CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ, then, died for each one of us, in order that each one of us might live only to his Redeemer, Who died for love of us. Christ died for all, that they also who live may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again (2 Cor. v. 15). He that lives for himself directs all his desires, fears, and pains, and places all his happiness in himself. But he that lives to Jesus Christ places all his desires in loving and pleasing Jesus Christ; all his joys in gratifying Him; all his fears lest he should displease Him. He is only afflicted when he sees Jesus despised, and he rejoices only in seeing Him loved by others. This it is to live to Jesus Christ, and this He justly claims from us all. To win this from us He has offered all the pains He suffered for love of us.
Does He ask too much in this? No, says St. Gregory, He cannot ask too much when He has given such tokens of His love that He seems to have become a fool for our sake. Without reserve He has given Himself wholly for us; He has, therefore, a right to require that we should give ourselves wholly to Him, and fix all our love upon Him; and if we take from Him any portion of it, by loving anything either apart from Him or not for His sake, He has reason to complain of us; for then we do not love Him as we should.
If we love not Jesus Christ, we must love creatures. And, in comparison with Jesus Christ, what are creatures but worms of the earth, dust, smoke, and vanity? To St. Clement, Pope, was offered a heap of silver, gold, and gems, if he would renounce Jesus Christ; the Saint, however, gave only a sigh, and then exclaimed: “O my Jesus, Thou infinite Good! How dost Thou endure to be esteemed by men as less than the rubbish of this earth?” “No,” says St. Bernard, “it was not rashness which made the Martyrs encounter hot irons, nails, and the most cruel deaths; it was love for Jesus Christ, when they saw Him dead upon the Cross.” Behold the example of St. Mark and St. Marcellian who, when they were fastened with nails through their hands and feet, and were rebuked by the tyrants as fools for suffering so cruel a torment rather than renounce Jesus Christ, replied that they had never known greater delights than they then experienced when transfixed with these nails. And all Saints, in order to give pleasure to Jesus Christ Who was thus tormented and despised for our sake, gladly embrace poverty, persecutions, contempt, infirmities, pains and death. Souls betrothed to Jesus Christ upon the Cross know nothing more glorious to them than to bear the signs of the Crucified, which are His sufferings.