Christmas Meditation Of A Young Student
Night has fallen; the clear, bright stars are sparkling in the cold air; noisy, strident voices rise to my ear from the city, voices of the revelers of this world who celebrate with merrymaking the poverty of their Saviour. Around me in their rooms my companions are asleep, and I am still wakeful, thinking of the mystery of Bethlehem.
Come, come, Jesus, I await you.
Mary and Joseph, knowing the hour is near, are turned away by the towns-folk and go out into the fields to look for a shelter. I am a poor shepherd; I have only a wretched stable, a small manger, some wisps of straw. I offer all these to you, be pleased to come into my poor hovel. I offer you my heart; my soul is poor and bare of virtues, the straws of so many imperfections will prick you and make you weepóbut oh, my Lord, what can you expect? This little is all I have. I am touched by your poverty, I am moved to tears, but I have nothing better to offer you. Jesus, honor my soul with your presence, adorn it with your graces. Burn this straw and change it into a soft couch for your most holy body.
Jesus, I am here waiting for your corning. Wicked men have driven you out, and the wind is like ice. I am a poor man, but I will warm you as well as I can. At least be pleased that I wish to welcome you warmly, to love you and sacrifice nyself for you.
But in your own way you are rich, and you see my needs. You are a flame of charity, and you will purge my heart of all that is not your own most holy Heart. You are uncreated holiness, and you will fill me with those graces which give new life to my soul. Oh, Jesus, come, I have so much to tell you, so many sorrows to confide, so many desires, so many promises and so many hopes.
I want to adore you, to kiss you on the brow, oh tiny Jesus, to give myself to you once more, forever. Come, my Jesus, delay no longer, come, be my guest.
Alas! It is already late, I am overcome with sleep and my pen slips from my fingers. Let me sleep a little, oh Jesus, while your Mother and St. Joseph are preparing the room.
I will lie down to rest here, in the fresh night air. As soon as you come, the splendor of your light will dazzle my eyes. Your angels will awaken me with sweet hymns of glory and peace, and I shall run forward with joy to welcome you and to offer you my own poor gifts, my home, all the little I have. I will worship you and show you all my love with the other shepherds who have joined me, and with the angels of Heaven, singing hymns of glory to your loving heart.
(These moving words were written on Christmas Eve, 1902, by a young Italian named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli wbo was studying for the priesthood in Rome. Two years later he graduated as a doctor in theology and was ordained. The world now remembers him as the widely beloved Pope John XXIII.)
Monday, May 20, 2019
Days until Christmas:
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