THE DESIRE OF GOD TO SAVE ALL MEN
I have loved thee with an everlasting love. And so God has from all eternity loved every human soul. It was for us and for our salvation He sent His only Son into the world to die upon the Cross. Alas, how often have I withdrawn myself from God and sold myself for a nothing to Satan, God’s enemy and my own!
It is, indeed, amazing that man, a worm of the earth, should dare to offend His Creator and turn his back upon Him, by despising His graces after God has so favoured and loved him as to lay down His life to save him. But it is still more surprising that God, after having been thus despised by man, should seek after him, invite him to repentance and offer him pardon, as though God stood in need of us and not we of God.
O Jesus, Thou seekest me, and I seek after Thee. Thou desirest me, and I desire only Thee.
For Christ, says the Apostle, we beseech you, be reconciled to God (2 Cor. v. 20). “And does God,” exclaims St. Chrysostom, “call thus upon sinners? And what does He ask of them? That they be reconciled, and in peace with Him.”
My Redeemer, Jesus Christ, how couldst Thou have had so much love for me, who have so often offended Thee? I detest all my offences against Thee; give me still greater grief, still greater love, that I may deplore my sins, not so much on account of the punishments I have deserved by them, as for the injury I have offered to Thee, my God, Who art infinitely good and amiable.
What is man, exclaims holy Job, that thou shouldst magnify him? Or why dost thou set thy heart upon him? (Job vii. 17).
What good, O Lord, hast Thou ever derived from me? And what canst Thou expect from me, that Thou lovest me so much, and comest so near to me? Hast Thou, then, forgotten all the injuries and treasons I have committed against Thee? But since Thou hast so much loved me, I, a miserable worm, must also love Thee, my Creator and my Redeemer. Yes, I do love Thee, my God; I love Thee with my whole heart; I love Thee more than myself, and because I love Thee I will do everything to please Thee. Thou knowest that nothing is so grievous to me as the remembrance of my having so often despised Thy love. I hope for the future to be able to compensate by my love for the frequent displeasure which I have given Thee. Help me for the sake of that Precious Blood Thou hast shed for me. Help me also, O holy Mary, for the love of thy Son Who died for me.