Novena for Christmas - Day 7
Written by St Alphonsus Liguori CSsR Founder, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
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 for himself and his poor family while in Egypt. 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, you have come down from heaven to save humanity, yet hardly after you are born they already seek to take away your life.”
That very night, still crying, she took the baby 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, after all, 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
O dearest infant Jesus, I hear you cry. And you ought to cry, being neglected by your very own creatures whom you love so much!
O my God, I have also neglected you and sinned against you. But now I resolve to love you even more than I love myself. And there can be no sorrow greater than that which I suffer, recalling how I have ignored you, my greatest Good. Please forgive me, my Jesus, and allow me to carry you in my heart during the rest of my life’s journey, so that I may enter eternity with you as an essential part of my life.
I have so often turned away from you through sin. From now on I will love you above all other things. I repent of all the ways I have ever ignored or offended you by hurting someone else.
My beloved Lord, I will never ignore you again. Give me strength to resist temptations. Do not allow me to turn from you. I would rather die than do something that offends you or my neighbour.
O Mary, my hope, help me to live always in response to God’s love.