« AnteriorContinuar »
On the Feast of the Circumcision.
I. BEHOLD the Eternal Father having sent his Son to suffer and to die for us, willed that he should on this day be circumcised, and begin to shed for us his sacred blood, by which he was to redeem us on the day of his death upon the cross, in the midst of ignominy and torments. And why? that this innocent Son might suffer the punishments which we had deserved by our sins. "admirable condescension," cries out the Holy Church, "of the divine mercy towards us! O in"estimable love of charity! by which to redeem thy "servant, thou hast given thy son to death." O eternal God, and who could ever have bestowed upon us so divine a gift, but thou who art infinite bounty and infinite love? If O God, by giving me thy divine Son, thou hast given me all that is most dear to thee, surely I cannot hesitate to give myself entirely to thee. Yes, my God, I give thee my whole self; accept of me and never suffer me to depart from thee any more.
II. Behold on the other hand the divine Son, all humility and love towards us, willingly embraces the bitter death destined for him, to save us sinners from eternal death, and begins on this day to make satisfaction for us to 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." Thou then, my Jesus, dost accept of death for the love of me: and what shall I do? shall I continue to offend thee by my sins? No, my dear Redeemer, I will never more be ungrateful to thee. I am exceedingly sorry for having hitherto been guilty of so many sins against thee. I love thee, O infinite goodness, and for the future will never cease to love thee.
III. "Greater love than this," says our Blessed Saviour, "no man hath, that he should lay down his life for his friend." But thou, my Jesus, says St. Paul, hast shown greater love than this towards us thine enemies. Behold me, O Lord, who have hitherto been one of them. How many times have I, a miserable sinner, rather than obey thee, renounced thy friendship and love! I am now sensible of the evil which I have done: pardon me, O Jesus, for I would willingly die of grief for my sins. I now love thee with my whole soul, and nothing do I desire but ever to please and to love thee. Holy Mary, Mother of God, be a Mother to me, and pray to Jesus for me.
On the Epiphany.
I. THE Son of God is born in a stable poor and humble; there the angels of heaven acknowledge him singing: "Glory to God in the highest;" but the inhabitants of the earth, for whose salvation Jesus is born, know him not and leave him neglected. Only a few poor shepherds come to acknowledge him and to confess him to be their Saviour. But our loving Redeemer would even now begin to communicate to us the graces of redemption; and with this view begins to make himself known to the Gentiles, who were ignorant of him, and did not look for his coming. By means of a star he gives notice of his birth to the wise men of the east, enlightening them at the same time with an internal light, that they might come to acknowledge and adore him as their Redeemer. This was the first and greatest 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
enlightened us? we should have been like to our fathers of old, who adored animals and blocks of stone and wood; and thus should we have all perished. I give thee thanks on this day for myself and for all mankind.
II. Behold, the Wise men begin their journey without any delay, and by the direction of the star come to the place where the holy infant is lying: And they found the child with Mary his mother. Luke ii. They find there only a poor maid, and a poor infant, wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes. On entering into the place, they feel within them an interior joy, they feel their hearts attracted by this lovely infant. That poverty, those tears from the eyes of their infant Saviour, were so many darts and flames of love to their enlightened hearts. Yes, my infant Jesus, the more enlightened and poor I behold thee, so much the more dost thou inflame me with thy love.
III. The infant looks upon these holy pilgrims with a smiling countenance, and thus favourably accepts these first-fruits of his redemption. The holy Mother is silent, but by her cheerful looks welcomes and thanks them for this homage done to her Son. They also are silent and adore him, and acknowledge him for their Saviour and their God, offering him their 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 all thine, so that it may love nothing but thee. My sweet Saviour, save me, and let my salvation be to love thee always and without reserve. Holy Mary, Virgin of virgins, intercede with Jesus to grant me this favour.
On the feast of the sacred name Jesus.
I. THE name of Jesus was given to the Word made flesh, not by man, but by God himself: And his name shall be called Jesus, (that is, Saviour.) St. Luke, ii. A name of gladness, of hope, and of love. A name of gladness; because, if the remembrance of our past sins afflicts us, this name cheers us, reminding us that the Son of God was made man to become our Saviour. My beloved Saviour, thou didst come down from heaven to seek me: and I, a miserable sinner, have turned my back upon thee and despised thy friendship and love! But nevertheless thou desirest my salvation. my Jesus, I thank thee and love thee.
II. A name of hope; because he who prays to the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus, may hope for whatever grace he asks for: If you ask the Father any thing in my name he will give it to you. St. John xiv. 14. O my God, relying on this promise, I ask thee, in the name of Jesus, to grant me the forgiveness of all my sins, perseverance in virtue, and the gift of thy holy love. Grant that the remainder of my life may never be employed in offending thee, but only in pleasing and loving thee as thou deservest.
III. A name of love. St. Bernard says, that the name of Jesus is a cipher which represents to us all that God has done for the love of us. So that the name of Jesus reminds us of all the sufferings that Jesus endured for us during his life and at his death. Hence, a devout author addressing himself to Jesus, says: "O Jesus, how much has it cost "thee to be Jesus, that is, my Saviour!" O Jesus, write thy sacred name upon my poor heart and upon my tongue, in order that when I am tempted to commit sin, I may resist by invoking thee: when
tempted to despair, I may confide in thy merits: and on finding myself lukewarm in loving thee, thy name may inflame me by reminding me how much thou hast loved me. Thy name then shall always be my defence, my consolation, and the fire to inflame me with thy love. Grant me, O Jesus, while I live, to call on thee; and when I die, to depart with thy holy name on my lips, saying with my last breath: "I love thee, my Jesus; my Jesus, I love thee." Holy Mary, Queen of virgins, grant that in death I may invoke you also together with the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
On St. Francis of Sales.
I. GREAT was the faith of St. Francis of Sales: such was his delight when he thought of the beauty and excellence of faith, that he was heard to exclaim: "O my God, the beauty of our holy faith appears to me so delightful that I could die with "love for it; and it seems to me that I ought to enclose this precious gift which God has bestowed "upon me in a heart full of the sweetest perfumes "of devotion." Hence he was never satisfied with giving God thanks for having blessed him with the favour of being born a child of the true church: "Bountiful God," said he, "great indeed are the "favours by which thou hast bound me to thee:
but how shall I ever sufficiently thank thee for "having enlightened me with the true faith ?" And he declared that, although he had constantly had so much to do with heretics, he had never once doubted in the least of the truth of his faith. They who love God, never doubt of matters of faith: it