Today we offer a brief meditation by St. Francis de Sales for our Lenten reading.
THE LOVE OF JESUS IN HIS PASSION
The Eternal Father so loved the world that He gave it His only Son, and the Son so loved the will of His Father, who desired the salvation of human nature, that, without taking into account the meanness or contemptibleness of the thing, He willingly offered a prodigious price for its ransom, namely, His blood, His toils, and His life.
Thus Our Saviour, through love, devoted Himself to the will of His Father and to the redemption of the world. He advanced in every mystery of His Passion, saying: ‘O my Father, this loved human nature would be sufficiently redeemed by one of my tears, but that would not suffice for the reverence which I owe to Thy will and to my love. I wish, besides my agony in the Garden of Olives, to be scourged, to be crowned with thorns, to have my body reduced to ruins, and to become as a leper, without form or beauty.’
Thus the sweet Jesus was scourged, crowned, condemned, mocked, and rejected as man, devoted, destined, and dedicated to carry out and endure the opprobriums and ignominies due in punishment to all sins, and He served as a general sacrifice for sin, being made as it were an anathema, separated from and abandoned by His Eternal Father. The Divine Saviour wished to die in the flames of love, because of the infinite charity He bore towards us, and by the force and power of love; that is to say, He would die in love, by love, for love, and of love.
This is what He Himself says: “No one takes away My life, but I lay it down of Myself, for I have power to lay it down and to take it up again.” And: “He was offered,” says Isaias, “because He wished it.” His body being by right immortal and impassible, on account of the glory of His soul, He rendered it, through love and by a miracle, mortal and passible. He wished, even after His death, to have His side opened, that we might see the thoughts of His heart, which were all thoughts of love, and that we might go to Him with confidence, in order to hide ourselves in His side, and to receive from Him an abundance of graces and benedictions.
In this manner, from the first moment of His life until the present hour, has the kind Jesus been continually drawing arrows, if we may so speak, from the quiver of His love, with which to wound the souls of His lovers, showing them clearly that they can never love Him near so much as He deserves. My God, could He show more love to sinners than to become a perfect holocaust for their sins?
Ah! If we could see the Heart of Jesus such as it is, we should die of love for Him, since we are mortal, as He died of love for us, while He was mortal, and as He would die again, if He were not now immortal. Nothing has so much power to wound a loving heart as to see another heart wounded for love of it. Oh! That Our Lord would change hearts with us, as He did with St. Catherine of Siena, in such a manner that we might have no other heart but His, no other will but His, no other affection or desire but to love Him and to be wholly His.
Bees never wound without being wounded to death. Seeing, then, the Saviour of our souls wounded with love for us, even to death and the death of the cross, shall not we be wounded with love for Him, and with a wound most lovingly dolorous? Never, indeed, can we love Him so much as His love and His death deserve. Ah! If my soul is the spouse of Jesus crucified and suffering, I ought, during my whole life, to regard it as a great favor to wear His livery, that is to say, the nails, the thorns, and the lance.
Remember, my soul, that the banquet of His nuptials is prepared of gall and vinegar; seek not for pleasure or joy in this world. It is too great an honor, O King of Glory, to drink with Thee the chalice of sorrow; may it never happen to me to refuse this draught, because, O God, says David, it is the beverage of thy beloved!
The image of Jesus Christ bruised, wounded, pierced, crushed, crucified, has always been a beautiful mirror of love, into which the angels and saints could never cease to gaze, enraptured with sweetness and overflowing with consolation. And if the picture of Abraham, wielding the sword of death over his dear and only son, had power to make the great St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, weep as often as he contemplated it, how much more ought the image of Our Lord, sacrificing Himself on the cross, to move us: a sacrifice which is the source of all the graces we have ever received, and of all our holy resolutions, in such a manner that through it alone we preserve, fortify, and accomplish them?
Since, then, Our Lord has so much loved us, that He has equally redeemed all, bedewed us with His divine blood, and called us to Himself, without excluding anyone; since He has become all ours, to make us all His, giving us His death and His life to deliver us from eternal death and to procure us the joys of eternal life, that we may belong to Him in this mortal life and yet more perfectly in the next; what remains, what conclusion have we to draw, unless that living we should no longer live for ourselves, but for Jesus Christ who died for us; that is, we should consecrate to Him every moment of our life, referring to His glory our works, our thoughts, and our affections?
My soul, live henceforward amid the scourges and the thorns of thy Saviour, and there, as a nightingale in its bush, sing sweetly: “Live Jesus, who didst die that my soul might live! Ah, Eternal Father! What can the world return Thee for the present Thou hast made it of Thy only Son? Alas! To redeem a thing so vile as I, the Saviour delivered Himself to death, and, unhappy me! I hesitate to surrender my nothingness to Him who has given me everything.”
The Saint Francis de Sales Collection [16 Books for $1.99] (Kindle Locations 32703-32751). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Dear readers, Our Lord suffers so greatly during this time of the Passion of His Bride, the Church! Let’s not allow ourselves to become disheartened, but instead redouble our efforts to behold Him bravely as did Our most Blessed Mother and offer up our own small sufferings in reparation for sins, for the conversion of sinners and for the triumph of the Immaculate heart of Mary in the Consecration of Russia.
Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!
† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† . Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† . St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† . St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!