Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Death of Jesus, Crucifixion by St. Alphonsus Ligouri

The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ
St Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri

Pg 217
The Death of Jesus


O God, had the vilest of all men suffered for me what Jesus Christ has suffered; had I beheld a man torn with scourges, fastened to a cross, and made the laughing stock of the people in order to save my life, could I remember his sufferings without feeling for him the tenderest affection? And were the likeness of my expiring lover brought before me, could I behold it with indifference, and say, Oh! the miserable man has died thus in torture for the love of me? Had he not loved me he would not have died for me. Alas, how many Christians keep a beautiful crucifix in their room, but only as a fine piece of furniture! They praise the workmanship an the expression of grief, but it makes as little impression on their hearts as if it were not the image of the incarnate Word, but of a man who was a stranger and unknown to them.

Ah, my Jesus, do not permit me to be one of them. Remember that Thou didst promise that when Thou wouldst be elevated on the cross, Thou wouldst draw all hearts to Thee. Behold, my heart, softened into tenderness by Thy death, will no longer resist Thy calls. Ah, draw all its affections to Thy love. Thou hast died for me, and I wish to live only for Thee. O sorrows of Jesus, O ignominies of Jesus, O death of Jesus, O love of Jesus! May you be fixed in my heart, and may the sweet remembrance of you remain there forever, to wound me continually, and to inflame me with love. O Eternal Father, behold Jesus dead for my sake, and, through the merits of this Son, show me mercy. My soul, be not diffident on account of the sins thou hast committed against God. It is the Father himself that has given the Son to the world for our salvation, and it is the Son that has voluntarily offered Himself to atone for our sins. Ah, my Jesus, since to pardon me Thou hast not spared Thyself, behold me with the same affection with which Thou didst one day behold me, agonizing for me on the cross. Behold me and enlighten me; and pardon particularly my past ingratitude to Thee, in thinking so little of Thy Passion, and on the love Thou hast shown me in Thy sufferings. I thank Thee for the light which Thou givest me, in making me see in these wounds and lacerated members, as through so many lattices, Thy great and tender affection for me. Unhappy me, if, after this light, I should neglect to love Thee, or if I loved anything out of Thee. May I die (I will say with the enamoured St. Francis of Assisi) for the love of Thee, O my Jesus, who hast condescended to die for the love of me. O pierced heart of my Redeemer, O blessed dwelling of loving souls! Do not disdain to receive also my miserable soul. O Mary, O mother of sorrows! Recommend me to thy Son, whom thou dost hold lifeless in thy arms. Behold his lacerated flesh, behold his divine blood shed for me, and see in them how pleasing it is to him that thou shouldst recommend my salvation to him. My salvation consists in loving himl this love thou hast to obtain for me, but let it be a great and eternal love.

Commenting on the words of St. Paul, The Charity of Christ presseth us, (Charitas Christi urget nos) – 2 Cor. V.14. St Francis de Sales says: “Since we know that Jesus, the true God, has loved us so as to suffer death, and the death of the cross, for our salvation, must not our hearts be under a press which squeezes and forces love from them by a violence which is strong in proportion as it is amiable?” (Love of God by St Francis de Sales) The saint afterwards says that “the hill of Calvary is the mountain of lovers.” He then adds: “Ah, why, then, do we not cast ourselves on Jesus crucified, in order to die on the cross with him who has voluntarily died upon it for the love of us? I will hold him, we ought to say, and will never forsake him; I will die with him, and will burn in the flames of his love. One and the same fire shall consume this divine Creator and his miserable creature. My Jesus gives himself to me, and I give myself entirely to Him. I will live and die on His bosom; neither life nor death shall separate me from him. O eternal love! My soul seeks Thee, and chooses Thee for eternity. Ah! Come, O Holy Ghost, and inflame our hearts with the love of Thee. Either to love or to die. To die to every other love, in order to live to that of Jesus. O Saviour of our souls! Grant that we may sing for eternity: “Live Jesus; I love Jesus. Live Jesus, whom I love; I love Jesus, who lives forever and ever.”

Let us, in conclusion, say: O Lamb of God, who hast sacrificed Thyself for our salvation! O victim of love, who hast been consumed by sorrows on the cross! Oh that I knew how to love Thee as Thou dost deserve to be loved! Oh that I could die for Thee, who hast died for me! By my sins I have been a cause of pain to Thee during Thy entire life; grant that I may please Thee during the remainder of my life, living only in Thee, my love, my all. O Mary, my mother, thou art my hope after Jesus; obtain for me the grace to love Jesus.

O Dearest Angels and Saints, please help me!

Jesu mitis et humilis corde, Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tumm!
Mon Dieu, comment je T'aime!



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