Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)
THE EIGHTH DAY
The sojourn of the Infant Jesus in Egypt and Nazareth.
Our blessed Redeemer spent His Infancy in Egypt, living there for seven years in poverty and contempt. Joseph and Mary were unknown there, with neither relatives nor friends. And they could scarcely earn enough to get by, through the labour of their hands. Their cottage was poor, their bed was poor and their food was poor.
In this humble hu holy home, Mary weaned Jesus. At ﬁrst she fed Him from her breast. Later on, she took a little bread soaked in water and placed it in His mouth. It was in that cottage that she made His ﬁrst little garments, taking off His swaddling clothes and dressing Him in tiny children’s garb. In that cottage, the Child Jesus took His ﬁrst steps, although He kept faltering and toppling many times, just as all children do. There, also, He uttered His ﬁrst words.
Imagine what God has reduced Himself to for love of us!
God, stumbling and falling as He walked!
God, stammering while He learned to speak!
The life Jesus led at the house in Nazareth, after His return from Egypt was much the same – poor and humiliating. Until age thirty, He was a simple shop boy, obeying Joseph and Mary. And He was obedient to them (Luke 2:51).
Jesus went to fetch water; Jesus opened and closed the shop; Jesus swept the house; He gathered wood for the ﬁre and worked all day helping Joseph and following his requests, teachings in the trade and commands.
Imagine God living as a boy!
God sweeping the ﬂoor!
God sweating as He planed a piece of wood!
And who was He?
The all-powerful God, Who, with a simple nod, created the whole universe and Who could destroy it, just as easily, if He wished! Should not the mere thought of this move our hearts to love Him?
How inspiring it must have been to watch the devotion with which Jesus said His prayers, the patience with which He laboured, the haste in which He obeyed, the moderation He used in eating and the kindness and charity, with which He spoke and interacted with others!
Every word, every action of Jesus, was so virtuous that it ﬁlled everyone around Him with love for God — but especially Mary and Joseph, who were constantly with Him!
Affections and PrayersL
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 honours 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.