A Reflection on the Incarnation by St. Alphonsus Liguori

CONSIDER that after so many centuries, after so many prayers and sighs, the Messiah, whom the holy patriarchs and prophets were not worthy to see, whom the nations sighed for, “the desire of the everlasting hills,” our Savior, has come; he is already born, and has given himself entirely to us: “A child is born to us, and a son is given to us.”

The Son of God has made himself little, in order to make us great.

He has given himself to us, in order that we may give ourselves to him.

He has come to show us his love, in order that we may respond to it by giving him ours.

Let us, therefore, receive him with affection. Let us love him, and have recourse to him in ill our necessities.

“A child gives easily,” says St. Bernard; children readily give anything, that is asked of them. Jesus came into the world as a child in order to show himself ready and willing to give us all! good gifts: “The Father hath given all things into his hands.”

If we wish for light, he has come on purpose to enlighten us.

If we wish for strength to resist our enemies, he has come to give us comfort.

If we wish for pardon and salvation, he has come to pardon and save us.

If, in short, we desire the sovereign gift of divine love, he has come to inflame our hearts with it; and, above all, for this very purpose, he has become a child, and has chosen to show himself to us worthy of our love, in proportion as he was poor and humble, in order to take away from us all fear, and to gain our affections.

“So,” said St. Peter Chrysologus, “should he come who willed to drive away fear, and seek for love.” And Jesus has chosen to come as a little child to make us love him, not only with an appreciative but even a tender love.

All infants attract the tender affection of those who behold them; but who will not love, with all the tenderness of which they are capable, a God whom they behold as a little child, in need of milk to nourish him, trembling with cold, poor, abased, and forsaken, weeping and crying in a manger, and lying on straw?

It was this that made the loving St. Francis exclaim: “Let us love the child of Bethlehem, let us love the child of Bethlehem. Come, souls, and love a God who has become a child, and poor, who is so lovable, and who has come down from heaven to give himself entirely to you.”

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