Holy Infancy of Our Lord
“Behold there came Magi from the East, to Jerusalem, saying: Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”— Matthew 2: 1
Contemplate the holy Infant in his humble crib; he is so lovely, that he attracts all to him; the angels descend from heaven to sing his praises; shepherds come to acknowledge him as the Messiah who could save the world; the Magi arrive from the East to offer their tribute of homage and adoration.
What is this power, hidden under the veils of inﬁrmity and weakness, yet so great and attractive that none who approach can resist it? The attractions of the holy Infant gain every heart. Will yours alone remain indifferent to his love? For a long time he has entreated you to return to him, and you have been deaf to his invitations. Ah! if today he sheds on your soul the light of his divine grace, harden not your heart; but listen to that voice of mercy and clemency which invites you to approach, and draw from the cradle of Jesus that bright ﬂame of charity which he came to enkindle on earth, and which will lead you out of the darkness and obscurity of sin.
How great ought to be your ﬁdelity in obeying the voice of God, and corresponding with the graces he has given you! If the Magi had neglected the interior grace which incited them to seek Jesus, and to leave all to ﬁnd him, they would never have possessed him; you must then seize the moment of grace; if you allow it to pass, it will perhaps never return; God will withdraw himself from you, because you listened not when he called; and he will abandon you to your own weakness. The treasures of divine mercy are now open to you; Jesus asks for your heart; he desires to break those bonds which keep you from him, and he wishes to dissipate the thick darkness which surrounds you; he wishes to lead you out of the dreadful region where sin and death everlasting reign; for this he enlightens you with his grace; hasten, then, to proﬁt by it, lest you should for ever lose it.
Oh! Holy Infant! Splendor of the Father! by whom thou wert begotten from all eternity, be my guide in the difficult paths of virtue, that by the light of thy divine grace, I may discover and avoid all those snares which are laid for me by the enemy of my salvation, so that my feet may never wander from the safe but narrow path that leads to thee.
St. Bernard, obedient to the inspirations of divine grace, resolved to withdraw from the world with his brothers, and worship God in retirement. On the day appointed for the execution of their design, they repaired to the Chateau des Fontaines, to bid adieu to their father, and obtain his blessing. They left with him their youngest brother Nivard to be the consolation and support of his old age. On leaving the paternal mansion, they perceived him playing with some other children. Adieu Nivard, said they, for the future you alone will be the heir of your father’s wealth—we leave to you all our possessions. That is to say, replied the pious child, with a wisdom above his years, you take heaven for yourselves, and leave the earth to me; assuredly the division is not equal, and I shall soon follow you. Shortly afterwards he quitted the world to live with his brothers in solitude. Let us often think of this generous child, and imitate him by endeavoring to serve the Lord when he invites us to do so; for if we neglect the inspirations by which God calls upon us, a day will assuredly come when we shall seek and shall not ﬁnd him, and shall perhaps die in our sins.
Hail, most sweet Jesus, Son of God and of Mary, I love Thee with my whole soul, and above all things, because Thou art infinitely worthy of all love. I firmly resolve by Thy grace to sin no more, and henceforth to avoid all occasions of sin. Amen.