Part III - Chapter IV
Principal Subjects of Meditation


Multitude of Subjects for Meditation, from the Passion of Jesus Christ - (Click on Image to enlarge)
by DUCCIO di Buoninsegna - from Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

 

Oh, what an excellent book is the Passion of Jesus!
There we
understand, better than in any other book,
the malice of sin
, and also the mercy and love of God for man



 

Chapter IV
Principal Subjects of Meditation

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Doctor of the Church
1759

The Holy Spirit says, "In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin" - Ecclesiasticus 7:40. He who often meditates on the four last things-----namely, death, judgment, and the eternity of Hell and Paradise will not fall into sin. But these truths are not seen with the eye of the body; the soul only perceives them. If they are not mediated on, they vanish from the mind; and then the pleasures of the senses present themselves, and those who do not keep before themselves the eternal truths are easily taken up by them; and this is the reason why so many abandon themselves to vice, and are damned. All Christians know and believe that they must die, and that we shall all be judged; but because they do not think about this, they will live far away from God.

If we, moreover, do not meditate especially on our obligation to love God on account of His infinite perfections and the great blessings that He has conferred upon us, and the love that He has borne us, we shall hardly detach ourselves from the love of creatures in order to fix our whole love on God. It is in the time of prayer that God gives us to understand the worthlessness of earthly things, and the value of the good things of Heaven; and then it is that He inflames with His love those hearts that do not offer resistance to His calls.

After all, the good rule is that we preferably meditate on the truths and mysteries that touch us more, and procure for our soul the most abundant nourishment. Yet the subject most suitable for a person that aspires to perfection ought to be the Passion of Our Lord. Louis Blosius relates that Our Lord revealed to several holy women-----to Saint Gertrude, Saint Bridget, Saint Mechtilde, and Saint Catherine of Siena-----that they who meditate on His Passion are very dear to Him. According to Saint Francis de Sales, the Passion of Our Redeemer should be the ordinary subject of the meditation of every Christian. Oh, what an excellent book is the Passion of Jesus! There we understand, better than in any other book, the malice of sin, and also the mercy and love of God for man. To me it appears that Jesus Christ has suffered so many different pains-----the Scourging, the Crowning with thorns, the Crucifixion, etc.-----that, having before our eyes so many painful mysteries, we might have a variety of different subjects for meditating on His Passion, by which we might excite sentiments of gratitude and love.