Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787))
The Heart of Jesus in the womb of His Mother
“Consider that whatever Jesus suffered in His life and in His Passion was all placed before Him while He was in the womb of Mary. He accepted everything that was proposed to Him with delight but in accepting all things and in overcoming the natural repugnance of sense, O my God, what anguish and oppression did the innocent heart of Jesus suffer. Our Redeemer accepted each moment even though He continually had before His eyes that confusion which He would one day feel at seeing Himself stripped naked, scourged and suspended by three iron nails, ending His life in the midst of insults and curses. And for what? To save us miserable and ungrateful sinners.
My beloved Redeemer, how much did it cost You to raise me from the ruin, which I brought on myself through my sins? What can I do without Your grace? I can do nothing but pray that You will help me but even this prayer comes from the merits of Your suffering and death! O my Jesus, help me!”
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
You came forth from the mouth of the Most High
and reaching from beginning to end,
You ordered all things mightily and sweetly.
Come and teach us the way of prudence
Time is fast approaching for Eternity to break into time. And today we begin our special preparations to celebrate Your birthday. Your Evangelist, Matthew, begins his Gospel by tracing Your origin as a human being. You did not come to us as bolt from the blue. You fully belong to our human stock. Matthew’s list of Your genealogy is disturbing, if not shocking. Of course, Your ancestors include great patriarchs of the chosen people. But it also includes some of ill repute! It begins with Abraham begetting Isaac. Ishmael, the first son of Abraham, is not in the picture. The story continues with Isaac begetting Jacob and not the elder son Esau. Again, Jacob begets Judah, ignoring Joseph who was obviously the best of the brothers. With these unreasonable choices, Matthew seems to impress on us that often God does not choose the best or the noblest or the saintly. Thank You, Lord, for it is only Your unpredictable graciousness that made You choose me and employ me in Your service! Only by my prayer, ‘O my Jesus, help me’ can I live up to this choice. And so I increase my prayer this week. (Fr Joseph Thena SSP)