REFLECTIONS AND AFFECTIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus appeared one day on the Cross to Sister Magdalen Orsini, who had been suffering for some time from some great affliction, and animated her to suffer it in peace. The servant of God answered, “But, Lord, Thou didst hang on the Cross for only three hours, whereas I have gone on suffering this pain for several years.” Jesus Christ then said to her reproachingly, “O ignorant that thou art, what dost thou mean? From the first moment that I was in My Mother’s womb, I suffered in My Heart all that I afterwards endured on the Cross.” And I, my dear Redeemer, how can I, at the sight of the great sufferings which Thou didst endure for my sake, during Thy whole life, complain of those crosses which Thou dost send me for my good? I thank Thee for having redeemed me with so much love and such sufferings. In order to animate me to suffer with patience the pains of this life, Thou didst take upon Thyself all our evils. O my Lord, grant that Thy sorrows may be ever present to my mind, in order that I may always accept and desire to suffer for Thy love.
Great as the sea is thy destruction. (Lam. ii. 13). As the waters of the sea are all salt and bitter, so the life of Jesus Christ was full of bitterness and void of all consolation, as He Himself declared to St. Margaret of Cortona. Moreover, as all the waters of the earth unite in the sea, so did all the sufferings of men unite in Jesus Christ; wherefore He said by the mouth of the Psalmist, Save me, O God, for the waters are come in even unto my soul. I am come into the depth of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me. (Ps. lxviii. 2, 3). Save me, O God, for sorrows have entered in even to the innermost parts of my soul, and I am left submerged in a tempest of ignominy and of sufferings, both interior and exterior.
O my dearest Jesus, my Love, my Life, my All, if I behold from without Thy Sacred Body, I see nothing else but wounds. But if I enter into Thy desolate Heart, I find nothing but bitterness and sorrows, which made Thee suffer the agonies of death. O my Lord, and who but Thee, Who art infinite Goodness, would ever suffer so much, and die for one of Thy creatures? But because Thou art God, Thou dost love as a God alone can love, with a love which cannot be equalled by any other love.
St. Bernard says, “In order to redeem the slave, the Father did not spare His own Son, nor did the Son spare Himself.” O infinite love of God! On the one hand the Eternal Father required of Jesus Christ to satisfy for all the sins of men: The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Is. liii. 6). On the other hand, Jesus, in order to save men in the most loving way that He could, chose to take upon Himself the utmost penalty due to Divine justice for our sins. Wherefore, as St. Thomas asserts, He took upon Himself in the highest degree all the sufferings and outrages that ever were borne. It was on this account that Isaias called Him a man of sorrows, despised, and the most abject of men. (Is. liii. 3). And with reason: for Jesus was tormented in all the members and senses of His Body, and was still more bitterly afflicted in all the powers of His Soul; so that the internal pains which He endured infinitely surpassed His external sufferings. Behold Him, then, torn, bloodless; treated as an impostor, as a sorcerer, a madman; abandoned even by His friends, and finally persecuted by all, until He finished His life upon an infamous gibbet.
Know you what I have done to you? (John xiii. 12). O my Lord, I do indeed know how much Thou hast done and suffered for my sake; but Thou knowest, alas, that I have hitherto done nothing for Thee. My Jesus, help me to suffer something for Thy love before death overtakes me. I am ashamed of appearing before Thee; but I will no longer be ungrateful, as I have been so many years towards Thee. Thou hast deprived Thyself of every pleasure for me; I will for the love of Thee renounce all the pleasures of the senses. Thou hast suffered so many pains for me; I will for Thy sake suffer all the pains of my life and of my death as it shall best please Thee. Thou hast been forsaken; I will be content that all should forsake me, provided Thou dost not forsake me, O my only and Sovereign Good. Thou hast been persecuted; I accept whatever persecution may befall me. Finally, Thou hast died for me; I will die for Thee. O my Jesus, my Treasure, my Love, my All, I love Thee. Oh, give me more love! Amen.