AND WITH HIM THERE IS PLENTIFUL REDEMPTION (Ps. cxxix. 7).
Great had been the sin of man, but greater, the Apostle says, has been the gift of Redemption. Not as the offence so also the gift (Rom. v. 15). It was not only sufficient, but superabundant. And with him plentiful redemption. I love Thee, O infinite Goodness! I love Thee, O most lovable God!
Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem … for her evil is come to an end (Is. xl. 1, 2). The reason is, God Himself has discovered a way of saving man, while at the same time His justice and His mercy shall both be satisfied. Justice and peace have kissed (Ps. lxxxiv. 11). The Son of God has Himself become Man, has taken the form of a sinner. He appeared to take away our sins, says St. John (1 Jo. iii. 5). He presented Himself before His heavenly Father and offered Himself to pay for mankind; and then the Father sent Him on earth to take the appearance of sinful man, and to be made in all things like to sinners: God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. viii. 3). And St. Paul adds: And of sin condemned sin in the flesh (Ibid.).
God, therefore, in order to save mankind, and at the same time to satisfy the claims of His Justice, was pleased to condemn His own Son to a painful life, and a shameful death. And can this be true? Jesus Christ Himself affirms it: God so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son (Jo. iii. 16). What! a God condescends to love men, miserable worms, who have been rebellious and ungrateful towards Him; and to love them to such an extent as to give His only-begotten Son, One Whom He loved as much as Himself! Not a servant, not an Angel, not an Archangel, did He give, but His own Son! He gave Him to us lowly, poor, despised; He gave Him into the hands of slaves, to be treated as a miscreant, even to be put to death, covered with shame, on an infamous gibbet. O grace! O the strength of the love of God! exclaims St. Bernard.
O my Redeemer and my God, and who am I that Thou shouldst have loved me, and still continuest to love me so much! What hast Thou ever received from me that has obliged Thee so to love me? What, except slights and provocations, which were a reason for Thee to abandon me, and to banish me for ever from Thy face! But, O Lord, I accept of every penalty except this! Pardon me, O my beloved Infant, for I am sorry with my whole heart. O Mary, my Mother, thou art my hope and the refuge of sinners.
Say to the faint-hearted: Take courage and fear not … God Himself will come and will save you (Is. xxxv. 4). Be no longer in despair, O poor sinners! What fear can you have that you will not be pardoned when the Son of God comes down from Heaven to save you? If you cannot by your own works appease an offended God, behold One Who can appease Him! This very Infant Whom you now see reposing on straw, and weeping — He with His tears, propitiates Him. You have no grounds for being sad any more, says St. Leo, on account of the sentence of death fulminated against you, now that Life Itself is born for you — “nor is there any lawful reason for sadness when it is the Birthday of Life.” And St. Augustine: “O sweet day for penitents! today sin is taken away, and shall the sinner despair?” If you are unable to render due satisfaction to the divine justice, look on Jesus Who does penance for you. Already does He commence to do it in this little Cave, and He will persevere in doing penance all His life and finally bring it to an end only on the Cross to which, according to St. Paul, He affixed the decree of your condemnation cancelling it in His own Blood: Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross(Coloss. ii. 14).
Pardon me, O my beloved Infant, for I am sorry with my whole heart for every single displeasure I have given Thee. O Redeemer, and Redeemer again and again of my soul! my soul is now enamoured of Thee and loves Thee. Thou hast loved me above measure, so that, overcome by Thy love, I could no longer resist its winning appeals. I love Thee, then, O Infinite Goodness! I love Thee, O most lovable God! Do Thou never cease to enkindle more and more in my heart the flames and fiery darts of love. For Thy own glory cause Thyself to be greatly loved by one who has greatly offended Thee. O Mary, assist a poor sinner who desires to prove faithful to God. Help me to love Him and to love Him exceedingly.