FRUITS OF MEDITATION ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST.
The Lover of souls, our most loving Redeemer, declared that He had no other motive in coming down upon earth to become man, than to enkindle in the hearts of men the fire of His holy love: I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled. (Luke xii. 49). And, oh, what beautiful flames of love has He not enkindled in so many souls, especially by the pains that He chose to suffer in His death, in order to prove to us the immeasurable love which He still bears to us! Oh, how many souls, happy in the Wounds of Jesus, as in burning furnaces of love, have been so inflamed with His love, that they have not refused to consecrate to Him their goods, their lives, and their whole selves, surmounting with great courage all the difficulties which they had to encounter in the observance of the Divine law, for the love of that Lord Who, being God, chose to suffer so much for the love of them! This was just the counsel that the Apostle gave us, in order that we might not fail, but make great advances in the way of salvation: Think diligently upon him, who endureth such opposition from sinners against himself, that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. (Heb. xii. 3).
Wherefore St. Augustine, all inflamed with love at the sight of Jesus nailed on the Cross, prayed thus sweetly: Imprint, O Lord, Thy Wounds in my heart, that I may read therein suffering and love: suffering, that I may endure for Thee all suffering; love, that I may despise for Thee all love. Write, he said, my most loving Saviour, write on my heart Thy Wounds, in order that I may always therein behold Thy sufferings and Thy love. Yes, in order that having before my eyes the great sufferings that Thou, my God, didst endure for me, I may bear in silence all the sufferings it may fall to my lot to endure; and at the sight of the love which Thou didst exhibit for me on the Cross, I may never love or be able to love any other than Thee.
O Saviour of the world, O Love of souls, O Lord most lovely of all beings, Thou by Thy Passion didst come to win to Thyself our hearts, by showing us the immense love Thou didst bear us in accomplishing a Redemption which has brought to us a sea of benedictions, and which cost Thee a sea of pains and ignominies. It was principally for this end that Thou didst institute the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, in order that we might have a perpetual memorial of Thy Passion: “That we might have for ever a perpetual memorial of so great a benefit,” says St. Thomas, “He gives His body to be the food of the faithful” which St. Paul had already said: As often as you shall eat this bread, you shall show the death of the Lord. (1 Cor. xi. 26). Oh, how many holy souls hast Thou persuaded by these prodigies of love, consumed by the flames of Thy love, to renounce all earthly goods, in order to dedicate themselves entirely to loving Thee alone, O most amiable Saviour! O my Jesus, I pray Thee make me always remember Thy Passion; and grant that I also, a miserable sinner, overcome at last by so many loving devices, may return to love Thee, and to show Thee, by my poor love, some mark of gratitude for the excessive love which Thou, my God and my Saviour, hast borne to me. Remember, my Jesus, that I am one of those sheep of Thine, to save which Thou didst come down on the earth, and didst sacrifice Thy Divine life. I know that, after having redeemed me by Thy death, Thou hast not ceased to love me, and that Thou dost still bear to me the same love which Thou hadst for me when Thou didst die for my sake. Oh, permit me not any longer to lead a life of ingratitude towards Thee, my God, Who dost so much deserve to be loved, and hast done so much to be loved by me.
And thou, O most holy Virgin Mary, who didst take so great a part in the Passion of thy Son, obtain for me, I beseech thee, through the merits of thy sorrows, the grace to experience a taste of that compassion which thou didst so sensibly feel at the death of Jesus; and obtain for me also a spark of that love which wrought all the martyrdom of thy afflicted heart. Amen.
“Let my mind, O Lord Jesus Christ, I beseech Thee, be absorbed in the fiery and honeyed sweetness of Thy love, that I may die for love of the love of Thee, Who wert pleased to die for love of the love of me.” (Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi).