O Antiphon - 18th December
O Adonai and Ruler of the house of Israel, You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him Your Law. Come, and with an outstretched arm redeem us.
Meditations - Monday in the Third Week of Advent: To Love the Incarnate Word
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will meditate tomorrow on our second duty towards the Word Incarnate, which is to love Him; and we shall see: first, what the love of the Incarnate Word is towards us; second, what our love ought to be towards the Incarnate Word. Our resolution shall be: first, often to repeat with love and admiration the words of the Gospel, “The Word was made flesh” (joh i:14). O ineffable mystery of love! Second, to perform all our actions from love of the Word Incarnate, and with the object of loving Him ever more and more. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of St John: “Let us therefore love God because God first hath loved us” (1jo iv:19).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the Divine Word dwelling front all eternity amidst the splendours of the saints, and out of the midst of so great glory lovingly accepting the mission given to Him by His Father to come and be incarnated in this world in order to save us. When St Francis de Sales meditated upon this mystery, he fell into profound astonishment, and from thence into ecstasies of gratitude and love. Let us imitate this great saint, and say with all heaven: “The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and honour, and glory, and benediction” (rev v:12).
What the Love of the Incarnate Word is for us.
Four considerations serve to show forth the love of a benefactor: the excellence of the gift he makes us; the manner in which he makes it; the unworthiness of the person to whom it is made; and the reason for which it was made. Let us apply here four considerations to this subject.
First, what is the excellence of the gift made us by the Incarnation? It is infinitely more than if God were to give us all the riches of heaven and of earth, even if He were to give us all the nine choirs of angels to do us service, since it is His own Son whom He gives us, the Word by whom all things were made, and who is God like unto Himself (joh iii:16). Let us dwell in silence on this great gift, for it cannot be expressed in words.
Let us consider, second, the manner in which this gift was made to us. The Eternal Word gave Himself to us by taking upon Himself all that is vilest in us, by making Himself flesh and clay like us. It only cost Him one word to create the world; but in order to save it He descends in person from His throne, and humbles Himself to the very lowest condition in this low world. O love, how ineffable thou art! And what is man, O my God, that Thou shouldst love Him to such an excess?
Third consideration: Man is only a small miserable creature, fallen through his sin from his primal dignity; he is a worm of the earth in insurrection, a sinner to whom nothing is due but vengeance; and yet, Thou, O my God! didst substitute Thyself in his place to bear the penalty which was his due, and God the Father accepts the exchange and delivers Thee up to death Thee, His innocent Son, to save guilty man! O love, how ineffable thou art! And wherefore, O my God, dost Thou thus act?
Fourth Consideration: Formerly the Jews asked the Saviour why He, who was a man, made Himself God. And why did they not rather ask of Him why He who was God made Himself man? (joh x:33) He might have answered them: It was because I loved you, and because I desired to be loved by you. I loved you with a gratuitous love, a love you had not deserved, a love superior to all ingratitude and to all outrages. I foresaw clearly that but a very small number would appreciate My love, and that the majority would disdain it; and yet I loved you, and I have come spite of all (eph ii:4, 5). O mystery of love! how can I appreciate thee? how can I sufficiently thank thee?
What ought to be our Love for the Incarnate Word.
Alas! up to the present time, perhaps the habit of speaking about and of hearing this great mystery spoken of has rendered us, as it were, insensible to it. Every day we repeat the words which ought to make our hearts melt with love: “The Word was made flesh”, and whilst saying it our hearts remain as cold as marble and as hard as stone. It must no longer be so with us hence forth. We must love Him who is so good a God, love Him with a strong, energetic love, a love which exclaims with St John: “Let us love God, who hath first loved us” (1jo iv:19); love Him with a generous love, which cries out with St Bernard: The measure of divine love is to love without measure; love Him with a strong love which courageously embraces all kinds of sacrifices, whether they be those which we meet with in the accomplishment of duty, or those which Providence sends us, or those which the malignity of man imposes on us; love Him, lastly, with a practical love, which in all, as well as in every detail of our conduct, only proposes to itself the happiness of pleasing Him, and which carefully observes words, intentions, and acts in order to avoid even the smallest things which might be displeasing to Him. Oh, how far we are from having loved Him in this manner!
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.