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Spiritual Bouquet:

December 24

The refusal of Bethlehem
The refusal of Bethlehem
O.D.M. pinxit

The Vigil of the
Nativity of Christ

Let us contemplate our Blessed Lady, and Her faithful Spouse Joseph, leaving the city of Jerusalem, and continuing their journey to Bethlehem, which they reach after a few hours. In obedience to the will of heaven, they immediately repair to the place where their names are to be enrolled, as the Emperor’s edict requires. There is entered in the public register, Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth in Galilee. To his name, there is, doubtless, added that of Mary, Spouse of the above-named Joseph. Perhaps they enter Her as a young woman, in the ninth month of Her pregnancy. And this is all! – Incarnate Word! Thou art not yet counted by men! Thou art upon this earth of Thine, and men set Thee down as nothing! And yet, all this excitement of the enrollment of the world is to be for nothing else but this, – that Mary, Thy august Mother, may come to Bethlehem, and there give Thee Birth!

O ineffable Mystery! how grand is this apparent littleness! how mighty this divine weakness! But God has still lower to descend than merely coming on our earth. He goes from house to house of His people; not one will receive Him. He must go and seek a crib in the stable of poor dumb beasts. There, until such time as the Angels sing to Him their hymn, and the Shepherds and the Magi come with their offerings, He will meet "the ox that knoweth its Owner, and the ass that knoweth its Master’s crib!" (Is. 1:3).

Saviour of men, Emmanuel, Jesus! we, too, will go to this stable of Bethlehem. Thy New Birth, which is tonight, shall not be without loving and devoted hearts to bless it. At this very hour, Thou art knocking at the doors of Bethlehem, and who is there that will take Thee in? Thou sayest to my soul in the words of the Canticle: “Open to me, my sister, my beloved! for my head is full of dew, and my locks of the drops of the night!” (Cant. v. 2.) Ah! sweet Jesus! Thou shalt not be refused here! I beseech Thee, enter my house. I have been watching and longing for Thee.

Come, then, Lord Jesus! come! (Apoc. 22:20.)

Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year.

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