O Antiphon - 22nd December
O King of the gentiles and the Desired of them, Thou Cornerstone that dost make both one: come and deliver man, whom Thou didst form out of the dust of the earth.
(Aggeus 2. 8; Ephesians 2. 14, 20)
Meditations - Friday in the third Week of Advent: His Mortified Life in the Womb of His Mother
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will meditate tomorrow on the mortified life led by the Word Incarnate in the bosom of His mother, and we shall admire how, in this state, He mortified, first, His senses; second, His will; third, His liberty. We will then make the resolution: first, to mortify our senses, above all our eyes and our tongue, even in things permitted to us, in order to teach ourselves to mortify them in things which are forbidden; second, to live by rule and under obedience, without ever yielding to caprice. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of the Apostle: “Christ did not please Himself” (rom xv:3).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the Incarnate Word in the womb of Mary, submitting Himself there during nine months to a universal mortification, and there beginning the life of martyrdom and sacrifice which He was to continue to lead during the whole of His sojourn upon earth. Everything is mortified in Him His senses, His will, His liberty. Let us bless the great example which He gives us, and beg of Him grace to imitate it.
The Incarnate Word Mortifies His Senses in the Womb of Mary.
In point of fact His eyes do not enjoy the light, nor His tongue the use of speech, nor His limbs the power of moving. He passes nine months in the greatest darkness, cramped in the whole of His body. Other children, who are not at that time possessed of reason, do not feel the painfulness of such a position; but with a reason perfectly developed, to find one’s self bound in captivity and darkness, how severe a mortification it must be! What a universal privation! To these exterior sufferings are added those of the interior senses, of the mind and the imagination, which keep continually present to His thoughts His death as ignominious as painful, and the eternal loss of so many souls which will not accept the salvation He comes to bring them, and the future sufferings of His mother, and the torments of the martyrs, and the tears and persecutions of all the saints. All these sorrows weigh down immensely upon His soul, and he bears the weight with resignation. What a great heart in so small a body! What excess of charity in a God towards His creatures! But, also, what an example for us! Jesus does not pass a single moment without suffering for our love, and we will suffer nothing in His service; He mortifies His eyes, and we will grant everything to ours; He crucifies His senses, and we desire to flatter them; He suffers extreme interior pain, and we revolt against what we suffer. Let us blush at our cowardice, which will suffer nothing for a God who has suffered so much for us.
The Incarnate Word in the Womb of Mary Mortifies His Will.
Jesus remains nine months in the womb of Mary through obedience to His Father. He does not measure the time by His own desires, but He accommodates His desires to the decrees of His Father, neither retarding nor advancing it, even by a single moment. As Incarnate Wisdom, He had a right Himself to direct and rule His actions, but He renounces the use of this right, and leaves His will to the disposal of obedience. He not only obeys the will of His Father, but also the will of His mother, who carries Him wherever she wishes to go; the will, also, of the Roman Emperor, of St Joseph, of all those to whom Mary was subject. And what He did at the commencement of His life He did unto the end (joh viii:20); and after having led all His days a life of complete obedience, He will die from obedience (php ii:8). Let us learn from this henceforth never to take our own will as the rule of our conduct and of our determination, but ever to will, like Jesus Christ, what God wills (luk xxii:24), and to will it firmly from the bottom of our hearts, entirely and without reserve. Let us learn from henceforth to regulate the employment of our time according to the order of God’s good pleasure, to perform every action in its proper place, not giving to business the time set apart for prayer, amusement the time set apart for labour, and to conversation the time set apart for silence. O Lord, Thou who art God didst renounce Thy will, and I, a worm of the earth, I desire to follow mine; Thy pleasure is to obey, and I desire to command. What blindness is mine!
The Incarnate Word in the Womb of Mary Mortifies His Liberty.
Not only does the Incarnate Word interdict Himself from following His own will, but He also denies Himself all power; He takes on Himself all the weaknesses of infancy, and suffers by choice all the powerlessness to which children are subjected through necessity; He who by a single word created all that exists makes Himself mute and unable to utter a single word, in order to teach us to be silent, not to murmur or complain at discomforts; not to argue with others, as though we always wanted to have the upper hand, but to yield modestly, as though we had no answer ready; to restrain our tongue under the influence of passion, as though we had lost all use of it. He by whom all things move can make no other movement than that of children in the womb of their mothers, in order to teach us to be content with inaction when our bodily infirmities reduce us to it, to repress the movements of corrupt nature, to act only under the influence of obedience and grace. Lastly, He who in the bosom of His Father is sovereignly independent, depends upon Mary for His life, His food, His preservation. He has a being and human life only through dependence upon Mary; He has no other aliment than the blood of her heart, whilst waiting until He can draw milk from her breasts, and His preservation depends solely upon her. He cannot of Himself de fend His little, feeble, delicate body; the least imprudence on the part of His mother would occasion His death. O God, so under subjection, so powerless, so dependent, teach me to repress the spirit of independence, the child of my pride, that license of the tongue which does not know how to be silent when it ought to be, and that desire to do whatever is pleasing to myself.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.