MERRY CHRISTMAS AND
GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE
With the busyness of Christmas, I have not been on my computer for two days. I apologize that I missed Day 4 of the Novena and include it herein with Day 5.
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.
The Life Of Sorrow Which Jesus Led From His Birth.
Jesus Christ could have saved mankind without suffering and dying. Yet, in order to prove to us how much He loved us, He chose for Himself a life full of tribulations. Therefore the prophet Isaias called Him "a man of sorrows," His whole life was filled with suffering. His Passion began, not merely a few hours before His death, but from the the first moment of His birth. He was born in a stable where everything served to torment Him. His sense of sight was hurt by seeing nothing but the rough, black walls of the cave; His sense of smell was hurt by the stench of the dung from the beasts in the stable; His sense of touch was hurt by the prickling straw on which He lay. Shortly after His birth He was forced to flee into Egypt, where He spent several years of His childhood in poverty and misery. His boyhood and early manhood in Nazareth were passed in hard work and obscurity. And finally, in Jerusalem, He died on a cross, exhausted with pain and anguish.
Thus, then, was the life of Jesus but one unbroken series of sufferings, which were doubly painful because He had ever before His eyes all the sufferings He would have to endure till His death. Yet, since our Lord had voluntarily chosen to bear these tribulations for our sake, they did not afflict Him as much as did the sight of our sins, by which we have so ungratefully repaid Him for His love towards us. When the confessor of Saint Margaret of Cortona saw that she never seemed satisfied with all the tears she had already shed for her past sins, he said to her, "Margaret, stop crying and cease your lamenting, for God has surely forgiven you your offenses against Him." But she replied, "Father, how can I cease to weep, since I know that my sins kept my Lord Jesus in pain and suffering during all His life?"
O Jesus, my sweet Love! I too have kept Thee suffering through all Thy life. Tell me, then, what I must do in order to win Thy forgiveness. I am ready to do all Thou askest of me. I am sorry, O sovereign Good, for all the offenses I have committed against Thee. I love Thee more than myself, or a least I feel a great desire to love Thee. Since it is Thou who hast given me this desire, do Thou also give me the strength to love Thee exceedingly.
It is only right that I, who have offended Thee so much, should love Thee very much. Always remind me of the love Thou hast borne me, in order that my soul may ever burn with love of Thee and long to please Thee alone. O God of love, I, who was once a slave of hell, now give myself all to Thee.
Graciously accept me and bind me to Thee with the bonds of Thy love. My Jesus, from this day and forever in loving Thee will I live, and in loving Thee will I die.
O Mary, my Mother and my hope, help me to love Thy dear God and mine. This is the only favor I ask of thee, and through thee I hope to receive it. Amen.