The Covenant of Incarnation: A Novena Reflection

I have given Thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation
even to the farthest part of the earth. — Isaiah 49:6.

Consider that the Eternal Father addressed these words to the Infant Jesus at the instant of his conception: I have given Thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation. My Son, I have given Thee to the world for the light and life of all people, in order that Thou mightest procure for them their salvation, which I have as much at heart as if it were my own. Thou must therefore employ Thyself entirely for the well-being of men: “Wholly given to man, Thou must be wholly spent in his service.”

Thou must therefore, at Thy birth, suffer extreme poverty, in order that men may become rich, “that Thou mayest enrich them by Thy poverty.” Thou must be sold as a slave to acquire liberty for man; and Thou must be scourged and crucified as a slave to satisfy my justice for the punishment due to man. Thou must give Thy blood and Thy life to deliver man from eternal death; in short, Thou art no longer Thine own, but Thou belongest to man: A child is born to us, a son is given to us. Thus, my beloved Son, man will be constrained to love me, and to be mine, when he sees that I give Thee, my only-begotten one, entirely to him, and that there is nothing left for me to give him.

God so loved the world—(O infinite love! only worthy of an infinite God!)—God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son. The Infant Jesus, far from being sorrowful at this proposal, is pleased at it, accepts it with love, and exults in it: He hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way; and from the first moment of his incarnation he gives himself entirely to man, and embraces with pleasure all the sorrows and ignominy that he must suffer on earth for the love of man. These were (says St. Bernard) the mountains and hills that Jesus Christ had to pass with so many labors in order to save man: Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills.

Here consider that the divine Father, in sending his Son to be our Redeemer and mediator between himself and man, has in a certain sense bound himself to forgive us and love us, on account of the covenant he made to receive us into his favor, providing his Son satisfied for us his divine justice. On the other hand, the divine Word, having accepted the decree of his Father (who, by sending him to redeem us, has given him to us), has also bound himself to love us; not, indeed, for our own merits, but in order to fulfil the merciful will of his Father.


Adapted from Liguori, A. (1887). The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ; or, The Mysteries of the Faith. (E. Grimm, Ed.) (pp. 214–215). New York; Cincinnati; St. Louis; London; Dublin: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M.H. Gill & Son.

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  • Although archaic in language, the message of the Incarnation written by St. Alphonsus has timeless value. Alphonsus unites the incarnation, with the Cross and the Eucharist and sees them all as one saving mystery of our salvation. Thank you for sharing this meditation.

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