The Presents offered by the Magi to the Infant Jesus.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
The Presents offered by the Magi to the Infant Jesus.
Let us transport ourselves in spirit before the crib, in the society of the Magi, so profoundly imbued with respect, so burning with love; and let us unite ourselves with all these pious sentiments. If we do not imitate them, let us be afraid that the Infant Jesus, in His crib, will complain (Jerome, Ep. ad Sabin. diac.).
The Presents Offered by the Magi to the Child Jesus.
The Magi, says the Gospel, having opened their treasures, offered Him gold, incense, and myrrh, mysterious gifts which, in regard to their faith, had a signification and a language of their own. Gold signified the tribute of homage which they paid to Him as the great King, the Sovereign of the universe, the Master of all the treasures of heaven and earth. The incense signified the tribute of praise and of prayer which they presented to Him as to the Living God, towards whom the incense of their prayers ought to ascend from all creatures. The myrrh, which is employed in the embalming of the dead, was a profession of faith on their part in the holy humanity which was united in the crib to the Divinity, and which, as our Pontiff and our Victim, He would immolate for us one day on the cross (Prose de Paris). It would be impossible to conceive with what sentiments of humility and devotion, of gratitude and of love, the pious Magi offered these presents; what tears of joy and tenderness flowed from their eyes, and what ardent desires they experienced in making a God so amiable to be known and loved. Therefore Jesus, not content to show them, by looks full of love, how greatly these presents pleased Him, showed it to them still more by a reciprocity of presents. In exchange for the gold, He gave them the gift of wisdom, to understand the most lofty mysteries and to teach them to others; in exchange for the incense, He imparted to them the gift of piety, enabling them to love God alone, and to despise all else; in exchange for the myrrh, He enriches them with the spirit of mortification and of sacrifice, which made of them apostles and martyrs. O my God, how good it is to serve Thee thus, and to give ourselves wholly to Thee! Thou renderest a hundred-fold what is given to Thee. Grant to me, as Thou didst to the Magi; the spirit of wisdom, of prayer, and of sacrifice. I have no other title for being heard but my profound misery; may this title suffice me in presence of Thy mercy.
Presents which, in Accordance with the Example of the Magi, we ought to Offer to Jesus Christ.
It is not here gold, or myrrh, or incense which Jesus asks of us, but much rather the interior dispositions symbolized by these three presents, and which a beautiful prose of the Church of Paris sums up in these three words: “Gold symbolizes charity; myrrh, mortification; incense, holy desires.”
1st. Charity, of which gold is the symbol, and which is so agreeable to the Infant Jesus, is that interior disposition which makes us love God with our whole soul, with our whole heart, and with our whole strength. We love Him not only in Himself, but in our neighbor; we succor Him in the person of the poor; we solace Him in the unhappy; we console Him in the afflicted; we assist Him in all those to whom we can be useful, in those even of whom we have to complain, and that on account of His words: I look upon as done to Myself all that is done to the least of Mine (Matt. xxv. 40).
2d. Mortification, of which myrrh is the symbol, is the virtue which preserves the soul in purity and the body in integrity, to the extent of making of them a living sacrifice, holy and agreeable to God, such as the Apostle requires (Rom. xii. 1).
3d. By the holy desires, represented by the incense, is to be understood the prayer of the humble man presenting himself before God as a poor creature who has nothing except miseries to be solaced, as a sinner who has nothing to offer but faults to be expiated, a will to be straightened, a heart to be warmed, a memory to be purified, an understanding to be enlightened. Lastly, there is to be understood thereby not only obligatory prayers, or those habitually said in the morning and the evening, but also mental prayer, and that deepest kind of prayer which is uttered before the tabernacle or the crucifix; habitual prayer, which is expressed in pious aspirations and ejaculations, and which may be mingled with all the acts of life, in all places and at all seasons. Are we faithful in offering these presents to Jesus?
Make the resolution: 1st, frequently to offer, during the day, our adoration and our love to the God of the crib, in union with the Magi; 2d, in our prayers to imitate the fervor of these pious kings. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the ancient prayer of the Church of Paris: “To the Child Jesus the gold of charity, the myrrh of mortification, and the incense of prayer” (Prose de Paris).
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
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P.S. 10th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!