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 enroll 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 sweet infant, how can I be so ungrateful to you and offend you so often, knowing how much you have done for me? But the tears you cried, and the poverty you chose to endure out of love for me, give me hope in the forgiveness of all the sins that I have committed. I regret, my Jesus, that I have turned my back on you and on my sisters and brothers so often. I love you above all other things. You are my God and my all! From this day forward, you will be my only treasure and my only good. With Saint Ignatius of Loyola, I will say, “Give me your love, give me your grace, and I will be rich.” I wish for and I desire nothing else. You alone are sufficient for me, my Jesus, my life, my love.
O Mary, so close to Jesus, help me to be grateful for the gift of faith in your son.