Prayer – Twenty-First Day of September
“We ought always to pray.” — St. Luke 18.1.
Meditate every day for a certain time on the Passion of Jesus Christ. One meditation well made upon this subject is of more value than severe penances performed for a whole year, or the recitation of the whole Psalter each day. — Albert the Great.
It is by continual meditation of the sufferings of Our Saviour that St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis Xavier, St. Bridget arrived at so high a degree of holiness.
The great servant of God, St. Joseph Labre, never lost sight of Jesus crucified. Whenever he saw a crucifix, he said to Jesus Christ: “It is not Thou Who deserves to be crucified, it is I. That cross should not have been made for Thee; it is I who ought to carry it, who ought to be nailed upon it.”
The venerable Palafox rested in thought on the different nails which attached Jesus Christ to the cross, like a bird that reposes in the branches of a tree. There he meditated with feelings of astonishment and love upon the frightful state to which the sins of men had reduced his divine Master, and he kissed with devotion the precious blood which covered these adorable wounds.
A priest, having heard of a young person who possessed the gift of prayer in an eminent degree, asked him in what manner he meditated. He replied: “It is on the Passion of Jesus Christ that I almost always meditate; it is in my heart that I make it. I address myself to Mary, whom I always call my good Mother. I ask her different questions. I think I hear her reply. The time appointed for meditation passes so rapidly, almost without perceiving it, and frequently during the day the thought of the subject of my meditation comes to mind.” The priest, charmed with his manner of relating his story, asked what were the questions he proposed to the Blessed Virgin. He replied: “When I salute the Blessed Virgin, I say: ‘Who is this I see near thee, my good Mother, all covered with horrible wounds and bleeding? The hardest of hearts must be touched with compassion at the sight.’ ‘It is Jesus Christ my Son,’ she replies. ‘What! Thy Son, the only Son of God made man in thee! What has brought Him to this frightful state?’ She replies: ‘It is men, it is thou, it is thy sins.’ ‘What! It is I who have treated in this manner the Son of God! This is what I have done when I sinned! Oh, how guilty am I! But why did Jesus Christ suffer like this? Could He not punish me and not Himself?’ She replies: ‘He has suffered voluntarily. It is to save thee from being precipitated into hell that He suffered to such an excess. It is love, and only love. He loves thee. He has delivered Himself for thee, so that thou mightest be delivered from the slavery of sin and hell; and to obtain for thee a place in heaven by His sufferings, He has merited the graces thou requires to arrive there.’ ‘O my good Mother, tell me what I must do; I am prepared for all.’ She replies: ‘Go, ask pardon of my Son, thy Saviour, for the sins thou hast committed. Show how grateful thou art for the great things He has done for thee; offer thyself entirely to Him, through love for Him; promise to obey Him, to imitate Him; beg Him to assist thee unceasingly.’ I go then to Jesus Christ and I do as His blessed Mother counsels me.”
O my amiable Redeemer, engrave deeply in my heart Thy sorrowful Passion. Grant that I may think unceasingly of it, and let me burn continually with Thy love.