Jesus, by His Passion and Death, says a devout writer, gave us the greatest possible proof of His love, beyond which there remained for Him nothing He could do to show how much He loved us: “The biggest proof of love was that which He showed forth at the end of His life on the Cross.” The Passion of Jesus is even said to be an excess. Oh, that all men, then, loved Thee, my most lovely Jesus! Thou art a God worthy of infinite love.
Blessed Denis the Carthusian says that the Passion of Jesus Christ was called an excess, —And they spake of his excess, which he would accomplish in Jerusalem (Luke ix. 31), –because it was an excess of mercy and of love: “The Passion of Jesus Christ is said to be an excess, because in it was shown forth an excess of love and of compassion.” O my God, and where is the believer who could live without loving Jesus Christ, if he were frequently to meditate upon His Passion? The Wounds of Jesus, says St. Bonaventure, are all of them Wounds of love. They are darts and flames which wound the hardest hearts, and kindle into a flame the most frozen souls: “O Wounds that wound stony hearts; and set frozen minds on fire!” In order the more strongly to impress upon his heart a love towards Jesus in His Passion, the Blessed Henry Suso one day took a knife, and cut out in letters upon his breast the Name of his beloved Lord. And, when thus bathed in blood, he went into the church and, prostrating himself before the Crucifix, he said: “Behold, O Lord, Thou only love of my soul, behold my desire. I would gladly have written Thee deeper within my heart; but this I cannot do. Do Thou, Who canst do all things, supply what is wanting in my powers, and imprint Thy adorable Name in the lowest depths of my heart, that so it may no more be possible to cancel in it either Thy Name or Thy love.”
My beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands. (Cant. v. 10). O my Jesus, Thou art all white through Thy spotless innocence; but upon this Cross Thou art also all ruddy with Wounds suffered for me. I choose Thee for the one and only Object of my love. And whom shall I love if I love not Thee? What is there that I can find amongst all other objects more lovely than Thee, my Redeemer, my God, my All? I love Thee, O most lovely Lord. I love Thee above every thing. Do Thou make me love Thee with all my affection, and without reserve.
“Oh, if thou didst know the mystery of the Cross!” said St. Andrew to the tyrant. O tyrant (it was his wish to say), wert thou to understand the love that Jesus Christ has borne thee, in willing to die upon a Cross to save thee, thou wouldst abandon all thy possessions and earthly hopes in order to give thyself wholly to the love of this thy Saviour. The same ought to be said to those Catholics who, believing as they do in the Passion of Jesus, yet do not think of it. Ah, were all men to think upon the love which Jesus Christ has shown forth for us in His Death, who would ever be able not to love Him? It was for this end, says the Apostle, that He, our Redeemer, died for us, that, by the love He displayed towards us in His Death, He might become the Possessor of our hearts: To this end Christ died and rose again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living; therefore, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Rom. xiv. 9). Whether, then, we die or live, it is but just that we belong wholly to Jesus Who has saved us at so great a cost. Oh, who is there that can say, as did the loving Martyr St. Ignatius, whose lot it was to give his life for Jesus Christ: “Let fire, cross, beasts, and torments of every kind come upon me: let me only have fruition of Thee, O Christ.” Let flames, crosses, wild beasts, and every kind of torture come upon me, provided only that I obtain and enjoy my Jesus Christ.
O my dear Lord, Thou didst die in order to gain my soul; but what have I done in order to gain Thee, O Infinite Good? Ah, my Jesus, how often have I lost Thee for a nothing! Miserable that I was, I knew at the time that I was losing Thy grace by sin; I knew also I was giving Thee great displeasure; and yet I committed sin. My consolation is that I have to deal with an Infinite Goodness Who remembers his offences no more when a sinner repents and loves Him. Yes, my God, I do repent and love Thee. Oh, pardon me, and do Thou from this day forth bear rule in this rebellious heart of mine. To Thee do I consign it; to Thee do I wholly give myself. Tell me what Thou dost desire, wishing, as I do, to perform it all. Yes, my Lord, I wish to love Thee; I wish to please Thee in every thing. Do Thou give me strength, and I hope to do so.
(Passion Sunday Meditation – by St Alphonsus Liguori)