CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
St. Bernard says that when we look upon the afflictions of our Lord, we shall find our own lighter to bear. And in another place he says: “What can be other than sweet to thee when thou takest to thyself all the bitterness of the Lord.” St. Eleazar, being one day asked by his good wife, Delphina, how he bore so many injuries with a calm mind, replied: “When I see myself injured I think on the injuries of my crucified Saviour, and cease not to think of them until I am calmed.” “Sweet is the ignominy of the Cross to him who is not ungrateful to the Crucified,” says St. Bernard.
To souls that wish to be grateful to Jesus Christ the contempt they receive is welcome. Who will not gladly embrace opprobrium and ill-treatment when he thinks of the ill-treatment Jesus endured in the commencement of His Passion, when, in the house of Caiphas, He was on that night struck with blows and stripes, spit upon in the face, and, with a cloth covering His eyes, derided as a false prophet?
And how did it ever happen that the Martyrs endured with such patience the torments of executioners? They were torn with irons, they were burned upon hot gratings. Were they not made of flesh and blood, or had they lost all sense? No; when the Martyr sees his blood, he thinks not of his own wounds but of those of his Redeemer; he does not feel pain — not that there is none, but for Jesus Christ’s sake it is despised. There is nothing so bitter, even in death, that it is not sweetened by the death of Christ.
The Apostle writes that through the merits of Jesus Christ we are all made rich. But Jesus Christ desires that in order to obtain the graces we need, we should ever have recourse to God in prayer, and beseech Him to hear us through the merits of His Son; and Jesus Himself promises that whatever we ask the Father in His Name He will give it to us. Thus did the Martyrs act; for when the pain of their torments was too sharp and bitter they went to God, and God gave them patience to endure. The Martyr St. Theodore, in the midst of all the cruelties inflicted on him, feeling at one time a most terrible torture from the balls of hot chalk the tyrant had put upon his wounds, besought Jesus Christ to give him strength to suffer, and thus remained conqueror, ending his life in torments.
We need not fear the attacks we have to endure from the world and from hell; if we take heed to have constant recourse to Jesus Christ with prayer, He will grant us every blessing and give us patience in all our labours, perseverance to the end, and a good death.