Novena in Honor of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
“My sorrow is continually before me.”
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 labours, 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 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”). So that from that time forth He felt most vividly, and endured the united weight of all the sorrows and contumely 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 representation 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 accepted ail for the love of us.
O sweet, O amiable, O loving Heart of Jesus, even from Thy infancy Thou wert full of bitterness, and Thou didst suffer agonies 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 deserved 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 loving 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 Redeemer, how few are those who think on your sorrows and your love. O God, how few are those that love Thee. But unhappy 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 persevere in helping me, I shall persevere in being faithless, as I have been in times past.