Monday, 26 October 2009

Preparation for Death - Consideration II

With Death all Ends.
“An end is come, the end is come.” – Ezek. vii. 6.
Death Deprives us of Everything.
By worldlings they only are esteemed happy who enjoy the pleasures, the riches, and the pomps of this world; but death puts an end to all these earthly goods. For what is your life? It is a vapor which appeareth for a little while.1 The vapors exhaled from the earth, when raised in the air and clothed with light by the sun, make a splendid appearance; but how long does their splendor last? It vanishes before the first blast of the wind. Behold that nobleman: to-day he is courted, feared, and almost adored; to-morrow he is dead, despised, reviled, and trampled upon. At death we must leave all things. The brother of that great servant of God, Thomas à Kempis, took delight in speaking of a beautiful house which he had built for himself: a friend told him that it had one great defect. “What is it?” said he. “It is,” answered the other, “that you have made a door in it.” “What,” rejoined the brother of à Kempis, “is a door defect?” “Yes,” answered the friend: “for through this door you must be one day carried dead, and must leave the house and all things.”
Death, in fine, strips man of’ all the goods of this world. Oh, what a spectacle to behold a prince banished from his palace, never more to return to it, and to see others take possession of his furniture, of his money, and of all his other goods! The servants leave him in the grave, with a garment scarcely sufficient to cover his body. There is no longer any one to esteem or flatter him, no longer any one to attend to his commands. Saladin, who had acquired many kingdoms in Asia, gave directions at death, that when his body should be carried to the place of burial a person should go before, holding his winding-sheet suspended from a pole, and crying aloud: “This is all that Saladin brings with him to the grave.”
When the body of the prince is laid in the grave, his flesh drops off; and behold, his skeleton can no longer be distinguished from others. “Contemplate,” St. Basil says, “the sepulchres of the dead, and see if you can distinguish who has been a servant, and who has been a master.”2 Diogenes was one day seen by Alexander the Great seeking with great anxiety for something among the bones of the dead. Alexander asked him what he was in search of. “I am looking,” replied Diogenes, “for the head of Philip your father. I am not able to distinguish it: if you can find it, show it to me.” “Men,” says Seneca, “are born unequal; but after death all are equal.”3 And Horace says that death brings down the sceptre to the level of the spade.4 In a word, when death comes, the end comes; all ends, we leave all things; and of all that we possess in this world, we bring nothing to the grave.
Affections and Prayers.
My Lord! since Thou givest me light to know that whatever the world esteems is smoke and folly, grant me strength to detach my heart from earthly goods, before death separates me from them. Miserable that I have been! How often, for the miserable pleasures and goods of this earth, have I offended and lost Thee, who art an infinite good! O my Jesus! my heavenly physician, cast Thine eyes on my poor soul. look at the many wounds which I have inflicted on it by my sins, and have pity on me. If Thou wishest Thou canst make me clean.5 I know that Thou art able and willing to heal me; but in order to heal me, Thou wishest me to repent of the injuries which I have committed against Thee. I am sorry for them from the bottom of my heart. Heal me, then, now that it is in Thy power to heal me. Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee.6 I have forgotten Thee; but Thou hast not forgotten me; and now Thou makest me feel that Thou wilt even forget the injuries I have done Thee, if I detest them. “But if the wicked do penance . . . I will not remember all his iniquities.” – Ezek. xviii. 21. Behold, I detest my sins, I hate them above all things. Forget, then, O my Redeemer, all the displeasures I have given Thee. For the future I will lose all things, even life, rather than forfeit Thy grace. And what can all the goods of this earth profit me without Thy grace?
Ah, assist me! Thou knowest my weakness. Hell will not cease to tempt me: it already prepares a thousand attacks to make me again its slave. No, my Jesus, do not abandon me. I wish to be henceforth the slave of Thy love. Thou art my only Lord; Thou hast created and redeemed me; Thou hast loved me more than all others; Thou alone hast merited my love; Thee alone do I wish to love.
Glory and Power on the Death-bed.
At the hour of death, Philip II., King of Spain, called his son, and throwing off his royal robe, uncovered his breast, which had been eaten away by worms, and said to him: “Prince, behold how we die! see how all the grandeur of this world ends!” Theodoret has truly said that death fears not riches, nor satellites, nor sovereigns; and that from princes as well as vassals rottenness and corruption flow.7
Thus the dead, though they be princes, bring nothing with them to the grave: all their glory remains on the bed on which they expire. When he shall die, he shall take nothing away, nor shall his glory descend with him.8
St. Antonine relates, that after the death of Alexander the Great a certain philosopher exclaimed: “Behold! the man who yesterday trampled on the earth is now buried in the earth. Yesterday the whole earth was not sufficient for him, and now he is content with seven palms. Yesterday he led his armies through the earth, and now he is carried by a few porters to the grave.” But it is better to listen to the words of God. Why, says the Holy Ghost, is earth and ashes proud?9—O man! do you not see that you are dust and ashes? Why are you proud? Why do you spend so many thoughts and so many years of life in seeking worldly greatness? Death will come; and then all your greatness and all your projects will be at an end. In that day, says David, all their thoughts shall perish.10
Oh! how much more happy was the death of St. Paul the Hermit, who lived sixty years shut up in a cave, than the death of Nero the Emperor of Rome! How much more happy was the death of St. Felix, a Capuchin lay-brother, than that of Henry the Eighth, who lived in the midst of royal magnificence, but at the same time at enmity with God! But we must remember that, to secure a happy death, the saints have abandoned all things; they have left their country; they have renounced the delights and the hopes which the world held out to them, and have embraced a life of poverty and contempt. But how can worldlings, living in the midst of sins, in the midst of earthly pleasures and dangerous occasions, expect a happy death? God warns sinners that at death they shall seek and shall not find him.11 He tells us that the hour of death shall be the time, not of mercy, but of vengeance.12 I will repay them in due time. Reason tells us the same; for, at death, men of the world shall find their understanding weak and darkened, and their heart hardened by the bad habits which they have contracted. Their temptations will then be more violent: how can they resist at death who were almost always accustomed to yield to temptations during life, and to be conquered by them? To change their heart a most powerful grace would be then necessary. But is God obliged to give them such a grace? Have they merited such a grace by the scandalous and disorderly life which they have led? And on that last hour depends their happiness or misery for eternity. How is it possible that he who reflects on this, and believes the truths of faith, does not leave all to give himself to God, who will judge us all according to our works.
Affections and Prayers.
Ah, Lord! how many nights have I slept in enmity with Thee? O God! in what a miserable state was my soul during that time. It was hated by Thee, and wished to be hated by Thee. I was condemned to hell: there was nothing wanting but the execution of the sentence. But Thou, my God, hast never ceased to seek after me, and to invite me to pardon. But, who can assure me that Thou hast pardoned me? Must I, O my Jesus! live in this uncertainty till Thou judgest me? But the sorrow which I feel for having offended Thee, my desire to love Thee, and still more Thy Passion, O my beloved Redeemer, make me hope that Thy grace dwells in my soul. I am sorry for having offended Thee, O Sovereign Good, and I love Thee above all things. I resolve to forfeit everything rather than lose Thy grace and Thy love. Thou wishest that the heart which seeks Thee should be full of joy. Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.13 Lord, I detest all the injuries I have offered to Thee. Give me courage and confidence: do not upbraid me with my ingratitude; for I myself know and detest it. Thou hast said that Thou wilt not the death of a sinner, but that he be converted and live.14 Yes, my God, I leave all things and turn to Thee. I seek Thee, I desire Thee, I love Thee above all things. Give me Thy love; I ask nothing else. O Mary, thou, after Jesus, art my hope; obtain for me holy perseverance.
Let us Hasten to Give Ourselves to God.
David calls the happiness of this life a dream of one who awakes from sleep.15 In explaining these words, a certain author says: The goods of this world appear great, but they are nothing: like a dream, which lasts but a little, and afterward vanishes, they are enjoyed but a short time.16 The thought, that with death all ends, made St. Francis Borgia resolve to give himself entirely to God. The saint was obliged to accompany the dead body of the Impress Isabella to Grenada. When the coffin was opened, her appearance was so horrible and the smell so intolerable that all ran away. But St. Francis remained to contemplate in the dead body of his sovereign the vanity of the world; and looking at it, he exclaimed: “Are you then my empress? Are you the queen before whom so many bent their knee in reverential awe? O Isabella, where is your majesty, your beauty gone? Thus then,” he said within himself, “end the greatness and the crowns of this world. I will, therefore, henceforth serve a master who can never die.” From that moment he consecrated himself to the love of Jesus crucified; and he made a vow to become a religious, should his wife die before him. This vow he afterward fulfilled by entering into the Society of Jesus.
Justly then has a person who was undeceived written on a skull these words: “Cogitanti vilescunt omnia.” To him who reflects on death, everything in this world appears contemptible; he cannot love the earth. And why are there so many unhappy lovers of this world? It is because they do not think of death. O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?17 Miserable children of Adam, says the Holy Ghost, why do you not chase away from your heart so many earthly affections, which make you love vanity and lies? What has happened to your forefathers must befall you. They have dwelt in the same palace which you inhabit, and have slept in your very bed; but now they are no more. Such, too, will be your lot.
My brother, give yourself then to God before death comes upon you. Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly.18 What you can do to-day, defer not till tomorrow; for a day once passed never returns, and tomorrow death may come, and prevent you from ever more being able to do good. Detach yourself instantly from everything which removes, or can remove, you from God. Let us instantly renounce in affection the goods of this earth, before death strips us of them by force. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.19 Happy they who at death are already dead to all attachment to this world. They fear not, but desire death, and embrace it with joy; for, instead of separating them from the good which they love, it unites them to the Supreme Good, who is the sole object of their affections, and who will render them happy for eternity.
Affections and Prayers.
My dear Redeemer, I thank Thee for having waited for me. What should have become of me had I died when I was at a distance from Thee? May Thy mercy and patience, which I have experienced for so many years, be forever blessed! I thank Thee for the light and grace with which Thou dost now assist me. I did not then love Thee, and I cared but little to be loved by Thee. I now love Thee with my whole heart, and nothing grieves me so much as the thought of having displeased so good a God. This sorrow tortures my soul; but it is a sweet torment, because it gives me confidence that Thou hast already pardoned me. O my sweet Saviour, would that I had died a thousand times before I sinned against Thee! I tremble lest I should hereafter offend Thee again. Ah! make me die the most painful of all deaths, rather than permit me evermore to lose Thy grace. I have been once the slave of hell; but now I am Thy servant, O God of my soul. Thou hast said that Thou lovest those who love Thee.20 I love Thee: then I am Thine, and Thou art mine. I may lose Thee at some future time; but the grace which I ask of Thee is, to take me out of life rather than suffer me ever to lose Thee again. Unasked, Thou hast bestowed upon me so many graces; I cannot now fear that Thou wilt not hear my prayer for the grace which I now implore. Do not permit me ever to lose Thee. Give me Thy love, and I desire nothing more. Mary, my hope! intercede for me.

1“Quæ est vita vestra? vapor est ad modicum parens.” – James, iv. 15.
2“Contemplare sepulchra, vide utrum poteris discernere quis servus, quis dominus fuerit.” – Hom. ii. E. B. app.
3Impares nascimur, pares morimur. – Ep. 91.
4Sceptra ligonibus æquat.
5Si vis, potes me mundare.” – Matt. viii. 2.
6“Sana animam meam, quia peccavi tibi.” – Ps. xl. 5.
7Nec divitias mors metuit, nec satellites, nec purpuram; putredo sequitur, et sanies defluit. – De Prov. s. 6.
8“Cum interierit, non sumet omnia; neque descendet cum eo gloria ejus.” – Ps. xlviii. 18.
9“Quid superbit terra et cinis?” – Ecclus. x. 9.
10“In illa die peribunt cogitationes eorum.” – Ps. cxlv. 4.
11“Quæretis me et non invenietis.” – John, vii. 34.
12“Ego retribuam in tempore.” – Deut. xxxii. 35.
13“Lætetur cor quærentium Dominum.” – 1 Par. xvi. 10.
14“Nolo mortem impii, sed ut convertatur . . . et vivat.” – Ezek. xxxiii. 11.
15“Velut somnium surgentium.” – Pr. lxxii. 20.
16Somnium, quia sopitis sensibus res magnæ apparent; et non sunt, et cito avolant.
17“Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde? ut quid diligitis vanitatem et quæritis mendacium?” – Ps. iv. 3.
18“Quodcumque facere potest manus tua instanter operare.” – Eccles. x. 10.
19“Beati mortui, qui in Domino moriuntur.” – Apoc. xiv. 13.
20“Ego diligentes me diligo.” – Prov. viii. 17.


Thursday, 22 October 2009

Preparation for Death - Consideration I

Description of a Man who has recently gone into the Other World.
“Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” – Gen. iii. 19.
The Body on the Death-bed.
Consider that you are dust, and that you shall return to dust. A day will come when you shall die, and rot in a grave, where worms shall be your covering.1 The same lot awaits all, the nobleman and the peasant, the prince and the vassal. The moment the soul leaves the body, it shall go to eternity, and the body shall return to dust. Thou shalt send forth their breath, and they shall fail and shall return to their dust.2
Imagine that you behold a person who has just expired. Look at that body still laid on the bed, the head fallen on the chest, the hair in disorder and still bathed in the sweat of death, the eyes sunk, the cheeks hollow, the face the color of ashes, the lips and tongue like iron, the body cold and heavy. The beholders grow pale and tremble. How many, at the sight of a deceased relative or friend, have changed their life and retired from the world!
Still greater horror will ‘be excited when the body begins to putrefy. Twenty-four hours have not elapsed since the death of that young man, and his body has already begun to exhale an offensive smell. The windows must be opened; a great quantity of incense must be used; and, to prevent the communication of disease to the entire family, he must soon be transferred to the church, and buried in the earth. “If he has been one of the rich or nobles of the earth, his body shall send forth a more intolerable stench,”3 says Saint Ambrose.
Behold the end of that proud, of that lewd and voluptuous man! Before death desired and sought after in conversations, now become an object of horror and disgust to all who behold him. His relatives are in haste to remove him from the house; they hire men to shut him up in a coffin, to carry him to the church-yard and throw him into a grave. During life, the fame of his wit, of his politeness, of the elegance of his manners, and of his facetiousness, was spread abroad; but after death he is soon forgotten. Their memory hath perished with a noise.4
On hearing the news of his death, some say, He was an honor to his family; others say, He has provided well for his children. Some regret his death because he had done them some service during life; others rejoice at it because it is an advantage to them. But in a little time no one speaks of him. In the beginning, his nearest relatives feel unwilling to hear his name, through fear of renewing their grief. In the visits of condolence, all are careful to make no mention of the deceased; and should any happen to speak of him, the relatives exclaim, For God’s sake, do not mention his name!
Consider that as you have acted on the occasion of the death of friends and relatives, so others will act on the occasion of your death. The living take part in the scene. They occupy the possessions and offices of the deceased; but the dead are no longer remembered—their name is scarcely ever mentioned. In the beginning, their relatives are afflicted for a short time; but they will soon be consoled by the share of the property of the deceased which falls to them.
Thus in a short time your death will be rather a source of joy; and in the very room in which you have breathed forth your soul, and in which you have been judged by Jesus Christ, others will dance, and eat, and play, and laugh as before. And where will your soul then be?
Affections and Prayers.
O Jesus. my Redeemer! I thank Thee for not having taken me out of life when I was Thy enemy. For how many years have I deserved to be in hell! Had I died on such a day or such a night, what should be my lot for all eternity? Lord, I thank Thee; I accept my death in satisfaction for my sins, and I accept it in the manner in which Thou shalt be pleased to send it. But since Thou hast borne with me until now, wait for me a little longer. Suffer me, therefore, that I may lament my sorrow a little!5 Give me time to bewail, before Thou judgest me, the offences I have offered to Thee. I will no longer resist Thy calls. Who knows but the words which I have just read may be the last call for me? I acknowledge that I am unworthy of mercy. Thou hast so often pardoned me. and I have ungratefully offended Thee again. A contrite and humble heart, O God Thou wilt not despise.6 Since, O Lord, Thou knowest not how to despise a contrite and humble heart, behold the penitent traitor who has recourse to Thee. For Thy mercy’s sake, cast me not away from Thy face. Thou hast said: Him that cometh to me I will not cast out.7 It is true that I have outraged Thee more than others, because I have been favored more than others with Thy lights and graces. But the blood Thou hast shed for me encourages me, and offers me pardon if I repent. My Sovereign Good! I am sorry with my whole soul for having insulted Thee. Pardon me, and give me grace to love Thee for the future. I have offended Thee sufficiently. The remainder of my life I wish to spend, not in offending Thee, but only in weeping unceasingly over the insults I have offered to Thee, and in loving with my whole heart a God worthy of infinite love. O Mary, my hope! pray to Jesus for me.
The Body in the Grave.
But, Christian soul, that you may see more clearly what you are, follow the advice of St. Chrysostom: “Go to the grave; contemplate dust, ashes, worms; and sigh.”8 Behold how that corpse first turns yellow, and then black. Afterwards, the entire body is covered with a white, disgusting mould; then comes forth a clammy, fetid slime, which flows to the earth. In that putrid mass is generated a great multitude of worms, which feed on the flesh. Rats come to feast on the body; some attack it on the outside; others enter into the mouth and bowels. The cheeks, the lips, and the hair fall off. The ribs are first laid bare, and then the arms and legs. The worms, after having consumed all the flesh, devour one another; and, in the end, nothing remains but a fetid skeleton, which in the course of time falls to pieces; the bones separate from one another and the head separates from the body. They became like the chaff of a summer’s threshing-floor, and they were carried away by the wind.9 Behold what man is: he is a little dust on the threshing floor, which is blown away by the wind.
Behold a young nobleman, who was called the life and soul of conversation: where is he now? Enter into his apartment: he is no longer there. If you look for his bed, his robes, or his armor, you will find that they have passed into the hands of others. If you wish to see him, turn to the grave, where he is changed into corruption and withered bones. O God! that body, pampered with so many delicacies, clothed with so much pomp, and attended by so many servants, to what is it now reduced? O ye saints! who knew how to mortify your bodies for the love of that God whom alone you loved on this earth, you well understood the end of all human greatness, of all earthly delights; now your bones are honored as sacred relics, and preserved in shrines of gold, and your souls are happy in the enjoyment of God, expecting the last day, on which your bodies shall be made partners of your glory, as they have been partakers of your cross in this life. The true love for the body consists in treating it here with rigor and contempt, that it may be happy for eternity; and in refusing it all pleasures, which might make it miserable forever.
Affections and Prayers.
Behold, then, O my God! to what my body, by which I have so much offended Thee, must be reduced! to worms and rottenness. This does not afflict me; on the contrary. I rejoice that this flesh of mine, which has made me lose Thee, my Sovereign Good, will one day rot and be consumed. What grieves me is, that, to indulge in these wretched pleasures. I have given so much displeasure to Thee. But I will not despair of Thy mercy. Thou hast waited for me in order to pardon me. The Lord waiteth, that He may have mercy on you.10 Thou wilt forgive me if I repent. O Infinite Goodness, I repent with my whole heart of having despised Thee. I will say with St. Catharine of Genoa, “My Jesus, no more sins! no more sins!” I will no longer abuse Thy patience. O my crucified Love, I will not wait till the confessor places the crucifix in my hands at the hour of death. From this moment I embrace Thee; from this moment I recommend my soul to Thee. Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.11 My soul has been so many years in the world, and has not loved Thee. Give me light and strength to love Thee during the remainder of my life. I will not wait to love Thee at the hour of death. From this moment I love Thee; I embrace Thee, and unite myself to Thee; and I promise never more to depart from Thee. O most holy Virgin! bind me to Jesus Christ, and obtain for me the grace never to lose him more.
Let us Labor to Save our Souls.
My brother, in this picture of death behold yourself and what you must one day become. “Remember that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” Consider that in a few years, and perhaps in a few months. or days, you will become rottenness and worms. By this thought Job became a saint. I have said to rottenness: Thou art my father: to worms, my mother, and my sister.12
All must end; and if, after death, you lose your soul all will be lost for you. Consider yourself already dead, says St. Laurence Justinian, since you know that you must necessarily die.13 If you were already dead, what would you not desire to have done? Now that you have life, reflect that you will one day be among the dead. St. Bonaventure says, that, to guide the vessel safely, the pilot must remain at the helm; and in like manner, to lead a good life, a man should always imagine himself at the hour of death. Says St. Bernard, “Look to the sins of your youth, and be covered with shame.”14 “Remember the sins of manhood and weep.”15 Look to the present disorders of your life; tremble,16 and hasten to apply a remedy.
When St. Camillus de Lellis saw the graves of the dead, he said within himself: If these return to life, what would they not do for eternal glory? And what do I do for my soul, who have time? This the saint said through humility. But my brother, you, perhaps, have reason to fear that you are the fruitless fig-tree of which the Lord said: Behold, for these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and I find none.17 You have been in this world for more than three years; what fruit have you produced?, Remember, says St. Bernard, that the Lord seeks not only flowers, but fruits; that is, not only good desires and resolutions, but also holy works. Learn then to profit of the time which God in his mercy gives you: do not wait until you desire time to do good, when time shall be no more. Do not wait till you are told, Time shall be no longer; depart;18 the time for leaving this world has arrived; what is done, is done.
Affections and Prayers.
Behold me, O my God! I am that tree which deserved for so many years to hear from Thee, Cut it down—why cumbereth it the ground?19 Yes; for so many years during which I have been in the world, I have brought forth no other fruit than the briers and thorns of sin. But, O Lord! Thou dost not wish that I despair. Thou hast said to all, that he who seeks Thee shall find Thee. Seek and you shall find.20 I seek Thee, O my God! and wish for Thy grace. For all the offences I have offered to Thee I am sorry with my whole heart; I would wish to die of sorrow for them. Hitherto I have fled from Thee; but now I prefer Thy friendship to the possession of all the kingdoms of the earth. I will no longer resist Thy invitations. Dost Thou wish me to be all Thine? I give Thee my whole being without reserve. Thou gavest Thyself entirely to me on the Cross. I give myself entirely to Thee.
Thou hast said: If you shall ask me anything in my name, that I will do.21 My Jesus, trusting in this great promise, I ask, in Thy name and through Thy merits, Thy grace and Thy love. Grant that Thy grace and Thy holy love may abound in my soul, in which sin has abounded. I thank Thee for having given me grace to make this petition by inspiring the prayer, Thou showest that Thou dost intend to hear it. Hear me, O my Jesus; give me a great love for Thee; give me a great desire to please Thee, and give me strength to do Thy will. O Mary, my great advocate! do thou also listen to my cry, and pray to Jesus for me.

1“Operimentum tuum erunt vermes.” – Isai. xiv. 11.
2“Auferes spiritum eorum, et deficient, et in pulverem suum revertentur.” – Ps. ciii. 29.
3“Gravius fœtent divitum corpora.” In Hexamer. l. 6, c. 8.
4“Periit memoria eorum cum sonitu.” – Ps. ix. 7.
5“Dimitte ergo me, ut plangam paululum dolorem meum.” – Job x. 20.
6“Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.” – Ps. l. 19.
7“Eum qui venit ad me non ejiciam foras.” – John vi. 37.
8“Perge ad sepulchrum, contemplare pulverem, cineres, vermes, et aspira.” – A d Theod. paræn. 1.
9“Redacta quasi in favillam æstivæ areæ, quæ rapta sunt vento.” – Dan. ii. 35.
10“Expectat Deus, ut misereatur vestri.” – Isa. xxx. 18.
11“In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.” – Ps. xxx, 6.
12“Putredini dixi: Pater meus es;—Mater mea, et soror mea, vermibus.” – Job, xvii. 14.
13“Considera te jam mortuum, quem scis de necessitate moriturum.” – Lign. vit. de hum. c. 4.
14Vide prima, et erubesce.
15Vide media, et ingemisce.
16“Vide novissima, et contremisce.” – De Divers. s. 12.
17“Ecce anni tres sunt, ex quo venio quærens fructum in ficulnea hac et non invenio.” – Luke, xiii. 7.
18“Tempus non erit amplius: proficiscere.” – Apoc. x. 6.
19“Succide ergo illam; ut quid etiam terram occupat?” – Luke, xiii. 7.
20“Quærite et invenietis.” – Matt. vii. 7.
21“Si quid petieritis me in nomine meo, hoc faciam.” – John, xiv. 14.


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Considerations on the passion of Jesus Christ - Chapter 11

It is Necessary to suffer, and to suffer with Patience.
To speak of patience and suffering is a thing neither practised nor understood by those who love the world. It is understood and practised only by souls who love God. “O Lord,” said St. John of the Cross to Jesus Christ, “I ask nothing of Thee but to suffer and to be despised for Thy sake.” St. Teresa frequently exclaimed, “O my Jesus, I would either suffer or die.” St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi was wont to say, “I would suffer and not die.” Thus speak the saints who love God, because a soul can give no surer mark to God of love for him than voluntarily to suffer to please him. This is the great proof which Jesus Christ has given of his love to us. As God he loved us in creating us, in providing us so many blessings, in calling us to enjoy the same glory that he himself enjoys; but in nothing else has he more fully shown how much he loves us than in becoming man, and embracing a painful life, and a death full of pangs and ignominies, for love of us. And how shall we show our love for Jesus Christ? By leading a life full of pleasures and earthly delights?
Let us not think that God delights in our pains; the Lord is not of so cruel a nature as to be delighted to see us, his creatures, groan and suffer. He is a God of infinite goodness, who desires to see us fully content and happy, so that he is full of sweetness, affability, and compassion to all who come to him.1 But our unhappy condition, as sinners, and the gratitude we owe to the love of Jesus Christ, require that, for his love, we should renounce the delights of this earth, and embrace with affection the cross which he gives us to carry during this life, after him who goes before, bearing a cross far heavier than ours; and all this in order to bring us, after our death, to a blessed life, which will never end. God, then, has no desire to see us suffer, but, being himself infinite justice, he cannot leave our faults unpunished; so that, in order that they may be punished, and yet we may one day attain eternal happiness, he would have us purge away our sins with patience, and thus deserve to be eternally blessed. What can be more beautiful and sweet than this rule of divine Providence, that we see at once justice satisfied, and ourselves saved and happy?
All our hopes, then, we must derive from the merits of Jesus Christ, and from him we must hope for all aid to live holily, and save ourselves; and we cannot doubt that it is his desire to see us holy: This is the will of God, your sanctification.2 But true as this is, we must not neglect to do our part to satisfy God for the injuries we have done to him, and to attain with our good works to eternal life. This the Apostle expressed when he said, I fill up that which is wanting of the Passion of Christ in my flesh.3 Was the Passion of Christ, then, not complete, not enough alone to save us? It was most complete in its value, and most sufficient to save all men; nevertheless, in order that the merits of the Passion may be applied to us, says St. Teresa, we must do our part, and suffer with patience the crosses which God sends us, that we may be like our head, Jesus Christ, according to what the Apostle writes to the Romans: Whom He foreknew, them He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.4 Still we must ever remember, as the Angelic Doctor warns us, that all the virtue of our good works, satisfactions, and penances, is communicated to them by the satisfaction of Jesus Christ: The satisfaction of man has its efficacy from the satisfaction of Christ.5 And thus we reply to the Protestants, who call our penances injurious to the Passion of Jesus Christ, as if it were not sufficient to satisfy for our sins.
What we say is, that in order that we may be partakers in the merits of Jesus Christ, it is necessary that we labor to fulfil the divine precepts, even by doing violence to ourselves, in order that we may not yield to the temptations of hell. And this is what our Lord meant when he said, The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent seize upon it.6 It is necessary, when occasions occur, that we do violence to ourselves by continence, by the mortification of our senses, that we may not be conquered by our enemies. And when we find ourselves guilty through the sins we have committed, we must do violence to God with our tears, says St. Ambrose, in order to obtain pardon.7 And then, to console us, the saint adds, “O blessed violence, which is not punished with the wrath of God, but is welcomed and rewarded with mercy!”8 The more violent any man is with Christ, the more religious is he accounted by Christ. For we must first rule over ourselves by conquering our passions, that we may one day seize upon heaven. which our Saviour has merited for us.9 And therefore we must do violence to ourselves by suffering contradictions and persecutions, and by conquering the temptations and passions which, without violence, are never conquered.
God teaches us that, in order not to lose our souls, we must be prepared to suffer the agonies of death, and to die; but, at the same time, he says that for him who is thus prepared he himself will fight, and will destroy his enemies.10 St. John saw before the throne of God a great multitude of saints clothed in white garments (because into heaven nothing defiled can enter), and he beheld that every one of them bore in his hand a palm, the token of martyrdom.11 What, then, are all the saints martyrs? Yes, Lord, all grown-up persons who are saved must either be martyrs in blood or martyrs in patience, in conquering the assaults of hell and the inordinate desires of the flesh. Bodily pleasures send innumerable souls to hell, and, therefore, we must resolve with courage to despise them. Let us be assured that either the soul must tread the body under foot, or the body the soul.
We must, then (I repeat), do ourselves violence in order to be saved. But this violence is such (it will be said by some one) that I cannot do it of myself, if God does not give it me through his grace. To such a one St. Ambrose says, “If you look to yourself, you can do nothing; but if you trust in God, strength will be given you.”12 But, in doing this, we must suffer, and it is impossible to avoid it; if we would enter into the glory of the Blessed, says the Scripture, we must, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God.13 Thus St. John, beholding the glory of the saints in heaven, heard a voice saying, These are they who have come out of great tribulation, and-have washed their garments, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.14 It is true that they all attained heaven by being washed in the blood of the Lamb, but they all went there after suffering great tribulation.
Be assured, St. Paul wrote to his disciples, that God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able.15 God has promised to give us sufficient help to conquer every temptation, if only we ask him. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find.16 He cannot, therefore, fail of his promise. It is a fatal error of the heretics to say that God commands things which it is impossible for us to observe. The Council of Trent says: God does not command impossible things; but when He commands, He bids us do what we can, and seek help for what we cannot do, and He will help us.17 St. Ephrem writes, “If men do not put upon their beasts a greater burden than they can bear, much less does God lay greater temptations upon men than they can endure.”18
Thomas à Kempis writes, “The cross everywhere awaits thee; it is needful for thee everywhere to preserve patience, if thou wouldst have peace. If thou willingly bearest the cross, it will bear thee to thy desired end.”19 In this world, we all of us go about seeking peace; and would find it without suffering; but this is not possible in our present state; we must suffer; the cross awaits us wherever we turn. How, then, can we find peace in the midst of these crosses? By patience, by embracing the cross, which presents itself to us. St. Teresa says “that he who drags the cross along with feels its weight, however small it is; but he who willingly embraces it, however great it is, does not feel it.”
The same Thomas à Kempis says, “Which of the saints is without a cross? The whole life of Christ was a cross and a martyrdom, and dost thou seek for pleasure?”20 Jesus, innocent, holy, and the Son of God, was willing to suffer through his whole life, and shall we go about seeking pleasures and comforts? To give us an example of patience, he chose a life full of ignominies and pains within and without; and shall we wish to be saved without suffering, or to suffer without patience, which is a double suffering, and without fruit, and with increase of pain? How can we think to be lovers of Jesus Christ, if we will not suffer for love of him who has so much suffered for love of us? How can he glory in being a follower of the Crucified who refuses or receives with ill-will the fruits of the cross, which are sufferings, contempt, poverty, pains, infirmities, and all things that are contrary to our self-love?
The Sight of Jesus Crucified consoles us and sustains us in Sufferings.
Let us not lose courage, but keep our eyes ever fixed on the crucified one, because from him we shall draw strength to endure the evils of this life not only with patience, but even with joy and gladness, as the saints have done: Ye shall draw waters in joy from the fountains of the Saviour;21 that is, says St. Bonaventure, from the wounds of Jesus Christ.22 Therefore, the saint exhorts us ever to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus dying upon the cross, if we would live always united to God.23 “Devotion,” says St. Thomas, “consists in being ready to accomplish in ourselves whatever God demands of us.”24
Observe the excellent advice which St. Paul gives us, that we may live ever united with God, and may patiently endure the troubles of this present life: Think diligently upon Him who endured contradiction against Himself for sinners, that ye be not weary and faint in your minds.25 He says, think diligently; for in order to suffer with resignation and peace present troubles, it is not enough to give a hasty glance, a few times in the year, at the Passion of Jesus Christ; we must often think of it, and every day turn our eyes to the pain which the Lord suffered for love of us. And what were the pains he suffered? The Apostle says, He endured such contradiction. The contradiction which Jesus Christ endured from his enemies was such as to make him, as it had been foretold by the Prophet, the vilest of men, and the man of sorrows,26 until he died of agony, and overwhelmed with insults, upon a gibbet belonging to the most reprobate. And why did Jesus Christ embrace this load of pains and insults? That ye might not be weary and faint in your minds; that seeing how much a God has been willing to endure, in order to give us an example of patience, we might be patient, and endure all to be delivered from our sins.
Thus the Apostle goes on to encourage us, saying, Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.27 Think, he says, that Christ poured forth for you all his blood in his Passion through torments, and that the holy martyrs, after the example of him, their king, have courageously endured hot plates, and iron nails, which have torn open their very bowels; but you have not shed a single drop of blood for Jesus Christ, while we ought to be ready to give our life rather than offend God, as St. Edmund said, “I would rather leap into a burning pile than commit a sin against my God.”28 And thus St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, said, “If I must either endure all the bodily pains of hell, or else commit a sin, rather than commit it I would choose hell.”29
The infernal lion ceases not through all our life to go about seeking to devour us; therefore St. Peter tells us that, by thinking of the Passion of Christ, we ought to arm ourselves against his attacks.30 St. Thomas says that the mere recollection of the Passion is a great defence against all the temptations of hell.31 And St. Ambrose, or some other saint,32 says, “If there had been any better way of salvation for men than the way of suffering, Christ would have shown it to us both by word and example;33 but now, going before us with the cross upon his shoulders, he has shown us that there is no better way of obtaining salvation than suffering with patience and resignation; and he himself has given us the example in his own person.
St. Bernard says that when we look upon the afflictions of the Lord, we will find our own lighter to bear.34 And in another place, “What more can be given to thee, since thou hast the bitternesses of thy Lord?”35 St. Eleazar, being one day asked by his good wife, Delphina, how he bore so many injuries with a calm mind, replied, “When I see myself injured, I think on the injuries of my crucified Saviour, and cease not to think of them until I am calmed.”36 “Sweet is the ignominy of the cross to him who is not ungrateful to the Crucified,” says St. Bernard.
To souls that desire to be grateful to Jesus Christ, the contempt they receive is not displeasing, but welcome.37 Who will not gladly embrace opprobrium and ill-treatment when he thinks of the ill-treatment which Jesus endured in the commencement of his Passion, when, in the house of Caiphas, he was on that night struck with blows and stripes, spit upon in the face, and, with a cloth spread before his eyes, derided as a false prophet?38
And how did it ever happen that the martyrs endured with such patience the torments of executioners? They were torn with iron, they were burned upon hot gratings. Were they not made of flesh and blood, or had they lost all sense? No; when the martyr sees his blood, he thinks not of his own wounds, but of those of his Redeemer; he does not feel pain; not that there is no pain, but that for Christ’s sake it is contemned. There is nothing so bitter, even to death, which is not sweetened by the death of Christ.39
The Apostle writes that through the merits of Jesus Christ we are all made rich.40 But Jesus Christ chooses that, in order to obtain the graces we desire, we should ever have recourse to God with prayer, and beseech him to hear us through the merits of his Son; and Jesus himself promises that whatever we ask the Father in his name, he will give it us. Thus did the martyrs; when the pain of their torments was too sharp and bitter, they went to God, and God gave them patience to endure. The martyr St. Theodore, in the midst of all the cruelties inflicted on him, feeling at one time a most terrible torture from the balls of hot chalk which the tyrant had put upon the wounds they had caused him, besought Jesus Christ to give him strength to suffer, and thus remained conqueror, ending his life in the torments.
We need not fear the attacks we must endure from the world and from hell; if we take heed ever to have recourse to Jesus Christ with prayer, he will obtain for us every blessing;41 he will obtain for us patience in all our labors, perseverance, and, in the end, will grant us a good death.
The Passion of our Saviour will give us Strength when at the Point of Death.
Great is the bitterness we endure at the point of death; Jesus Christ only can give us constancy to suffer with patience and meritoriously. Especially great are then the temptations of hell, which vehemently strive to destroy us, seeing us near our end. Rinaldus relates that St. Eleazar, at the point of death, endured horrible attacks from the devils, after leading a most holy life, so that he said, “Great are the temptations of hell at this moment, but Jesus Christ, by the merits of his Passion, destroys all their power.”42 St. Francis desired that at the hour of his death the Passion should be read to him. In like manner, St. Charles Borromeo, seeing himself near death, had himself taken near the images of the Passion, that in sight of these he might breathe out his blessed soul.
St. Paul writes that Jesus Christ chose to endure death, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death; that is, the devil; and might deliver those who, through fear of death, were through their whole life subject to bondage.43 And he adds, Wherefore it was necessary that He should be in all things like His brethren, that He might be merciful. For in that He Himself suffered, and was tempted, He is able to succor those who are tempted.44 He chose to take on him all the circumstances and passions of human nature (except ignorance, concupiscence, and sin); and wherefore? That he might be merciful, that by taking on himself our miseries, he might be more compassionate to us, because misery is much better known by experience than by reflection; and thus he became more ready to help us when we are tempted during life, and especially at the hour of death. To this the saying of St. Augustine refers, “If you are disturbed at the time of death, do not think yourself a reprobate, nor give yourself up to despair; for Christ himself was thus disturbed at the prospect of his own death.”45
Hell, therefore, at the time of our death, will put forth all its strength to make us distrust the divine mercy, by placing before our eyes all the sins of our life; but the memory of the death of Jesus Christ will give us courage to trust in his merits, and not to fear death. St. Thomas remarks on St. Paul’s words, Christ, by death, took away the fear of death: “When a man reflects that the Son of God chose to die, he does not fear death.”46 To the Gentiles death was an object of the greatest terror, because they thought that with death every blessing ceased; but the death of Jesus Christ gives us a firm-hope that, dying in the grace of God, we shall pass from death to eternal life. Of this hope St. Paul gives us a sure confidence, saying that the Eternal Father did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; and how has he not with him given us all things?47 For giving us Jesus Christ, he gives us pardon, final perseverance, his love, a good death, eternal life, and every blessing.
Thus, when the devil frightens us in life or in death, by representing to us the sins of our youth, let us answer him with St. Bernard, “What is wanting to me of myself, I take to myself from the bowels of my Lord.”48 St. Paul writes, It is God who justifieth; who is He that shall condemn? It is Jesus Christ who died, and who also is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.49 These words of the Apostle are of great comfort to us sinners; it is God who justifies us sinners, and pardons us with his grace; and if God makes us just, who can condemn us as guilty. Will Jesus Christ, who died for us, and gave himself for our sins, that he might redeem us from the present evil world?50
He burdened himself with our sins, and gave himself to death to deliver us from this wicked world, and to bring us with himself to his kingdom, where (as St. Paul goes on to say) he performs the office of our advocate, and intercedes for us with the Father. St. Thomas explains this, saying that Jesus Christ intercedes for us in heaven, by presenting to his Father his wounds which he endured for love of us. And St. Gregory does not hesitate to assert (in opposition to what some say) that the Redeemer, as truly man, ever after his death, prays for the Church militant, that we may be faithful to him: “Christ daily prays for his Church.”51 And St. Gregory Nazianzen before had said, “He intercedes, that is, he prays for us in the way of meditation.”52 And St. Augustine,53 on the thirty-ninth Psalm, says that Jesus prays for us in heaven, not that he may now obtain for us any fresh grace, for during his life he obtained all that he could obtain; but he prays, inasmuch as he begs of the Father, through his merits, the salvation already obtained and promised to us. And though to Christ all power is committed by the Father, yet, as man, he only possesses this power as depending upon God. For the rest, the Church is not accustomed to ask him to intercede for us, because she regards that which is most exalted in him, that is, his divinity; and therefore she prays to him as God to grant her what she asks.
Confidence in Jesus Christ, and Love for Him.
But let us return to the confidence we ought to have in Jesus Christ for our salvation. St. Augustine encourages us, saying that this Lord, who has delivered us from death by shedding all his blood, desires not that we should perish; and that if our sins separate us from God, and make us worthy of being rejected, our Saviour, on the other hand, cannot reject the price of the blood which he has shed for us.54 Let us, then, follow with boldness the counsel of St. Paul, who says, Let us run with patience the race that is put before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of faith; who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross and despised the shame.55 He says, “Let us run with patience the race before us,” because it profits little to begin, if we do not struggle to the end; while patience in enduring labor will obtain for us the victory, and the crown that is promised to him who conquers.
This patience will be the cuirass which will defend us from the swords of our foes; but how shall we obtain it? “By looking,” says the Apostle, “to Jesus, the author and finisher of the faith,” who, says St. Augustine, despised all earthly goods, that he might show that they are to be despised; who endured all earthly evils, which he taught us were to be endured, that in these we might neither seek happiness nor fear unhappiness.56 Then with his glorious resurrection he animated us not to fear death; because, if we are faithful to him even to death, after it we shall obtain eternal life, which is free from all evil, and full of every good thing. This is signified by the Apostle’s words, “Jesus, the author and finisher of faith;” for Jesus Christ is the author of the faith, in teaching us what to believe, and giving its grace to believe it; and so also is he the finisher of faith, by promising that we shall one day enjoy that blessed life which now he teaches us to believe in. And that we may be sure of the love which this Saviour bears to us, and of the will he has that we should be saved, St. Paul adds, “Who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross;” on which words St. John Chrysostom remarks that Jesus might have saved us by leading a life of joy upon earth; but that to make us more certain of the love he bears to us, he chose a life of pain, and a death of shame, dying as a malefactor upon a cross.
Let us, then, give ourselves, O souls that love the Crucified, for the life that remains to us, to love this loving Redeemer, so worthy of love, to our utmost power; and also to suffer for him, because he has been willing to suffer for love of us; and let us not cease to ask him continually to grant us the gift of his holy love. Happy are we if we attain to a great love for Jesus Christ! The Venerable Father Vincent Carafa, an eminent servant of God, in a letter which he wrote to some studious and devout young men, said as follows: “To reform ourselves in our whole life, we must give all our study to the exercise of the divine love; the love of God alone, when it enters a heart, and obtains possession of it, purifies it from all inordinate love, and makes it at once obedient and pure.” St. Augustine says, a pure heart is a heart emptied of every desire; and St. Bernard, he that loves, loves and desires nothing more; meaning that he who loves God desires nothing but to love him, and banishes from his heart everything which is not God. And thus it is that, from being empty, the heart becomes full, that is, full of God, who brings with himself every good thing; and then earthly blessings, finding no place in such a heart, have no power to move it. What power can earthly pleasures have over us if we enjoy divine consolations? What power is there in ambition for vain honors, and the desire of earthly riches, if we have the honor of being loved by God, and begin to possess in part the riches of paradise? To measure, therefore, the advance we have made in the ways of God, let us observe what advance we have made in loving him; whether we often during the day make acts of love towards God; often speak of the love of God; whether we take pains to produce it in others; whether we perform our devotions solely to please God; whether we suffer with full resignation all adversities, infirmities, pains, poverty, slights, and persecutions, in order to please God. The saints say that a soul that truly loves God ought not more to breathe than to love, since the life of the soul, both in time and eternity, consists in the love of our sovereign good, which is God.
But let us be sure that we shall never attain to a great love for God, except through Jesus Christ, and unless we have a special devotion to his Passion, by which he procured the divine grace for us. The Apostle writes, Through Him we have access to the Father.57 The way to ask for grace would be closed to us sinners, were it not for Jesus Christ. He opens the gate to us, he introduces us to the Father, and, by the merits of his Passion, he obtains for us from the Father pardon for our sins, and all the graces that we receive from God. Miserable we should be if we did not possess Jesus Christ. And who can ever sufficiently praise and thank the love and goodness which this merciful Redeemer has shown to us poor sinners, in being willing to die to deliver us from eternal death? Scarcely, says the Apostle, will any die for a just man, but for a good man perhaps some would dare to die; but when we were sinners, Christ died for us.58
Wherefore the Apostle teaches us that if we are resolved to seek the love of Jesus Christ at all costs, we ought to expect from him every help and favor; and he thus reasons, For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. He thus warns those who love Jesus Christ, that they do injustice to the love which this our merciful Saviour bears to us, if they fear that he will deny them any of the graces necessary to salvation and to make them holy. And that our sins may not not cause us to fail in trusting him, St. Paul goes on to say, For not according to the fault so is the gift; for if by the fault of one man many have died, much more has the grace and gift of God abounded by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, to many more;59 giving us to understand that the gift of grace obtained by the Redeemer through his Passion brings us blessings far greater than the loss we sustained in the sin of Adam; for the merits of Christ have a greater power to cause us to be loved by God than the sin of Adam had to make him hate us. “We obtained,” say St. Leo, “greater things by the unspeakable grace of Christ than we lost by the malice of the devil.”60
Let us, then, conclude. O devout souls, let us love Jesus Christ; let us love this Redeemer who is so worthy of being loved, and has so loved us that it seems as if he could not have done more to gain our love. It is enough for us to know that, for love of us he has been willing to die, consumed by griefs upon a cross; and, not satisfied with this, has left us himself in the sacrament of the Eucharist, where he gives us for food the very same body which he sacrificed for us, and gives us to drink the very same blood that he poured forth for us in his Passion. Most ungrateful shall we be to him, not merely if we offend him, but if we love him little, and do not consecrate to him all our love.
O my Jesus, may I be all consumed with love for Thee, as Thou wast all consumed for me! And since Thou hast so much loved me, and bound me to love Thee, help me now not to be ungrateful to Thee; and most ungrateful should I be if I loved anything apart from Thee. Thou hast loved me without reserve; without reserve I also would love Thee. I leave all, I renounce all, to give myself wholly to Thee, and to have in my heart no love but Thine. Accept my love in pity, without taking account of the offences that I have committed against Thee during the time past. Behold, I am one of the sheep for whom Thou hast shed Thy blood; we therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.61 Forget, O my dear Saviour, the many offences that I have committed against Thee. Chastise me as Thou wilt, deliver me only from the punishment of not being able to love Thee, and then do with me whatever pleases Thee. Deprive me of everything, O my Jesus, but deprive me not of Thyself, my only good. Teach me to know what Thou wilt have from me, that, by Thy grace, I may fulfil all Thy will. Make me forget everything, that I may remember Thee alone, and all the pains Thou hast suffered for me. Grant that I may think of nothing but of pleasing Thee, and loving Thee. Look upon me with that love with which Thou didst look upon me at Calvary, when dying for me upon the cross, and hear me. In Thee I place all my hopes, O my Jesus, my God, and my all.62
O holy Virgin Mary, my mother and my hope, recommend me to thy Son, and obtain for me faithfulness to love him until my death.

1“Quoniam tu, Domine, suavis et mitis, et multæ misericordiæ omnibus invocantibus te.” – Ps. lxxxv. 5.
2“Hæc est enim voluntas Dei, sanctificatio vestra.” – 1 Thess. iv. 3.
3“Adimpleo ea quæ desunt passionum Christi in carne mea.” – Col. i. 24.
4“Nam quos præscivit, et prædestinavit conformes fieri imaginis Filii sui, ut sit ipse primogenitus in multis fratribus.” – Rom. viii. 29.
5“Hominis satisfactio efficaciam habet a satisfactione Christi.”
6“Regnum cœlorum vim patitur, et violenti rapiunt illud.” – Matt. xi. 12.
7“Vim faciamus Domino, non compellendo, sed lacrymis exorando.”
8“O beata violentia, quæ, non indignatione percutitur, sed misericordia condonatur!”
9“Quisquis enim violentior Christo fuerit, religiosior habebitur a Christo. Prius enim ipsi regnare debemus in nobis, ut regnum possimus diripere Salvatoris.” – Serm. 15.
10“Pro justitia agonizare pro anima tua, et usque ad mortem certa pro justitia; et Deus expugnabit pro te inimicos tuos.” – Ecelus. iv. 33.
11“Vidi turbam magnam . . . , stantes ante thronum in conspectu Agni amicti stolis albis; et palmæ in manibus eorum.” – Apoc. vii. 9.
12“Si te respicis, nihil poteris; sed, si in Domino confidis, dabitur tibi fortitudo.”
13“Per multas tribulationes oportet nos intrare in regnum Dei.” – Acts, xiv. 21.
14“Hi sunt qui venerunt de tribulatione magna, et laverunt stolas suas et dealbaverunt eas in sanguine Agni.” – Apoc. vii. 14.
15“Fidelis autem Deus est, qui non patietur vos tentari supra id quod potestis.” – 1 Cor. x. 13.
16“Petite, et dabitur vobis; quærite, et invenietis.” – Matt. vii. 7.
17“Deus impossibilia non jubet; sed jubendo monet, et facere quod possis, et petere quod non possis; et adjuvat ut possis.” – Sess. vi. c. 11.
18“Si homines suis jumentis non plus oneris imponunt, quam ferre possint, multo minus hominibus plus tentationum imponet Deus, quam ferre queant.” – De Patientia.
19“Crux ubique te exspectat; necesse est te ubique tenere patientiam, si internam vis habere pacem. Si libenter crucem portas, portabit te ad desideratum finem.” – Imit. Chr. l. 2, c. 12.
20“Quis Sanctorum sine cruce fuit? Tota vita Christi crux fuit et martyrium; et tu tibi quæris gaudium?”
21“Haurietis aquas in gaudio de fontibus Salvatoris.” – Isa. xii. 3.
22“ ‘De fontibus Salvatoris,’ hoc est, de vulneribus Jesu Christi.”
23“Semper oculis cordis sui Christum in cruce tamquam morientem videat, qui devotionem in se vult conservare.” – De Perf. vit. c. 6.
242. 2, q. 82, a. 1.
25“Recogitate enim eum qui talem sustinuit a peccatoribus adversus semetipsum contradictionem, ut ne fatigemini, animis vestris deficientes.” – Heb. xii. 3.
26“Novissimum virornm, virum dolorum.” – Isa. liii. 3.
27“Nondum enim usque ad sanguinem restitistis, adversus peccatum repugnantes.” – Heb. xii. 4.
28“Malim insilire in rogum ardentissimum. quam peccatum ullum admittere in Deum meum.” – Vit. c. 19, ap. Sur. 16 Nov.
29Simil. c. 190.
30“Christo igitur passo in carne, et vos eadem cogitatione armamini.” – 1 Pet. iv. 1.
31“ ‘Armamini,’ quia memoria passionis contra tentationes munit et roborat.”
32(Thomas à Kempis, Imit. Chr. l. 2, c. 12. §15.)
33“Si quid melius saluti hominum quam pati fuisset, Christus utique verbo et exemplo ostendisset.”
34“Videntes angustias Domini, levius vestras portabitis.” – In Cant. s. 43.
35“Quid non suave tibi esse poterit, cum tibi collegeris omnes amaritudines Domini?” – De Divers. s. 22.
36Vit. c. 23, ap. Sur. 27 Sept.
37“Grata ignominia crucis ei qui Crucifixo ingratus non est.” – In Cant. s. 25.
38“Tunc exspuerunt in faciem ejus, et colaphis eum ceciderunt; alii autem palmas in faciem ejus dederunt, dicentes: Prophetiza nobis, Christe, quis est qui te percussit?” – Matt. xxvi. 67.
39“Martyr, videns sanguinem suum, non sua, sed Redemptoris vulnera attendit, dolores non sentit; nec deest dolor, sed pro Christo contemnitur. Nihil enim tam amarum ad mortem est, quod morte Christi non sanetur.”
40“In omnibus divites facti estis in illo.” – 1 Cor. i. 5.
41“Amen, amen, dico vobis: si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis.” – John, xvi. 23.
42Ann. 1323, n. 68.
43“Ut per mortem destrueret eum qui habebat mortis imperium, id est, diabolum, et liberaret eos qui, timore mortis, per totam vitam obnoxii erant servituti.” – Heb ii. 14, 15.
44“Unde debuit per omnia fratribus similari, ut misericors fieret . . .; in eo enim in quo passus est ipse et tentatus, potens est et eis, qui tentantur, auxiliari.” – Ibid. 17.
45“Si imminente morte turbaris, non te existimes reprobum, nec desperationi te abjicias; ideo enim Christus turbatus est in conspectu sum mortis.”
46“Christus, per mortem suam, abstulit timorem mortis; quando enim considerat homo quod Filius Dei mori voluit, non timet mori.” – In Heb. ii. lect. 4.
47“Proprio Filio suo non pepercit, sed pro nobis omnibus tradidit illum; quomodo non etiam cum illo omnia nobis donavit?” – Rom. viii. 32.
48“Quod ex me mihi deest, usurpo mihi ex visceribus Domini.” – In Cant. s. 61.
49“Deus qui justificat, quis est qui condemnet? Christus Jesus, qui mortuus est, imo qui et resurrexit. qui est ad dexteram Dei, qui etiam interpellat pro nobis.” – Rom. viii. 34.
50“Qui dedit semetipsum pro peccatis nostris, ut eriperet nos de præsenti sæculo nequam.” – Gal i. 4.
51“Quotidie orat Christus pro Ecclesia.” – In Ps. pœn. v.
52“ ‘Interpellat,’ id est, pro nobis mediationis ratione supplicat.” – De Theol. or. 4.
53In Ps. xxix. en. 2.
54“Qui nos canto pretio redemit, non vult perire quos emit . . .: si peccata nostra superant nos, pretium suum non contemnit Deus.” – Serm. 22, E. B.
55“Per patientiam curramus ad propositum nobis certamen, aspicientes in Auctorem fidei et Consummatorem Jesum, qui, proposito sibi gaudio, sustinuit crucem, confusione contempta.” – Heb. xii. 1.
56“Omnia bona terrena contempsit Christus, ut contemnenda demonstraret; omnia terrena sustinuit mala, quæ sustinenda præcipiebat: ut neque in illis quæreretur felicitas, neque in istis infelicitas timeretur.” – De catech. rud. c. 22.
57“Per ipsum habemus accessum . . . ad Patrem.” – Eph. ii. 18.
58“Vix enim pro justo quis moritur; nam pro bono forsitan quis audeat mori.—Cum adhuc peccatores essemus, secundum tempus, Christus pro nobis mortuus est.—Si enim, cum inimici essemus, reconciliati sumus Deo per mortem Filii ejus, multo magis, reconciliati, salvi erimus in vita ipsius.” – Rom. v. 7–10.
59“Sed non sicut delictum, ita et donum; si enim unius delicto multi mortui sunt, multo magis gratis Dei et donum in gratis unius hominis Jesu Christi in plures abundavit.” – Ibid. 15.
60“Amphora adepti per ineffabilem Christi gratiam, quam per diaboli amiseramus invidiam.” – De Asc. Dom. s. 1.
61“Te ergo quæsumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.”
62“Jesus meus, Deus meus, et omnia!”


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