Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
THE FIRST DAY
The love that God has shown to us in becoming human.
Think about the great love God has shown us by becoming human, in order to obtain eternal life for us.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God and were driven out of paradise. As a result, they and all of us, their descendants, were condemned to everlasting death.
But the Son of God, grieving because humanity was lost, took upon Himself our human ﬂesh.
Then, in order to save us from death, He died on a Cross, condemned as a criminal.
“My child, consider the hardships thou will have to undergo while on earth. Thou will be born in a cold cave, with no place to be laid except in the trough where animals come to feed.
As an infant, thou will have to flee to Egypt to escape the hands of Herod. After returning, thou will have to live in a workshop as a poor, humble servant. And ﬁnally, worn out by sufferings, thou will have to give up thy life, dying on a cross, insulted and forsaken by all.”
And Jesus would respond:
“Father, it does not matter. I am happy to endure whatever comes, provided that humanity is saved.”
How would we react if a millionaire took compassion on a dead worm and chose to become a worm himself, offering his own blood as a transfusion and died, in order to restore life to the other worm? Yet the Eternal Word has done even more than that for us. God, the Creator, has become like us, one of His own creatures, to share in our human life, so that we can share, once again, in His Divine Life. When God saw that all the natural gifts He had bestowed on us could not win our love for Him, He became one of us and gave Himself entirely to us.
“The Word became ﬂesh and lived among us”(John 1:14a).
Through sin, humanity separated itself from God. But God, because of His great love for us, came from Heaven to seek us. Why? In order that we might realise how much God loves us and, in gratitude, love God in return. Any time a cat or a dog comes to us from across the room, we cannot help but respond, by petting it and speaking to it. So why do we ignore God, Who comes to us all the way from Heaven?
Once, when a Priest proclaimed the words, “and the Word became ﬂesh,” someone in the Church neglected to make a proper reverence. This prompted the devil to give that person a blow, saying, “Oh, ungrateful one! If only God had done for me what He has done for you, I would remain with my head always bowed down in thanksgiving.”
Affections and Prayers:
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 offences
I have committed against Thee.
I love Thee, O Word Incarnate;
I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness.
Out of love for Thee, my God,
I am so sorry for all the injuries I have done Thee
that I could die of grief for these offences.
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 persevere 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.