Monday, 28 December 2009

Meditations for the Octave of Christmas - Dec. 28

Meditation IV.
Jesus taking Milk.

As soon as Jesus was swathed, he looked for and took milk from the breast of Mary. The spouse in the Canticles desired to see her little brother taking milk from his mother: Who shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking the breast of my mother.1 The spouse desired it, but did not see him; but we have had the happiness to see the Son of God made Man and become our brother, taking milk from the breasts of Mary. Oh, what a spectacle must it not have been to Paradise to see the divine Word become an infant sucking milk from a virgin who was his own creature!
He, then, who feeds all men and all animals upon the earth, is become so weak and so poor that he requires a little milk to sustain life! Sister Paula, the Camaldolese, in contemplating a little image of Jesus taking milk, felt herself immediately all inflamed with a tender love to God. Jesus took but little of this milk, and took it but seldom in the day. It was revealed to Sister Mary Anne, a Franciscan, that Mary only gave him milk three times in the day. O milk most precious to us, to be changed into blood in the veins of Jesus Christ, and so to be made by him a bath of salvation to cleanse our souls!
Let us consider also that Jesus took this milk in order to nourish the body which he wished to leave us as food in the Holy Communion. Therefore, my Blessed Redeemer, whilst Thou dost suck the breast of Mary, Thou art thinking of me; Thou art thinking of changing this milk into blood, to be shed afterwards at Thy death, as the price wherewith to ransom my soul, and as its food in the most Holy Sacrament, which is the salutary milk with which our Lord preserves our souls in the life of grace: “Christ is your milk,”2 says St. Augustine.
O beloved Infant, O my Jesus, let me also exclaim with the woman in the Gospel, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck.3 Blessed art thou, O Mother of God, who hadst the happiness to give milk to the Incarnate Word! Oh, admit me, in company with this great Son, to take from thee the milk of a tender and loving devotion to the Infancy of Jesus, and to thyself, my dearest mother.
And I thank Thee, O divine Infant, who didst deign to stand in need of milk for Thy support in order to show me the love that Thou bearest me. This is what our Lord once gave St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi to understand that he had reduced himself to the necessity of taking milk in order to make us comprehend the love that he has for redeemed souls.
Affections and Prayers.
O my sweet and most amiable Infant, Thou art the bread of heaven, and dost sustain the angels: Thou dost provide all creatures with food; and yet how art Thou reduced to the necessity of begging a little milk from a Virgin in order to preserve Thy life! O divine love, how couldst Thou reduce a God to such a state of poverty that he was in want of a little food? But I understand Thee, O my Jesus! Thou didst take milk from Mary in this stable to offer it to God changed into blood on the cross as a sacrifice, and in satisfaction for our sins. Give, O Mary! give all the milk thou canst to this Son, because every drop of this milk will serve to wash out the sins of my soul, and to nourish it afterwards in the Holy Communion. O my Redeemer! how can one not love Thee who believes what Thou hast done and suffered to save us? And I, how could I know this, and yet be so ungrateful to Thee? But Thy goodness is my hope; and this makes me sure that if I wish for Thy grace it is mine. I repent, O sovereign Good! of having offended Thee, and I love Thee above all things. Or, rather, I love nothing, I love and I will love only Thee; Thou art and shalt always be my only good, my only love. My beloved Redeemer, give me, I pray Thee, a tender devotion to Thy holy Infancy, such as Thou hast given to so many souls, who, meditating on Thee, as an Infant, forgetting all else, seem unable to think of anything but loving Thee. It is true that they are innocent, and I am a sinner; but Thou didst become a child to make Thyself loved even by sinners. I have been such; but now I love Thee with my whole heart, and I desire nothing but Thy love. O Mary, give me a little of that tenderness with which thou didst give suck to the Infant Jesus.

1“Quis mihi del te fratrem meum sugentem ubera matris meæ?” – Cant. viii. 1.
2“Lac vestrum Christus est!” – In 1 Jo. tr. 3.
3“Beatus venter qui te portavit, et ubera quæ suxisti.” – Luke, xi. 27.

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