Introduction


Meditation on the Passion of Christ - by CARPACCIO, Vittore - from Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

One of Carpaccio's most-Beautiful Paintings, is this Depiction-of the Old Testament Figure Job (right), and of Saint Jerome (left), as a Hermit Meditating-on the Body-of the Dead Christ. Inscribed in-Hebrew, on the Marble Block where Job sits, are the Words "I know that my Redeemer Liveth". Numerous details 'Underscore' the Theme-of Death and Resurrection: the Bones next-to Job, the Crown-of Thorns propped-up against Christ's Broken Throne, the Small Bird that Flies-upward from-Christ, to Symbolize the Resurrection. Even the Lavishly Painted Landscape carries the Theme, by appearing Desolate on the Left, and Lush and Open, on the Right.

 

Jesus Christ Died in-Battle, for us

Greater Love than this, no Man hath,
that a Man lay-down his Life, for his Friends.
(John 15:13 - Douay Rheims Bible)

Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet
ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis.
(John 15:13 - Latin Vulgate Bible)

 

Some People make Perfection, Consist-in an Austere Life;
others in Prayer; others in Frequenting the Sacraments;
others in Almsgiving. But they Deceive themselves:
Perfect Sanctity consists-in Loving God with our Whole Heart.
Jesus Deserves our Love, because-of the Love He has Shown us,
in His Passion and Death.

 

Nota Bene: Bible Verses quoted-in this Book are from the English Douay-Rheims Translation, commissioned-by the Catholic Church.

 

Introduction

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Jesus Deserves our Love, because-of the Love
He has Shown us, in His Passion

Perfect Sanctity (Perfection) consists-in Loving Jesus Christ, our God, our Sovereign Good, and our Redeemer. Whoever Loves Me, says Jesus Christ, is Loved-by My Father:

"For the Father Himself Loveth you, because you have Loved Me" - John 16:27.

Some People make Perfection consist-in an Austere Life; others in-Prayer; others in-Frequenting the Sacraments; others in-Almsgiving. But they 'Deceive' themselves: Perfect Sanctity consists-in Loving God with our Whole Heart. After 'Recommending' Mercy, Humility, Forgiveness, and other Virtues, Saint Paul writes: "But above all these things have Charity (Love), which is the Bond-of-Perfection" - Colossians 3:14. This is why Saint Augustine said: "Love God, and do what you Will". And he 'Explains' that those who Love God, are Taught-by that same Love, never to do anything that will Displease Him.

Supernatural Order
(Resides in the Essence of the Soul)

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural
Order

Supernatural
Order

Natural
Body
(Subordinate-Partner)

Natural
Soul
(Dominant Partner)

Supernatural Grace/Infused Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Man is born a Rational Creature, with Body and Soul, into the Natural Order.
God first 'Elevates' Man to the Supernatural Order via the Sacrament of Baptism, which 'Infuses' Sanctifying Grace into the Essence-of the Soul. The other Six (6) Sacraments, can then 'Elevate' the Soul even Higher.
The Supernatural Order is the Ensemble-of Effects, exceeding the Powers of the Created Universe, and Gratuitously Produced directly-by God for the Purpose-of Raising the Rational Creature above its Natural Sphere, to a God-like Life and Destiny.
 

 

 

Almighty God Knew-that we would be Won-by Kindness, so He 'Determined' to-Lavish His Gifts upon us. He gave us Souls, created-in His Own Image, with Memory, Understanding and Will; as-well-as Bodies with their Senses. He 'Created' Heaven and Earth for us, Yes, everything that exists, out-of Love-for us. He 'Brought' into-Being: the Firmament, the Stars and Planets, the Seas and Rivers, the Mountains and Plains, the Fruits-of the Earth, and a countless Variety-of Animals - all these Useful things - that we might Love Him, in Gratitude-for so-many Admirable Gifts.

But God was not Satisfied-with 'Giving' us so-many Beautiful Things. The Eternal Father did not Hesitate to-Give us even His only-Begotten Son:

"For God so-Loved the World, as to give His only Begotten Son" - John 3:16

And the Son, out of His Love, has given Himself Wholly-to us. Saint Paul speaks of "the Son of God, Who Loved me, and Delivered Himself for me" - Galatians 2:20.

And what is more-Astonishing, is that He could very well have Saved us without Dying, and without Suffering at all.

"He Humbled Himself, becoming Obedient unto Death, even to the Death-of the Cross" - Philippians 2:8

And why did He 'Choose' to Die? To Show us how-much He Loved us. "And Walk in-Love, as Christ also hath Loved us, and hath Delivered Himself for us, an Oblation and a Sacrifice to God, for an Odor-of Sweetness" - Ephesians 5:2.

Now, in-order-to Arrive-at a Perfect Love for Jesus Christ in-return-for His Astonishing Love for us we must 'Adopt' certain Means. One (1) of these is Devotion-to the Passion-of Jesus Christ. Through Meditation-on His Suffering and Death, we 'Receive': Hope-for Pardon for our Sins, Courage-against Temptation, and Confidence-in the Lord's Promise-of Eternal (∞) Life. It has been most-aptly said that those who do not become Inflamed-with the Love-of-God, by-looking-on Jesus, Dead-upon the Cross, will never Love at all.

 

Jesus Deserves our Love because of the Love
He has shown us, by His Gift of the Eucharist

Our Loving Redeemer, knowing that His Death was-approaching, 'Desired' to-Leave us the Greatest-possible Mark-of His Love; the Gift-of-the-Eucharist.

Saint-Bernardine-of-Siena, 'Remarks' that we 'Remember' more-Tenderly and 'Appreciate' more-Fully, the Signs-of Love shown-to us, in the Hour-of-Death. Hence, it is the Custom that Friends, when about to-Die, Leave-to those Persons, whom they have Loved, some Gift, such as a Garment or a Ring, as a Memorial-of their Affection. And what did Jesus leave us as a Memorial-of His Love? Not just a Garment or a Ring, but His entire-Self  ─ Body-and-Blood, Soul-and-Divinity.

"The Lord Jesus, the same Night in which He was Betrayed, took Bread. And giving Thanks, Broke, and said: 'Take ye, and Eat: this is My Body, which shall be Delivered for you: this do for the Commemoration-of Me'. In like-manner also, the Chalice, after He had Supped, saying: 'This Chalice is the New Testament in My Blood: this do ye, as-often-as you shall Drink, for the Commemoration-of Me'. For as-often-as you shall Eat this Bread, and Drink the Chalice, you shall Shew the Death of the Lord, until He Come" - 1Corinthians 11:23-26. Not Content-with being Prepared-to give His Life for us, in an Excess-of Love, He gives us His own Body, for our Food.

Jesus Christ therefore 'Exhorts' us to-Receive Him frequently-in Holy Communion. He even 'Entices' us with the Promise-of Paradise. In John 6:54, He says that those who feed-on His Flesh and drink His Blood, have Eternal (∞) Life, and He will Raise them up, on the Last Day.

And why does Jesus Christ 'Desire' so-Strongly that we Receive Him in Holy Communion? Saint Denis answers that Love always 'Sighs-after' and 'Tends-to' Union (1). Friends who really Love each other, would like to be so-United (1), as to-Become, One (1) Person. And this is what the Infinite (∞) Love of God for us has done: He gives Himself to us, Whole (1) and Entire (1), under the Appearance-of Bread and Wine.

We must, then, be-Convinced that there is Absolutely Nothing, that gives more-Pleasure to-Jesus Christ, than Frequent Reception-of Communion, on our part. But, of course, we must do so with Dispositions, suitable-to the Great Guest, Whom we Receive-into our Hearts. Our Dispositions should be 'Suitable', not necessarily 'Worthy'; for if 'Worthy' were Necessary, who would ever Communicate? Another God, would Alone be 'Worthy' to-Receive God. By 'Suitable' is meant, such Dispositions as become a Miserable Creature, Clothed-with the Unhappy Flesh-of Adam. [Nota Bene: These Dispositions, according-to Present Papal Decrees, are the State-of-Grace, and a Right and Devout Intention.]

Holy Communion is that Great Remedy, which 'Frees' us from Venial Sins, and 'Preserves' us from Mortal Sins. By-means-of this Sacrament, we are Moved-to make Acts-of-Love, by-which Venial Sins are Forgiven. And we are Preserved-from Mortal Sins, because Communion increases-Grace, which will 'Protect' us from Great Faults. Innocent III put it this-Way: "Jesus Christ Delivered us from the Power-of Sin by His Passion, but by the Eucharist, He Delivers us from the Power-of-Sinning".

The Sacrament-of-the-Eucharist, 'Inflames' us with Divine Love. "God is Charity (Love)" - 1John 4:8. Still there are some who will say that the very-Reason, they do not-Receive Communion Frequently, is because they are so-Cold in the Love-of-God. But when we are Physically Cold, we do not-Willingly keep away-from the Fire. So too, if we really Desire-to Love Jesus Christ, we should 'Approach' Him Frequently, in this Sacrament. The more we feel Sick, the Greater the Need we have, of a Physician. Saint-Francis-de-Sales declares: "Two sorts of Persons ought to go Frequently to Communion: the Perfect, to remain so, and the Imperfect, in-order-to become Perfect".

 

Why we should have Supreme Confidence
in the Love that Jesus Christ has shown us

Like David, who placed all his Hope-of-Salvation, in his Future Redeemer (Into Thy Hands I Commend my Spirit: Thou hast Redeemed me, O Lord, the God of Truth - Psalm 30.6); we Ought to-Place our Confidence-in Jesus Christ, Who has already-'Accomplished', the Work-of Redemption.

If we have Great Reason to-Fear Everlasting (∞) Death, on-account-of our Sins against God, we have far Greater Reason, to Hope-for Everlasting (∞) Life, through the Merits-of Jesus Christ, which Merits are Infinitely (∞) more-Instrumental in-Providing Salvation, than our Sins are for-Causing Damnation.

"Surely He hath Borne our Infirmities and Carried our Sorrows: and we have Thought Him as-it-were a Leper, and as One Struck-by God, and Afflicted. But He was Wounded-for our Iniquities, He was Bruised-for our Sins: the Chastisement-of our Peace was upon Him, and by His Bruises, we are Healed" - Isaiah 53:4-5.

It is True that we shall have to-Render a Rigorous Account, to the Eternal Judge, of all our Sins. But 'Who' is to be our Judge?

"For neither doth the Father Judge any Man, but hath Given all Judgment, to the Son" - John 5:22.

Jesus 'Embraces' the Cross
of His Suffering. The Cross is
the Throne-of-Grace which we
we must also 'Embrace'.

So, we have no-Reason to Fear, as-long-as we Detest our Sins. And if we still Fear, because-of Temptations coming-from the World, our Flesh, and the Devil, we should "Look on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Faith, Who having Joy set before Him, Endured the Cross, Despising the Shame, and now Sitteth-on the Right Hand of the Throne-of-God" - Hebrews 12:2. In the Past, we Fell into Sin because we Left-off Looking-at the Wounds and Pains, Endured-by our Redeemer, and so did not have Recourse-to Him, for-Help. But, if in the Future, we Set-before our Eyes, all He has Suffered for Love-of us, and how He 'Stands', ever-ready to-Help us if we 'Ask', it is certain that we shall not be Conquered-by our Enemies. What Two (2) Great Mysteries-of Hope and Love for us, are the (1) Passion-of Jesus Christ, and the (2) Sacrament-of-the-Altar. This is why we have every-Reason to be Confident, that He will 'Give' us the Graces, necessary-for our Salvation.

"Let us go therefore with-Confidence, to the Throne-of-Grace: that we may obtain Mercy, and find Grace in Seasonable Aid" - Hebrews 4:16. The Throne-of-Grace is the Cross on-which Jesus sits, to 'Dispense' Graces and Mercy, to all who Come-to Him. Unfrightened-by the Sight-of our Miseries, we 'Embrace' the Cross-of Christ, in all-Confidence.

Our Redeemer 'Encourages' us to Hope-for every-Favor and every-Grace, through His Merits. And He Teaches us the Way-to Obtain all we Want:

"Amen, Amen I say to you: if you Ask the Father any thing in My Name, He will Give it to you" - John 16:23.

The Father cannot Refuse, when He has 'Given' us His only-Begotten Son, Whom He Loves as Himself. "He that Spared not even His Own Son, but Delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, Given us all things?" - Romans 8:32.

If we Believe that the Eternal Father has 'Given' us His Son, Who Died-on the Cross, to-Redeem us, we must also Believe that He will 'Give' us Everything-else, that is Infinitely (∞)-less than His Son. And we cannot 'Think', that Jesus Christ is Forgetful-of us, since He has 'Left' us, as the Greatest Memorial and Pledge-of His Love, Himself in the Sacrament-of-the-Altar.

 

How much we are Obligated to Love Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ, as God, has a Right-to All our Love; but because He has 'Proven' His Love for us so-Clearly, He 'Wants' us to Love Him Freely, in Gratitude-for everything He has Done and Suffered, for us. He has Loved us most-Generously, so that we might Love Him Generously, in Return. The First Commandment He gave us, therefore is: "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with thy Whole Heart, and with thy Whole Soul, and with thy Whole Mind" - Matthew 22:37.

Saint Paul says that "Love therefore, is the Fulfilling of the Law" - Romans 13:10. Instead of Fulfillment, the Greek Text 'Employs' the Phrase "Embracing the Law"; Love Embraces the Whole Law. Who, indeed, when they see their God Crucified-for their Love, can Refuse-to Love Him? Those Thorns, those Nails, that Cross, those Wounds, All 'Call' us and 'Prod' us to-Love Him, Who has Loved us so-much.

One (1) Heart is too-Small, to-Love a God, Who is so-much in-Love with us. In-order-to 'Repay' the Love of Jesus Christ, another God would have to Die for His Love. Saint Paul tells us Clearly: "And 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" - 2Corinthians 5:15.

Our Indifference to God's Love

 

Jesus Christ 'Desires' that we continually 'Recall' His Passion. How it must Sadden Him that we are so-Unmindful of it. If we were to-'Endure' Contempt, Injury, and Imprisonment for One-of our Friends, how Painful it would be, if that Friend never gave it a Thought, again. On the other-hand, how Grateful we would be, if this Friend constantly Spoke-of it with the Warmest Gratitude, and Thanked us often. So it is Pleasing-to Jesus Christ, when we Remember-with Gratitude and Love, the Sorrows and Death that He 'Endured', for us.

The Old Testament Prophets 'Yearned'-for Jesus Christ, even before He came-into the World. How much more should we 'Yearn' to Love Him, now that He has Actually come-here on-Earth Suffering and even Dying-on the Cross, out of Love for us.

This, too, is why He 'Instituted' the Sacrament-of-the-Holy-Eucharist, and 'Told' us, that as-often-as we were Nourished-with His Most Sacred Body, we should 'Remember' His Death. With Reason, then, the Church 'Reminds' us of this Wonderful Sacrament, when She sings: "O Sacred Banquet in which Christ is Received (and) the Memory of His Passion is Renewed".

O Sacrum Convivium

O Sacred Banquet,
in which Christ is Received,
the Memory of His Passion is Recalled,
the Soul is Filled-with Grace,
and the Pledge-of Future Glory, is Given-to us.

So we can see how Pleasing-to Jesus Christ, are those who Meditate frequently-on His Passion. By doing this, they keep in Grateful Memory, all that He Suffered for us, and they continue-to grow-in Love for Him.

How can we Refuse-to Love this God, Who has done so-much, to be Loved by us? Before the Incarnation, we might have Doubted, whether God's Love for us, was Real. But after the 'Advent' of the Son-of-God, and after His Death for our Love, how can we Possibly-doubt His Love?

To Redeem us, Jesus used every Manner-of-Means, to make us Love Him. If He had Deemed-that Death-alone, was Sufficient-for our Salvation, it would have been enough for Him to have been Killed-by Herod, with the other Children. But no, He 'Chose' instead to-Lead a Life-of Suffering, for Thirty-three (33) Years, before He Died. During that Time, He appeared-as a Poor Child born-in a Stable; then as a young Boy, Helping-in the Workshop; and finally as an Adult 'Criminal'; Executed-on a Cross. But before He actually Died, He 'Experienced' numerous-Sufferings, each of which were meant to-'Draw' us closer-to Him.

First, we see Him Agonizing in the Garden, Bathed-from Head-to-Foot, in a Sweat-of Blood. Afterward, we see Him in the Court-of Pilate, Torn-with the Scourges and Treated-as a mock-King, with a Crown-of-Thorns on His Head. Then, we see Him Dragged-Publicly through the Streets, to His Death. And Finally, we see Him on Calvary, Hanging-from the Cross by Three (3) Iron Nails.

Does He then 'Deserve' our Love or not, this God Who has 'Chosen' to-Endure these Sufferings, and to 'Use' so-many Means, to 'Win' our Love.

A Precious-thing is Love. It is the Queen-of all Virtues; it Unites (1) us with God. And Sacred Scripture 'Assures' us, that God Loves whoever Loves Him. Those who Abide-in Love, Abide-in God, and God in them ("God is Charity: and he that Abideth-in Charity, Abideth-in God, and God in him" - 1John 4:4:16). Love, moreover, Gives us the Strength to-Do and to-Suffer, everything for God.

Here is what Saint-John-Chrysostom says are the Effects-of Divine Love, in those whom it Possesses:

When the Love-of-God, has taken Possession-of Beloved Souls; it Produces an Unquenchable Desire to Work-for the Beloved. No matter how-Great the Work they do, or how-Long their Service, all seems Nothing-in their Eyes, and they Suffer because they are doing so-little for God. They would be Happy, if they were Allowed-to Die, and Consume themselves for Him. And so they Consider themselves Unprofitable Servants, in everything they do, because Love Teaches them how-much God Deserves, and they see in this Radiant Light, all the Defects-of their Actions, and find them Reason-for Confusion and Pain. They are Well Aware-of how Poor, all their Efforts, when Compared-to those of so-Great a God.

Saint-Francis-de-Sales also Tells us:

All Holiness, Consists-in Loving God with our Whole Heart, because all other Virtues, without Love, are a mere Heap-of-Stones. And if we do not completely-Enjoy this Holy Love, the Fault lies-with us, because we have not, once and for all, made the Decision-to give ourselves completely-to God.

"But one thing is Necessary" - Luke 10:42. It is not-Necessary to be Rich in this World, to-Gain the Respect of others, to-Lead a Life of-Comfort, to-Relish Honors, or to have a Reputation-for Knowledge. It is only Necessary to-Love God, and to-do His Will. This is the only Reason He 'Creates' us and 'Preserves' us in-Life, and this is the only-Way, we can Merit Heaven.

Our only Concern, then, should be to-Grow in a True Love of Jesus Christ, which Masters-of the Spiritual Life, have Described-in the following manner:

Love is Fearful; its only Fear is of Displeasing God.

Love is Generous; Trusting-in God, it is never Disheartened, even when 'Facing' Tremendous Odds that seem to-hinder God's Glory.

Love is Strong; it Subdues the Lower Appetites, even in the Midst-of the most-Violent Temptations, and the Darkest Desolations.

Love is Obedient; it Immediately carries-out the Divine Will.

Love is Pure; it Loves God alone, and for the Sole Reason that He 'Deserves' to be Loved.

Love is Ardent; it Wants to-Inflame the Whole World, with Divine Love.

Love is Inebriating; it 'Transports' Persons, outside-of themselves, so that they become completely Concerned-with Loving God.

Love is Unitive; it 'Blends' the Will-of the Creature, with the Will-of the Creator.

Love is Desirous; it Pills Persons with-Yearnings, to-Unite themselves Perfectly with-God, so that they can Love Him, with all their Strength.

But no one 'Teaches' us so-well, the Real Practice-of Charity, as the Great Preacher-of Charity, Saint Paul. In his First (1st) Epistle to the Corinthians, he Tells us:

"If I should have all-Faith, so-that I could Remove Mountains, and have not Charity, I am Nothing. And if I should Distribute all my Goods to-Feed the Poor, and if I should Deliver my Body to be Burned, and have not Charity, it Profiteth me Nothing"
- 1Corinthians 13:2-3.

Then Saint Paul shows us the Signs-of True Charity, and at the same time, Teaches us the Practice-of those Virtues, which are the Daughters-of Charity:

"Charity is Patient, is Kind: Charity Envieth-not, Dealeth-not Perversely; is not Puffed-up; is not Ambitious, Seeketh-not her own, is not Provoked to Anger, Thinketh no-Evil; Rejoiceth-not in Iniquity, but Rejoiceth-with the Truth; Beareth all-things, Believeth all-things, Hopeth all-things, Endureth all-things"
- 1Corinthians 13:4-7.

In the following Chapters, we will consider the Holy Practice-of Charity, so that we may see whether the Love-of Jesus Christ, really 'Possesses' us. We will Strive-to find-out, what Virtues we should Practice, in-order-to Continue making-Progress, in this Holy Love.