O Antiphon - 21st December
O Dawn of the East, Brightness of the Light Eternal and Sun of Justice: come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
(Wisdom 7. 26; Malachias 4. 2; Psalm 106. 10)
Meditations -Thursday in the third Week of Advent: His Humble and Needy Life in the Womb of His Mother
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will continue to meditate on the life of Jesus in Mary, and we shall see: first, that it is the most humble of lives; second, the poorest of lives. We will then make the resolution: first, not to seek to parade ourselves, and never to say anything to our own advantage; second, to love poverty, and to employ our surplus in good works. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of the Imitation: “It is a great glory to serve Thee, O my God, and not to make account of anything which is not Thee” (The Imitation of Christ lib. iii x:5).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the Incarnate Word reduced in the womb of Mary to the most humble and most poor of conditions. Let us thank Him to have thus abased Himself in order to expiate our pride, thus to have impoverished Himself in order to correct our love of riches, and taught us thereby, at His own expense, humility and poverty, which are two virtues very dear to His heart, and which cost ours so much.
The Incarnate Word in the Bosom of Mary Leads the Most Humble of Lives.
He who has His throne in highest heaven humbles and lessens Himself to the extreme littleness of the body of a child in the womb of his mother. In the crib He will, at any rate, be visible to human eyes; the angels will sing His glory, the shepherds will adore Him, and the magi will prostrate themselves before Him; but here all is hidden, everything disappears: it is annihilation (php ii:7). Hence the cry of astonishment littered by Holy Church: “Thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb” (Hymn Te Deum). Worthy forecasts of His whole life, which will be nothing but a series of humiliations, of contempt and of opprobrium, and which only will allow to appear in His person, King of kings though He be, the last and most humble of men! What a lesson for our self-love! We are so sensitive when we are neglected, when we are not thought of by others and seemingly left on one side; obscurity and a hidden life are so revolting to our pride! Esteem and praise make such a sweet murmur to resound round about our heart. May the humiliations of the Word Incarnate make us blush to entertain such sentiments! When He who is so great makes Himself so small, it ill becomes us who are so little to desire to make ourselves great. When the Light is obscured it ill becomes darkness to wish to become light.
The Word Incarnate in the Womb of Mary Leads the Poorest of Lives.
He who has granted such magnificent riches to heaven and to earth might well have been possessed of them Himself: but He did not so will it. He despoiled Himself of everything in becoming incarnate, and made Himself poor for love of us (2co viii:9). He fell in love with poverty, and not finding it in the bosom of His Father, He came to seek it in the womb of His mother. There He is entirely naked, destitute of even the poor swaddling clothes which will envelop Him in the crib. There He enjoys the thought that He will be born poor, that He will live poor, that He will die poor; and that when He issues forth from the womb of His mother He will not be able, without the help of His creature, either to feed Himself or clothe Himself, or suffice for any of the needs of His life. Let us compare this state of the Word Incarnate with our dispositions. Jesus loves poverty so much, and we fear it. He seeks it and we fly from it. Everything is wanting to Jesus, and we desire not to want for anything; delicate and sensitive to the smallest privations, we take the greatest care to avoid them, and we are strangely uneasy when we meet with the most trifling inconvenience. Even what is necessary is not sufficient for us; we must have in surplus what is precious, luxury, and vanity. O Jesus, who didst canonize poverty (mat v:3), who didst honour it with Thy choice and render it divine in Thy person, teach me to place my treasure in Thee alone. Make me comprehend that a man is rich when he possesses Thee; that to acquire so great a good he ought to leave all, and leave himself; that, on the contrary, he is very poor when he does not possess Thee, even though he were possessed of all the riches of the universe (The Imitation of Christ lib. ii viii:2).
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.