JESUS OFFERED HIMSELF FOR OUR SALVATION FROM THE BEGINNING.
He was offered because it was his own will (Is. liii. 7).
The divine Word, from the first instant that He was made Man and an Infant in Mary’s womb, offered Himself of His own accord to suffer and to die for the ransom of the world: He was offered because it was his own will (Is. liii. 7). He knew that all the sacrifices of goats and bulls offered to God in times past had not been able to satisfy for the sins of men, but that it required a divine Person to pay the price of their redemption; wherefore He said, as the Apostle tells us: When he cometh into the world he saith: Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldst not, but a body thou hast fitted to me … Then said I: Behold, I come (Heb. x. 5). “My Father,” said Jesus, “all the victims hitherto offered to Thee have not sufficed, nor could they suffice, to satisfy Thy justice; Thou hast given Me this passible body, in order that by shedding my Blood I might appease Thee and save men: Behold, I come — here I am ready, I accept everything, and I submit myself in everything to Thy will.”
My Lord, ever since I began to have the use of reason, I began to despise Thy grace and Thy love. Nevertheless Thou hast borne with me, because Thou still dost love me. I fled from Thee, and Thou dost follow me and call me. The very same love that made Thee come down from Heaven to seek the lost sheep, has caused Thee to bear with me, and not to forsake me. My Jesus, Thou seekest me now, and I seek Thee. I feel that Thy grace is assisting me: it assists me by giving me sorrow for my sins, which I abhor above every other evil; it assists me by making me feel a great desire to love Thee and to please Thee. Yes, my Lord, I will love Thee and please Thee as much as I can. On the one hand I feel afraid, it is true, at the thought of my frailty and the weakness which I have contracted by my sins; but greater is the confidence which Thy grace gives me, making me hope in Thy merits; so that I say, with great courage: I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me (Phil. iv. 13). If I am weak Thou wilt give me strength against my enemies: if I am infirm, I hope that Thy Blood will be my medicine; if I am a sinner, I hope Thou wilt make me holy. I know that I have hitherto contributed to my own ruin, because I have neglected, in times of danger, to have recourse to Thee. But from this day forth, my Jesus and my Hope, I will always have recourse to Thee; and from Thee I hope for every assistance and every good.
In Jesus the inferior part felt repugnance towards a life of suffering and a death so full of pain and shame; but the rational part, which was entirely subordinate to the will of His Father, conquered and accepted everything; and Jesus began from the Incarnation to suffer all the anguish and sorrows that He would have to suffer all the years of His life. Thus did our Redeemer act from the very first moment of His entrance into the world. But, O God, how have we conducted ourselves towards Jesus since we began as adults to know by the light of Faith the Sacred Mysteries of Redemption? What thoughts, what designs, what goods have we loved? Pleasures, amusements, vanities, resentments, sensuality — these are the things that have engrossed the affections of our hearts. But if we have Faith, we must now at last change our lives and change our affections. Let us love a God Who has suffered so much for us. Let us place before ourselves the sufferings which the Heart of Jesus endured for us, even from His Infancy; for then we shall not be able to love anything else but this Heart which has loved us so much.
O my Jesus, now I love Thee above all things, and I will love none but Thee. In pity help me, through the merit of all those sufferings which from Thy infancy Thou hast endured for me. Eternal Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ accept my love. If I have provoked Thee let the tears of the Infant Jesus, Who is praying for me, appease Thy wrath: Look on the face of thy Christ (Ps. lxxxiii. 10). I do not deserve favours, but this Thy innocent Son deserves them, and offers Thee a life of sufferings, in order that Thou mayst be merciful to me. And thou, O Mother of mercy, Mary, cease not to intercede for me. Thou knowest how much I confide in thee; and I well know that thou dost not forsake him that has recourse to thee.