NOVENA IN HONOR OF OUR LORD’S NATIVITY
“He was offered because it was His own will.” – Isaiah 53: 7
The Divine Word, from the first instant that He was made man and an infant in Mary’s womb, offered Himself of His own accord to suffer and to die for the ransom of the world: “He was offered because it was His own will.” He knew that all the sacrifices of goats and bulls offered to God in times past had not been able to satisfy for the sins of men, but that it required a Divine Person to pay the price of their redemption; wherefore He said, as the Apostle tells us, “When He cometh into the world He saith: Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldest not, but a body Thou hast fitted to me. Then said I, Behold, I come. “My Father, said Jesus, ‘all the victims hitherto offered to Thee have not sufficed, nor could they suffice, to satisfy Thy justice; Thou hast given Me this passible body, in order that by shedding My blood I might appease Thee and save men: ‘Behold, I come; here I am ready, I accept everything, and I submit Myself in everything to Thy will. The inferior part felt repugnance, for it naturally was averse to this life and death, so full of sufferings and shame; but the rational part, which was entirely subordinate to the will of His Father, conquered and accepted everything; and Jesus began from that moment to suffer all the anguish and sorrows that He would have to suffer during all the years of His life. But, O God, how have we conducted ourselves towards Jesus since we began, as adults, to know by the light of faith, the sacred Mysteries of Redemption? What thoughts, what designs, what goods have we loved! Pleasures, amusements, vengeance, sensuality; these are the goods that have engrossed the affections of our hearts. But if we have faith, we must at last change our life and our affections. Let us love God who has suffered so much for us. Let us represent to ourselves the sufferings which the Heart of Jesus endured for us, even from His infancy; for then we shall not be able to love anything else but that Heart which hath loved us so much.
AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS
My Lord, wilt Thou know how I have behaved to Thee during all my life? Ever since I began to have the use of reason, I began to despise Thy grace and Thy love. But Thou knowest it much better than I do; nevertheless Thou hast borne with me, because Thou still carest for my welfare. I fled from Thee, and Thou didst follow after and call me. The very same love that made Thee come down from heaven to seek the lost sheep has made Thee bear with me and not forsake me. My Jesus, Thou now seekest me, and I seek Thee. I feel that Thy grace is assisting me: it assists me with the sorrow I feel for my sins, which I abhor above every other evil; it assists me by making me feel a great desire to love Thee and to please Thee. Yea, Lord, I will love Thee and please Thee as much as I can. On one side I feel afraid, it is true, at the thoughts of my frailty and the weakness which I have contracted by my sins; but Thy grace gives me a greater confidence, and causes me to hope in Thy merits; so that I can say, from the bottom of my heart: “I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me.” If I am weak, Thou wilt give me strength against my enemies; if I am infirm, I hope that Thy blood will be my medicine; if I am a sinner, I hope Thou wilt make me a saint. I acknowledge that I have hitherto co-operated to my own ruin, because I have neglected, on dangerous occasions, to have recourse to Thee. But from this day forth, my Jesus and my hope, I will always have recourse to Thee; and from Thee I hope for every assistance and every good. I love Thee above all things, and I will always love Thee alone. Have pity on me, and help me through the merits of all those sufferings which from Thy infancy Thou hast endured for me. Eternal Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ accept of my love. If I have offended Thee, let the tears of the Infant Jesus, who is praying for me, appease Thy wrath: “Look on the face of Christ.” I do not deserve favors, but this Thy guiltless Son deserves them, who offers Thee a life of sufferings, in order that Thou mayest be merciful to me. And thou, O Mother of mercy, Mary, cease not to intercede for me. Thou knowest how much I confide in thee; and I know well that thou dost not forsake him that has recourse to thee.