Evening Meditations for the Seventeenth Tuesday After Pentecost~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST

I.

The bitterness we shall have to endure at the hour of death will be very great. Only Jesus Christ can give us constancy to suffer with patience and merit. Especially great then are the temptations of hell, which will strive with might and main to destroy us, seeing us near our end. Rinaldus relates that St. Eleazar, at the point of death, endured horrible attacks from the devils, after leading a most holy life, so that he said: “Great are the temptations of hell at this moment, but Jesus Christ, by the merits of His Passion, destroys all their power.” St. Francis directed that at the hour of his death the Passion should be read to him. In like manner, St. Charles Borromeo, seeing himself near death, had the representations of the instruments of the Passion brought to him, that in sight of these he might breathe out his blessed soul.

St. Paul writes that Jesus Christ chose to endure death, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who, through fear of death, were through their whole life subject to bondage. And he adds: Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren that he might become a merciful high-priest before God … For in that wherein he himself hath suffered and been tempted, he is able to succour them also that are tempted (Heb. ii. 17-18). Christ chose to take on Him all the circumstances and passions of human nature (except ignorance, concupiscence, and sin); and wherefore? That He might be merciful, and by taking on Himself our miseries, He might be more compassionate to us, because misery is much better known by experience than by reflection; and thus He became more ready to help us when we are tempted during life, and especially at the hour of death. To this the saying of St. Augustine refers: “If you are disturbed at the time of death, do not think yourself a castaway, nor give yourself up to despair; for Christ Himself was thus disturbed at the prospect of His own death.”

II.

At the hour of our death hell will put forth all its strength to make us distrust the Divine mercy, by placing before our eyes all the sins of our life; but the thought of the death of Jesus Christ will give us courage to trust in His merits, and not to fear death. St. Thomas on St. Paul’s words says: “Christ, by death, took away the fear of death, for when a man reflects that the Son of God chose to die, he does not fear death.” To the Gentiles death was an object of the greatest terror, because they thought that with death every blessing ceased; but the death of Jesus Christ gives us a firm hope that, dying in the grace of God, we shall pass from death to eternal life. Of this hope St. Paul gives us a sure confidence, saying that the Eternal Father did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; and how hath he not with him given us all things? (Rom. viii. 32). For in giving us Jesus Christ He gives us pardon, final perseverance, His love, a good death, eternal life, and every blessing.

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