REFLECTIONS AND AFFECTIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself…and follow me. (Matt. xvi. 24). Since, then, O my Redeemer, Thou dost go before me with Thy Cross, innocent as Thou art, and dost invite me to follow Thee with mine, go forward, for I will not abandon Thee. If, in time past, I have abandoned Thee, I confess that I have done wrong. Give me now what Thou wilt, embracing it, as I do, whatsoever it be, and willing, as I am, to accompany Thee with it even unto death: Let us go forth from the camp, bearing his reproach. (Heb. xiii. 13). And how, O Lord, can it be possible for us not to love sufferings and shame for Thy love, Who for our salvation didst love them so much!
But since Thou dost invite us to follow Thee, yea, it is our wish to follow Thee and to die with Thee: give us only the strength to carry it out. This strength we ask of Thee, and hope for, by Thy merits. I love Thee, O my most lovely Jesus, I love Thee with all my soul, and I will never abandon Thee more; enough for me has been the time in which I have gone astray from Thee. Bind me now to Thy Cross. If I have despised Thy love, I repent of it with all my heart; and I now prize it above every good.
Ah, my Jesus, and who am I that Thou wishest to have me as a follower of Thine, and commandest me to love Thee, and if I will not love Thee, threatenest me with hell? And why, I will say to Thee with St. Augustine, shouldst Thou hold out to me that threat of eternal miseries? For what greater misery could befall me than that of not loving Thee, O most lovely God, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Paradise, my All? I see that, as a just chastisement for my offences against Thee, I have justly deserved to be condemned to the inability of ever loving Thee more; but because Thou dost still love me, Thou dost continue to command me to love Thee, evermore repeating to my heart, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” I thank Thee, O my Love, for this sweet precept; and in order to obey Thee, I do love Thee with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind. I repent of not having loved Thee in time past. At this moment I would rather choose to undergo every suffering than live without loving Thee, and I purpose evermore to seek Thy love. Help me, O my Jesus, to be ever making acts of love towards Thee, and to depart out of this life while making an act of love, that so I may come to love Thee, face to face, in Paradise, where I shall ever after love Thee without imperfection and without interruption, with all my powers, for all eternity.
O Mother of God, pray for me. Amen.