Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus, Day Nine – 24 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

24 December
Meditation 9:
The Birth of the Infant Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem.

Since the Roman Emperor’s edict said that everyone was to enrol in his own country, Joseph and his wife, Mary, departed for Bethlehem. The trip took four days, travelling over mountainous roads, in the cold of winter wind and rain. Think of how much the Blessed Virgin must have suffered on that journey.

As soon as they arrived, the time of her delivery was at hand, so Joseph went around the Town looking for lodging where Mary could give birth to her child. But, because they were poor, they were driven away by everyone, even from the Inn where poor people were normally sheltered. So, they left the Town and found a cave. As Mary entered, Joseph protested, saying, “My dear wife, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp place? Can you not see that this is a stable for animals?” But she answered, “Joseph, this shed is the Royal Palace where the Son of God chooses to be born.”

And since the time for the birth had arrived, the Holy Virgin was in prayer. Suddenly the cave became brilliantly lit, as if by the sun or a star and the Son of God came forth into the world, as a tender Infant, crying and trembling with cold. The first thing Mary did was to adore Him as her God. Then she held Him to her bosom and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes which she had brought along. Finally, she laid Him on a little straw in the manger, the feeding trough for animals.

That is how the Son of the eternal God chose to be born for love of us.

A saint once said, that those who love Jesus Christ most, ought to kneel at the feet of the Holy Infant and, in spirit, perform for Him the same service as the beasts in the stable at Bethlehem did, who warmed Him with their breath. We should warm Him with our sighs of love.

Affections and Prayers:

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 too, now that I am heartily sorry
for having spurned Thee, my Saviour 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 too, Thy heavenly consolation
to this poor soul of mine.
All that I ask of Thee
is the grace to love Thee always,
from this day forward,
with all my heart.
Set me 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 loving Thee evermore.

O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother,
thou canst obtain everything
from thy Son by thy prayers.
This is the only favour I ask of Thee.
Do thou pray to Jesus for me.


Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus, Day Eight – 23 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

23 December
Meditation 8:
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.


Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus, DAY SEVEN – 22 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

22 December
Meditation 7:
The journey of the Infant Jesus to Egypt.

The Son of God came from Heaven to save humanity. But no sooner was He born, than they began to persecute Him, even unto death. Herod, afraid that this Infant would take away his kingdom, tried to put the Child to death. So in a dream, an Angel advised Saint Joseph to take Jesus and His Mother to Egypt.
Informing Mary, Joseph promptly obeyed. He took along with him the tools of his trade that he had available, to use in providing a livelihood, while in Egypt, for himself and his poor family.
For her part, Mary packed a small bag of clothes for the Holy Infant. Then, drawing near the crib with tears, she said to her sleeping Child, “O my Son and my God, Thou hast come down from Heaven to save humanity, yet hardly after Thou art born, they already seek to take away Thy life.”

That very night, still crying, she took the Infant Jesus and she and Joseph set off on their journey.

Think about how much these lonely pilgrims must have suffered, while making such a long journey, deprived of every comfort. The Infant was not yet able to walk, so Mary and Joseph had to take turns carrying him in their arms.
During the journey through the desert of Egypt, their only bed at night was the bare earth in the open air.
The Infant wept in the cold and Joseph and Mary also wept, out of compassion for Him. Who would not weep, seeing the Son of God, poor and persecuted, wandering about on the earth, so that He would not be killed by His enemies?

Affections and Prayers:

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,
on all the rest of the journey
which I have still to travel 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 grace.

O Mary, my hope,
make me always live in God’s love
and then, die in loving Him.


Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus – Day 6, 21 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

21 December
Meditation 6:
The Mercy of God in coming from Heaven,
to save us, by His Death.

Saint Paul says, the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared (Titus 3:4). It was then, when the Son of God made Man appeared on earth that we saw how great the goodness of God is toward us. Saint Bernard wrote that the power of God first appeared, through the creation of the world and sustaining the world, has shown God’s wisdom. But God’s mercy appeared, to an even greater degree, when God took human flesh to save lost humanity, by His sufferings and Death. And what greater mercy could the Son of God have shown us, than to take upon Himself, the pains we have deserved?

Imagine Him as a newborn Infant, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, unable to move or feed Himself. Just to survive, He relied on Mary to feed Him with a little milk. Imagine Him many years later, in the judgement hall before Pilate, bound to a column by ropes, from which He could not loosen Himself and scourged from head to foot. Imagine Him on the journey to Calvary, falling down as He went along the road, from weakness and from the weight of the Cross which He carried. Finally, imagine Him nailed to that infamous tree upon which He finished His life, in agony and suffering.

Jesus Christ wished to gain all the endearments of our hearts, by His love for us and,, therefore, He would not send an Angel to redeem us but came Himself, to save us by His Passion and Resurrection. If an Angel had been our redeemer, we would have a divided heart—loving God as our Creator and the Angel as our redeemer. But because God, Who is our Creator, wants our whole heart, He chose to also be our Redeemer.

Affections and Prayers:

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 offences
which 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.


Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus – The Fifth Day, 20 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

20 December
Meditation 5:
The Life of sorrow which Jesus lived, even from His birth.

Jesus could have saved us without suffering and without dying. But He willingly chose a life full of tribulations, to show how much He loved us. The prophet Isaias called Him, the man of sorrows (Isaias 53:3) because the life of Christ was to be full of woe. His passion did not begin at the time of His death but, from the beginning of His life.

Imagine Jesus, as soon as He was born, lying in a stable, where everything caused distress for Him. His sight was troubled because he could see nothing in that cave but dark, rough walls. His sense of smell was haunted, by the stench of dung from the animals, lying nearby. His skin was irritated by the itchy straw that served as His bed. Soon after birth, He was forced to flee to Egypt, where He lived several years of His childhood, poor, and despised as a foreigner. The life He led afterward, in Nazareth, was not much better. Then, consider how His life ended in Jerusalem, dying in anguish on a Cross.

So the life of Jesus was one of continual anxiety, even worse than that because he had constantly, before His eyes, all the sadness that would be His on the day of His death.
One day a Nun, complaining before the Crucifix, said to Him, “O Lord, Thou remained on the Cross for three hours but I have suffered my pain for several years.
Jesus answered her, “What you have said shows how unaware you are. I suffered even from my mother’s womb, all the pains of my life and death.
But because Jesus voluntarily chose those afflictions, they did not hurt Him as much as did the sight of our sins and our ingratitude for His great love.
One particular saint could never stop lamenting over the offences she committed against God. Her Confessor said to her, “Cease crying. God has already forgiven you.” But she replied, “How can I cease crying, when I know that my sins kept Jesus in a state of agony all his life?!

Affections and Prayers:

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, f
or all the offences I have committed against Thee.
I love Thee more than myself,
or at 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 favour I ask of thee
and through thee, I hope to receive it.


Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus – The Fourth Day – 19 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

19 December
Meditation 4:
The Life of humility which Jesus lived, even from His Infancy.

All the clues that the Angels gave the shepherds to help them find the Saviour, Who had just been born, were marks of humility –
This will be a sign for you: you will find a Child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).
This is how you will find the newborn Messiah, the Angel said. You will find Him as an Infant, wrapped in poor ragged clothes, in a stable, lying on straw in a manger for animals. That is how the King of Heaven, the Son of God, was born because ,He came to destroy the pride which had been the cause, of humanity’s spiritual ruin.

The prophets foretold that our Redeemer would be treated as the most wretched person on earth and that He would be overwhelmed with insults.
How much ridicule Jesus had to tolerate because of us!
He was treated as a drunkard, as a magician, as a blasphemer and a heretic. Think of how many insults He had to endure during His passion. He was abandoned by His own disciples.
One of them even sold Him for thirty pieces of silver,and another, denied having ever known Him.
He was led through the streets bound like a criminal, scourged like a slave, treated like a madman and mocked as a bogus king.
He was struck, spat upon in the face and finally, He was put to death on a Cross, suspended between two thieves.
One would think that he had been the greatest lawbreaker the world had ever seen.

Saint Bernard commented that the noblest of all men, Jesus Christ, was treated like the most depraved person of all. “But, my Jesus,” he adds, “the more degraded Thou art, the more dear Thou art to me.
The more humbled and despised He appears, the more esteemed and worthy of our love He becomes.

Affections and Prayers:

O Dearest Saviour,
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 offences
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 art done to me.
I love Thee, Jesus, Who wast 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.

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, NOVENAS, The DIVINE INFANT

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus, The Third Day, 18 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

18 December
Meditation 3:
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.

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.


Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus By St Alphonsus – The Second Day, 17 December

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

17 December
Meditation 2:
The love of God in being born as an Infant.

The Son of God, in becoming human for our sake, might have appeared in the world at the age of a grown man, the way Adam appeared when he was created. But since children usually attract greater love to themselves from those who take care of them, Jesus chose to appear on earth, as an Infant and as the poorest and most miserable Infant ever born.

Saint Peter Chrysologus wrote: “Our God chose to be born this way because he wanted to be loved.” The prophet Isaiah had already predicted that the Son of God was to be born an Infant and give Himself entirely to us through the love He bore for us:
A child is born to us, a son is given to us (Isaiah 9:6a).

O my Jesus, almighty and true God, what else could possibly have attracted Thee to come from Heaven and be born in a cave, if not Thy love for us?
What convinced Thee to leave the lap of Thy Father and lay Thyself down in a manger?
What drew Thee down from Thy throne above the stars, to stretch Thyself out on a little pile of straw?
What, from the midst of the Nine Choirs of Angels, has placed Thee between these sheep and oxen?
Thou inflame the Seraphim with holy fire, yet look, Thou trembles from the cold in this stable! Thou give the sun, the stars and the planets their paths of movement, yet now Thou cannot move at all without being carried in someone’s arms!
Thou provide food for all creatures and yet now, Thou depends on a little milk to sustain Thy life. Thou ary the delight of Heaven and yet, how is it that I now hear Thee whimper and cry? Tell me, who has reduced Thee to such lowliness? “Who has done this? Love has done it,” says Saint Bernard. Yes, the love that Thou hast for us has done it!

Affections and Prayers:

O Dearest Infant!
Tell me, what hast Thou come on earth to do?
Tell me, whom art Thou seeking?
Yes, I already know.
Thou hast 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
which 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.


Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus – 16 December – the First Day

Christmas Novena to the Divine Infant Jesus
By St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787)

16 December
Meditation 1:
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.