Friday, December 19, 2008
Christmas Novena--Day 4
Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires
(mention request here).
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.
The Life Of Humiliation Which Jesus Led From His Birth.
The Sign which the angel gave the shepherds to help them find the newborn Savior, points to His lowliness: "This shall be a sign to you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." No other newborn baby who was wrapped in poor swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, could be found anywhere else but in a stable. Thus in lowliness the King of heaven, the Son of God, chose to be born, because He came to destroy the pride that had been the cause of man's ruin.
The prophets had already foretold that our Redeemer was to be treated as the vilest of men on earth and that He was to be overwhelmed with insults. How much contempt had not Jesus indeed to suffer from men! He was called a drunkard, a trickster, a blasphemer and a heretic. What ignominies He endured in His Passion! His own disciples abandoned Him; one of them sold Him for thirty pieces of silver, and another denied having ever known Him. He was led in bonds through the streets like a criminal; He was scourged like a slave, ridiculed as a fool, crowned with thorns as a mock king, buffeted and spit upon, and finally left to die, hanging on a cross between two thieves, as the worst criminal in the world. "The noblest of all," says Saint Bernard, "is treated as the vilest of all." But the Saint adds, "The viler Thou are treated, the dearer Thou art to me." The more I see Thee, my Jesus, despised and put to shame, the more dear and worthy of my love dost Thou become to me.
O Dearest Savior, Thou hast embraced so many outrages for love of me, yet I have not been able to bear one word of insult without at once being filled with resentful thought, I who have so often deserved to be trodden under foot by the demons in hell! I am ashamed to appear before Thee, sinful and proud as I am. Yet do not drive me from Thy presence, O Lord, even though that is what I deserve. Thou hast said that Thou wilt not spurn a contrite and humbled heart. I am sorry for the offenses I have committed against Thee. Forgive me, O Jesus. I will not offend Thee again.
For love of me Thou hast borne so many injuries; for love of Thee I will bear all the injuries that are done to me. I love Thee, Jesus, who was despised for love of me. I love Thee above every other good. Give me the grace to love Thee always and to bear every insult for love of Thee.
O Mary, recommend me to Thy Son; pray to Jesus for me.