The Solitude of Jesus in the Stable

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The Nativity - by Tintoretto - from Sala Grande, Scuola di San Rocco, Venice

 

Ubi Venit plenitudo temporis misit Deus Filium suum.

"When the Fullness of Time was Come, God sent His Son"

Galatians 4:4

 

The Solitude of Jesus in the Stable

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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Jesus Chose, at His Birth, the Stable-of-Bethlehem for His Hermitage and Oratory; and for this Purpose, He so-Disposed Events, as to-be Born out-of the City, in a Solitary Cave, in-order-to Recommend-to us, the Love-of Solitude and Silence. Jesus remains in-Silence, in the Manger; Mary and Joseph, Adore and Contemplate Him, in-Silence. It was revealed-to Sister Margaret-of-the-Blessed-Sacrament, a Discalced-Carmelite, who was called the Spouse-of the Infant Jesus, that all that Passed-in the Cave-of Bethlehem, even the Visit-of the Shepherds, and the Adoration-of the Holy Magi, took place in-Silence, and without a Word.

Silence, in other Infants, is Impotence; but in Jesus Christ, it was Virtue. The Infant Jesus does not Speak; but oh! how much His Silence says! Oh, Blessed is he, that Converses-with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in this Holy Solitude of the Manger. The Shepherds, admitted there but-for a very-Short Time, came-out from the Stable, Inflamed-with Love-to God; for they did nothing but Praise and Bless Him: They returned, Glorifying and Praising God - Luke 2:20. Oh Happy the Soul that Shuts itself up, in the Solitude-of Bethlehem, to Contemplate the Divine Mercy, and the Love that God has Borne, and still Bears-to Men! I will Lead her into the Wilderness, and I will Speak to her Heart - Hosea 2:14. There the Divine Infant will Speak, not to the Ear, but to the Heart, Inviting the Soul to Love a God, Who hath Loved Her so-much. When we see there, the Poverty-of this Wandering Little Hermit, Who remains-in that Cold Cave, without Fire, with a Manger-for a Crib, and a little Straw-for a Bed; when we Hear the Cries and Behold the Tears-of this Innocent Child, and consider that He is our God, how is it Possible-to Think-of anything, but Loving Him! O what a Sweet Hermitage for a Soul that has Faith, in the Stable-of-Bethlehem!

Let us also Imitate Mary and Joseph, who, Burning-with Love, remain Contemplating the Great Son of God, Clothed-in Flesh, and made Subject-to Earthly Miseries ---- Wisdom became an Infant, that cannot Speak ---- the Great One, become Little ---- the Supreme One, become so Abased ---- Rich One, become so Poor ---- the Omnipotent, so Weak. In short, let us Meditate-on the Divine Majesty, Shrouded-beneath the Form-of a Little Infant, Despised and Forsaken-by the World, and Who Does and Suffers everything, in-order-to make Himself Loved by Men, and let us Beseech Him to Admit us into this Sacred Retreat; there Stop, there Remain, and never Leave it again . . . Oh, what a Paradise it is, to Converse alone with the Infant Jesus, in the little Grotto-of-Bethlehem!

Infinite(∞) Malice
of Sin

Infinite (∞) Worth
of Jesus Christ

 

There are Two (2) Principal Occupations-of a Solitary ---- to Pray, and to do Penance. Behold the Infant Jesus in the little Grotto-of-Bethlehem, giving us the Example, He, in the Crib, which He chose-for His Oratory upon Earth, never Ceases to-Pray, and to-Pray continually-to the Eternal Father. There, He makes of-Adoration, of-Love, and of-Prayer.

Before this Time, the Divine Majesty had been, it is True, Adored by-Men and by-Angels, but God had not Received-from all these Creatures, that Honor () which the Infant Jesus gave Him, by Adoring Him in the Stable, where He was Born. Let us, therefore, Constantly Unite our Adorations, to those-of Jesus Christ, when He was upon this Earth.

Oh, how Beautiful and Perfect were the Acts-of-Love, which the Incarnate Word made-to His Father, in His Prayer! God had given-to Man, the Commandment to Love Him, with all his Heart and all his Strength; but, this Precept had never been Perfectly Fulfilled-by any Man. The First (1st) to-Accomplish it amongst Women, was Mary, and amongst Men, Jesus Christ, Who Fulfilled-it in a Degree, Infinitely (∞) Superior-to Mary. The Love-of the Seraphim, may be said to be Cold, in-comparison-with the Love-of this Holy Infant. Let us Learn-from Him, to Love the Lord-our-God as He ought-to-be Loved; and let us Beseech Him, to Communicate-to us, a Spark-of that Pure Love, with-which He Loved the Divine Father, in the Stable-at-Bethlehem.

Oh, how Beautiful, how Perfect, and Dear-to God, were the Prayers-of the Infant Jesus! At every Moment, He Prayed-to His Father, and His Prayers were All for us, and for Each One-of us, in Particular. All the Graces that each One-of us has Received-from the Lord, and:

our being Called-to the True Faith,

our having had Time given us, for Repentance,

the Lights,

the Sorrow for Sins,

the Pardon of them,

the Holy Desires,

the Victory-over Temptations,

all the other Good Acts that we have-made, or shall-make,

of Confidence,

of Humility,

of Love,

of Thanksgiving,

of Offering,

of Resignation ----

All these, Jesus has Obtained-for us, and All has been the Effect-of the Prayers-of Jesus. Oh, how much do we Owe Him! And how much we ought to-Thank Him and to-Love Him!

 

- End of Liguori Discourse -

 

Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church, at the Grotto/Stable-of-Bethlehem


Saint Jerome - by BAROCCI, Federico Fiori - from Galleria Borghese, Rome.

In this Painting, Saint Jerome (Doctor-of the Latin Church, and Father-of Biblical Science ) is depicted Translating/Writing the Latin-Vulgate Catholic Bible, in the Holy Solitude-of the Stable/Grotto-of-Bethlehem. He is Beating his Chest in-Penitential Prayer, in-front of a Crucifix, in Contemplation-with Jesus Christ the Supernatural Source of all Knowledge, Grace and Love. The Candlelight is a Symbolic Visualization-of the "Lux Intellecti", a Metaphor-for Divine Grace, discussed by Saint Augustine. Recent Restoration has revealed a Lion, Lurking-in the Background. The Lion is Symbolic-of Satan, who Unsuccessfully Attempts to-cause Saint Jerome to-Err, in his Writings.

 

Prayers of Affection

My Dear Redeemer! How much do I Owe Thee! If Thou hadst not Prayed for me, in what a State-of-Ruin, should I find myself! I Thank Thee, O my Jesus; Thy Prayers have Obtained for me the Pardon-of my Sins, and I Hope that they will also Obtain-for me, Perseverance unto Death. Thou hast Prayed for me, and I Bless Thee with my Whole Heart for it; but I Beseech Thee not to Leave-off Praying. I know that Thou dost Continue, even in Heaven, to be our Advocate: We have an Advocate, Jesus Christ; and I know that Thou dost Continue-to Pray for us: Who also maketh Intercession for us. Continue therefore to Pray; but Pray, O my Jesus, more-Particularly for me, who am so in Want-of Thy Prayers. I Hope that God has already Pardoned me, through Thy Merits; but as I so often Fall, I may Fall again. Hell does not Cease and will not Cease, to Tempt me, in-order-to make me again Lose Thy Friendship.

 


Ah, my Jesus, Thou art my Hope; it is Thou that must give me Fortitude to Resist, from Thee I Seek it, and of Thee I Hope for it! I Desire also the Grace to Love Thee Exceedingly. My Death approaches. If I were to Die now, I should indeed Hope to be Saved; but I should Love Thee so-little in Paradise, because I have hitherto Loved Thee so-little. I will Love Thee much in the days that Remain-to me, that I may love Thee still more, in Eternity.

 


My Dearest Savior, Thou art the King of Heaven, the King of kings, the Son of God; I see Thee in this Cave, Forsaken-by all! I see no Assisting Thee, but Joseph and Thy Holy Mother. I Desire to Unite myself also, in keeping Thee company. Do not Reject me. I do not Deserve it, but I feel that Thou dost Invite me by Thy Sweet Voice, speaking to my Heart.

 


Yes, I come, O my Beloved Infant! I will leave all things to Pass my Whole Life alone with Thee, my Dear Little Hermit, the only Love-of my Soul. Fool that I was, I have hitherto Forsaken Thee, and left Thee alone, O my Jesus, whilst I was Seeking Miserable and Empoisoned Pleasures from Creatures; but now, Enlightened-by Thy Grace, I Desire nothing, but to Live-in Solitude, on this Earth. Oh, Bind me, I Pray Thee! Ah, by the Merits of Thy Solitude in the Cave-of-Bethlehem, give me a constant Interior Recollection, so that my Soul may become a Solitary Little Cell, where I may Attend-to nothing but Conversing-with Thee; where I may always Love Thee.

 


I Love Thee, O Infinite Goodness, and I Hope always to Love Thee, in Time and in Eternity.

 


O Mary, thou who canst do all things, Pray to Him to Enchain me with His Love, and not to Permit me ever again to Lose His Grace. O Mary, my Mother! thy Prayers are all-Powerful with thy Son, Who Loves thee so much. Thou dost so much Desire that He should be Loved, Beseech Him to give me a Great Love for His Goodness, and let this Love be Constant and Eternal.