Day Nine: The Birth of Jesus in the Stable of Bethlehem
When the edict was issued by the emperor of Rome that everyone should go to his own city to be enrolled, Joseph and Mary went to be enrolled in Bethlehem. How much the Holy Virgin must have suffered on this journey of four days, over mountainous road and in the wintertime, with its cold rain and wind! When they arrived in Bethlehem, the time of Mary's delivery was near. Joseph, therefore, sought some lodging where she might give birth to her Child. But because they were so poor, they were driven away from the houses and even from the public inn, where other poor people had found shelter.
So in that night they went a short way out of the town and there found a cave that was used as a stable, and here Mary entered. But Joseph said to his virgin wife, 'Mary, how can you spend the night in this cold, damp cave and here give birth to your Child?' Mary however replied, 'Dear Joseph, this cave is the royal palace in which the King of kings, the Son of God, wishes to be born.'
When the hour of her delivery had arrived, the holy Virgin, as she knelt in prayer, all at once saw the cave illumined with a dazzling light. She lowered her eyes to the ground and there saw before her the Son of God now born on earth, a poor little Babe, crying and shivering in the cold. Adoring Him as her God, she took Him to her breast and fondled Him. Then she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and lad Him on the straw of the manger that stood in the cave. Thus did the Son of God choose to be born among us to prove His infinite love for us.
O Adorable Infant Jesus! I should not have the boldness to cast myself at Thy feet, if I did not know that Thou Thyself invitest me to draw near Thee. It is I who by my sins have made Thee shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem. But since Thou hast come on earth to pardon repentant sinners, forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned Thee, my Savior and my God, who art so good and who hast loved me so much.
In this night, in which Thou bestowest great graces on so many souls, grant Thy heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine also. All that I ask of Thee is the grace to love Thee always, from this day forward, with all my heart. Set me all on fire with Thy holy love. I love Thee, O my God, who hast become a Babe for love of me. Never let me cease from loving Thee ever more.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, thou canst obtain everything from thy Son by thy prayers. This is the only favor I ask of Thee.
Do thou pray to Jesus for me. Amen.