Ignatian Nativity Reflection

Find below the Second Contemplation on the Nativity from the Spiritual Exercises St. Ignatius of Loyola

The narrative here will be how Our Lady, almost nine months pregnant (as we may devoutly think of her) and seated on a donkey, with Joseph and a servant girl, taking with them an ox, set out from Nazareth for Bethlehem to pay the tribute which Caesar had imposed on all those lands.

Composition, seeing the place.  Here it will be to see with the eyes of the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, considering the length and breadth of it, whether it is a flat road or goes through valleys or over hills; and similarly to look at the place or grotto of the Nativity, to see how big or small it was, how low or high, and what was in it.

This is to see the people, i.e. Our Lady, and Joseph, and the servant girl, and the child Jesus after his birth. Making myself into a poor and unworthy little servant, I watch them, and contemplate them, and serve them in their needs as if I were present, with all possible submission and reverence.

I watch and consider what they are doing, e.g. their travel after so many labours, after hunger, thirst, heat and cold, outrages and affronts, he dies on the cross, and all of this for me; then I reflect within myself to derive some spiritual profit.