Evening Meditations for the Thirteenth Tuesday After Pentecost~ St Alphonsus Liguori

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Evening Meditation



St. John writes: Afterwards Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst! (Jo. xix. 28). Scripture here refers to the words of David: They gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (Ps. lxviii. 22).

Most severe was this bodily thirst which Jesus Christ endured on the Cross through loss of Blood, first in the Garden, and afterwards in the Hall of Judgment, at His scourging and crowning with thorns; and lastly upon the Cross, where four streams of Blood gushed forth from the Wounds of His pierced hands and feet as from four fountains. But far more terrible was His spiritual thirst, that is, His ardent desire to save all mankind and to suffer still more for us, as Blosius says, in order to show us His love. On this St. Laurence Justinian writes: “This thirst came from the ardour of His charity.”

O my Jesus, Thou hast thus desired to suffer for me; and I, when my sufferings at all increase, become so impatient that I am insupportable both to others and to myself. O my Jesus, through the merits of Thy patience, make me patient and resigned in the sicknesses and crosses which befall me; make me like unto Thyself before I die.


Jesus, drawing nigh unto death, said: Sitio — I thirst!  Tell me, Lord, says Leo of Ostia, for what dost Thou thirst? Thou makest no mention of those immense pains Thou dost suffer upon the Cross; but Thou complainest only of thirst: “Lord, what dost Thou thirst for? Thou art silent about the Cross, and criest out about the thirst.” “My thirst is for your salvation,” is the reply which St. Augustine makes for Jesus. O soul, says Jesus, this thirst of Mine is nothing but the desire I have for thy salvation. Yes, the loving Redeemer, with extremest ardour, desired our souls, and therefore He panted to give Himself wholly to us by His death. This was His thirst, wrote St. Laurence Justinian: “He thirsted for us, and desired to give Himself to us.” St. Basil of Seleucia says, moreover, that Jesus Christ, in saying that He thirsted, would give us to understand that He, for the love which He bore us, was dying with the desire of suffering for us even more than what He had suffered: “O that desire of His, greater than the Passion!”

O most lovely God, because Thou lovest us, Thou dost desire that we should desire Thee! “God thirsts to be thirsted for,” as St. Gregory says. Ah, my Lord, dost Thou thirst for me, most vile worm that I am? And shall I not thirst for Thee, my infinite God? Oh, by the merits of this thirst endured upon the Cross, give me a great thirst to love Thee, and to please Thee in all things. Thou hast promised to grant us whatever we seek from Thee: Ask, and ye shall receive (Jo. xvi. 24). I ask of Thee but this one gift — the gift of loving Thee. I am, indeed, unworthy of it; but in this has to be the glory of Thy Blood, — the turning of a heart into a great lover of Thee, a heart which at one time, so greatly despised Thee; to make a perfect flame of charity of a sinner who is altogether full of mire and of sins. Much more than this hast Thou done in dying for me. Would that I could love Thee, O Lord infinitely good, as much as Thou dost deserve! I delight in the love that is borne Thee by the souls that are enamoured of Thee, and still more in the love Thou bearest towards Thyself. With this I unite my own wretched love. I love Thee, O Eternal God; I love Thee O infinite Loveliness. Make me ever to increase in Thy love, repeating frequent acts of love of Thee, and striving to please Thee in everything, without intermission and without reserve. Make me, wretched and insignificant though I am, make me at least to be all Thine own.

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