REFLECTIONS AND AFFECTIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
We read in history that several penitents, being enlightened by Divine light to see the malice of their sins, died of pure sorrow for them. Oh, what torment, then, must not the Heart of Jesus endure at the sight of all the sins of the world, all the blasphemies, sacrileges, acts of impurity, and all the other crimes which would be committed by men after His death, every one of which, like a wild beast, tore His Heart separately by its own malice! Wherefore our afflicted Lord, during His Agony in the Garden, exclaimed: Is this, therefore, O men, the reward that you render Me for My immeasurable love? Oh, if I could only see that, grateful for My affection, you gave up sin and began to love Me, with what delight should I not hasten to die for you! But to behold, after all My sufferings, so many sins; after so much love, such ingratitude–this is what afflicts Me the most, makes Me sorrowful even unto death, and makes Me sweat pure Blood: And his sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground. (Luke xxii. 44). So that, according to the Evangelist, this Bloody Sweat was so copious, that it first drenched all the vestments of our Blessed Redeemer, and then came forth in streams and bathed the ground.
Ah, my loving Jesus, I do not behold in this Garden either scourges or thorns or nails that pierce Thee; how, then, is it that I see Thee all bathed in Blood from Thy head to Thy feet? Alas, my sins were the cruel press which, by dint of affliction and sorrow, forced so much Blood from Thy Heart. I was, then, one of Thy most cruel executioners, who contributed the most to crucify Thee with my sins. It is certain that, if I had sinned less, Thou, my Jesus, wouldst have suffered less. As much pleasure, therefore, as I have taken in offending Thee, so much the more did I increase the sorrow of Thy Heart, already full of anguish. How, then, does not this thought make me die of grief, when I see that I have repaid the love Thou hast shown me in Thy Passion by adding to Thy sorrow and suffering! I, then, have tormented this Heart, so loving and so worthy of love, which has shown so much love to me. My Lord, since I have now no other means left of consoling Thee than to weep over my offences towards Thee, I will now, my Jesus, sorrow for them and lament over them with my whole heart. Oh, give me, I pray Thee, as great sorrow for them as may make me to my last breath weep over the displeasure I have caused Thee, my God, my Love, my All.
He fell upon his face. (Matt. xxvi. 39). Jesus, beholding Himself charged with the burden of satisfying for all the sins of the world, prostrated Himself, with His face on the ground, to pray for men, as if He were ashamed to raise His eyes towards Heaven, loaded as He was with such iniquities. O my Redeemer, I behold Thee pale and worn out with sorrow; Thou art in the agony of death, and Thou dost pray: And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. (Luke xxii. 43). Tell me, my Saviour, for whom dost Thou pray? Ah, Thou didst not pray so much for Thyself at that hour as for me; Thou didst offer to Thy Eternal Father Thy all-powerful prayers, united to Thy sufferings, to obtain for me, a wretched sinner, the pardon of my sins: Who, in the days of his flesh with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence. (Heb. v. 7). O my beloved Redeemer, how is it possible that Thou couldst love so much one who has so grievously offended Thee? How couldst Thou embrace such sufferings for me, foreseeing, as Thou didst, all the ingratitude of which I should be guilty towards Thee?
O my afflicted Lord, make me share in that sorrow which Thou didst then have for my sins. I abhor them at this present moment, and I unite this my hatred to the horror that Thou didst feel for them in the Garden. O my Saviour, look not upon my sins; for hell itself would not be sufficient to expiate them, but look upon the sufferings that Thou hast endured for me! O love of my Jesus, Thou art my Love and my Hope. O my Lord, I love Thee with my whole soul, and will always love Thee. I beseech Thee, through the merits of that weariness and sadness which Thou didst endure in the Garden, give me fervour and courage in all works that may contribute to Thy glory. Through the merits of Thy Agony, grant me Thy assistance to resist all the temptations of the flesh and of hell. My God, grant me the grace always to commend myself to Thee, and always to repeat to Thee, with Jesus Christ: Not as I will, but as thou willest. May Thy Divine will, not mine, be ever done. Amen.