for Holy Tuesday
Jesus upon the Cross
Jesus on the cross! Behold the proof of the love of a God; behold the final manifestation of Himself, which the Word Incarnate makes upon this earth, - a manifestation of suffering indeed, but, still more, a manifestation of love. St. Francis of Paola, as he was one day mediating upon the Divine Love in the person of Jesus Crucified, rapt in ecstasy, exclaimed aloud three times, in these words, “O God – Love! O God- Love! O God - Love!” wishing hereby to signify that we shall never be able to comprehend how great has been the Divine love towards us, in willing to die for love of us.
O my beloved Jesus! If I behold Thy body upon this cross, nothing do I see but wounds and blood; and, then, if I turn my attention to Thy heart, I find it to be all afflicted and in sorrow. Upon this cross I see it written that Thou art a king; but what tokens of majesty dost Thou retain? I see not any royal throne save this tree of infamy; no other purple do I behold save Thy wounded and bloody flesh; no other crown save this band of thorns that tortures Thee. Ah, how it all declares Thee to be king of love! Yes, for this cross, these nails, this crown and these wounds are, all of them, tokens of love.
Jesus, from the cross, asks us not so much for our compassion as for our love; and, if even He does ask our compassion, He asks it solely in order that the compassion may move us to love Him. As being infinite goodness, He already merits all our love; but when placed upon the cross, it seems as if He sought for us to love Him, at least out of compassion.
Ah, my Jesus, and who is there that will not love Thee, while confessing Thee to be the God that Thou art, and contemplating Thee upon the cross? Oh, what arrows of fire dost Thou not dart at souls from that throne of love! Oh, how many hearts hast Thou not drawn to Thyself from that cross of Thine! O wounds of my Jesus! O beautiful furnaces of love! Admit me, too, amongst yourselves to burn, not indeed with that fire of hell which I have deserved, but with holy flames of love for that God Who has been willing to die for me, consumed by torments. O my dear Redeemer! Receive back a sinner, who, sorrowing for having offended Thee, is now earnestly longing to love Thee. I love Thee, I love Thee, O infinite goodness, O infinite love.
O Mary, Mother of beautiful love! Obtain for me a greater measure of love, to consume me for that God Who has died consumed for love of me.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week