By St. Alphonsus Liguori
“I have given Thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation even to the farthest part of the earth.” –Isaiah 49:6
Consider how the Eternal Father addressed these words to the Infant Jesus at the instant of His conception: “I 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.’ Thou, must therefore, at Thy birth, suffer extreme poverty, in order that man may become rich, that Thou mayest enrich them by Thy poverty. Thou must be sold as a slave to acquire liberty for man; and Thou must be scourged and crucified 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 longer Thine own, but Thou belongest to man: “A child is born to us, a son is given to us. Thus, my beloved Son, man will be constrained to love Me, and to be Mine, when 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—(oh, infinite love! only worthy of an infinite God!)—God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son. The lnfant Jesus far from being sorrowful at this proposal, is pleased at it, accepts it with love, and exults in it: He hath 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 pleasure all the Sorrows and ignominy that He must suffer on earth for the love of man. These were (says St. Bernard) the mountains and hills that Jesus Christ had to pass with so many labours 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 to receive us into His favour, providing His Son satisfied 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 fulfill the merciful will of His Father.
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.” Therefore I may well say: ‘My Jesus and my all. Since Thou art mine, everything that belongs to Thee is also mine. Of this I am assured 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,’ 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?” 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 longer be my own. I will be all my Saviour’s. Do thou help me to be faithful; I trust in thee.