THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.
XX.-HOW MUCH WE ARE OBLIGED TO LOVE JESUS CHRIST.
No one teaches us so well the real characteristics and practice of Charity as the great preacher of Charity, St. Paul. In his First Epistle to the Corinthians he says, in the first place, that without Charity man is nothing, and that nothing profits him: It I should have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing -(1 Cor. xiii. 2, 3). So that even should a person have Faith strong enough to remove mountains, like St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, but had not Charity, it would profit him nothing. Should he give all his goods to the poor, and even willingly suffer Martyrdom, but be wanting in Charity-should he do it, that is, for any other end than that of pleasing God, it would profit him nothing at all.
O most lovely and most loving Heart of Jesus, miserable is the heart which does not love Thee! 0 God. for the love of men Thou didst die on the Cross, helpless and forsaken, and how then can men live so forgetful of Thee!
O love of God! 0 ingratitude of man! 0 men, 0 men! do but cast one look on the innocent Son of God, agonising on the Cross and dying for you, in order to satisfy the Divine justice for your sins, and by this means to allure you to love Him. Observe how, at the same time.
He prays His Eternal Father to forgive you. Behold Him, and love Him! Ah, my Jesus, how small is the number of those that love Thee! Wretched, too, am I, for I also have lived so many years unmindful of Thee. and have grievously offended Thee, my beloved Redeemer! It is not so much the punishment I have deserved that makes me weep, as the love which Thou hast borne me.
St. Paul gives us the marks of true Charity, and at the same time teaches us the practice of those virtues which are the daughters of Charity; and he goes on to says: Charity is patient, is kind; charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up, is not ambitious; seeketh not her own; is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in inquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things-(l Cor. xiii.). Let us, therefore, consider these holy practices, that we may thus see if the love which we owe to Jesus Christ truly reigns within us; as likewise that we may understand in what virtues we should chiefly exercise ourselves, in order to persevere and advance in this holy love.
O sorrows of Jesus! 0 ignominies of Jesus! 0 Wounds of Jesus! 0 death of Jesus! 0 love of Jesus! Rest deeply engraved in my heart, and may your sweet recollection be for ever fixed there, to wound me and inflame me continually with His love. I love Thee, my Jesus; I love Thee, my sovereign Good; I love Thee, my Love and my All; I love Thee, and I will love Thee for ever. Oh, suffer me never more to forsake Thee, never more to lose Thee! Make me entirely Thine; do so by the merits of Thy death. In this I firmly trust. And I have a great confidence also in thy intercession, 0 Mary, my Queen; make me love Jesus Christ, and make me also love thee, my Mother and my hope!