from the annals of history unto our current day
Meditations for Advent and Easter
by the author of "Meditations for Lent," "St. Francis and the Franciscans," "The Life and Revelations of S. Gertrude," Etc. Etc.
Meditation VIII - Sunday
The Heart of Jesus, the Flower of the Root of Jesse
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him." (Is. xi. 1, 2.) 1st Lesson at Matins.
"Blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me." (Mat. xi. 6.) Gospel for second Sunday in Advent.
1st Prelude. - Represent to yourself the Infant Jesus as a flower budding in the womb of Mary.
2nd Prelude. - Pray that you may love and cherish this Flower, and that it may be planted in your heart.
1st Point. - Consider the words of the Prophet: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him." Already Mary is recorded in the prophetic page, even as she has already been predestinated in the eternal counsels as the Mother of Jesus. She is the rod of the root of Jesse, the rod which bears this mystic Flower. The stem which supports the flower always corresponds in grace and beauty to the flower which it bears. How beautiful, then, is the stem Mary, which bears the Flower Jesus. O most favoured stem! O most holy Flower! The stem nourishes and gives life to the flower. Humanly speaking, the stem is necessary to the flower. Mary nourishes and gives life to Jesus; the sap of this stem, that is, the blood of Mary, forms the sacred Humanity of the Flower Jesus. How we should reverence that stem! how we should honour it! how we should strive to protect it from the blasts of dishonour! how we should water it with tears of love and devotion!
2nd Point. - The rod - Mary springs from the root of Jesse. "Of this man's seed, God, according to His promise, hath raised up to Israel a Saviour, Jesus." (Acts, xiii. 23.) Mary springs from a royal and a holy stock; but while the progenitors usually ennoble the scion of a royal house, the scion here ennobles her progenitors. Mary need not glory that she is of the race of David, but David will glory, to all eternity, that Mary sprang from his root. Oh, how deeply this root had entered into the bed of humility, since its branches ascend so high! How great its stability, since it supports a God! How marvellous its fertility, since it produces the Author of creation. Let us bow down in lowly homage before this plant, and adore its Flower, who has called Himself the "Flower of the field, and the Lily of the valley;" the flower of the fertile field of Mary's virginity, the lily of the deep valley of her most profound humility.
3rd Point. - Let us beware lest we should be "scandalized" at the lowliness of this Flower. Our Lord Himself gives us this warning in to-day's Gospel: "Blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in Me." Alas! what fear there is that we may take scandal at Jesus, when Jesus Himself considered it necessary to pronounce a benediction on those who were not scandalized in Him. We are scandalized in Him when we question the wisdom of His providences and the love of His providences; we are scandalized in Him when we fail to appreciate the greatness of His humility and the beauty of His meekness. The world of heresy is scandalized in Him, because it will not stoop to honour her whom He has stooped so low to exalt. Let us beware lest we should fail, even in the least degree, in the honour due to the stem of Jesse. Let us pray that this Flower may be transplanted into our hearts by her blessed hands, and let us water it with our tears, and cherish it with our love. Then we may hope that the Spirit of the Lord will also rest on us, and fill us with His sevenfold gifts.
Aspiration. - Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just.
Form your resolution, and place it in the Heart of the Infant Jesus. Examen of Meditation.
Return to the Seventh Meditation . . . Proceed to the Ninth Meditation