REFLECTIONS AND AFFECTIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
So great was the desire of Jesus to suffer for us that in the night preceding His death, He not only went of His own will into the Garden, where He knew that the Jews would come and take Him, but knowing that Judas the traitor was already near at hand with the company of soldiers, He said to His disciples, Arise, let us go; behold he that will betray me is at hand (Mark xiv. 42). He would even go Himself to meet them, as if they came to conduct Him, not to the punishment of death, but to the crown of a great kingdom. O my sweet Saviour, Thou dost, then, go to meet Thy death with such a longing to die, through the desire that Thou hast to be loved by me! And shall I not have a desire to die for Thee, my God, in order to prove to Thee the love I bear Thee? Yes, my Jesus, Who hast died for me, I also desire to die for Thee. Behold, my blood, my life, I offer all to Thee. I am ready to die for Thee as Thou wilt, and when Thou wilt. Accept this miserable sacrifice which a miserable sinner offers to Thee, who once offended Thee, but now loves Thee more than himself.
St. Laurence Justinian, in considering this word “Sitio” (I thirst), which Jesus pronounced on the Cross when He was expiring, says that this thirst was not a thirst which proceeded from dryness, but one that arose from the ardour of the love Jesus Christ had for us: “This thirst springs from the fever of His love.” Because by this word our Redeemer intended to declare to us, more than the thirst of the body, the desire He had of suffering for us, by showing us His love; and the immense desire He had of being loved by us, by the many sufferings He endured for us: “This thirst proceeds from the fever of His love.” And St. Thomas says, “By this ‘Sitio’ is shown the ardent desire for the salvation of the human race.”
O God, enamoured of souls, is it possible that such an excess of goodness can remain without being corresponded to? It is said that love must be repaid by love; but by what love can Thy love ever be repaid? It would be necessary for another God to die for Thee, in order to compensate for the great love Thou hast borne us in dying for us. And how, then, couldst Thou, O my Lord, say that Thy delight was to dwell with men, if Thou dost receive from them nothing but injuries and ill-treatment? Love has made Thee change into delights the sufferings and the insults Thou hast endured for us.
O my Redeemer, most worthy of love, I will no longer resist the stratagems of Thy love; I give Thee from henceforth my whole love. Thou art and shalt be always the only-beloved One of my soul. Thou didst become Man in order that Thou mightest have a life to devote to me; I would fain have a thousand lives, in order that I may sacrifice them all for Thee. I love Thee, O Infinite Goodness, and I will love Thee with all my strength. I will do all that lies in my power to please Thee. Thou, being innocent, hast suffered for me; I, a sinner, who have deserved hell, desire to suffer for Thee as much as Thou willest. O my Jesus, assist, I pray Thee, by Thy merits, this desire which Thou Thyself dost give me. O Infinite God, I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee. Mary, my Mother, intercede for me. Amen.