Meditations - Tuesday in the Second Week of Advent: The Manner of the Incarnation
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
It was already infinite goodness in God to have from all eternity decreed to save us, and that by means of the Incarnation; but behold now a very different marvel offers itself to our meditation. By what means will the Incarnate God save man? The Holy Trinity decides in its councils that it will be: first, by humiliation; second, by suffering; third, by death. After having meditated on these mysteries, we will make the resolution: first, to accept cheerfully all the humiliations and contradictions inflicted on our self-love; second, to submit to all the crosses and trials sent by Providence; third, to offer ourselves to God as victims worthy of death by reason of sin. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words: “We were reconciled with God by the death of His Son” (rom v:10).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the Most Holy Trinity decreeing in its wisdom that the Word Incarnate upon earth should lead there a life of humiliation and of suffering which should be terminated by the death of the cross. Let us bless God for such a design. The world was sick with pride: it was necessary to confront it with the humiliation of a God; it was ruining itself through love of pleasure: it was necessary to oppose to it the sufferings of a God; it clung to life: the death of a God was necessary to detach it therefrom. Be Thou blessed, Lord, for this infinite goodness, which thus teaches man to humble himself, to suffer and to die; be Thou loved for Thine ineffable goodness, which, instead of the glory and splendour that belong to Thee, embraces for our sake humiliation, suffering, and death.
On the Eternal Decree Determining that the Incarnate Word should Save the World by Humiliation.
It would have been for the Eternal Word an incomprehensible abasement even to descend from the heights which He inhabits down to the choirs of angels, since the distance, even then, would have been infinite; it would have been a still greater abasement to have descended to us, even assuming the highest degree to which humanity can raise itself, and thereby to unite a nature infinitely rich with a nature infinitely poor, the Creator with the creature, being with nothingness, the Divinity with the clay of our flesh. Nevertheless, O Holy Trinity, Thou didst see in my proud heart so profound a repugnance to the humiliation which is, however, my due on so many accounts, that in Thy wisdom Thou didst deem it necessary to descend to the lowest degree of our poor nature, and Thou didst choose for Thy Word all that is most humble in our mortal condition: an obscure corner of the world; a poor cottage; instead of appearing at once in the form of a man, nine months hidden in the womb of a woman of a poor working-woman without rank and at the end of these nine months a stable, the weakness and helplessness of a little child; and on issuing from infancy the condition of a poor artisan; and on quitting this condition, three years of a painful apostolate, pursued by calumny, contempt, hatred, even to the extent of being called a person possessed by the devil, an agent of Beelzebub, and even reputed to be worse than Barabbas, a thief and an assassin, down to being crucified between two thieves as the greatest of them; and after such a death the irreverence, the profanation, the infinite and continual abasement of the Eucharist. O God, how incomprehensible are Thy decrees! I adore and love them, since their object is to correct my pride, my pretensions, and my susceptibilities. Do not allow me to resist so powerful a lesson.
On the Eternal Decree Declaring that the Incarnate Word should Save the World through Suffering.
If we had been admitted into the councils of God we should doubtless have thought that the Word, taking a body like to ours, would exempt it from suffering and inundate it with enjoyment and happiness. The Holy Trinity judged very differently; it decreed that the Word should suffer, and that He should suffer more than all the martyrs put together; that His whole life should be a continual martyrdom, and that He should deserve by His sufferings to be called the King of martyrs. O heavenly Father, permit me to ask of Thee wherefore a decree so severe towards Thy beloved Son? Ah, I guess Thy answer. It is, Thou sayest to me, because I desire to teach the world that suffering is the penalty of sin, of which My Son has accepted the expiation; that suffering is the path to glory, the guarantee and the measure of eternal happiness for those who suffer as is meet; it is because I desire to comfort those of all ages by showing them that suffering is a blessing and a testimony of the love I bear towards souls. Lastly, it is because I desire to present to all men, in the person of My Son, a model of patience and resignation in the midst of trials. O God, how good Thou art! Thanks, a thousand thanks, for these useful lessons which cost Thy Son so much! How have I profited by them up to the present day? Have I loved suffering and the cross? Pardon, my God; I am ashamed of myself!
On the Eternal Decree that the Incarnate Word should Save the World by the Death of the Cross.
It was not necessary that the Eternal Word should die in order to redeem us a single drop of His blood would have been sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world; but the Holy Trinity chose death as the most appropriate sacrifice for repairing the outrage offered to God by sin; as the most striking proof of divine charity towards us; lastly, as the most suitable example for encouraging the martyrs in their sufferings, and for teaching all Christians that death, the passage from exile to our true country, is more to be desired than feared. From amongst all kinds of deaths the Trinity chose the death of the cross, because, being at one and the same time the most ignominious and the most cruel of deaths, it teaches us better the value of our soul, the importance of our salvation, the horror of sin; it is the most calculated to raise our hopes, to reanimate our courage amidst difficulties and obstacles; in a word, to enable us to march with intrepidity along the road which leads to heaven. O my God, once more, how good Thou art! How nothing costs Thee aught when it has to do with my welfare! From the height of Thy cross draw me towards Thee, that I may live only for Thee! Render death pleasant to me, since Thou were the first to taste of it.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.