On the love of the Three Divine Persons for man.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” – Matt. xxviii. 19.
St. Leo has said, that the nature of God is by its essence, goodness itself. “Deus cujus natura bonitas.” Now, goodness naturally diffuses itself. “Bonum est sui diffusivum.” And by experience we know that men of a good heart are full of love for all, and desire to share with all the goods which they enjoy. God being infinite goodness, is all love towards us his creatures. Hence St. John calls him pure love –pure charity. “God is charity.” (1 John iv. 8.) And therefore He ardently desires to make us partakers of his own happiness. Faith teaches us how much the Three Divine Persons have done through love to man, and to enrich him with heavenly gifts. In saying to his apostles “Teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Jesus Christ wished that they should not only instruct the Gentiles in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity but that they should also teach them the love which the adorable Trinity bears to man. I intend to propose this day for your consideration the love shown to us by the Father in our creation; secondly, the love of the Son, in our redemption; and thirdly, the love of the Holy Ghost, in our sanctification.
First Point. – The love shown to us by the Father in our creation.
1. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.”(Jer. xxxi. 3.) My son, says the Lord, I have loved you for eternity, and, through love for you, I have shown mercy to you by drawing you out of nothing. Hence, beloved Christians, of all those who love you, God has been your first lover. Your parents have been the first to love you on this earth; but they have loved you only after they had known you. But, before you had a being, God loved you. Before your father or mother was born, God loved you; yes, even before the creation of the world, He loved you. And how long before creation has God loved you? Perhaps for a thousand years, or for a thousand ages. It is needless to count years or ages; God loved you from eternity. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” As long as He has been God, He has loved you: as long as He has loved Himself, He has loved you. The thought of this love made St. Agnes the Virgin exclaim: “I am prevented by another lover.” When creatures asked her heart, she answered: No: I cannot prefer you to my God. He has been the first to love me; it is then but just that He should hold the first place in my affections.
2. Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity, and through pure love, He has selected you from among so many men whom He could have created in place of you; but He has left them in their nothingness, and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world. For the love of you He has made so many other beautiful creatures, that they might serve you, and that they might remind you of the love which He has borne to you, and of the gratitude which you owe to Him. “Heaven and Earth,” says St. Augustine, “and all things tell me to love Thee.” When the saint beheld the sun, the stars, the mountains, the sea, the rains, they all appeared to him to speak, and to say: Augustine, love God; for He has created us that you might love Him. When the Abbe de Raneé, the founder of La Trappe, looked at the hills, the fountains, or flowers, He said that all these creatures reminded him of the love which God had borne him. St. Teresa used to say, that these creatures reproached her with her ingratitude to God. Whilst she held a flower or fruit in her hand, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to feel her heart wounded with divine love, and would say within herself: Then, my God has thought from eternity of creating this flower and this fruit that I might love Him.
3. Moreover, seeing us condemned to hell, in punishment of our sins, the Eternal Father, through love for us, has sent His Son on the earth to die on the cross, in order to redeem us from hell, and to bring us with Himself into Paradise. “God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son” (John iii. 16), love, which the apostle calls an excess of love. “For His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sin, has quickened us together in Christ.”(Eph. ii. 4, 5.)
4. See also the special love which God has shown you in bringing you into life in a Christian country, and in the bosom of the Catholic or true Church. How many are born among the pagans, among the Jews, among the Mahometans and heretics, and all are lost. Consider that, compared with these, only a few – not even the tenth part of the human race – have the happiness of being born in a country where the true faith reigns; and, among that small number, He has chosen you. Oh! what an invaluable benefit is the gift of faith! How many millions of souls, among infidels and heretics, are deprived of the sacraments, of sermons, of good example, and of the other helps to salvation which we possess in the true Church. And the Lord resolved to bestow on us all these great graces, without any merit on our part, and even with the foreknowledge of our demerits. For when He thought of creating us and of conferring these favours upon us, He foresaw our sins, and the injuries we would commit against Him.
Second Point. The love which the Son of God has shown to us in our redemption.
5. Adam, our first father, sins by eating the forbidden apple, and is condemned to eternal death, along with all his posterity. Seeing the whole human race doomed to perdition, God resolved to send a redeemer to save mankind. Who shall come to accomplish their redemption? Perhaps an angel or a seraph. No; the Son of God, the supreme and true God, equal to the Father, offers Himself to come on earth, and there to take human flesh, and to die for the salvation of men. O prodigy of Divine love! Man, says St. Fulgentius, despises God, and separates himself from God, and through love for him, God comes on earth to seek after rebellious man. “Homo Deum contemnens, a Deo discessit: Deus hominem diligens, ad homines venit.”(Serm. in Nativ. Christ.) Since, says St. Augustine, we could not go to the Redeemer, He has deigned to come to us. “Quia ad mediatorem venire non poteramus, ipse ad nos venire dignatus est.”And why has Jesus Christ resolved to come to us? According to the same holy doctor, it is to convince us of his great love for us. “Christ came, that man might know how much God loves him.”
6. Hence the Apostle writes: “The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared.” (Tit. iii. 5.) In the Greek text, the words are: “Singularis Dei erga homines apparuit amor:” “The singular love of God towards men appeared.” In explaining this passage, St. Bernard says, that before God appeared on earth in human flesh, men could not arrive at a knowledge of the divine goodness; therefore the Eternal Word took human nature, that, appearing in the form of man, men might know the goodness of God. “Priusquam apparet humanitas, latebat benignitas, sed unde tanta agnosci poterat? Venit in carne ut, apparante humanitate, cognosceretur benignitas.”(Serm. i., in Eph.) And what greater love and goodness could the Son of God show to us, than to become man and to become a worm like us, in order to save us from perdition? What astonishment would we not feel, if we saw a prince become a worm to save the worms of his kingdom! And what shall we say at the sight of a God made man like us, to deliver us from eternal death? “The Word was made flesh.”(John i. 14.) A God made flesh! if faith did not assure us of it, who could ever believe it? Behold then, as St. Paul says, a God as it were annihilated. “He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and in habit found as a man.” (Phil. ii. 7.) By these words the Apostle gives us to understand, that the Son of God, who was filled with the divine majesty and power, humbled himself so as to assume the lowly and impotent condition of human nature, taking the form or nature of a servant, and becoming like men in His external appearance, although, as St. Chrysostom observes, He was not a mere man, but man and God. Hearing a deacon singing the words of St. John, “and the Word was made flesh,” St. Peter of Alcantara fell into ecstasy, and flew through the air to the altar of the most holy sacrament.
7. But this God of love, the Incarnate Word, was not content with becoming flesh for the love of man but, according to Isaias, He wished to live among us, as the last and lowest, and most afflicted of men. “There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness: and we have seen Him despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows.”(Isa. iii. 2, 3.) He was a man of sorrows. Yes; for the life of Jesus Christ was full of sorrows. Virum dolorum. He was a man made on purpose to be tormented with sorrows. From His birth till His death, the life of our Redeemer was all full of sorrows.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Of Flying Vain Hope and Pride.
III. Esteem not thyself better than others, lest perhaps thou be accounted worse in the sight of God, who knows what is in man.
Be not proud of thy own works, for the judgments of God are different from the judgments of men; and oftentimes that displeaseth Him, which pleaseth men.
If thou hast anything of good, believe better things of others that thou mayest preserve humility.
It will do thee no harm to esteem thyself the worst of all; but it will hurt thee very much to prefer thyself before any one.
Continual peace is with the humble; but in the heart of the proud is frequent envy and indignation.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch VII pt III.
June Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Obedience, Piety, Dutifulness
Prayers to the Wound of the Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the holy Wound of Thy Heart, my most sweet Jesus! Accept, O Lord, my heart and all the powers of my soul. Detach them from earthly affections. Let me lose even the remembrance of the things of this world. Cast my soul into the adorable Wound of Thy Side, into the ocean of Thy love, into the source of true life. Unite my heart for ever to Thy tender Heart, so truly that it will be impossible for me to desire what is not in conformity with Thy will. May I in all things entirely renounce my own will, and unite myself by faith, hope and charity to Thee, my Lord, my God and my Creator. Amen.
O most sweet Jesus, through the Wound of Thy Heart, pardon, I beseech Thee, all my offences against Thee by acting without sufficient purity of intention, or by following my own perverse will. I offer Thee my heart, that Thou mayest unite it to Thy Heart. Then I shall neither seek nor see anything but Thee in all things. I shall have no other will than Thine. Amen.
Jesu! Creator of the world,
Of all mankind Redeemer blest,
True God of God, in Whom we see
Thy Father’s image clear expressed!
Thee, Saviour, love alone constrained
To make our mortal flesh Thine own,
And, as a second Adam, come
For the first Adam to atone.
That selfsame love which made the sky,
Which made the sea and stars, and earth,
Took pity on our misery,
And broke the bondage of our birth.
O Jesus! in Thy Heart divine
May that same love for ever glow!
Forever mercy to mankind
From that exhaustless fountain flow!
For this the Sacred Heart was pierced,
And both with blood and water ran –
To cleanse us from the stains of guilt,
And be the hope and strength of man.
Jesu, to Thee be glory given,
Who from Thy Heart dost grace outpour,
To Father and to Paraclete
Be endless praise for evermore. Amen.
An indulgence of 5 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, If this hymn is devoutly recited every day for a month (S.P.Ap., March 12, 1936). (Raccolta)
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