The Sojourn of the Magi at Bethlehem.
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 Sojourn of the Magi at Bethlehem.
Let us adore the Infant Jesus kindly receiving the Magi each time that they went to visit Him during their sojourn at Bethlehem. O precious visits! O moments of Paradise! Let us congratulate the Magi on them. Let us thank Jesus Christ for them.
How Holily the Magi Lived during their Sojourn at Bethlehem.
The thrice-blessed Magi took care not to quit Bethlehem after their first visit; it is impossible to enjoy so much happiness without wishing to prolong it; people do not come from so great a distance to enjoy so pure a joy without giving themselves the pleasure of multiplying it; moreover they must rest after enduring so much fatigue. And therefore, there is no doubt but that the Magi remained several days at Bethlehem; and during that time they often went to visit the Child-God: they took Him in their arms, contemplated His divine features, pressed Him to their bosom, covered Him with their kisses, watered Him with their tears; and who can say with what sentiments of admiration, of love, of thanksgiving, and of devotion they gave up their whole persons to the service of the Divine Child? Who, on the other hand, can say what enlightenment, what benedictions, what flames of love the Infant Jesus shed upon their souls, and how short each one of their visits seemed to them? It was with regret that they withdrew, and as soon as they could they hastened to return, saying with David: “As the hart panteth after the fountains of waters, so my soul panteth after Thee, O God!” (Ps. xli. 2.) And they were always kindly received, and new graces followed upon the preceding ones; then, after having rendered their homage to the Child, they spoke to Mary and to Joseph, begging them to explain the marvels of the mystery they had come to contemplate. And Mary and Joseph, always ready to give them pleasure, told them all they knew. O holy intercourse! how it ravished the hearts of the Magi, how it was impressed upon their memories! They spoke in their turn; and from the depths of their hearts issued words which Mary deemed worthy to be kept in her heart (Luke ii. 19). In the interval of these holy interviews, of what did they think except of Jesus? Jesus was everything to them (Coloss. iii. 2). So holy was the life of these happy Magi during their sojourn at Bethlehem! What a lesson for us! How well it teaches us the profit we may derive from the real presence of Christ in our tabernacles!
How we ought to Imitate the Magi in their Sojourn at Bethlehem.
We can imitate them, 1st, when we visit the Blessed Sacrament; for in the tabernacles we have the same Man-God who was in the crib . . . Oh, if we could but take to these tabernacles the faith and the piety of the Magi, how many graces should we not bring away! We can, 2d, imitate the Magi when we communicate; for then we not only press Our Lord in our arms, as these happy travellers did, but we receive Him in our hearts; we are one with Him, so to speak; and this is a happiness the Magi did not possess. After having thus incorporated Him, we can during our act of thanksgiving converse with Him, speak to Him and listen to Him, taking the Magi at the crib as our model of acts of thanksgiving after each communion. We can, 3d, during the course of the day, imitate the holy life of the Magi outside the stable of Bethlehem, by means of the spirit of recollection which makes of our hearts a sanctuary, where we converse with God, an amiable solitude, where nothing enters except God and the soul. There, like the Magi in the stable of Bethlehem, we enjoy God, we can see Him, speak to Him, listen to Him, take advice from Him in our doubts, call Him to our aid in difficulties or dangers, tell Him that we love Him, and ask that we may love Him ever more and more; offer Him our actions, our life, consecrate ourselves to Him without reserve, thank Him for His benefits, burst forth into adoration, praise, thanksgiving, entreaties, and supplications. There, with gratitude and love, we gather together the good thoughts which He sends us, the pious sentiments which He suggests to us, the holy resolutions He puts into our hearts, and we thus make our whole life holy, as was that of the Magi. Happy the soul which understands these things! more happy still he who puts them in practice! (III. Imit. i.)
Make the resolution: 1st, to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament during the day, after the example of the Magi visiting the Child Jesus in His crib; 2d, to keep ourselves as much as possible in a spirit of recollection and of union with God. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of the Imitation: “To be with Jesus is a delightful paradise” (II. Imit. viii. 2).
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. 11th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!