CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
It is clear how unjustly the Jews refused to recognise Jesus as the true Messias because He died so shameful a death. They do not perceive that if, instead of dying as a malefactor upon the Cross, Jesus Christ had died a death accounted honourable and glorious by men, He would not have been that Messias Who was promised by God and predicted by the Prophets, who, so many ages before, had foretold that our Redeemer should die loaded with insults: He shall give his cheek to the smiter, he shall be overwhelmed with insults (Lam. iii. 30). All these humiliations, and all the sufferings of Jesus Christ, already foretold by the Prophets, were not understood even by His disciples until after His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven: These things his disciples did not understand at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of him (Jo. xii. 16).In a word, by the Passion of Jesus Christ, which was accompanied by so great sufferings and so great ignominy, that which David wrote was fulfilled: Justice and peace have kissed (Ps. lxxxiv. 11). They kissed each other, because, by the merits of Jesus Christ, men obtained peace with God, while, at the same time, the Divine justice was more than abundantly satisfied by the death of the Redeemer. We say, more than abundantly, because to save us, it was not actually necessary that Jesus Christ should endure so many sufferings and insults. One single drop of Blood, one single prayer, would have been sufficient to save the whole world; while, in order to strengthen our hopes, and to inflame our love, Jesus Christ thought fit that our redemption should not only be sufficient, but more than abundant, as David foretold: Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plentiful redemption (Ps. cxxix. 6, 7).O Jesus, Infinite Goodness, I deserved to continue blind, and Thou hast enlightened me with new light; I deserved to continue still more hardened, and Thou hast given me tenderness and compunction; wherefore I now abhor the offences I have committed against Thee more than death, and I feel a great desire to love Thee. These graces, which I have received from Thee, assure me that Thou hast now pardoned me, and desirest to save me. O my Jesus, who could cease to love Thee henceforth, or could love anything apart from Thee? I love Thee, O my Jesus, and I trust in Thee; increase in me this confidence and this love, that henceforth I may forget everything, and think of nothing but loving Thee and giving Thee pleasure.O Mary, Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of being faithful to thy Son and my Redeemer.
When speaking in the person of the Messias, Job said: O that my sins … and the calamity that I suffer were weighed in a balance. As the sand of the sea this would appear heavier (Job vi. 2, 3). Here Jesus, by the mouth of Job, calls our sins His sins, because He had bound Himself to make satisfaction for us, in order to make His justice ours, as St. Augustine expresses it. On this account the gloss upon the text quoted from Job contains this remark: “In the balance of the Divine justice the Passion of Christ outweighs the sins of human nature.” All the lives of men would not have been sufficient to make satisfaction for a single sin; but the pains of Jesus Christ have paid for all our sins: He is the propitiation of our sins (1 Jo. ii. 2). Therefore, St. Laurence Justinian encourages every sinner who truly repents to hope confidently for pardon through the merits of Jesus Christ, saying to them: “Measure thy sins by the afflictions of Christ the Sufferer”; meaning thereby to say: “O sinner, measure not thy guilt by thy contrition, for all thy works cannot obtain thee pardon; measure it by the pains of Jesus Christ, and from them hope for pardon, for thy Redeemer hath abundantly paid thy debt.”O Saviour of the world, in Thy flesh, torn with scourgings, with thorns, and with nails, I comprehend the love Thou hast borne me, and my ingratitude in having so injured Thee after such love; but Thy Blood is my hope, for, with the price of Thy Blood, Thou hast redeemed me from hell as often as I have deserved it. O God, what would become of me through all eternity if Thou hadst not determined to save me by Thy death! Miserable man that I am, I knew full well that, by losing Thy grace, I condemned myself to live forever in despair, and far from Thee in hell; and yet I repeatedly dared to turn my back upon Thee. But still I will ever say, Thy Blood is my hope. Oh, that I had died and not offended Thee!