JESUS DEAD UPON THE CROSS
O Christian, lift up your eyes, and behold your Jesus dead on the gibbet of the Cross. Look at His body full of wounds and streams of blood flowing. Faith teaches you that He is your Creator, your Saviour, your Life, your Deliverer; and that He, Whose love for you exceeds the love of all others, is the only Being that can make you happy.
Yes, my Jesus, I believe it; Thou hast loved me from eternity, without any merit of mine; and even with the foreknowledge of my constant ingratitude, Thou hast, through Thine own goodness, given me existence. Thou art my Saviour, Who, by Thy death, hast delivered me from hell, which I have so often deserved. Thou art my Life, by the grace Thou hast given me, without which I should have remained dead in hell. Thou art my Father, and a loving Father, Who hast pardoned me with so much mercy the many insults I have offered Thee. Thou art my Treasure, enriching me with so many lights and favours, instead of chastising me as I deserved. Thou art my Hope, for I can hope for no good from any one but from Thee. Thou art my true and only Lover; it is enough to say that Thou hast even died for me. In fine, Thou art my God, my sovereign Good, my All.
O men! O men! let us love Jesus Christ! Let us love a God Who sacrificed Himself entirely for the love of us. He has sacrificed the honours which were due to Him on this earth; He has sacrificed all the riches and pleasures He could have enjoyed, and was content to lead an abject life in poverty and tribulations; and finally in order to atone by His sufferings for our sins, He has voluntarily sacrificed His blood and His life, dying in an ocean of sorrows and ignominies.
Son, exclaims the Redeemer from the Cross to each of us — son, what more could I do than die for you, in order to gain your love? See if any one in this world has loved you more than I, your Lord and God, have loved you. Love Me, then, at least in return for the love which I have borne you.
Ah, my Jesus, how can I remember that my sins have made Thee die through pain on an infamous gibbet, and not weep unceasingly for having thus despised Thy love? And how can I behold Thee hanging on this Cross for my sake, and not love Thee with all my power?
But, O Lord, how does it happen that Thou hast died for all, that no one might live any longer to himself, and that afterwards, instead of living only to love Thee and give Thee glory, I have lived only to afflict and dishonour Thee? 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).
Ah, my crucified Lord, forget the insults I have offered Thee; I am sincerely sorry for them: draw me, by Thy grace, entirely to Thyself. I wish to live no longer to myself, but only to Thee, Who hast loved me so tenderly, and Who dost merit all my love. I give Thee myself and all that I possess, without reserve. I renounce all the honours and pleasures of this life, and I offer myself to suffer for Thy sake whatsoever Thou pleasest. I entreat Thee, Who dost give me this good will, to grant me strength to execute it. O Lamb of God, immolated on the Cross, O Victim of love, O enamoured God, would that I could die for Thee as Thou hast died for me!
O Mary, Mother of God, obtain for me the grace to sacrifice all the remaining hours of my life to the love of thy most amiable Son.