MEDITATION ON The Nativity Of Our Savior Christ: Of The Journey Of Our Blessed Lady The Virgin From Nazareth To Bethlehem POINT IV ~ Luis de la Puente
BRUEGEL, Pieter the Elder
The Census at Bethlehem (detail)
The Nativity Of Our Savior Christ: Of The Journey Of Our Blessed Lady The Virgin From Nazareth To Bethlehem
THE IV. POINT.
1. Fourthly, I will consider the entrance of the blessed Virgin into Bethlehem, which was in an occasion of so great a concourse of people, that she found no body that would lodge her, neither was there any room in the inn where she was: so that she was forced to have recourse to a poor stable for beasts: the divine providence so disposing it, that the Son of almighty God might enter into the world begging, and suffering, having no body to be compassionate of his afflictions.
2. Upon this passage, I am to ponder the excellency of this our Lord, who seeketh a lodging to be born in, and findeth none: the benefits whereof they deprive themselves, for not giving him one, and how he chooseth for himself the worst of the world; collecting out of all this, tender affections, and harty feelings.
3. I will ponder how the men of the world have places, and houses well accommodated: and the rich of Bethlehem were under good shelter, and warmly lodged at the ease: but the Son of the eternal Father, Lord of all that is created, coming to seek a lodging, in his own city, of whence naturally he was, and among those of his own tribe, and family, he fainted none that would harbor him.
O eternal Word incarnate, how soon the world beginneth to reject thee, thou having come to redeem it! Now maiest thou well say, that the foxes have holes, and the fowls of the air have nests wherein to hatch their eggs, and to bring up their little ones: but the Son of man, and his poor mother, find not where to repose their head. The foxes chase thee from their caves: for the crafty, and rich of the earth, abhor thy simplicity and poverty. The birds admit thee not into their nests, for the noble, and proud of the world despise thy humility, and lowliness: and therefore thou goest to a poor, and humble stable, where the Ox will know his owner, and the Ass will leave his manger to resign it to his master. O Lord of Lords, and owner of all that is a created, cast out of my soul all fox-like subtleties, and high-soaring prides that possess it, that thou maiest find therein a fit lodging for thyself, Amen.
4. From hence I will ascend to consider, how the cause that our Savior Christ found no harbor in Bethlehem, was the ignorance of that people: for almighty God coming to their gates, they acknowledged him not, neither knew what good might come to them by admitting him, admitting other guests of whom they could received little, or no profit. O how happy had he been that had harbored this our Lord, that he might have been born in his house! what spiritual riches would he have given him? how well would he have recompensed his hospitality, as he recompensed Martha, and Zacheus? O how happy were my soul, if it should happen to harbor this our Lord, and to give him place to be born spiritually therein!
O infinite God, which environest the part of my heart, calling with inspirations, that I might open unto thee, with a desire to enter therein, to enrich it with the gifts of thy grace: permit me not to shut the port, not to know thee: nor to dispatch thee away, not to esteem thee: Come O Lord, come and call, for I will hear thee; knock at my door, and I will open unto thee: and I will give unto thee the best part of my house, which is my heart, that thou maiest therein repose at thy pleasure.
5. Finally, I am to ponder the patience wherewith the Blessed Virgin, and St. Joseph carried this affliction, and abandoning: with what alacrity they suffered the reproaches of those, who rejected them because they were poor: and with what content they retired themselves to the stable, taking for themselves the most contemptible place of the earth: whereby they marvelously insistered humility, and poverty, with patience, and alacrity. In imitation of whom, I will endeavor to desire for myself, that which is worst, and most contemptible in the world, carrying it with alacrity, when it falter to my lot: for there is no better lot then to imitate these glorious Saints, as they imitated our Savior Christ, in such sort as hereafter we shall see.
Luis de la Puente