MONTH OF JANUARY DEDICATED TO
THE HOLY INFANCY OF THE LORD
“Mary brought forth her ﬁrst born Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.” Luke, xi.7.
O Divine Infant! I come to prostrate myself at the foot of your cradle, to adore you as my Saviour and my God. You came into this land of exile to partake of my miseries, to soothe my sorrows, and to be the faithful companion of my pilgrimage. Grant that I may draw from your example consolation in my sufferings, and that strength which is necessary for me in the numerous dangers by which I am surrounded; give me your grace that I may correspond with the good sentiments, and execute the holy resolutions with which I may be inspired during this Meditation.
O most Holy Virgin, permit me to join with you in rendering homage to this Divine Saviour. Offer to him my vows and my necessities, and obtain for me the grace to imitate him on earth, in order that I may love him with you eternally in heaven.
Have the humblest amongst the children of men ever experienced such privations? What astonishing poverty! The Divine Infant has scarcely any clothes to cover him; the cold has already chilled his delicate limbs, and his tender mother eagerly bestows upon him her most loving and assiduous care. Who can express with what sentiments of respect and veneration she takes her Divine and Beloved Child in her arms. Her heart cannot contain the ardour of her love; she contemplates him with the tenderest affection; her soul is overwhelmed with wonder and gratitude.
O most Holy Virgin how rich you are in your poverty! Jesus is our treasure, what more can you desire? Oh! how opposed is the Spirit of God to that of the world! The world searches after wealth, and the pleasures of this life; Jesus seeks poverty, and cherishes privations. Ah ! now I understand that to possess Jesus is to possess all things; and to be deprived of him is to be in the most abject poverty. Oh! how much better it is to be poor with Jesus, than to be rich without him! my Jesus, from this moment, I renounce all my luxuries and all my false pleasures; I only ask to live in poverty with you, and to die for the love of you.
Consider the condition which Jesus Christ chose on coming into this world, and the immense difference between what he is in heaven, and what he appeared to us on earth, between the stable, the place of his temporal birth, and the bosom of God the Father: in a word, between what he is as God, and what he was as a weak child. As God he was born from all eternity, “in the splendour of the saints.” “In splendoribus sanctorum genui te.” As a child, he was born in the darkness which covers this land of misery; as God, he is surrounded by eternal glory; as a child, he was enveloped in miserable swaddling clothes; as God, he rules all, he sustains all; the pillars of heaven rest upon the strength of his arm, and his all- powerful hand sustains the foundations of the world; as a child, he was weakness itself, and he could not have supported himself had he not been carried in the arms of his Holy Mother.
O Holy Infant! not less amiable in your poverty and weakness, than you are when surrounded by the brilliant glory of your heavenly Father, not less adorable in your cradle on the earth, than on your eternal throne in heaven, be always my only treasure, my wealth, and heritage in time and eternity.
During the ﬁrst years of my priesthood, says the Abbe Carron, I was passing one day through the suburbs of Rennes, when I heard mournful sighs proceeding from a stable: I entered, and looking through this wretched place, saw a poor child covered with ulcers from head to foot, expiring on a bundle of straw. O my child! I exclaimed, how I pity you! how great must be your sufferings! What can I do to relieve you? Sir, replied the child, in a dying voice, but with angelical sweetness, why do you pity me for my sufferings? There is no cause to pity me. It is for God that I endure these sufferings, and they are very sweet to me, when I think that He himself wished to die for me. But, my little friend, why then were you weeping a few moments ago? Alas! I felt in self dying, and I wished to die with the good God in my breast.
I interrogated the interesting child; he knew the prayers of a Christian; he repeated several times, in my presence, in the most affecting accents, these words: “Our Father who art in Heaven.” His innocent heart was inﬂamed with an ardent love of Almighty God; and with eyes full of tears he earnestly besought me to give him the Holy Communion before he expired. I eagerly hastened to comply with his ardent desires, and caused him to be removed from his wretched hut into more comfortable shelter. After a few short instructions, this child of benediction felt and understood the immense beneﬁt and happiness he was about to receive; a faint color illumed his pale and livid face; his dying eyes brightened with joy; he kissed the cruciﬁx in transports of love; he wept bitterly for the frailties of his infancy, and more earnestly repeated his entreaties that he might be allowed to receive his God; at length I placed the Holy of Holies on the lips of this terrestrial angel: his eyes sparkled with holy joy, his heart palpitated with love; he would have spoken but could not; I allowed him for some moments to indulge in his holy transports, then approaching his bed, I asked: my dear child are you happy now? Oh my father, in Paradise, yes in Paradise with all its delights! I am dying with joy and happiness! Saying this he sank down as if in a sweet sleep. His happy soul had taken its ﬂight to heaven.
O sweet Jesus! O loving Jesus! O Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, full of piety and of love! O sweet Jesus, according to Thy great mercy have mercy on me; blot out my iniquities, and look with tenderness upon me, a miserable sinner invoking Thy holy name, Jesus. Amen.