HOLY INFANCY OF THE LORD
PRAYERS AND DEVOTIONS
Who is this poor infant who has no bed but a manger and a little straw on which to repose? Nothing distinguishes Him from other children, but his extreme poverty; yet this infant is the Son of the Most High, the Universal Heir of God his Father, the Almighty, the God strong and admirable, the Redeemer of the world, the Saviour of men. Who, then, has deprived him of his Sovereign greatness, and reduced Him from whom all good proceeds, to this utter misery? The love which he has for you; for you he was born in this stable; for you he was laid in this manger; for on he reposes on this straw. What excess of love! What ineffable charity! Who can comprehend it? And what have you done to correspond with such inﬁnite bounty? What have you suffered for his glory, or for his love? Do you expect to merit Heaven by indulging in luxury, in vanity, and in the delights of this world? See if these are the things which Jesus teaches you from his humble crib.
A great sinner, terriﬁed at his condition, wished to be converted; but sin had so hardened his heart that he could not weep for his iniquities in the manner he wished. Devoured by remorse of conscience, and overwhelmed with sadness, he one day left home, going he knew not whither, in order to seek for consolation, when he saw at his gate a poor man whose misery appeared extreme. He was deeply affected by it, and remembering those words of our Saviour, “that he would regard as done to himself whatever should be done to the least of his,” he took the poor man into his house, and after having bestowed upon him a bountiful alms, he threw himself at his feet; and as if he had been in the presence of Jesus Christ, whom his faith taught him to honour in the person of this poor man, he fervently exclaimed, “ O Lord Jesus, whom faith teaches me to honour in the person of this poor man; I would give you my heart, but it is so hard and so stained with crimes that I dare not present it to you. Accept, at least, the alms I have offered for your love, and change my heart.” This humble prayer was so powerful before God that the sinner’s heart was softened; he wept bitterly for his sins, and from this very moment, God granted to him abundant graces, the fruits of his faith, and the recompense of his humble charity.
The Epiphany of Our Lord
The Lord has shown Himself to you also, as He did to the three Wise Men from the East who represented you on the feast of Epiphany. You have had mercy shown you on this day because now you have the right to choose the true faith, and you should be thankful for this grace. You have had a singular privilege extended to you, which all Christians do not enjoy to the fullness. There are among us many who have not the consolation of dying in the arms of Jesus. They cannot claim that He said to them, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” We know that they, too, are hastening with us to the Last Judgment, but with what a difference! When a misfortune befalls these men in life they have no peace of mind; when a humiliation meets them, the ungentle spirit of nature is aroused in them at being despised. They are unhappy in privations, impatient in disputes, and they are selfish. The life of those who think not of Christ is full of misery, disappointment, and dissatisfaction; they sit in the darkness of heathenism; but you who have the faith find relief in all your ills. Be not one of those who by their sinfulness deserve to be deserted by God.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in Thy heavenly mercy, the prayers of Thy suppliant people; that they may perceive where their duty lies, and be enabled to accomplish whatsoever tasks are necessary for their salvation. Amen.