Morning Meditations for Easter Friday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Morning Meditation

“THE CLEFTS OF THE ROCK.”

Oh, what a safe place of refuge shall we not find in the sacred “clefts of the rock,” that is to say, in the Wounds of Jesus Christ? “The clefts of the rock,” says St. Peter Damian, “are the Redeemer’s Wounds; in these my soul has placed its hope.”

I.

There is no means which can more surely kindle in us Divine love than to consider the Passion of Jesus Christ. St. Bonaventure says that the Wounds of Jesus Christ, because they are Wounds of love, are darts which wound hearts the most hard, and flames which set on fire souls the most cold: “O Wounds, wounding stony hearts, and inflaming frozen minds!” It is impossible that a soul which believes and thinks on the Passion of the Lord should offend Him and not love Him, nay, rather that it should not run into a holy madness of love, at seeing a God as it were mad for love of us: “We have seen,” says St. Laurence Justinian, “Wisdom infatuated by too much love.” Hence it is that the Gentiles, as the Apostle says, when hearing him preach the Passion of Jesus crucified, thought it a folly: We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews indeed a scandal, but to the Gentiles foolishness (1 Cor. i. 23). How is it possible, said they, that a God, almighty and most happy, such as He Who is preached to us, could have been wiling to die for His creatures?

Ah, my Jesus, if I gaze upon Thy body, without I see only Wounds and Blood. If within in Thy Heart, I find nothing but bitterness and anguish which make Thee suffer the agonies of death. Ah, God enamoured of men, how is it possible that goodness so great, and such a love, should remain so badly corresponded to by men? It is wont to be said that love is repaid by love; but Thy love — with what manner of love can it be ever repaid? It would be necessary that a God should die for Thee to make recompense for the love which Thou hast borne towards us in dying for us. O Cross, O Wounds, O Death of Jesus, you bind me closely to love my loving Jesus!

II.

Behold your Redeemer expiring, and with His dying breath saying: It is consummated (John xix. 30). As if He had said: O men, all has been completed and done for your redemption. Love Me, then, since I have nothing more that I can do to make you love Me. My soul, look up at thy Jesus Who is now going to die. Look at those eyes growing dim, that face grown pale, that Heart which is beating with languid pulse, that Body which is now abandoning itself to death: and look at that beautiful Soul which is just on the point of forsaking that Sacred Body. The heavens are darkened, the earth trembles, the sepulchres are opened; signs that now the Maker of the world is about to die. Lo, at last, Jesus, after having commended His Blessed Soul to His Father, first giving a deep sigh from His afflicted Heart, and then bowing His head in sign of the offering of His life, which at this moment He renewed for our salvation, at length, by the violence of His sorrow, expires and renders up His Spirit into the hands of His beloved Father.

Approach, my soul, to this holy Cross. Embrace the feet of thy dead Saviour, and think that He is dead through the love which He bore to thee. Ah, my Jesus, to what has Thy affection towards me reduced Thee? And who, more than I, has enjoyed the fruits of Thy death? Make me, I beseech Thee, understand what love that must have been that a God should die for me, to the end that from this day forth I may love none other than Thee. I love Thee, O greatest Good; O true Lover of my soul, into Thy hands I here commend it. I beseech Thee, by the merits of Thy death, make me to die to all earthly loves, in order that I may love Thee alone, Who art alone worthy of all my love. Mary, my hope, pray to Jesus for me.

Hail, Jesus, our Love, and Mary, our hope!

“O riven Heart, O Love for me now crucified! Give to my soul repose within Thy wounded side!”

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