Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
At which the Son of God was born
Of a most pure Virgin
At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
In the piercing cold
At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
To hear my prayers and grant my desires (mention request here).
Because our first parent Adam had rebelled against God, he was driven out of paradise and brought on himself and
all his descendants the punishment of eternal death. But the son of God, seeing man thus lost and wishing to save him from
death, offered to take upon Himself our human nature and to suffer death Himself, condemned as a criminal on a cross. "But,
My Son," we may imagine the eternal Father saying to Him, "think of what a life of humiliations and sufferings Thou wilt
have to lead on earth. Thou wilt have to be born in a cold stable and laid in a manger, the feeding trough of beasts.
While still an infant, Thou wilt have to flee into Egypt, to
escape the hands of Herod. After Thy return from Egypt, Thou wilt have to live and work in a shop as a lowly servant, poor
and despised. And finally, worn out with sufferings, Thou wilt have to give up Thy life on a cross, put to shame and
abandoned by everyone." "Father," replies the Son, "all this matters not. I will gladly bear it all, if only I can save man."
What should we say if a prince, out of compassion for a dead
worm, were to choose to become a worm himself and give his own life blood in order to restore the worm to life? But the
eternal Word has done infinitely more than this for us. Though He is the sovereign Lord of the world, He chose to become like
us, who are immeasurably more beneath Him than a worm is beneath a prince, and He was willing to die for us, in order to
win back for us the life of divine grace that we had lost by sin.
When He saw that all the other gifts which He had bestowed
on us were not sufficient to induce us to pray His love with love, He became man Himself and gave Himself all to us. "The
Word was made flesh and dwelt among us;" "He loved us anddelivered Himself up for us."
O Great Son of God, Thou hast become man in order to make Thyself loved by men. But where is the love that men give
Thee in return?
Thou hast given Thy life blood to save our souls. Why then are we so unappreciative that, instead of
repaying Thee with love, we spurn Thee with ingratitude? And I, Lord, I myself more than others have thus ill treated Thee.
But Thy Passion is my hope. For the sake of that love which
led Thee to take upon Thyself human nature and to die for me on the cross, forgive me all the offenses I have committed
I love Thee, O Word Incarnate; I love Thee, O infinite goodness. Out of love for Thee, that I could die of grief for
these offenses. Give me, O Jesus, Thy love. Let me no longer live in ungrateful forgetfulness of the love Thou bearest me. I
wish to love Thee always. Grant that I may always preserve
in this holy desire.
O Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, pray for me that thy Son may give me the grace to love Him always, unto death.
God's Love Revealed In His Being Born An Infant.
Thought: When the Son of God became man for our sake, He could have come on earth as an adult man from the first
moment of of His human existence, as Adam did when he was created. But since the sight of little children draws us with an
especial attraction to love them, Jesus chose to make His first appearance on earth as a little infant, and indeed as the
poorest and most pitiful infant that was ever born. "God wished to be born as a little babe," wrote Saint Peter
Chrysologus, "in order that He might teach us to love and not to fear Him." The
prophet Isaias had long before foretold that the Son of God was to be born as an infant and thus give Himself to us on
account of the love He bore us: "A child is born to us, a son is given to us."
My Jesus, supreme and true God! What has drawn Thee from heaven to be born in a cold stable, if not the love which Thou
bearest us men? What has allured Thee from the bosom of Thy Father, to place Thee in a hard manger? What has brought
Thee from Thy throne above the stars, to lay Thee down on a little straw? What has led Thee from the midst of the nine
choirs of angels, to set Thee between two animals? Thou, who inflamest the seraphim with holy fire, art now shivering with
cold in this stable! Thou, who settest the stars in the sky in motion, canst not now move unless others carry Thee in their
arms! Thou, who givest men and beasts their food, has need now a little milk to sustain Thy life! Thou, who art the joy of
heaven, dost now whimper and cry in suffering! Tell me, who has reduced Thee to such misery? "Love has done it," says
Saint Bernard. The love which Thou bearest us men has brought all this on Thee.
O Dearest Infant! Tell me, what hast Thou come on earth to
do? Tell me, whom art Thou seeking? Yes, I already know. Thou has come to die for me, in order to save me from hell.
Thou hast come to seek me, the lost sheep, so that, instead of fleeing from Thee any more, I may rest in Thy loving arms.
Ah my Jesus, my treasure, my life, my love and my all! Whom will I love, if not Thee? Where can I find a father, a friend, a
spouse more loving and lovable than Thou art?
I love Thee, my dear God; I love Thee, my only good. I regret
the many years when I have not loved Thee, but rather spurned and offended Thee. Forgive me, O my beloved
Redeemer; for I am sorry that I have thus treated Thee, and I regret it with all my heart. Pardon me, and give me the grace
never more to withdraw from Thee, but constantly to love Thee in all the years that still lie before me in this life. My love,
I give myself entirely to Thee; accept me, and do not reject me as I deserve.
O Mary, thou art my advocate. By thy prayers thou dost obtain whatever thou wilt from thy Son. Pray Him then to
forgive me, and to grant me holy perseverance until death. Amen.
The Life Of Poverty Which Jesus Led From His Birth.
Thought: God so ordained that, at the time when His Son was to be born on this earth, the Roman emperor should issue a
decree ordering everyone to go to the place of his origin and there be registered in the census. Thus it came about that, in
obedience to this decree, Joseph went to Bethlehem together with his virgin wife when she was soon to have her Child.
Finding no lodging either in the poor inn or in the other houses
of the town, they were forced to spend the night in a cave that was used as a stable for animals, and it was here that
Mary gave birth to the King of heaven. If Jesus had been born in Nazareth, He would also, it is true, have been born in
poverty; but there He would at least have had a dry room, a little fire, warm clothes and a more comfortable cradle. Yet He
chose to be born in this cold, damp cave, and to have a manger for a cradle, with prickly straw for a mattress, in order
that He might suffer for us.
Let us enter in spirit into this cave of Bethlehem, but let us
enter in a spirit of lively faith. If we go there without faith, we shall see nothing but a poor infant, and the sight of this lovely
child shivering and crying on his rough bed of straw may indeed move us to pity. But if we enter with faith and consider that
this Babe is the very Son, God, who for love of us has come down on earth and suffers so much to pay the penalty for our
sins, how can we help thanking and loving Him in return?
Prayer: O Dear Infant Jesus, how could I be so ungrateful and offend
Thee so often, if I realized how much Thou hast suffered for me? But these tears which Thou sheddest, this poverty which
Thou embracest for love of me, make me hope for the pardon of all the offenses I have committed against Thee.
My Jesus, I am sorry for having so often turned my back on
Thee. But now I love Thee above all else. "My God and my all!"
From now on Thou, O my God, shalt be my only treasure and my only good. With Saint Ignatius of Loyola I will say to Thee,
"Give me the grace to love Thee; that is enough for me." I long for nothing else; I want nothing else. Thou alone art enough
for me, my Jesus, my life, my love.
O Mary, my Mother, obtain for me the grace that I may always
love Jesus and always be loved by Him. Amen.
The Life Of Humiliation Which Jesus Led From His Birth.
The Sign which the angel gave the shepherds to help them find the newborn Savior, points to His lowliness:
"This shall be a sign to you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." No other newborn
baby who was wrapped in poor swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, could be found anywhere
else but in a stable. Thus in lowliness the King of heaven, the Son of God, chose to be born, because He came to destroy
the pride that had been the cause of man's ruin.
The prophets had already foretold that our Redeemer was to
be treated as the vilest of men on earth and that He was to be overwhelmed with insults. How much contempt had not
Jesus indeed to suffer from men! He was called a drunkard, a trickster, a blasphemer and a heretic. What ignominies He
endured in His Passion! His own disciples abandoned Him; one of them sold Him for thirty pieces of silver, and another denied
having ever known Him. He was led in bonds through the streets like a criminal; He was scourged like a slave, ridiculed
as a fool, crowned with thorns as a mock king, buffeted and spit upon, and finally left to die, hanging on a cross between
two thieves, as the worst criminal in the world. "The noblest of all," says Saint Bernard, "is treated as the vilest of all." But the
Saint adds, "The viler Thou are treated, the dearer Thou art to me." The more I see Thee, my Jesus, despised and put to
shame, the more dear and worthy of my love dost Thou become to me.
O Dearest Savior, Thou hast embraced so many outrages for love of me, yet I have not been able to bear one word of insult
without at once being filled with resentful thought, I who have so often deserved to be trodden under foot by the demons in
hell! I am ashamed to appear before Thee, sinful and proud as I am. Yet do not drive me from Thy presence, O Lord, even
though that is what I deserve. Thou hast said that Thou wilt not spurn a contrite and humbled heart. I am sorry for the
offenses I have committed against Thee. Forgive me, O Jesus. I will not offend Thee again.
For love of me Thou hast borne so many injuries; for love of
Thee I will bear all the injuries that are done to me. I love Thee, Jesus, who was despised for love of me. I love Thee
above every other good. Give me the grace to love Thee always and to bear every insult for love of Thee.
O Mary, recommend me to Thy Son; pray to Jesus for me.
The Life Of Sorrow Which Jesus Led From His Birth.
Jesus Christ could have saved mankind without suffering and dying. Yet, in order to prove to us how much He
loved us, He chose for Himself a life full of tribulations. Therefore the prophet Isaias called Him "a man of sorrows," His
whole life was filled with suffering. His Passion began, not merely a few hours before His death, but from the the first
moment of His birth. He was born in a stable where everything served to torment Him. His sense of sight was hurt by seeing
nothing but the rough, black walls of the cave; His sense of smell was hurt by the stench of the dung from the beasts in
the stable; His sense of touch was hurt by the prickling straw on which He lay. Shortly after His birth He was forced to flee
into Egypt, where He spent several years of His childhood in poverty and misery. His boyhood and early manhood in
Nazareth were passed in hard work and obscurity. And finally, in Jerusalem, He died on a cross, exhausted with pain and
Thus, then, was the life of Jesus but one unbroken series of
sufferings, which were doubly painful because He had ever before His eyes all the sufferings He would have to endure till
His death. Yet, since our Lord had voluntarily chosen to bear these tribulations for our sake, they did not afflict Him as much
as did the sight of our sins, by which we have so ungratefully repaid Him for His love towards us. When the confessor of
Saint Margaret of Cortona saw that she never seemed satisfied with all the tears she had already shed for her past sins, he
said to her, "Margaret, stop crying and cease your lamenting, for God has surely forgiven you your offenses against Him." But
she replied, "Father, how can I cease to weep, since I know that my sins kept my Lord Jesus in pain and suffering during all
O Jesus, my sweet Love! I too have kept Thee suffering through all Thy life. Tell me, then, what I must do in order to
win Thy forgiveness. I am ready to do all Thou askest of me. I am sorry, O sovereign Good, for all the offenses I have
committed against Thee. I love Thee more than myself, or a least I feel a great desire to love Thee. Since it is Thou who
hast given me this desire, do Thou also give me the strength to love Thee exceedingly.
It is only right that I, who have offended Thee so much, should love Thee very much. Always remind me of the love
Thou hast borne me, in order that my soul may ever burn with love of Thee and long to please Thee alone. O God of love, I,
who was once a slave of hell, now give myself all to Thee.
Graciously accept me and bind me to Thee with the bonds of
Thy love. My Jesus, from this day and forever in loving Thee will I live, and in loving Thee will I die.
O Mary, my Mother and my hope, help me to love Thy dear God and mine. This is the only favor I ask of thee, and through
thee I hope to receive it. Amen.
God's Mercy Revealed In His Coming Down From Heaven To
Saint Paul says, "The goodness and kindness of God, our Savior, has appeared." When the Son of God made Man
appear on earth, then was it seen how great is God's goodness towards us. Saint Bernard says that first God's power was
manifested in the creation of the world and His wisdom in its conservation, but His merciful goodness was especially
manifested later in His taking human nature on Himself, in order to save fallen mankind by His sufferings and death. For what
greater proof of His kindness towards us could the Son of God show us than in taking on Himself the punishment we had
See Him as a weak, newborn infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Unable to move or feed Himself,
He has need of Mary to give Him a little milk to sustain His life.
Or see Him again in Pilate's courtyard, tied with fast bonds to a
column and there scourged from head to foot. Behold Him on the way to Calvary, falling down from weakness under weight
of the cross that He must carry. Finally behold Him nailed to this tree of shame, on which He breathes His last amid pain
and anguish. Because Jesus Christ wished that His love for us should win all the love of our hearts for Himself, He would not
send an angel to redeem us, but chose to come Himself, to save us by His Passion and death. Had an angel been our
redeemer, men would have had to divide their hearts in loving God as their Creator and an angel as their redeemer; but God,
who desires men's whole hearts, as He was already their Creator, wished also to be their Redeemer.
O my Dear Redeemer! Where should I be now, if Thou hadst not borne with me so patiently, but hadst called me from life
while I was in the state of sin? Since Thou hast waited for me till now, forgive me quickly, O my Jesus, before death finds me
still guilty of so many offenses that I have committed against Thee. I am so sorry for having vilely despised Thee, my
sovereign Good, that I could die of grief. But Thou canst not abandon a soul that seeks Thee.
If hitherto I have forsaken Thee, I now seek Thee and love
Thee. Yes, my God, I love Thee above all else; I love Thee more than myself. Help me, Lord, to love Thee always during
the rest of my life. Nothing else do I seek of Thee. But this I beg of Thee, this I hope to receive from Thee.
Mary, my hope, do thou pray for me. If thou prayest for me, I
am sure of grace. Amen.
Flight Of The Child Jesus Into Egypt.
Although the Son of God came from heaven to save men, scarcely was He born when men began to persecute Him
to death. Herod, fearing that this Child would deprive Him of his kingdom, seeks to destroy His life. But St. Joseph is warned
by an angel in a dream to take the Infant and His Mother and flee into Egypt. Joseph obeys at once, and tells Mary about it.
He takes the few tools of his trade, that he may use them to
gain a livelihood in Egypt for himself and his poor family. Mary wraps up a small bundle of clothes for the use of her little Son,
and then, going to the crib, she says with tears in her eyes to her sleeping Child, "O my Son and my God! Thou hast come
from heaven to save men; but hardly art Thou born when they seek to take Thy life." Lifting Him meanwhile in her arms and
continuing to weep, she sets out that same night with Joseph on the road to Egypt.
Let us consider how much these holy wanderers must have suffered in making so long a journey, deprived of every
comfort. The divine Child was not yet able to walk, and so Mary and Joseph had to take turns in carrying Him in their
arms. During their journey through the desert towards Egypt they had to spend several nights in the open air, with the bare
ground for their bed. The cold makes the Infant cry, and Mary and Joseph weep in pity for Him. And who would not weep at
thus seeing the Son of God poor and persecuted, a fugitive on earth, that he might not be killed by His enemies!
Dear Infant Jesus, crying so bitterly! Well hast Thou reason to
weep in seeing Thyself persecuted by men whom Thou lovest so much. I, too, O God, have once persecuted Thee by my
sins. But Thou knowest that now I love Thee more than myself, and that nothing pains me more than the thought that
I have so often spurned Thee, my sovereign Good.
Forgive me, O Jesus, and let me bear Thee with me in my heart
n all the rest of the journey that I have still to make through life, so that together with Thee I may enter into eternity. So
often have I driven Thee from my soul by my sins. But now I love Thee above all things, and I regret above other
misfortunes that I have offended Thee. I wish to leave Thee no more, my beloved Lord. But do Thou give me the strength
to resist temptations. Never permit me to be separated from Thee again. Let me rather die than ever again lose Thy good
O Mary, my hope, make me always live in God's love and then
die in loving Him. Amen.
The Life Of The Child Jesus In Egypt And In Nazareth.
Our Blessed Redeemer spent the first part of His childhood in Egypt, leading there for several years a life of
poverty and humiliation. In that land Joseph and Mary were foreigners and strangers, having there neither relatives nor
friends. Only with difficulty could they earn their daily bread by the labor of their hands. Their home was poor, their bed was
poor, their food was poor. Here Mary weaned Jesus; dipping a piece of bread in water, she
would put it in the sacred mouth of her Son. Here she made His first little garments and clothed
Him with them. Here the Child Jesus took His first steps, stumbling and falling as other children first do. Here too He
spoke His first words, but stammeringly. O wonder of wonders! To what has not God lowered Himself for love of us! A God
stumbling and falling as He walks! A God stammering in His speech!
Not unlike this was the poor and humble life that Jesus led in
Nazareth after His return from Egypt. There, until He was thirty years old, He lived as a simple servant or workman in a
carpenter shop, taking orders form Joseph and Mary. "And He was subject to them." Jesus went to fetch the water; He
opened and closed the shop; He swept the house, gathered the fragments of wood for the fire, and toiled all day long,
helping Joseph in his work. Yet who is this? God Himself, serving as a apprentice! The omnipotent God, who with less
than a flick of His finger created the whole universe, here sweating at the task of planing a piece of work! Should not the
mere thought of this move us to love Him?
O Jesus, my Savior! When I consider how, for love of me, Thou
didst spend thirty years of Thy life hidden and unknown in a poor workshop, how can I desire the pleasures and honors and
riches of the world? Gladly do I renounce all these things, since I wish to be Thy companion on this earth, poor as Thou
wast, mortified and humble as Thou wast, so that I may hope to be able one day to enjoy Thy companionship in heaven. What are
all the treasures and kingdoms of this world? Thou, O Jesus, art my only treasure, my only Good!
I keenly regret the many times in the past when I spurned Thy
friendship in order to satisfy my foolish whims. I am sorry for them with all my heart. For the future I would rather lose my
life a thousand times than lose Thy grace by sin. I wish never to offend Thee again, but always to love Thee. Help me to
remain faithful to Thee until death.
O Mary, thou art the refuge of sinners, thou art my hope. Amen.
The Birth Of Jesus In The Stable Of Bethlehem.
When the edict was issued by the emperor of Rome that everyone should go to his own city to be enrolled, Joseph
and Mary went to be enrolled in Bethlehem. How much the Holy Virgin must have suffered on this journey of four days, over
mountainous road and in the wintertime, with its cold rain and wind! When they arrived in Bethlehem, the time of Mary's
delivery was near. Joseph, therefore, sought some lodging where she might give birth to her Child. But because they were
so poor, they were driven away from the houses and even from the public inn, where other poor people had found shelter.
So in that night they went a short way out of the town and there found a cave that was used as a stable, and here Mary
entered. But Joseph said to his virgin wife, "Mary, how can you spend the night in this cold,
damp cave and here give birth to
your Child?" Mary however replied, "Dear Joseph, this cave is the royal palace in which the King of kings, the Son of God,
wishes to be born."
When the hour of her delivery had arrived, the holy Virgin, as
she knelt in prayer, all at once saw the cave illumined with a dazzling light. She lowered her eyes to the ground and there
saw before her the Son of God now born on earth, a poor little Babe, crying and shivering in the cold. Adoring Him as her God,
she took Him to her breast and fondled Him. Then she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and lad Him on the straw of the
manger that stood in the cave. Thus did the Son of God choose to be born among us to prove His infinite love for us.
O Adorable Infant Jesus! I should not have the boldness to
cast myself at Thy feet, if I did not know that Thou Thyself invitest me to draw near Thee. It is I who by my sins have
made Thee shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem. But since Thou hast come on earth to pardon repentant sinners,
forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned Thee, my Savior and my God, who art so good and
who hast loved me so much.
In this night, in which Thou bestowest great graces on so many souls, grant Thy heavenly consolation to this poor soul
of mine also. All that I ask of Thee is the grace to love Thee always, from this day forward, with all my heart. Set me all on
fire with Thy holy love. I love Thee, O my God, who hast become a Babe for love of me. Never let me cease from loving
Thee ever more.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, thou canst obtain everything from thy Son by thy prayers. This is the only favor
I ask of Thee.
Do thou pray to Jesus for me. Amen.