Evening Meditations for the Second Tuesday in Lent ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

REFLECTIONS AND AFFECTIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST

I.

Presently we will speak of the other reproaches which Jesus Christ endured, until He finally died on the Cross: He endured the cross, despising the shame. (Heb. xii. 2). Meanwhile let us consider how truly in our dear Redeemer was fulfilled what the Psalmist had foretold, that in His Passion He should become the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people: But I am a worm, and no man; the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people. (Ps. xxi. 7); even to a death of ignominy suffered at the hands of the executioner on a Cross, as a malefactor between two malefactors: And he was reputed with the wicked. (Is. liii. 12).

O Lord, the Most High, exclaims St. Bernard, become the lowest among men! O lofty One become vile! O glory of Angels become the reproach of men: “O lowest and highest! O humble and sublime! O reproach of men and glory of Angels!”

O grace, O strength of the love of God, continues St. Bernard. Thus did the Lord most high over all become the most lightly esteemed of all! “O grace, O power of love, did the highest of all thus become the lowest of all?” And who was it, adds the Saint, that did this? “Who hath done this? Love.” All this hath the love which God bears towards men done, to prove how He loves us, and to teach us by His example how to suffer with peace contempt and injuries: Christ also suffered for us (writes St. Peter), leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps. (1 Pet. ii. 21). St. Eleazer, when asked by his wife how he came to endure with such peace the great injuries that were done him, answered: I turn to look on Jesus enduring contempt, and say that my affronts are as nothing in respect to those which He, my God, was willing to bear for me.

Ah, my Jesus, and how is it that, at the sight of a God thus dishonoured for love of me, I know not how to suffer the least contempt for love of Thee? A sinner, and proud! And whence, my Lord, can come this pride? I pray Thee, by the merits of the contempt Thou didst suffer, give me grace to suffer with patience and gladness all affronts and injuries. From this day forth I propose by Thy help never more to resent them, but to receive with joy all the reproaches which shall be offered me. Truly have I deserved greater contempt for having despised Thy Divine Majesty, and deserved the contempt of hell. Exceeding sweet and pleasant to me hast Thou rendered affronts, my beloved Redeemer, by having embraced such great contempt for love of me. Henceforth I propose, in order to please Thee, to benefit as much as possible whoever despises me; at least to speak well of and pray for him. And even now I pray Thee to heap up Thy graces on all those from whom I have received any injury. I love Thee, O infinite Good, and will ever love Thee as much as I can. Amen.

II.

Let us enter into the pretorium of Pilate, one day made the horrible scene of the ignominies and pains of Jesus; let us see how unjust, how shameful, how cruel was the punishment there inflicted on the Saviour of the world. Pilate, seeing that the Jews continued to make a tumult against Jesus, as a most unjust judge, condemned Him to be scourged: Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. (John xix. 1). The iniquitous judge thought by means of this barbarity to win for Him the compassion of His enemies, and thus to deliver Him from death: I will chastise him, he said, and let him go. (Luke xxiii. 16). Scourging was the chastisement inflicted on slaves only. Therefore, says St. Bernard, our loving Redeemer willed to take the form, not only of a slave, in order to subject Himself to the will of others, but even of a bad slave, in order to be chastised with scourges, and so to pay the penalty due from man, who had made himself the slave of sin: “Taking not only the form of a slave, that he might submit, but even of a bad slave, that he might be beaten and suffer the punishment of the slave of sin.”

O Son of God, O Thou great lover of my soul, how couldst Thou, the Lord of infinite Majesty, so love an object so vile and ungrateful as I am, as to subject Thyself to so much punishment, to deliver me from the punishment which was my due. A God scourged! It were a greater marvel that God should receive the slightest blow, than that all men and Angels should be destroyed. Ah, my Jesus, pardon me the offences I have committed against Thee, and then chastise me as it shall please Thee. This alone is enough, –that I love Thee, and that Thou love me; and then I am content to suffer all the pains Thou willest.

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