God has loved man from all eternity: I have loved thee with an everlasting love (Jer. xxxi. 3). St. Bernard says that before the Incarnation of the Word the Divine Power appeared in creating the world, and the Divine Wisdom in governing it, but when the Son of God became Man, then was made manifest the Love which God had for men. And, in fact, after seeing Jesus Christ accept so afflicted a life and so painful a death, we would be offering Him an insult if we doubted the great love which He bears us.
Meditations for every day of the year by Bishop ✠Richard Challoner
The holy Patriarch of Constantinople received his surname “Chrysostom (golden mouth)” because he was the most eloquent preacher and the most prolific writer of the Greek Church. He was persecuted by the empress Eudoxia and her courtiers. He died in exile A.D. 407…
St. Arcadius was a native of Africa, and most probably suffered Martyrdom in Caesarea (at present Cherchell, a small village in the province of Mascara, in Algiers), the capital of Mauritania. A furious persecution was raging — during which the Christians were cruelly dragged before the idols to sacrifice. Arcadius withdrew to a solitary place, where he employed his time in fasting and prayer. Meanwhile as he did not appear at the public sacrifices, soldiers were despatched to surprise him in his house, but not finding him, they arrested one of his relatives in order to make him discover the retreat of his kinsman.
“MY SOUL IS SORROWFUL UNTO DEATH.”
The grief of the Heart of Jesus came, not on account of the torments He saw He should have to suffer, but from seeing the sins men would commit after His death. It was the sight of my sins that oppressed Thy Heart, O Jesus, and made Thee agonize and sweat Blood. This is the recompense I have made Thee!
My soul is sorrowful even unto death (Matt. xxvi. 38). These were the words that proceeded from the sorrowful Heart of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemani before He went to die. Alas, whence came this extreme grief of His, which was so great that it was enough to take away His life? Perhaps it was on account of the torments that He saw He would have to suffer? No, for He had foreseen these torments from the time of His Incarnation. He had foreseen them, and had accepted them of His own free will: He was offered because it was his own will (Is. liii. 7). His grief came from seeing the sins men would commit after His death. It was then, according to St. Bernardine of Sienna, that He saw clearly each particular sin of each one of us. He had regard to every individual sin.
It was not, then, my Jesus, the sight of the scourges, of the thorns, and of the Cross which so afflicted Thee in the Garden of Gethsemani, — it was the sight of my sins! Each one of them so oppressed Thy Heart with grief and sadness that it made Thee agonize and sweat Blood. This is the recompense I have made Thee for the love Thou hast shown me by dying for me. Ah, let me share the grief Thou didst feel in the Garden for my sins, so that the remembrance of it may make me sorrowful all my life. Ah, my sweet Redeemer, if I could but console Thee as much now by my grief and love as I then afflicted Thee! I repent, my Love, with all my heart for having preferred my own miserable satisfaction to Thee. I am sorry and I love Thee above all things. Although I have despised Thee, yet I hear Thee ask for my love. Thou wouldst have me love Thee with all my heart: Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (Matt. xxii. 37). Yes, my God, I love Thee with all my heart, I love Thee with all my soul. Do Thou give me the love Thou requirest of me. If I have hitherto sought myself, I will now seek none but Thee. And seeing that Thou hast loved me more than others, more than others will I love Thee. Draw me always more and more, my Jesus, to Thy love by the odour of Thine ointments, which are the loving attractions of Thy grace. Finally, give me strength to correspond to so much love which God has borne to an ungrateful worm and traitor. Mary, Mother of Mercy, help me by thy prayers.
Neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. ix. 12).
And of what worth would the blood of all goats or even of all men be, if they were sacrificed to obtain Divine grace for us? It is only the Blood of this Man-God would merit for us pardon and eternal salvation. But if God Himself had not devised this way to redeem us, as He did by dying to save us, who ever would have been able to think of it? His love alone designed it and executed it. Therefore holy Job did well to cry out to this God Who loves man so much: What is man that thou shouldst magnify him? or why dost thou set thy heart upon him? (Job vii. 17). Ah, my Jesus, one heart is but little with which to love Thee. If I loved Thee even with the hearts of all men, it would be too little. What ingratitude, then, would it be if I were to divide my heart between Thee and creatures! No, my Love, Thou wouldst have it all, and well dost Thou deserve it; I will give it all to Thee. If I do not know how to give it Thee as I ought, take it Thyself, and grant that I may be able to say to Thee with truth: Thou art the God of my heart (Ps. lxxii. 26). Ah, my Redeemer, by the merits of the abject and afflicted life that Thou didst will to live for me, give me true humility which will make me love contempt and an obscure life. May I lovingly embrace all infirmities, affronts, persecutions and interior sufferings, and all the crosses which may come to me from Thy hands. Let me love Thee, and then dispose of me as Thou wilt. O loving Heart of my Jesus, make me love Thee by discovering to me the immense Good that Thou art. Make me all Thine before I die. I love Thee, my Jesus, Who art worthy to be loved. I love Thee with all my heart; I love Thee with all my soul.
By our sins we also contributed to embitter with affliction the whole life of our Saviour. But let us thank His goodness in giving us time to remedy the evil which has been done.
Meditations for every day of the year by Bishop ✠Richard Challoner
Saint Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was a disciple of Saint John. He wrote to the Philippians, exhorting them to mutual love and to hatred of heresy..
St. Gordius who was born in the Third Century, followed the military profession, and obtained the rank of centurion, or captain. St. Basil the Great, who wrote a homily in praise of this Saint, relates that at the time of his Martyrdom there was a great persecution of the Christians at Caesarea. In the public squares idols of wood and stone were exposed, and those who refused to sacrifice to them were tortured and put to death. The consternation of the faithful was very great, for their houses were, with impunity, sacked by the idolaters, the prisons filled with Christians, and while the churches were deserted, the woods and mountains were peopled with the fugitives.
How ardently shall we desire at death the time we have squandered away! This being true, our folly and misfortune will be all the greater, if after knowing these things during life, we neglect to apply a remedy in time.