sorrow for my sins, and a great love towards Thee. 

My beloved Lord, rather than see myself separated 
from Thee and deprived of Thy grace, I am content to 
suffer any punishment. Eternal Father, for the love of 
Jesus Christ, I pray Thee to give me grace nevermore 
to offend Thee till my death ; may I die rather than 
turn my back upon Thee afresh. 

Ah, my crucified Jesus, look on me with the same love 
with which Thou didst look on me when dying on the 
cross for me ; look on me, and have pity on me ; give 
me a general pardon for all the displeasure 1 have given 
Thee ; give me holy perseverance ; give me Thy holy 
love ; give me a perfect conformity to Thy will ; give 
me paradise, that I may love Thee there forever. I 
deserve nothing; but Thy wounds encourage me to 
hope for every good from Thee. Ah, Jesus of my soul, 
by that love which made Thee die for me, give me Thy 
love. Take away from me all affection to creatures, give 
me resignation in tribulation, and make Thyself the 
object of all my affections, that from this day forward I 
may love none other but Thee. 

Thou hast created me, Thou hast redeemed me, Thou 
hast made me a Christian, Thou hast preserved me whilst 
I was in sin, Thou hast pardoned me many times; above 
all, instead of chastisements Thou hast increased Thy 
favors tome; who should love Thee, if I do not? Arise, 
and let Thy mercy triumph over me ; and may the fire 



424 



Pious Sentiments. 



of love with which I burn for Thee be as great as the fire 
which should have devoured me in hell, O my Jesus, my 
love, my treasure, my paradise, my all ! 

O Incarnation, O Redemption, O Passion of Jesus 
Christ! O Calvary, O scourges, O thorns, O nails, O 
cross that did torment my Lord! O sweet names, 
which remind me of the love which a God has had for 
me, never depart from my mind and my heart; remind 
me always of the pains which Jesus my Redeemer has 
willed to suffer for me ! O most sacred wounds, ye are 
the perpetual resting-place of my soul; ye are the 
blessed furnaces where it forever burns with divine 
love ! 

My beloved Jesus, I have deserved hell, and to be for 
ever separated from Thee ; I refuse not the fire nor the 
other pains of hell, if Thou for my just punishment dost 
will to send me there ; but what I cannot consent to is, 
not to be able to love Thee any more. Let me love Thee, 
and then send me where Thou wilt. It is just that I 
should suffer for my sins; but it is not just that I should 
have to hate and curse him who has created me, who has 
redeemed me, and who has loved me so much: justice 
requires that I should love and bless Thee forever. I 
bless Thee, then, and love Thee, Jesus my Love; and I 
hope to love and bless Thee for all eternity. 

My sweet Redeemer, I know that Thou dost wish me 
to be wholly Thine. Ah, permit not that, from this day 
forward, creatures should have any part in that love 
which belongs altogether to Thee. Thou alone dost 
deserve all my affections, Thou alone art -infinitely beau 
tiful, Thou alone hast truly loved me ; Thee alone, then, 
will I love, and I will do all that I can to please Thee. I 
renounce all, pleasures, riches, honors, and all ;he crea 
tures of the earth ; Thou alone, my Jesus, art sufficient 
for me. Away from me, all earthly affections! Once 



Pious Sentiments. 425 

upon a time you had a place in my heart; but then I 
was blind: now that God by his grace has enlightened 
me, and has made me know the vanity of this world and 
the love which he has borne me, and that he desires me 
to give him all my love, I will consecrate it to him alone. 
Yes, my Jesus, take possession of my whole heart; and if 
I know not how to give it to Thee entirely as Thou de- 
sirest, take it Thyself, and make it Thine own. I love 
Thee, my God, with all my heart; I love Thee more than 
myself; draw me, 1 my Lord, all to Thee, and destroy in 
me the love of all created things. 

O Paradise, O country of loving souls, O kingdom of 
love, O sure haven where God is loved for all eternity, 
and where there is no more fear of losing him ! when 
shall I pass thy threshold, and see myself free from this 
miserable body, and delivered from the many enemies 
which continually try to deceive me in order to deprive 
me of divine grace ? Ah, my crucified Jesus, discover to 
me the immense riches that Thou hast prepared for the 
souls that love Thee. Give me a great desire of possess 
ing Paradise, so that, forgetting this world, I may there 
make my continual abode; and whilst I live, may I have 
no other desire than to come to see Thee and love Thee 
face to face in thy kingdom. I do not deserve this, and 
I know that at one time my name was written amongst 
those who were condemned to hell ; but now that I am, 
as I hope, in Thy grace, I beseech Thee by that blood 
which Thou didst shed for me on the cross, to write me 
in the Book of Life. Thou hast died to gain Paradise 
for me: I wish for this, I ardently desire it, and I hope 
to attain it through Thy merits, that I may there ascend, 
to be consumed with Thy love by loving Thee with all 
my strength. There, forgetting myself and everything 
else, I shall think only of loving Thee, I shall desire 

1 " Trahe me." Cant. i. 3. 



426 Pious Sentiments. 

nothing but to love Thee, and I shall do nothing but 
love Thee. O my Jesus, when shall this be ? O Mary, 
Mother of God, by thy prayers bring me to Paradise. 
" Turn, then, most gracious advocate, thy eyes of mercy 
towards us; and after this our exile show unto us the 
fruit of thy womb, Jesus." l 

" Eia ergo, Advocata nostra ! . . . Jesum, benedictum Fructum 
ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium osiende." 



Sighs of Love towards God. 427 



of ot) toumrbs 
I. 

Lord, who am I, that Thou hast loved me so much, 
and that Thou shouldst so much desire to be loved by 

me ? 

my God, worthy of infinite love ! I love Thee, or 
rather, I should say, I love Thee not. 

1 love Thee above all things; more than my life, more 
than myself; but still T see that I love Thee too little. 

King of Heaven! make Thyself also King of my 
heart, possess me entirely. 

II. 

1 leave all, and turn to Thee. I embrace Tnee, I press 
Thee to my soul; despise me not, immeasurable good; I 
love Thee. 

Now that Thou hast united me to Thee, O my Jesus, 
how can I see myself separated from Thee ? I love Thee, 
and will never cease to love Thee. 

Unite Thyself to me, Lord; let not the corruption of 
my sins drive Thee away from me. 

III. 

O God, O God! whom shall I love, if I love not Thee, 
my life, my love, my all ? 

Chosen among thousands. My God, Thee only, Thee 
alone do I choose for my love. 

My Redeemer, I desire no other but Thee. 

1 " Electus ex millibus." Cant. v. 10. 



428 Sighs of Love towards God. 

Oh that I might be wholly consumed for Thee, who 
wast entirely consumed for me ! 

Take possession, Lord, of my whole will, and do with 
me what Thou pleasest. 



IV. 

O God not known ! O God not loved ! he is a fool 
that loves Thee not. 

O my God! when I sinned I well knew that I was 
greatly displeasing Thee: have I done so ? could I do so ? 

If I had died then, I should no longer have been able 
to love Thee. Now that I can, I will love Thee. 

Lord, after having given me so many graces, permit 
me not to betray Thee again. Let me sooner die. 

Thou hast borne with me, that I might love Thee. 
Yes, I will love Thee. 

My God, Thou hast conquered me; I will withstand 
Thee no longer, I surrender myself to Thee. 

V. 

God! how many years have I not lost when I might 
have been loving Thee ! 

1 consecrate to Thee, my God, the remainder of my 
life; and who can tell how long it may be? 

VI. 

What are riches? what are honors? what are pleas 
ures? God, God, I desire God alone. 

O King of hearts, reign in my heart. Ah, draw me all 
to Thee ! 

Bind me, O God, to Thee, in such a way that I shall 
never be able to loose myself from Thee. 

Thou wilt not leave me, I will not leave Thee. Then 
we shall always love each other, O my God, O my God. 



Sighs of Love towards God. 429 

VII. 

Ah, make me all Thine before I die, my Jesus, my 
love, my life, my treasure, my all. 

Ah, my Jesus and my judge, the first time I see Thee 
may it be with a propitious countenance ! 

When shall I be able to say, " My God, my God, I 
cannot lose Thee any more?" 

When, Lord, shall I see Thee as Thou art, and con 
template Thee face to face for all eternity with my whole 
strength ? 

Ah, my Infinite Good, as long as I live, then, do J 
stand in danger of losing Thee. 

My Jesus, what hast Thou not done to oblige me to 
love Thee? Yes, I will love Thee. I love Thee, I love 
Thee, I love Thee. 

VIII. 
O Eternal Father! for the love of Jesus give me Thy 

love. 

Permit one of the most ungrateful creatures that have 
ever lived on the earth to love Thee. 

My God, I will love Thee exceedingly in this life, that 
I may love Thee exceedingly in the next. 

IX. 

my Jesus! Thou hast given Thyself all to me; I will 
give myself all to Thee. 

" What greater pleasure can I have than to please Thee, 

my God ? 

My beloved Jesus, I desire to love Thee as much as I 
have offended Thee. 

X. 

1 love Thee, Infinite Goodness; make me know the 
great good that I love. 



430 Sighs of Love towards God. 

My Jesus, Thou art the vine, I am one of Thy branch 
es; keep me always united to Thee; never let me de 
tach myself from Thee. 

O my God, how much do I rejoice in that Thou art 
infinitely happy ! 

XI. 

Ah, Lord, where art Thou ? Art Thou with me or 
not ? Am I in Thy grace or not ? Thou knowest that I 
love Thee, I love Thee; I love Thee more than myself. 

Give me, my Jesus, that love which Thou requirest of 



me. 



Oh that I had always loved Thee ! 

Oh, if I did but love Thee, my God, if I did but love 
Thee ! I love Thee, but I love Thee too little. 

Help me, Lord, to love Thee much, and to overcome 
all things to please Thee. 

XII. 

I give Thee my will. I desire nothing but that which 
Thou desirest. 

I seek not consolations from Thee; I desire only to 
please Thee, my God, my love, my all. 

infinite God! I am not worthy to love Thee; suffer 
me to love Thee. 

1 hope to love Thee forever, O Eternal God ! 

O my dear Jesus! Thou hast suffered so much for me; 
I desire to suffer for Thee as much as it shall please 
Thee. 

O God of my soul! I can trust myself no longer to 
live without loving Thee. 

O will of God, Thou art all my love. 

XIII. 

O Omnipotent God! make me a saint. 
It will be for Thy glory, Lord, to make one who was 
Thine enemy become Thy loving servant. 



Sighs of Love towards God. 43 1 

Thou didst seek me, my God, while I was yet flying 
from Thee; Thou wilt not discard me now that I seek 
Thee. 

My most loving Jesus, in order to pardon me Thou 
hast not pardoned Thyself. 

I thank Thee for giving me time to love Thee. Yes, 
my God, I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, and I 
will always love Thee. 

God worthy of infinite love, may I this day be en 
tirely converted to Thee, my love, my all ! 

Chastise me as Thou wilt ; but deprive me not of the 
power of loving Thee. 

XIV. 

Divine Father, Thou hast given me Thy Son ; I, a 
miserable creature, give myself to Thee. Accept me, for 
pity s sake. 

1 desire, Lord, to make up for the offences I have com 
mitted against Thee, by doing all that I can to please 
Thee. 

I desire to love Thee, my God, without interest, with 
out ceasing, and without reserve. 

XV. 

My Jesus, despised for me, may I be despised for 
Thee ! 

My tormented Jesus, grant that I may suffer for the 
love of Thee all the pains of this life. 

I should wish, my Redeemer, to die for Thee, who 
didst die for me. 

I resolve this day to give myself all to Thee. 

Oh that all would love Thee as Thou deservest ! 

Grant, Lord, that I may leave undone nothing which I 
know to be pleasing to Thee. 

Happy shall I be if I lose all to gain Thee, my God, 
my all. 



43 2 Stg/is of Love towards God. 

O Jesus! sacrificed for me, I sacrifice to Thee my 
whole will. 

my God! when shall I be all Thine? 

XVI. 

Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do F 1 

1 will sing forever the mercies of the Lord. 2 
Who shall separate me from the love of Christ? 3 

O good Jesus! never permit me to be separated from 
Thee, never permit me to be separated from Thee ! 4 

What have I in heaven ? and, besides Thee, what do I 
desire upon earth ? Thou art the God of my heart, and 
the God that is my portion forever. 5 

XVII. 

"May I die for the love of Thy love, who didst deign 
to die for the love of my love!" 6 

" My love is crucified." 7 

"Give me but Thy love and Thy grace, and I am rich 
enough." 

"Let me die, Lord, that I may see Thee," 9 



Ah, my Jesus, they who love Thee not do not know 
Thee ! 

1 " Domine, quid me vis facere? Acts, ix. 6. 

2 " Misericordias Domini in seternum cantabo." Ps. Ixxxviii. 2. 

3 " Quis nos separabit a charitate Christi?" Rom. viii. 35. 

4 " O bone Jesu ! ne permittas me separari a te." 

5 "Quid enim mihi est in coelo ? et a te quid volui super terram ? 
. . . Deus cordis mei, et pars mea, Deus in aeternum." Ps. Ixxii. 25. 

6 "Amore amoris tui moriar, qut amore amoris mei dignatus es 
mori." St. Francis Assist. 

7 " Amor meus crucifixus est." St. Pasch. 

" Amorem tui solum cum gratia tua mihi dones, et dives sum 
satis." St. Ignatius Loyola. 

" Moriar, Domine, ut te videam." St. Augustine. 



Sighs of Love towards God. 433 

I love Thy pleasure, Lord, more than all the pleasures 
of the world. 

My crucified Jesus, how is it that all are not captivated 
by Thee ? 

Thou hast died for me; oh that I could die for Thee, 
my Jesus, my love, my treasure, my all ! 

Lord, what shall I render to Thee for all Thou hast 
suffered for me ? 

XIX. 

Infinite Goodness, I esteem Thee above all things; I 
love Thee with all my heart; I give myself entirely to 
Thee. Accept my poor love, and give me more love. 
May I forget all, that I may remember only Thee, my 
love, my all 

I would wish to love Thee worthily. Accept, O God, 
this my desire, and give me Thy love ! 

XX. 

I have offended Thee enough; now I desire to love 
Thee. 

O God ! O God ! I am Thine, and Thou art mine. 

May all be lost; but let not God be lost. 

Let it cost what it will to gain God, he can never be 
dearly bought. 

Thou alone, my Jesus, Thou alone art sufficient for me. 

XXI. 

O Mary ! look on me, and draw me all to God. 

Most amiable mother, I love thee exceedingly. 

O Mother ! give me confidence in thee, and make me 
always to have recourse to thee. 

O Mary ! it is for thee to save me Thou canst make 
me holy: this is my hope. Have pity on me. 
28 



434 Aspirations of Love to Jesiis Christ. 



Aspirations of Couc to Jesus (Statist, 
i. 

My Jesus, Thou alone art sufficient for me. 

My love, do not permit me to separate myself from 
Thee. When shall I be able to say, " My God, I cannot 
lose Thee any more ?" 

II. 

Lord, who am I, that Thou shouldst desire so much to 
be loved by me ? 

And whom shall I love, if I love not Thee, my Jesus ? 
Here I am, Lord; dispose of me as Thou pleasest. 
Give me Thy love; I ask nothing more. 
Make me all Thine before I die. 

III. 

Eternal Father, for the love of Jesus Christ have pity 
on me. 

My God, I wish for Thee alone, and nothing more. 

IV. 

my Jesus ! would that I could be entirely spent for 
Thee, as Thou didst spend Thyself entirely for me ! 

If I had died while I was in sin, I could no more have 
loved Thee; now that I can love Thee, I will love Thee 
as much as I can. 

To Thee do I consecrate all the remainder of my life. 

1 wish only, and I wish in all things, that which Thou 
dost desire. 



Aspirations of Love to Jesus Christ. 435 

v. 

When I see Thee for the first time, my Jesus, may it 
be with a look of mercy. 

May I die rather than ever offend Thee again. 

Thou wilt not leave me, I will not leave Thee; so shall 
our love endure in this world and in the next. 

VI. 

I chould be too ungrateful, O my Jesus, if I loved 
Thee but little, after so many graces. 

Thou didst give Thyself all to me; I give myself all 
to Thee. 

Thou lovest those that love Thee. I love Thee; do 
Thou also love me. If I love Thee but little, give Thou 
me the love Thou requirest of me. 

What hast Thou not done to oblige me to love Thee ? 
Make me conquer all things to please Thee. 

VII. 

Accept the love of a soul which has offended Thee so 
deeply. 

Show me the immense good Thou art, that I may love 
Thee exceedingly. 

I desire to love Thee exceedingly in this life, that I 
may love Thee exceedingly in the next. 

VIII. 

I hope to love Thee for all eternity. O Eternal God ! 

Oh that I had always loved Thee ! Oh that I had died 
rather than have offended Thee ! 

I give Thee my will, my liberty; dispose of me as 
Thou pleasest. 

May my only happiness be to please Thee, O Infinite 
Goodness. 

O my God ! I rejoice in that Thou art infinitely 
happy, 



436 Aspirations of Love to Jesus Christ. 

IX. 

Thou art omnipotent; make me a saint. 

Thou hast sought me while I was fleeing from Thee; 
Thou didst love me when I despised Thy love; abandon 
me not, now that I seek Thee and love Thee. 

May I this day give myself wholly to Thee. 

X. 

Send me any chastisement, but deprive me not of the 
power of loving Thee. 

I thank Thee that Thou givest me time to love Thee. 
I love Thee, my Jesus, I love Thee; and I hope to die 
repeating, " I love Thee, I love Thee." 

XI. 

I desire to love Thee without reserve, and to do all 
that I know to be pleasing to Thee. 

I love Thy good pleasure more than all the pleasures 
of the world. 

I accept all the troubles that may happen to me, pro 
vided I love Thee, O my God. O my Jesus ! that I could 
die for Thee, as Thou didst die for me ! 

XII. 

Oh that I could make all men love Thee as Thou de- 
servest ! 

O will of God, thou art my love. 
O God of love, give me love. 

XIII. 

O Mary, draw me all to God. 

O my Mother, make me always have recourse to thee. 
It is for thee to make me a saint. This is my hope. 



Maxims for A tta in ing Pe r feet ion. 437 



for tlje Direction of a Soul tljat IDcsires to 
Attain perfection in tl)e or>e of Jk0us l)rist. 

1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus 
Christ. 

2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. 
Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to 
make an act of love ; seeking always to unite your own 
will to the will of Jesus Christ. 

3. Often to meditate on his Passion. 

4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love. 

5. To communicate often, and many times in the day 
to make spiritual Communions. 

6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament. 

7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus 
Christ himself your own cross. 

8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able 
to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity. 

9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ. 

10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus 
Christ. 

ir. To rejoice in the happiness of God. 

12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, 
and not to refuse him anything that is agreeable to him. 

13. To desire and to endeavor that all should love 
Jesus Christ. 

14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in 
purgatory. 

15. To drive from your heart every affection that does 
not belong to Jesus Christ. 

16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, 
that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ, 



43 8 Maxims for Attaining Perfection. 

17. To honor Mary in order to please Jesus Christ. 

18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions. 

19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any 
pain for his love. 

20. To be always determined to die rather than com 
mit a wilful venial sin. 

21. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, "Thus it 
pleases Jesus Christ." 

22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of 
Jesus Christ. 

23. To pray as much as possible. 

24. To practise all the mortifications that obedience 
permits. 

25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for 
the last time. 

26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity. 

27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything 
through human respect. 

28. Not to complain in sickness. 

29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with 
Jesus Christ. 

30. To drive away melancholy. 

31. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who 
love Jesus Christ. 

32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, 
and to Mary in her sorrows. 

33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ. 

34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, 
but to repent and resolve to amend. 

35. To do good to those who do evil. 

36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention 
when you cannot defend the action. 

37. To help your neighbor as much as you can. 

38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex 
him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask 
his pardon and speak kindly to 



Maxims for A tta ining Perfection. 439 

39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low 
tone. 

40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempts and per 
secution that you meet with. 

41. To look upon Superiors as the representatives of 
Jesus Christ. 

42. To obey without answering and without re 
pugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in 
anything. 

43. To like the lowest employments. 

44. To like the poorest things. 

45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself. 

46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors. 

47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved. 

48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with. 

49. To be silent when you are disquieted. 

50. Always to renew your determination of becoming 
a saint, saying, "My Jesus, I desire to be all Thine, and 
Thou must be all mine." 



44-O A els to be Performed Every Day. 



Qlcts tfyat tl)c Christian sfyouRr perform 

On Rising, after having made the Sign of the Cross. 

My God ! I adore Thee, I love Thee with my whole 
heart. 

I thank Thee for all Thy benefits, especially for having 
preserved me during the past night. 

I offer Thee all my actions and sufferings of this day, 
in union with the actions of Jesus and Mary; and I make 
the intention of gaining all the indulgences that I can 
gain. 

I purpose, O Lord ! to avoid offending Thee this day. 
especially. . . . 

It is good to make a resolution, particularly about the fault into which 
we fall the oftenest. 

I beg Thee, for the love of Jesus, to grant me the grace 
of perseverance. 

I resolve to conform myself to Thy holy will, and par 
ticularly in those things that are contrary to my inclina 
tion, saying always, O Lord ! Thy will be done. My 
Jesus, keep Thy hand over me this day ! Most Holy 
Virgin Mary, take me beneath thy mantle. And do 
Thou, O Eternal Father, help me for the love of Jesus 

* It is known that St. Alphonsus in his ascetical books took care 
frequently to remind his readers of the most essential practices of 
Christian life ; hence the many admonitions and various formulas, 
now short, now long, which we distribute among the complete works 
as well as among the smaller separate works, conformably to the 
author s design. ED. 



Acts to be Performed Every Day. 441 

and Mary ! O my angel guardian and my holy patron 
saints, assist me. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Creed; three Hail Marys in honor of the 
purity of Mary. 

At the Beginning of Work or Study. 
O Lord ! I offer Thee this work. 

Before Meals. 

my God ! bless this food and me, that I may commit 
no fa ul t about it, and may all be for Thy glory. 

After Meals. 

1 thank Thee, Lord, for having done good to one who 
was Thine enemy. 

When the Clock strikes. 

My Jesus, I love Thee; never permit me to offend Thee 
again, and let me never be separated from Thee. 

In adverse circumstances. 
O Lord ! since Thou hast so willed it, I will it also.* 

In Time of Temptation. 

Frequent invocation of the holy names of Jesus and 
Mary. 

When conscious or doubtful of having sinned, say at once: 
O my God ! I repent of having offended Thee. O In 
finite goodness ! I will do so no more. 

And if you should sin grievously, go to confession as soon as pos 
sible. Before going to rest in the evening thank God for all the 
favors you have received ; then make an examination of conscience. 
Afterwards make the Christian acts in the following manner- 
Act of Faith. 

O my God, who art infallible truth, because Thou hast 
revealed it to Thy Church, I believe all that she pro 
poses to my belief ! I believe that Thou art my God, 



44 2 Acts to be Performed Every Day. 

the Creator of all things; that Thou dost reward the just 
with an eternal paradise, and dost punish the wicked 
in hell for all eternity. I believe that Thou art one in 
essence, and three in persons, namely, Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. I believe in the Incarnation and death of 
Jesus Christ. I believe, in fine, all that the Holy Church 
believes. I thank Thee for having made me a Christian; 
and I protest that I will live and die in this holy faith. 

Act of Hope. 

O my God, confiding in Thy promises, because Thou 
art powerful, faithful, and merciful, I hope through the 
merits of Jesus Christ to obtain pardon of my sins, final 
perseverance, and the glory of paradise. 

Act of Love and Contrition. 

O my God, because Thou art infinite goodness, worthy 
of infinite love, I love Thee with all my heart above all 
things; and for the love of Thee I love my neighbor also. 
I repent with all my heart, and am sorry above all things 
for all my sins, because by them I have offended Thy 
infinite goodness. I resolve, by the help of Thy grace, 
which I beseech Thee to grant me now and always, 
rather to die than ever to offend Thee again. I purpose, 
also, to receive the holy Sacraments during my life, and 
at the hour of my death. 

These three acts have been enriched with indulgences.* 

Other Acts. 

I adore Thee, my God, I humble myself in the abyss 
of my nothingness to the will of Thy infinite majesty. 

I firmly believe all that Thou hast deigned to make 
known to me by means of Thy holy Church; and I am 
ready to give my life a thousand times for this faith. 

* See Rule of Life, vol. i., ch. 2, 6, 



Acts to be Performed Every Day. 443 

I place all my hope in Thee* Whatever good I may 
have, either in this life or in the next, I hope for from 
Thee, through the merits of Jesus Christ. 

I love Thee, Infinite Goodness, with all the affection of 
my heart and of my soul, because Thou dost merit all 
my love. I unite my imperfect love to that which all the 
saints, most holy Mary, and Jesus Christ bear to Thee. 
Because Thou art the supreme good, I am sorry and re 
pent of all my sins, detesting them as much as possible 
above every other evil. I resolve for the future rather to 
die than to consent to anything that may give Thee the 
slightest displeasure. 

I offer Thee now and forever my body, my soul, and 
all my senses and faculties. Do with me, Lord, and 
with all that belongs to me, what Thou pleasest. Give 
me Thy love and final perseverance, and grant that in 
all temptations I may always have recourse to Thee. 

I resolve to employ myself entirely in those things 
which are pleasing to Thee, being ready to suffer any 
pain and labor in order to please Thee. 

I desire that all should serve and love Thee. I recom 
mend to Thee all the souls in purgatory, as also all sin 
ners; enlighten and strengthen these unkappy creatures, 
that they may know and love Thee. I rejoice exceed 
ingly that Thy happiness is infinite, and will never have 
an end. 

I thank Thee for all the benefits that Thou hast be 
stowed upon mankind, but especially upon me, who have 
been more ungrateful than others. 

My beloved Jesus, I take refuge within Thy sacred 
wounds: do Thou there defend me from all temptations, 
till Thou shall grant me to see Thee and love Thee 
eternally in paradise. 



444 Acts to be Performed Every Day, 

Prayer of St. Bonaventure to Jesus Christ, to obtain His Holy 

Love. 

Most sweet Jesus, pierce the interior of my soul with 
the sweet wound of Thy love, that my soul may ever 
languish and be dissolved with Thy love and with the 
desire of possessing Thee, and long to quit this life, that 
it may come to be perfectly united to Thee in a blessed 
eternity. Grant that my soul may ever thirst after Thee, 
speak only to Thee, find Thee, and do all for Thy glory! 
Grant that my heart may be ever fixed on Thee who art 
my only hope, my riches, my peace, my refuge, my con 
fidence, my treasure, and my inheritance. 

A Short Prayer to Jesus Christ Crucified, to obtain a Happy 

Death. 

My Lord Jesus Christ, through that bitterness which 
Thou didst suffer on the cross, when Thy blessed soul 
was separated from Thy sacred body, have pity on my 
sinful soul, when it shall depart from my miserable body, 
and shall enter into eternity. 

Prayer to the Ever Blessed Virgin, to obtain the Love of 
Jesus and a Happy Death. 

O Mary! thou who so much desirest to see Jesus loved, 
if thou lovest me this is the favor which I now ask of 
thee, to obtain for me a great love for Jesus Christ. 
Thou obtainest from thy Son whatever thou pleasest: 
pray, then, for me, and console me. Obtain for me a 
great love for thee, who of all creatures art the most lov 
ing and beloved of God. And through that grief which 
thou didst suffer on Calvary, when thou didst behold 
Jesus expire on the cross, obtain for me a happy death, 
that by loving Jesus and thee, my Mother, I may come to 
love thee forever in heaven. 



Manner of Making Mental Prayer. 445 



ittanner of ilia king Ittintal 

i. 
In the PREPARATION the following acts may be made : 

My God, I believe that Thou art here present, and I 
adore Thee with all my heart. 

I deserve at this moment to be burning in hell for my 
sins; O my God, I am sorry for having offended Thee; 
pardon me. 

Eternal Father, grant me light in this meditation, that 
I may profit by it. 

Then say a Hail Mary to the divine Mother, and a Glory be to the 
leather, etc., in honor of St. Joseph, of your guardian angel, and of 
your holy patron. 

II. 

Then read the MEDITATION; yet whilst reading we should stop at 
those passages in which the soul finds that it is receiving nourishment; 
and we should try to produce acts of humility, of thanksgiving, es 
pecially of contrition and love, of resignation and self-offering. We 
should say : 

O Lord ! dispose of me as Thou pleasest; help me to 
know all that Thou requires! of me; I wish to please 
Thee in all things. 

We should especially apply ourselves to making petitions, in asking 
God to grant us holy perseverance, his love, light, and strength, that 
we mostly need in order to do his holy will, and to pray always. 

III. 

The CONCLUSION is made thus : We make the resolution to avoid 
some particular sin into which we fall the oftenest. We should finish 
by saying an Our Father and a Hail Mary, and never forget, in medi 
tation, to recommend to God the souls in Purgatory, and all poor 
sinners. 



446 Ejaculatory Prayers. 



9l)ort 

FOR THE TWELVE GREATEST SOLEMNITIES IN THE 
YEAR, SEVEN OF OUR LORD AND FIVE OF THE 
BLESSED VIRGIN WHICH MA Y BE USED AT ANY 
OTHER TIME AND ON ANY DAY, ACCORDING TO 
EA CH ONES DE VO TION. 

For the Feasts of our Lord. 

1. For the Holy Nativity of our Lord. 
Come, my Jesus, and be born in my heart! 

2. For the Circumcision of our Lord. 
May Thy name, O Jesus, be my joy ! 

3. For the Epiphany. 

With Thy Magi, O Jesus, I adore Thee, and love 
Thee. 

. 4. For Easter. 

My Jesus, let me first suffer, and then rejoice with 
Thee. 

5. For the Ascension of our Lord. 
Take my heart also with Thee into heaven. 

6. For Pentecost. 
Holy Spirit, Light, Fervor, and Perseverance. 

7. For the Feast of Corpus Christi. 
Jesus, our food ! Jesus, our sweetness ! Jesus, our joy ? 

For the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin. 

i. For the Immaculate Conception. 

Most holy Virgin, free from sin, and full of grace, at 
the first moment of Thy existence may I be free from 
sin, and in the grace of God, at the last moment of my 
life! 



Ejaculatory Prayers. 447 

2. For the Nativity of the Ever-blessed Virgin. 
Thy birth, O Blessed Virgin, was holy ; may my death 
be holy ! 

3. For the Annunciation. 

O Virgin ever blessed, thou art raised to the sublime 
dignity of Mother of God; may I remain always faithful 
in his service ! 

4. For the Purification. 

Most holy Virgin, purer than the angels after thou 
hadst brought forth thy Son, may I be purified at least 
after I have sinned ! 

5. For the Assumption. 

Most holy Virgin, who didst die out of pure love, may 
I at least die with contrition ! 



Let all, all be devout to the most blessed Virgin; and, 
after God, let us honor the most holy Virgin. 

Happy is the Christian who has the most blessed Vir 
gin for him; and miserable is that Christian who has not 
the blessed Virgin on his side. 

The most blessed Virgin can obtain everything from 
God, because she is his true Mother, and is so much be 
loved by him; and she will do everything for us, because 
she is our Mother also, and loves us so much. 

Let us, therefore, always try to gain her friendship more 
and more ; let us ingratiate ourselves with her more and 
more, by continually fostering in ourselves devotion tow 
ards her. 

Every day let us say her Rosary. 

Fast in her honor every Saturday. 

Observe the novenas and the fast before all her princi 
pal feasts. 

Practise some devotion also on all her smaller, even 
her smallest feasts, 



Ejaculdtory Prayers. 

And let us, besides, in all our necessities, in all our 
misfortunes, have recourse to her, have confidence in her; 
and through her security in life, security in death, se 
curity through all eternity. 

It must be so; for do you know what takes place in 
heaven ? The most blessed Virgin stands before her di 
vine Son Mater stat ante Filiuni and she reminds him 
of the womb where he was enclosed for nine months, and 
the sacred breast at which she so often gave him suck. 
The Son places himself before his divine Father Filius 
stat ante Patrein and shows him his pierced side and those 
sacred wounds which he received for our sake et os- 
tendit Patri latns et vulnera. And at the sight of such sweet 
pledges of a Son s love, he can deny nothing to his divine 
Son, all is obtained for us: ibi nulla poterit esse repulsio, 
ubi sunt tot amoris insignia there can be no refusal where 
there are so many signs of love. It is thus that St. Ber 
nard, himself so devout to the ever-blessed Virgin, en 
courages us. 

But since the most blessed Virgin is also the Mother 
of fair love, as well as being true Mother of God Mater 
pulchrce dilectionis she obtains for us holy love ; and 
through her means God himself fills our hearts with his 
holy love ignem sui amoris accendat Dens in cordibus 
nostris. 

Live, Jesus our love, and Mary our hope ! 



Hymn, 449 



HYMN. 
Aspirations to Jesus. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord ! 
Jesus, my sweetest Lord ! 
My Good, my Spouse adored ! 



My God, O goodness infinite, 

My life s true life art Thou ; 
Flame of my heart, my Spouse most sweet, 

My love to Thee I vow. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord, etc. 



Jesus, for Thee I pine away. 

My love, and my desire ; 
And, more enamoured day by day, 

I burn with heavenly fire. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord, etc. 



Ah, Jesus, I would ever weep 

That I offended Thee ; 
Mine was ingratitude too deep, 

And basest treachery. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord, etc. 



My Jesus, when I call to mind 

That such a wretch as I 
Have crucified a God so kind, 

I fain of grief would die. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord, etc. 



45 Hymn. 



O Thou my hope, make me remain 

Faithful for evermore : 
Better to die than be again 

As I have been before. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord, etc. 

While night and day my foes allure, 

In Thee do I confide : 
Take Thou and place my heart secure 

Within Thy pierced side. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord, etc. 

With Thy sweet chains, O Jesus, bind 

My rebel heart to Thee 
Till death ; my safety I will find 
In such captivity. 

Jesus, my sweetest Lord ! 
Jesus, my sweetest Lord ! 
My Good, my Spouse adored ! 



Novena to the Holy Name of Je sits. 451 



to tfye ^olj} Name of 

FIRST DAY. 
The Giving of the Glorious Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that the holy name of Jesus is 
not a name invented by man, but it comes from God, 
who wished it to be made known by the archangel Ga 
briel, as St. Luke testifies: His name was called Jesus . . . 
by the angel. St. Bernard 2 also says that this name is 
not a simple figure of things, a shadow without reality, 
but it is a palpable truth. Jesus is a name that expresses 
perfectly the hypostatic union of the divine nature and 
of the human nature. The world could not have been 
saved by a pure God, because God is impassible, nor by 
a pure man, because man is limited and finite. This is 
the reason why the holy name Jesus, which signifies the 
same as Saviour, as the angel declares, 3 has been given 
to the Son of God, made man through Mary, in order 
to show that both as God and man he accomplished the 
redemption of mankind by delivering them from the 
slavery of sin at the same time. In short, Jesus is a 
name that comprises infinity, eternity, immensity, wis 
dom, justice, mercy, and all the adorable perfections of 
God. What happiness for us to be reconciled with the 
eternal Father through the merits of this divine Media- 

1 " Vocatum est nomen ejus Jesus . . . ab Angelo." Luke, ii. 21. 

2 In Circ. s. I. 

3 Matt. i. 21. 

* This Novena and the Hymn that follows it remained unpublished 
till the year 1866. They were recently discovered at Rome among 
the writings of our holy author, ED, 



45 2 Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

tor who has had the goodness to pay our debt at the 
cost of his precious blood ! 

Adorable Jesus ! if Thou hast sacrificed Thyself to de 
liver Thy people from the hands of their enemies in 
order to acquire an eternal name, it would be but fair 
that this name should surpass and eclipse every other 
name, even that of the seraphim, as St. Paul says: Being 
made so much better than the angels, as He hath inherited a 
more excellent name than they. 1 And if the eternal Father 
has wished that this name should be that of his Son, 
mayest Thou grant that, having experienced on earth its 
happy effects, we may arrive at the complete happiness 
in heaven to praise Thee and to bless Thee for all 
eternity. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., nine times, 
in honor of the giving of the glorious name of Jesus. We finish with 
the following versicle and prayer : 

Sit Nomen Domini benedic- Blessed be the Name of the 

turn ! Lord ! 

Ex hoc mmc et usque in see- From henceforth and for ev- 

culum ! ermore ! 

Or emus. Let us pray. 

Deus, qui unigenitum Filium God, who didst appoint 

tuum constituisti humani gen- Thine only-begotten Son Sav- 

eris Salvatorem, et Jesum vo- iour of mankind, and didst 

cari jussisti, concede propitius command that he should be 

ut ; cujus sanctum Nomen vcn- called Jesus, mercifully grant 

eramur in t err is, ejus quoque that we may enjoy the vision 

aspectu perfruamur in cojlis. of him in heaven, whose holy 

Per eiimdem Christum Domi- Name we venerate on earth. 

num nostrum. Amen. Through the same Christ our 

Lord. Amen. 

"Tanto melior Angelis effectus, quanto differentius prsz illis 
nomen hereditavit." Heb. i. 4. 



Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 453 



SECOND DAY. 
Sweetness of the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that there is no name in the 
world that is equal to the. name of Jesus in sweetness. 
" Nothing is sweeter to chant," says St. Bernard, u noth 
ing more agreeable to hear, nothing more charming to 
think of, than the name of Jesus, the Son of God." To 
preach it, is to give light to the understanding, is to in 
flame the will; to think of it, is to feed the soul, is to ex 
cite its fervor; to call on it, is to win grace and unction. 
In fact, we see that if a Christian find himself weighed 
down by sadness, whether through the artifice of our 
common enemy or in consequence of some misfortune 
that has befallen him, as soon as the name of Jesus passes 
from his heart to his tongue, by the light of this divine 
name, darkness is dispersed, the mind becomes calm, the 
heart is strenghtened, the faculties brighten up, and 
everything returns to life. This is the reason why St. 
Paul, as soon as he received from the divine Word him 
self the commission to publish his glorious name, began 
to repeat it so often, not only in his discourses, but also 
in the Epistles that he addressed to the Corinthians, Gala- 
tians, Colossians, Hebrews, and to all other nations. He 
knew by experience how sweet is the name of Jesus, 
what is its virtue to dispel the darkness of error and bring 
back men to the happy paths of perfect belief. Oh, how 
happy shall we be if in all our trials, on all sorrowful 
occasions, we take care to invoke the glorious name of 
Jesus, and while invoking it with our lips to consecrate 
our hearts to it ! Then our soul will taste an ineffable 
sweetness, which we can never find here below. 

Most amiable Jesus, Thou art the master of the angels, 
the Creator of the world, the sovereign of the universe. 

1 Office of the Holy Name, 



454 Novcna to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

Thou art my Lord and my God. 1 I thank Thee for hav 
ing wished to take this most holy name for our consola 
tion, for our encouragement, and for our salvation; and 
as, in this valley of tears, we have recourse in our needs 
to Thy glorious name by sweetly invoking it, grant that 
we may finish our lives in peace while saying, Live 
Jesus ! Live our Saviour ! 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., nine times, 
in honor of the sweetness of the name of Jesus; versicle and prayer 
as above. 

THIRD DAY. 
Salutary Operation of the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that the name Jesus signifies 
nothing else than Saviour; and St. Peter 2 assures us 
that the Eternal Father has not .given to men any other 
name by which they may be saved amidst the snares of 
this deceitful world, than the adorable name of Jesus. 
It is this name that makes the truth of faith shine every 
where, and that calls all men from the depths of dark 
ness to the adorable light of the Gospel. It is by virtue 
of this adorable name that the Apostle gave light to the 
blind, made the lame walk, healed the sick, raised the 
dead to life, and filled the whole world with astonish 
ment. And if the Angel at first announced that Jesus 
would bring life into the world by delivering it from the 
cruel slavery into which Adam had plunged it, this good 
Saviour confirmed this promise himself when he declared 3 
that he had come so that his sheep might have life, and 
might have it more abundantly. By virtue of his name 
we see idolatry overthrown, to the great confusion of the 
pagan princes and priests, who did all in their power to 

"Dominus meus et Deus meus." John, xx. 28. 

2 Acts, iv. 12. 

3 John, x. 10. 



Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 455 

maintain it. We see the Synagogue vanquished, to 
the shame of the Jews, who with threats of punishments 
had forbidden the Apostles 1 to preach and invoke this 
powerful name. Ah ! since in this world there is no good 
that is not due to the efficiency of the name of Jesus, let 
us acknowledge with humility and with love the source 
of all these riches; and if in the past we have been un 
faithful, let us once for all put an end to our ingratitude, 
and let us endeavor to repair all the wrong that we have 
done, and say: 

O amiable and holy name of Jesus ! may the seraphim 
of heaven give to Thee for me suitable thanks, and never 
cease to praise Thee by forever repeating that Thou 
dost merit all glory, all honor, and all power. My sweet 
Saviour, I hope to obtain, by virtue of Thy name, the 
salvation of my body and soul ; I hope that with this 
glorious name in my heart and on my lips, victorious 
over the world and the flesh, I shall have the happiness 
to sing Thy praises and to bless the august Trinity for 
ever and ever. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., nine times, 
in honor of the salutary operation of the name of Jesus ; versicle and 
prayer as above. 

FOURTH DAY. 
Efficacy of the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, the efficacy of the adorable 
name of Jesus for the purpose of offering prayers pleas 
ing to God, and of obtaining all that we ask of him. 
This name opens for us the way to arrive promptly at 
the feet of the Most High, and to have our prayers 
heard at once. The Gospel also attests that the prayers 
of Jesus himself have always been heard by virtue of 
his great name, and that he authorizes us to say, when 

1 Acts, iv. 17. 



456 N oven a to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

speaking to God, "Our Father, who art in heaven." 
In consideration of the name of Jesus, God looks with 
a favorable eye upon our petition ; he accepts it kindly 
and grants it, because he sees that it bears his seal, 
and is marked with the precious blood of the Lamb 
that was immolated for us. For this reason Jesus ex 
horted the Apostles, and exhorts all, that we should ask 
in his name all that we ask of his Father, in order to 
be sure that we shall obtain it: If you ask the Father 
anything in My name, He will give it to you. 1 It is enough 
for him to hear the petition, and he will bestow upon 
us the favors that have been asked of him in the name 
of his beloved Son, with whom he is well pleased, and 
who, in order to satisfy his offended justice, has shown 
himself obedient ever unto death. We should, then, 
know how to profit by the efficacious power of the holy 
name of Jesus; being sure that our prayers will be heard, 
we should, often, every hour of the day, repeat our 
prayers to the Eternal Father, and we shall advance in 
perfection on the road of the divine precepts, until we 
attain the happiness of seeing and possessing him for 
all eternity in heaven. 

O Sweet Jesus, our love and our hope ! since Thou 
hast deigned to assume mortal flesh, in order to open to 
us the gate of pardon, and to render our prayers effica 
cious by virtue of Thy glorious name, grant that, in 
order to obtain from the heavenly Father graces and 
gifts, our prayers for perseverance may be heard, so that, 
faithful to the divine law to the end of our lives, we 
may, with Thy holy name on our lips, pass from this 
valley of tears to the glory of paradise. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., nine times, 
in honor of the efficacy of the name of Jesus ; versicle and prayer as 
above. 

"Si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis." John, 
xvi. 23. 



Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 457 



FIFTH DAY. 
Consolation afforded by the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that those who love Jesus are, 
by his sweet name, so much sustained and consoled in 
their afflictions and in all other evils that it is for them 
a happiness to suffer in order to be able to participate 
in these ineffable consolations. This, says St. Bernard, 1 
is the reason why the Spouse of the Canticles compares 
the name of Jesus to oil : Thy name is as oil poured out; 1 
for as oil gives light, food, and a remedy, so is the name 
of Jesus alight, food, and a remedy. All spiritual food 
without the name of Jesus is insipid and dry. No writ 
ing however charming and interesting it may be, can 
besweet nourishment to the heart if it does not contain 
the name of Jesus. If in the sermons, discussions, and 
conversations, the name of Jesus is not mentioned, the 
soul tastes no sweetness. The name of Jesus is honey 
to the mouth, melody to the ear, joy to the heart. This 
name rendered sweet the pains and torments of the 
martyrs, of the virgins, and of all the saints, so that when 
reduced to the last extremity, while invoking the name 
of Jesus, they were comforted ; they forgot their suffer 
ings. Why should we, then, be cast down in our tribu 
lations, in the storms that arise against us to throw us, 
perhaps, into the abyss of despair, when the name of 
Jesus alone can lighten the weight that oppresses us, 
and can carry us to heaven? Have, therefore, recourse 
to Jesus, faithful soul ; attach thyself to Jesus ; he 
is a secure haven in which we need not fear to suffer 
shipwreck ; he is the morning-star that guides us 
through the darkness to the way of salvation ; he is 
the watchful sentinel that discovers the enemy and puts 

1 In Circ. s. I. 

2 " Oleum effusum, nomen tuum." Cant. i. z. 



45 8 Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

him to flight; in a word, he renders easy and sweet to 
you the yoke of the evangelical law. 

O amiable name of Jesus! Thy devoted servants 
invoke Thee, since Thou art so prompt in coming to con 
sole them in their necessities. For pity s sake, my good 
Master, come also to give consolation to my soul, which 
though sorely pressed on account of its combat with 
redoubtable enemies, and which, because of bad conduct, 
is perhaps far away from Thee, yet like the prodigal son 
hopes to find in Thee the clemency of a Father, and 
dares to say to Thee, with St. Anselm, O my Saviour! 
save me; save me, Jesus, and do not permit me to 
perish. 
. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory beta the Father, etc., nine times 
in honor of the consolation that is afforded by the name of Jesus 
versicle and prayer as above. 

SIXTH DAY. 
Peace that is given us by the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that Jesus being the King of 
peace, whose presence was sought throughout the earth, 
as the Church proclaims in the Office, 1 cannot but bring 
consolation to us. So, before his birth, in order to give 
a token that his coming was peaceful, his divine Provi 
dence wished that the whole world, under the reign of 
Caesar Augustus, should be in perfect peace. And when 
he was born the voice of the angels chanted the heavenly 
song that was heard by the shepherds of Bethlehem: 
" Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men 
of good will." On this passage of the Psalmist: In His 
days shall justice spring up, and abundance appear, Origen 
remarks that the coming of Jesus, our Saviour, brought 
peace to the whole world. In fact, he reconciled us with 
the Eternal Father, from whom original sin had separated 

1 In Nat. D. I Vesp. 



Novena to the Holy Name of Jcsits. 459 

us; he also quieted in us the inferior powers which in con 
sequence of the same sin had revolted against the spirit; 
so that, says St. Bernard, by virtue of the name of Jesus, 
the transports of passion are appeased, the movements 
of concupiscence are repressed, and the soul finds itself 
brought back lo the state it would have enjoyed had it 
persevered in original justice. This being the case, let 
us imitate St. Teresa, who, when asked by Jesus himself 
about her name, answered, without knowing him, "My 
name is Teresa of Jesus." Let us also say that we belong- 
to Jesus ; in this way we shall enjoy a continual peace on 
earth, and while becoming peaceful, which quality makes 
us the chosen of God, we shall perpetuate it forever in 
heaven. 

O amiable Jesus ! Thou art truly the king of peace and 
of tranquillity; this we experience when we invoke Thee 
in our trials. In the midst of the sad vicissitudes that 
afflict and harass us in this valley of tears, it is only in 
Thy very holy name that we find calm, peace, and repose. 
Ah ! grant that we may hereafter be more fervent in the 
practice of good works, and that by faithfully following 
in the footsteps of the good Shepherd, like humble and 
docile sheep, we may be delivered from the nocturnal 
incursions of the infernal wolves, and seek shelter and 
protection in the fold of Thy very sweet heart. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., nine times, 
in honor of the peace that is given by the name of Jesus; versicle and 
prayer as above. 

SEVENTH DAY. 
Strength of the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that Jesus, impelled by the ardor 
of his infinite love towards mankind, without leaving 
the bosom of his Father, clothed himself in our flesh, and 
came into the world to deliver us from its chains ; that 



460 Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

like an irresistible warrior he attacked man s enemy, 
Satan, who had become the sole master of this world 
that groaned under his tyranny because of the trans 
gression of the law of God; that, finally, he conquered 
it, crushed it, and snatched from its grasp, as he himself 
has said, 1 the arms in which it had trusted, and divided 
the spoils of the conquered among his children, to whom 
he gave as their armor the sacraments and the sign of 
the cross. This victory made him so formidable to the 
demons of hell that his name alone causes all the powers 
of the abyss to tremble, and fills them with terror, as the 
Apostle says : /;/ the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth? 
When hearing this adorable name the angels of light 
prostrate themselves out of respect, to render homage 
and to testify their gratitude to their Redeemer; but 
the angels of darkness humble themselves by force, 
being compelled by virtue of the Most High to acknowl 
edge their conqueror, notwithstanding the shame, the 
spite, and the rage that torment them. And as for our 
selves, whom Jesus has principally redeemed, let us imi 
tate the good angels in rendering on our knees due 
thanksgiving for the good he has done for us, and by re 
membering not only the profound veneration with which 
his glorious name should fill our hearts, but the firm 
hope he gives us to acquire by his merits a blessed life 
in eternity. 

O Jesus ! Thou who didst allow to shine forth the 
strength of Thy name, to deliver us from the servitude 
of sin and the slavery of the devil, deign now and always 
to preserve our souls from all unworthy subjection. 
Show that Thou art a perfect conqueror by preserving 
Thy conquest with vigilant care; protect it from the iniq 
uitous robber, so that he may no longer attempt to take 

1 Luke, xi. 22. 

2 Phil. ii. 10. 



Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 46 1 

even partial possession of it. Grant that our souls may 
always be worthy of belonging entirely to Thee. We 
can do nothing of ourselves without the help of Thy 
grace; be Thou so good as to aid us, to protect us, and, 
prostrate at the feet of Thy throne, we shall gratefully 
sing forever of the strength of Thy glorious name. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., in honor 
of the strength of the name of Jesus; versicle and prayer as above. 

EIGHTH DAY. 
Power of the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that the glorious name of Jesus 
is wonderful in what regards the divine mysteries of his 
Incarnation, birth, life, Passion, death, resurrection, and 
ascension; all of which comprise things so profound 
and so sublime that the angels themselves cannot com 
prehend them, and that the Apostle 1 has said that they 
are a scandal in the eyes of the Jews and folly in the 
eves of the Gentiles, while we see in them a. celestial 
light that shows us the wisdom and the love of God. 
Yet consider, also, that it is wonderful in regard to its 
power. Jesus is the Word of the Eternal Father, and as 
nothing has been done without him, says St. John, 2 so 
nothing is preserved, nothing is governed independently 
of his power. It is by virtue of his name that the bar 
barians renounced idolatry to embrace the Gospel, the 
Apostles producing these marvellous conversions by the 
prodigies and miracles that astonished nature. It is by 
virtue of his name that the sun is resplendent, that the 
moon reflects its light, that the stars shine, that the 
planets follow their course, that men live on the earth, 
that the monarchs reign, that the humble are exalted, 
that the proud are humbled, mountains are levelled, that 

1 i Cor. i. 23. 
3 John, i. 3. 



462 Novcna to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

valleys are filled up; for the Eternal Father has placed 
all things in the hands of his Son. 1 And which of us 
will not prostrate himself to adore this name that is so 
great, so majestic, that fills heaven and earth ! Which 
of us will not render to him the homage that is due to 
him, when we know that it is owing to Jesus that we 
are Christians, and that in imitating him, we can aspire 
to the glory of paradise ! 

O Jesus, all-powerful and truly wonderful ! If the 
eyes of our soul had not been opened and enlightened 
by the light of faith, which Thou hast taught us by Thy 
own mouth, how should we ever have been able to know 
Thy divine mysteries ! Without this aid, we should 
have always been buried in the darkness of ignorance 
and in the shadows of death. May thanks be always 
given to our sweet Jesus, who has had compassion on 
us, and in opening to us the gates of heaven has consti 
tuted us heirs of the eternal kingdom ! And if our heart 
is entirely filled with joy for having received so great 
gifts, may our tongue never cease to praise him who is 
the author of them. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., in honor 
of the power of the name of Jesus; versicle and prayer as above. 



NINTH DAY. 
Triumphs of the Name of Jesus. 

Consider, devout soul, that the name of Jesus did not 
triumph only over death and sin by despoiling hell of 
its power, but it also expelled from the height of the 
cross the devil, who* had usurped the dominion over this 
world by drawing all things to himself. He not only 
triumphed over the persecutor, as he did over Saul on the 
road to Damascus, but he confounded his adversaries in 

1 John, xiii. 3. 



Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 463 

Rome by means of St. Bernardine of Sienna and St. John 
Capistran. He also triumphed over the enemies of the 
faith in Hungary and Belgrade, where a small number 
of the faithful struck with consternation and vanquished 
the grand armies of the Ottoman Empire. The children 
of St. Francis, animated by the spirit and the example 
of this seraphic patriarch, were the first to revive the 
triumphs of the name of Jesus by erecting to it the first 
altar at Auxerre, in France, till the coming of St. Ber 
nardine, who was proclaimed the principal author of the 
renewal of this devotion by the declaration of Pope 
Eugene IV.: Characterem nominis Jesu ipse Bernardinus 
de novo adorandum invenerat. " Bernardine has himself 
discovered the value of the name of Jesus, so that it 
might be venerated anew." Finally, the office and the 
veneration of the holy name of Jesus were extended to 
the whole Catholic world; and if the Seraph of Assisi 
revived the fervor of souls towards the Passion of our 
Redeemer, the Saint of Sienna, his son, everywhere re 
vived the devotion to the adorable name which was the 
origin of our redemption. To propagate this devotion 
Pope Sixtus V. granted an indulgence of a hundred 
days to those who salute each other with the words: 
"Praised be Jesus Christ," and answering, "Forever." 
Moreover, a plenary indulgence is granted to him who 
at the hour of death invokes the name of Jesus, if not 
with lips, at least in the heart. If, therefore, the glorious 
name of Jesus has done so much good for us, let us, after 
the example of St. Mechtilde, consecrate ourselves to him, 
our heart, our faculties, our words, so that everything in 
them may breathe the sweetness of Jesus; and also our 
actions, that one may see shine in them the virtues that 
Jesus practised on earth his humility, his patience, his 
charity, his zeal, his love. By this means we shall, after 
this life, be able to take part in the triumphs of Jesus in 
heaven. 



464 Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus. 

O very amiable and very sweet Jesus, our God, out- 
Saviour, our Father ! how can we, miserable creatures 
that we are, respond to the love that Thou hast shown 
and that Thou dost not cease to show us? It is certain 
that Thou alone as God canst justly compensate Thyself, 
since before Thee we are as if we were not. And then, 
what have we that is not a gift of Thy bounty ? Yes, 
O supreme good ! all that we have comes from Thee; 
and as such we render it to Thee, in offering to Thee, 
in this novena that we celebrate in honor of Thy name, 
all that we are. But, knowing that our love is agreeable 
to Thee, we give Thee specially our whole heart which 
is the source of this love. Deign to receive it as belong 
ing to Thee; and if it is not worthy of Thee, purify it of 
its imperfections and of its defects, so that we may see 
shine in it the name of Jesus, that, it loves only Jesus; 
that it thinks only of Jesus; and that, the superabundance 
of its affections communicating itself to our tongue, 
Jesus may be praised and blessed through all ages. 
Amen. 

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to the Father, etc., in honor 
of the triumphs of the name of Jesus; versicle and prayer as above. 



Hymn. 46 5 



HYMN* 

To the Infant Jesus. 

Fair Child, bow beautiful Thou art ! 
No greater can Thy sweetness be. 
Thou hast possession of my heart ; 
It burns with love alone for Thee. 

Thy littleness, O tender Child ! 

Is like a dart of love divine 

That pierces with Thy sweetness mild, 

To-day, this hardened heart of mine. 

My only Good ! Thy tears I see, 
And Thou art trembling now with cold, 
My heart that has been charmed by Thee 
Is sad as I Thy grief behold. 

Oh, may my heart Thy home e er be, 
My Love, my Conqueror Thou art. 
Oh, take the food I offer Thee, 
The food of love within my heart. 

* See note page 451. There is another hymn to the Infant Jesus, 
page 332. 
30 



INDEX. 



ACTS that every Christian should make every day, 440. 

ADVENT, Meditations for every day, 172, 286. 

ANGEL, God could have sent an angel to redeem man, 87. 



CHRISTMAS, Discourses for the novena, 13 ; for the feast, 140; Medi 
tations for the novena, 214, 301; for the octave and the following 
days, 238. Indulgences, 347. 

CIRCUMCISION, Meditation for the feast, 316. 

CONFORMITY to the will of God, pious sentiments, 421. 

CONTRITION and firm purpose, pious sentiments, 415. 

D 

DETACHMENT from pleasures, 98 ; from riches, 113 ; from 
honors, 126. 

E 

EPIPHANY, Meditations for the feast and the octave, 268, 318. 

F 

FAITH, pious sentiments, 407. 



INCARNATION, grandeur of this mystery, 174. See Jesus Christ ; con 
fidence with which it should inspire us, 289. 

INDULGENCES attached to the exercises of piety in honor of the Infant 
Jesus, 347. 

J 

JESUS CHRIST was the arrow chosen and reserved to pierce thahearts 
of men, 89. His goodness and love for men, 192, 201, 214, 225, 
232, 287, 293, 301, 309, 362; he loves each one as he does all, 92. 



468 Index. 

To gain our love, he made himself like us, 13, and made himself 
ours, 85 ; he becomes little, 32, 206, 219, 240, 303, poor, 305, 
humble, 306, suffering, 308. His desire to suffer for us, 296 ; 
his sufferings, 194, 199, 217, 222, 227; his greatest affliction was 
the foreseeing of our ingratitude and of our sins, 104, 204, 229, 
294. His birth, 140, 179, 238, 314. Hymn, 322; he is in swad 
dling-clothes, 243 ; taking milk, 246 ; lying on straw, 248 ; sleep 
ing, 251, weeping, 253; his solitude in the stable, 258, his occu 
pation, 261, his poverty, 263; adored by the Magi, 268, 316; pre 
sented in the Temple, 270; his exile in Egypt, 272, 274, 311, 312; 
his return, 277 ; his dwelling at Nazareth, 279, 281, 312; his loss 
in the Temple, 283. He became a servant to deliver us from 
slavery, 46 ; he wished to appear as a sinner to atone for our 
sins, 59, 187, 197; his compassion for sinners, 67 ; he made him 
self weak to communicate to us strength, 73 ; he made himself 
afflicted to teach us mortification, 98 ; he made himself poor to 
teach us detachment from terrestrial things, 113; he humbled 
himself to teach us humility, 126, 182. He obtained for us more 
than Adam made us lose, 53. Happiness in having been born 
after his coming, 55, 185, 291. He is the fountain of grace, 208, 
212, 298 ; the physician of our souls, 210 ; virtue in the name of 
Jesus, 151, 255, 320, 451. We ought to give him our whole 
heart, 93 ; sentiments of love, 417 ; aspirations, 434. Hymns, 
332, 406, 465. Maxims for attaining perfection in the love of 
Jesus Christ, 437.. Examples or apparitions of the Infant Jesus, 
164. 

JOSEPH, St., goes with the Blessed Virgin to Bethlehem, where Jesus 
is born in a stable, 142, 235, 314 ; he addresses the divine child > 
hymn, 330. He goes with Mary to present Jesus in the Temple, 
270. He conducts Jesus and Mary to Egypt, 272, 311; he sup 
ports them by his labor, 274; he brings them back to Palestine, 
277 ; and goes to dwell at Nazareth, where Jesus works with him, 
obeys, and edifies him, 279, 281, 312. He loses Jesus and finds 
him again, 283. 

M 

MAGI, they come to adore the newly-born Saviour, 268, 316. 

MARY goes to Bethlehem, 140, 235 ; there she gives birth in a cave 
to the divine Infant, 145 ; she wraps him in swaddling-clothes, 
243 ; nourishes him with her milk, 246 ; lays him on straw, 248 ; 
contemplates him sleeping, hymn, 328 ; she receives the Magi, 
268 ; she offers Jesus in the Temple, 270 ; she carries him to 
Egypt, 272, 311; weans and dresses him, 312 ; she returns to 



Index. 469 

Palestine, 277 ; she remains at Nazareth, where Jesus obeys and 
edifies her, 279, 281, 312 ; she loses Jesus and finds him again, 
283. Happy he who is devoted to Mary, 447. 

MENTAL PRAYER, manner of making it, 445. 

MORTIFICATION, taught by the example of Jesus Christ, 98. 

N 

NOVENA, indulgenced for the feast of Christmas, 347 ; for every 
month, 348. Novena of the name of Jesus, 451. 



SIN : the foreseeing of our sins was that which afflicted Jesus Christ 

most, 104. 
SINNER, repentant, confidence that he ought to have in seeing Jesus 

an infant, 39, 209 ; in seeing him take the form of the sinner, 65 ; 

sentiments of confidence, of contrition, etc., 409. 



TEMPTATIONS, two means to overcome them, sacraments and 
prayer, 78. 



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