for Good Friday
Jesus hanging Dead upon the Cross
Raise up thine eyes , my soul, and behold that crucified man. Behold the Divine Lamb now sacrificed upon that altar of pain. Consider that He is the Beloved Son of the Eternal Father; and consider that He is dead for the love that He has borne thee. See how He holds His arms outstretched to embrace thee; His head bent down to give the kiss of peace; His side open to receive thee into His heart. What dost thou say? Does not a God so loving deserve to be loved? Listen to the words He addresses to thee from that cross: “Look, my son, and see whether there be any one in the world who has loved thee more than I have.”
No, my God, there is none that has loved me more than Thou. But what return shall I ever be able to make to a God Who has been willing to die for me? What love from a creature will ever be able to recompense the love of his Creator, Who died to gain his love?
O God! Had the vilest one of mankind suffered for me what Jesus Christ has suffered, could I ever refrain from loving him? Were I to see any man torn to pieces with scourges and fastened to a cross in order to save my life, could I ever bear it in mind without feeling a tender emotion of love? And were there to be brought to me the portrait of him, as he lay dead upon the cross, could I behold it with an eye of indifference, when I considered: “This man is dead, tortured thus, for love of me. Had he not loved me, he would not so have died.”
Ah, my Redeemer, O love of my soul! How shall I ever be able to forget Thee? How shall I ever be able to think that my sins have reduced Thee so low, and not always bewail the wrongs that I have done to Thy goodness? How shall I ever be able to see Thee dead of pain on this cross for love of me, and not love Thee to the uttermost of my power?
O my dear Redeemer! Well do I recognize in these Thy wounds, and in Thy lacerated body, as it were through so many lattices, the tender affection which Thou does retain for me. Since, then, in order to pardon me, Thou has not pardoned Thyself, oh, look upon me now with the same love wherewith Thou didst one day look upon me from the cross, whilst Thou wert dying for me.
Look upon me and enlighten me, and draw my whole heart to Thyself, that so, from this day forth, I may love none else but Thee. Let me not ever be unmindful of Thy death. Thou didst promise that, when raised up upon the cross, Thou wouldst draw all our hearts to Thee. Behold this heart of mine, which, made tender by Thy death, and enamored of Thee, desires to offer no further resistance to Thy calls. Oh, do Thou draw it to Thyself, and make it all Thine own! Thou hast died for me, and I desire to die for Thee; and if I continue to live, I will live for Thee alone.
O pains of Jesus, O ignominies of Jesus, O death of Jesus, O love of Jesus! Fix yourselves within my heart, and let the remembrance of you abide there always, to be continually smiting me, and inflaming me with love.
I love Thee, O infinite goodness; I love Thee, O infinite love. Thou art and shalt ever be, my one and only love.
O Mary, Mother of love, do thou obtain me love.
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
The Ascetical Works : The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
Meditations for Holy Week