You always obtain whatever you ask from your son. Beg him to forgive me, and to help me persevere until death. The life of poverty which Jesus lived, even from his birth. God planned that when his Son was to be born on earth an edict would be promulgated by the emperor, obliging the head of every household to go to the place of his birth and register.
And so, Joseph had to go with his wife to Bethlehem, to enrol according to the decree of Caesar. Because she had been driven from all the other houses and even from the common shelter for poor people, she ended up spending the night in a cave, and there gave birth to the King of Heaven. It is true that Jesus would have been just as poor if he had been born in Nazareth. Let us enter that cave in Bethlehem, but let us enter with faith. If we go without faith we will see nothing but a poor infant, who moves us to compassion by seeing him so beautiful, but shivering with cold and crying from the itchiness of the straw on which he lies.
But if we enter with faith, we will believe that this child is the Son of God, who loved us so much that he came down to earth and endured so much to pay for our sins. How could we not thank him and love him?
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O sweet infant, how can I be so ungrateful to you and offend you so often, knowing how much you have done for me? But the tears you cried, and the poverty you chose to endure out of love for me, give me hope in the forgiveness of all the sins that I have committed. I love you above all other things. You are my God and my all! From this day forward, you will be my only treasure and my only good. O Mary, so close to Jesus, help me to be grateful for the gift of faith in your son.
The life of humility which Jesus lived, even from his infancy. This will be a sign for you: The prophets foretold that our Redeemer would be treated as the most wretched person on earth, and that he would be overwhelmed with insults. How much ridicule Jesus had to tolerate because of us! He was treated as a drunkard, as a magician, as a blasphemer, and a heretic. Think of how many insults he had to endure during his passion.
He was abandoned by his own disciples. One of them even sold him for thirty pieces of silver, and another denied having ever known him. He was led through the streets bound like a criminal, scourged like a slave, treated like a madman, and mocked as a bogus king. One would think that he had been the greatest lawbreaker the world had ever seen. O sweet Saviour, you have embraced so much disgrace for love of me, and yet I cannot bear a word of insult without immediately thinking of revenge—I, who often deserve to be trampled underfoot by all those whom I have harmed.
I am ashamed of appearing before you, such an arrogant sinner that I am. O Lord, do not drive me from your presence, as I deserve. You have promised that you cannot condemn a heart that repents and humbles itself. I regret all the offences I have ever committed against you or against my neighbour. Forgive me, Jesus, for I will not offend you or anyone else ever again. You have put up with so many wounds for my sake. I love you, my Jesus; you who endured such evil for my sake. I love you, my Good, above every other good. O Mary, recommend me to your son.
Pray to Jesus for me. The life of sorrow which Jesus lived, even from his birth. Jesus could have saved us without suffering and without dying. But he willingly chose a life full of tribulations to show how much he loved us. The prophet Isaiah called him the man of sorrows Isaiah His passion did not begin at the time of his death, but from the beginning of his life. Imagine Jesus, as soon as he was born, lying in a stable, where everything caused distress for him. His sight was troubled because he could see nothing in that cave but dark, rough walls.
His sense of smell was haunted by the stench of dung from the animals lying nearby. The life he led afterward in Nazareth was not much better. Then consider how his life ended in Jerusalem, dying in anguish on a cross. So the life of Jesus was one of continual anxiety—even worse than that, because he had constantly before his eyes all the sadness that would be his on the day of his death.
One particular saint could never stop lamenting over the offenses she committed against God. God has already forgiven you. O my sweet Love, did my sins keep you in a state of agony during all of your earthly life? Then, tell me what I can do so that you will forgive me, for I will leave nothing undone. I regret all the offenses I have ever committed against you, O my greatest Good.
I repent, and I love you more than I love myself. I feel a great desire to love you. You have given me this desire, so now give me the strength to love you even more intensely. It is only just that I, who have offended you so much, should also love you so much. Remind me constantly of the love you have for me, so that my soul may always burn with love for you, and so that I may think of you alone, desire you alone, and strive to please you alone.
O God of Love, I was once a slave to this world. But now I give myself entirely to you. Accept me in your mercy, and from this day forward bind me with your love, O Jesus. I will love you while I live, and in loving you, I will die. O Mary, my mother and my hope, help me to love Jesus. This alone is the favour I desire and ask from you. The mercy of God in coming from heaven to save us by his death. Saint Paul says the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared Titus 3: It was then, when the Son of God made man appeared on earth, that we saw how great the goodness of God is toward us.
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And what greater mercy could the Son of God have shown us than to take upon himself the pains we have deserved? Imagine him as a newborn infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, unable to move or feed himself. Just to survive, he relied on Mary to feed him with a little milk. Imagine him on the journey to Calvary, falling down as he went along the road, from weakness, and from the weight of the cross that he carried.
Jesus Christ wished to gain all the endearments of our hearts by his love for us, and therefore he would not send an angel to redeem us, but came himself, to save us by his passion and Resurrection. If an angel had been our redeemer we would have a divided heart—loving God as our creator and the angel as our redeemer. But because God, who is our Creator, wants our whole heart, he chose to also be our Redeemer. O my Redeemer, where would I now be if you had not shown me so much patience, but instead had condemned me to death while I was still in sin?
Since you have waited for me, O Jesus, forgive me now and quickly, before death surprises me while I am still guilty of so many offenses against you. I feel like I could die of shame over my sins. But I also know that you cannot ever forsake anyone who seeks you.
If I have failed you in any serious way in my life, I resolve from now on to seek only you, and to love only you. Yes, dear God, I love you above all things.
Novena of the Holy Spirit
I love you more than I love myself. Help me, Lord, to love you always for the rest of my entire life. I ask for nothing more, and I trust that you will grant it. The journey of the Infant Jesus to Egypt.
St. Alphonsus Liguori Novena Day 1
The Son of God came from heaven to save humanity. But no sooner was he born, than they began to persecute him, even unto death. Herod, afraid that this Infant would take away his kingdom, tried to put the child to death. So in a dream, an angel advised Saint Joseph to take Jesus and his mother to Egypt. Informing Mary, Joseph promptly obeyed. He took along with him the tools of his trade that he had available, to use in providing a livelihood for himself and his poor family while in Egypt.
For her part, Mary packed a small bag of clothes for the holy Infant. That very night, still crying, she took the baby Jesus, and she and Joseph set off on their journey. Think about how much these lonely pilgrims must have suffered while making such a long journey, deprived of every comfort. The infant was not yet able to walk, so Mary and Joseph had to take turns carrying him in their arms. During the journey through the desert of Egypt, their only bed at night was the bare earth in the open air. The Infant wept in the cold, and Joseph and Mary also wept out of compassion for him.
Who would not weep, after all, seeing the Son of God, poor and persecuted, wandering about on the earth so that he would not be killed by his enemies? O dearest infant Jesus, I hear you cry.
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And you ought to cry, being neglected by your very own creatures whom you love so much! O my God, I have also neglected you and sinned against you. But now I resolve to love you even more than I love myself. And there can be no sorrow greater than that which I suffer, recalling how I have ignored you, my greatest Good.
I have so often turned away from you through sin. From now on I will love you above all other things. I repent of all the ways I have ever ignored or offended you by hurting someone else. My beloved Lord, I will never ignore you again. Give me strength to resist temptations. Do not allow me to turn from you. I would rather die than do something that offends you or my neighbour. The sojourn of the Infant Jesus in Egypt and Nazareth. Our blessed Redeemer spent his infancy in Egypt, living there for seven years in poverty and contempt. Joseph and Mary were unknown there, with neither relatives nor friends.
And they could scarcely earn enough to get by through the labour of their hands. Their cottage was poor, their bed was poor, and their food was poor. In this humble hut, Mary weaned Jesus. Later on, she took a little bread soaked in water and placed it in his mouth. God, stumbling and falling as he walked! God, stammering while he spoke! The life Jesus led at the house in Nazareth after his return from Egypt was much the same: Until age thirty, he was a simple shop boy, obeying Joseph and Mary. Imagine God living as a boy! God sweating as he planed a piece of wood! And who was he? The all-powerful God, who with a simple nod created the whole universe, and who could destroy it just as easily if he wished!
Should not the mere thought of this move our hearts to love him? How inspiring it must have been to watch the devotion with which Jesus said his prayers, the patience with which he laboured, the haste in which he obeyed, the moderation he used in eating, and the kindness and charity with which he spoke and interacted with others! O Jesus, my Saviour! I realize that you, who are my God, lived for many years unknown and looked down upon in poverty because of your love for me. How, then, can I desire the pleasures, honours, and riches of the world? Although they are not bad things, I renounce them all, and I want to be your companion here on earth—poor like you, humble like you, and despised like you.
Then I hope to one day enjoy your company in heaven. After all, what can the kingdoms or the treasures of earth amount to? My Jesus, you will be my only treasure, my only Good. I greatly regret the many times in the past that I have disregarded your friendship while satisfying my own desires. Now I repent with all my heart. From now on, I would be willing to die a thousand times over rather than destroy my relationship with you. My God, I want to offend you no more.
Help me be faithful to you for the rest of my life. You are the refuge of sinners. You are my hope. The birth of the Infant Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem. The trip took four days, traveling over mountainous roads in the cold of winter wind and rain. Think of how much the Blessed Virgin must have suffered on that journey. As soon as they arrived, the time of her delivery was at hand, so Joseph went around the town looking for lodging where Mary could give birth to her child.
But, because they were poor, they were driven away by everyone, even from the inn where poor people were normally sheltered. So they left the town and found a cave. And since the time for the birth had arrived, the Holy Virgin was in prayer. Suddenly the cave became brilliantly lit, as if by the sun or a star, and the Son of God came forth into the world as a tender infant, crying and trembling with cold. Then she held him to her bosom, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes that she had brought along. Finally, she laid him on a little straw in the manger.
That is how the Son of the eternal God chose to be born for love of us. A saint once said that those who love Jesus Christ most ought to kneel at the feet of the Holy Child and, in spirit, perform for him the same service as the beasts in the stable at Bethlehem who warmed him with their breath. We should warm him with our sighs of love. I would not be so bold as to lie at your feet, except that you yourself have invited me to come near. My sins have caused you to cry so many tears while in your stable at Bethlehem. I regret with all my heart having ignored you so often.
You give so many great graces to everyone on this holy night. Bring peace to my soul and to the world. The one gift I ask this Christmas is the grace to love you forever with my whole heart. I do love you, O God, who has become a mere child for me. Never let me stop loving you. Mary, my mother, God will do all things you ask in prayer. Prayer and Promise to St. O Holy Patriarch, I rejoice with you at the exalted dignity by which you were deemed worthy to act as father to Jesus, to give Him orders and to be obeyed by Him whom Heaven and earth obey.
I choose you, after Mary, to be my chief advocate and protector. I promise to honour you every day by some special act of devotion and by placing myself under thy daily protection. By that sweet company which Jesus and Mary gave you in your lifetime, I beseech you to protect me all through life, so that I may never separate myself from my God by losing His grace. My dear St Joseph pray to Jesus for me. Certainly He can never refuse you anything, as He obeyed all your orders while on earth. Tell Him to detach me from all creatures and from myself, to inflame me with His holy love,.
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to you who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the Universe, the Advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate you, great queen, and I thank you for the many graces you have bestowed upon me even unto this day;.
I love you, my dearest Lady; and because of that love, I promise to serve you willingly for ever and to do what I can to make you loved by others also. I place in you all my hopes for salvation; accept me as your servant and shelter me under your mantle, you who are the Mother of Mercy. And since you are so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death.
From you I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through you I hope to die a holy death.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Promoter of the truth of Christ in your preaching and writing, give me a greater knowledge and appreciation of the Divine truths. Gentle father of the poor and sinners, help me to imitate your charity toward others in word and deed. Consoler of the suffering, help me to bear my daily cross patiently in imita tion of your own patience in your long and painful illness and to resign myself to the Will of God.
Good Shepherd of the flock of Christ, obtain for me the grace of being a true child of Holy Mother Church. Saint Alphonsus, I humbly implore your powerful intercession for obtaining from the Heart of Jesus all the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I recommend to you in particular this favor: I have great confidence in your prayers. Saint Alphonsus, pray for me and for those I love.
I beg of you, by your love for Jesus and Mary, do not abandon us in our needs. May we experience the peace and joy of your holy death. Give us grace to follow Saint Alphonsus in his loving concern for the salvation of people and so come to share his reward in heaven. Walking in the footsteps of this devoted servant of Yours, may we be consumed with zeal for souls and attain the reward he enjoys in Your Kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
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