Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
THE THIRD DAY
The life of poverty which Jesus lived, even from His birth.
God planned that when His Son was to be born on earth, an edict would be promulgated by the Emperor, obliging the head of every household to go to the place of his birth and register. And so, Joseph had to go with his wife to Bethlehem, to enrol according to the Decree of Caesar.
While there, Mary’s time of delivery arrived. Because she had been driven from all the other houses and even from the common shelter for poor people, she ended up spending the night in a cave, and there, gave birth to the King of Heaven.
It is true that Jesus would have been just as poor if he had been born in Nazareth. But at least there, He would have had a dry room, a little ﬁre, warm clothes and a comfortable cradle. But no, He chose to be born in a cold cavern without a ﬁre to warm Him. He chose to have the livestock’s manger for His cradle and a little prickly straw for His bedding, in order that He might experience what poor people have to experience.
Let us enter that cave in Bethlehem but, let us enter with faith. If we go without faith we will see nothing but a poor Infant, Who moves us to compassion, by seeing Him so beautiful but shivering with cold and crying, from the itchiness of the straw on which He lies. But if we enter with faith, we will believe that this Child is the Son of God, Who loved us so much that He came down to earth and endured so much, to pay for our sins.
How could we not thank Him and love Him?
Affections and Prayers:
O dear Infant Jesus,
how could I be so ungrateful
and offend Thee so often,
if I realised, how much Thou hast suffered for me?
But these tears which Thou sheddest,
this poverty which Thou embraces!
for love of me, make me hope
for the pardon of all the offences
I have committed against Thee.
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.