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

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

REFLECTIONS AND AFFECTIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST

I.

St. Bonaventure sorrowfully exclaims, “The royal Blood is flowing; bruise is superadded to bruise, and gash to gash.” That Divine Blood was already issuing from every pore: that Sacred Body had already become but one perfect Wound; yet those infuriated brutes did not forbear from adding blow to blow, as the Prophet had foretold: And they have added to the grief of my wounds. (Ps. lxviii. 27). So that the thongs had not only made the whole Body one Wound, but even bore away pieces of it into the air, until at length the gashes in that Sacred Flesh were such that the bones might have been counted: “The Flesh was so torn away that the bones could be numbered.” Cornelius a Lapide says that in this torment Jesus Christ ought, naturally speaking, to have died; but He willed by His Divine power to keep Himself in life, in order to suffer yet greater pains for love of us; and St. Laurence Justinian had observed the same thing before: “He evidently ought to have died. Yet He reserved Himself unto life, it being His will to endure heavier sufferings.”

Ah, my most loving Lord, Thou art worthy of an infinite love; Thou hast suffered so much in order that I may love Thee. Oh, never permit me, instead of loving Thee, to offend or displease Thee more! Oh, what place in hell should there not be set apart for me, if, after having known the love that Thou hast borne towards such a wretch, I should damn myself, despising a God Who had suffered scorn, smitings, and scourgings for me; and Who had, moreover, after having so often offended Him, so mercifully pardoned me! Ah, my Jesus, let it not, oh, let it not be thus! O my God, how would the love and patience which Thou hast shown me be a torture for me in hell, another hell even yet more full of torments!

II.

Cruel in excess to our Redeemer was this torture of His scourging, in the first place, because of the great number of those by whom it was inflicted; who, as was revealed to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, were no fewer than sixty. And these, at the instigation of the devils, and even more so of the priests, who being afraid lest Pilate should, after this punishment, be minded to release the Lord, as he had already protested to them saying, I will therefore scourge him and let him go, aimed at taking away His life by means of the scourging. Again, all theologians agree with St. Bonaventure, that, for this purpose, the sharpest implements were selected, so that, as St. Anselm declares, every stroke produced a wound. Moreover, the number of the strokes amounted to several thousand, the flagellation being administered, as Father Crasset says, not after the manner of the Jews, for whom the Lord had forbidden that the number of strokes should ever exceed forty: Yet so, that they exceed not the number of forty; lest thy brother depart shamefully torn. (Deut. xxv. 3); but after the manner of the Romans, with whom there was no measure. And so it is related by Josephus, the Jew (who lived shortly after our Lord), that Jesus was torn in his scourging to such a degree that the bones of His ribs were laid bare; as it was also revealed by the most Holy Virgin to St. Bridget in these words “I, who was standing by, saw His body scourged to the very ribs, so that His ribs themselves might be seen. And what was even yet more bitter still, when the scourges were drawn back, His flesh was furrowed by them.” To St. Teresa, Jesus revealed Himself in His scourging; so that the Saint wished to have Him painted exactly as she had seen Him, and told the painter to represent a large piece of flesh torn off, and hanging down from the left elbow; but when the painter enquired as to the shape in which he ought to paint it, he found, on turning round again to his picture, the piece of flesh already drawn. Ah, my beloved and adored Jesus, how much hast Thou suffered for love of me! Oh, let not so many pangs, and so much Blood be lost for me!

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