FRUITS OF THE DEATH OF JESUS.
St. John writes that our Saviour, in order to make His disciples understand the death He was to suffer upon the Cross, said: And I, if I be lifted up from, the earth, will draw all things to myself. Now this he said, signifying what death he should die. (Jo. xii. 32).
And, in fact, by exhibiting Himself crucified and dead, how many souls has Jesus drawn to Himself, so that they have left all to give themselves up entirely to His Divine love. Ah, my Jesus, draw my soul to Thyself, which was one time lost; draw it by the chains of Thy love, so that it may forget the world, to think of nothing else but of loving and pleasing Thee. Draw me after thee by the odour of thine ointments.
O my Lord, Thou knowest my weakness and the offences that I have committed against Thee. Draw me out of the mire of my passions; draw all my affections to Thyself, so that I may attend to nothing but Thy pleasure only, O my God, most lovely! Hear me, O Lord, by the merits of Thy death, and make me wholly Thine.
St. Leo tells us that he who looks with confidence upon Jesus dead upon the Cross is healed of the wounds caused by his sins. “They who with Faith behold the death of Christ are healed from the wounds of sin.” Every Christian, therefore, should keep Jesus crucified always before his eyes, and say with St. Paul, I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Cor. 2). In short, the Apostle says that he did not desire any other knowledge in this world than that of knowing how to love Jesus Christ crucified. My beloved Saviour, to obtain for me a good death, Thou hast chosen a death so full of pain and desolation! I cast myself into the arms of Thy mercy. I see that many years ago I ought to have been in hell, separated from Thee for ever, for having at one time despised Thy grace; but Thou hast called me to penance, and I hope hast pardoned me; but if through my fault Thou hast not yet pardoned me, pardon me now. I repent, O my Jesus, with my heart, for having turned my back upon Thee, and driven Thee from my soul. Restore me to Thy grace. But that is not enough: give me strength to love Thee with all my soul during my whole life. And when I come to the hour of my death, let me expire burning with love for Thee, and saying: My Jesus, I love Thee! My Jesus, I love Thee! and thus continue to love Thee for all eternity. From this moment I unite my death to Thy holy death, through which I hope for my salvation. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped; I shall not be confounded forever. (Ps. xxx. 2).
O great Mother of God, thou after Jesus art my hope. In thee, O Lady have I hoped; I shall not be confounded forever.
O devout souls, when the devil wishes to make us distrustful about our salvation by the remembrance of our past sins, let us lift up our eyes to Jesus dead upon the Cross, in order to deliver us from eternal death. After a God has made us know, by means of the holy Faith, the desire He has had for our salvation, having even sacrificed His life for us, if we are resolved really to love Him for the rest of our lives, cost what it may, we should be on our guard against any weakness of confidence in His mercy. After He has given us so many signs of His love for us, and of His desire for our salvation, it is a kind of sin against Him not to put our whole confidence and hope in His goodness.
Full, then, of holy confidence, let us hope for every good from the hands of a God so liberal and so loving; and at the same time let us give ourselves to Him without reserve, and thus pray to Him: O Eternal God, we are sinners, but Thou Who art Almighty canst make us Saints; grant that henceforth we may neglect nothing that we know to be for Thy glory, and may do all to please Thee. Blessed shall we be if we lose all to gain Thee, the Infinite Good. Grant that we may spend the remainder of our lives in pleasing Thee alone. Punish us as Thou wilt for our past sins, but deliver us from the chastisement of not being able to love Thee; deprive us of all things save Thyself. Thou hast loved us without reserve; and we also will love Thee without reserve, O Infinite Love, O Infinite Good! O Virgin Mary, draw us wholly to God; thou canst do so; do so for the love thou hast for Jesus Christ.