The tears of the Infant Jesus were very different from those of other new-born babes: these weep through pain; Jesus did not weep from pain, but through compassion for us and through love: “They weep because of suffering, Christ because of compassion,”1 says St. Bernard. Tears are a great sign of love. Therefore did the Jews say when they saw the Saviour weeping for the death of Lazarus: Behold how He loved him.2 Thus also might the angels have said on beholding the tears of the Infant Jesus: “Behold how he loves them.”3 Behold how our God loves men; since for the love of them we see him made man, become an Infant, and shedding tears.
Jesus wept and offered to his Father his tears to obtain for us the pardon of our sins. “These tears,” says St. Ambrose, “washed away my sins;”4 by his cries and tears he implored mercy for us who were condemned to eternal death, and thus he appeased the indignation of his Father. Oh, how eloquently did the tears of this divine little one plead in our behalf! Oh, how precious were they to God! It was then that the Father caused the angels to proclaim that he made peace with men, and received them into his favor: And on earth peace to men of good will.5
Jesus wept through love, but he also wept through sorrow at the thought that so many sinners, even after all his tears and the blood he should shed for their salvation, would yet continue to despise his grace. But who would be so hard-hearted, on seeing an Infant God weeping for our sins, as not to weep also, and to detest those sins that have made this loving Saviour shed so many tears? Oh, let us not increase the sorrows of this innocent babe; but let us console him by uniting our tears to his! Let us offer to God the tears of his Son, and let us beseech him for their sake to forgive us!
Affections and Prayers.
My beloved Infant, whilst Thou wert weeping in the stable of Bethlehem, Thou wert thinking of me; beholding even then my sins, which were the cause of Thy tears. And have I, then, O my Jesus! instead of consoling Thee by my love and gratitude at the thought of what Thou hast suffered to save me, have I increased Thy sorrow and the cause of Thy tears? If I had sinned less, Thou wouldst have wept less. Weep, oh, weep, for Thou hast cause to weep in seeing such great ingratitude of men to Thy great love. But since Thou weepest, weep also for me; Thy tears are my hope. I also will weep for the offences I have committed against Thee, O my Redeemer! I hate them, I detest them, I repent of them with my whole heart. I weep for all those days and those wretched nights of mine in which I lived as Thy enemy and deprived of Thy beautiful face; but what would my tears avail, O my Jesus, without Thine!
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the tears of the Infant Jesus; for their sake forgive me. And Thou, my dearest Saviour, offer to him all the tears that Thou didst shed for me during Thy life, and with them appease his anger against me. I beseech Thee also, O my Love, to soften my heart by these tears, and to inflame it with Thy holy love. Oh that I could from this day forth console Thee by my love for all the pain I have caused Thee by offending Thee! Grant, therefore, O Lord! that the days that remain to me in this life may not any more be spent in offending Thee, but only in weeping for the offences I have committed against Thee, and in loving Thee with all the affections of my soul. O Mary! I beseech thee, by that tender compassion which thou didst so often feel at the sight of the Infant Jesus in tears, obtain for me a constant sorrow for the offences which I have so ungratefully been guilty of against him.