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CHAPTER II. WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THE CRUCIFIXION.

After the Last Supper, when on the Mount of Olives, I gave Myself up to the pangs of cruel death, and when I felt that he was present before Me, I was bathed in a bloody sweat, because of the anguish of My tender Heart, and the agony of My whole bodily nature. I was ignominiously betrayed, taken prisoner like an enemy, rigorously bound, and led miserable away. After this I was impiously maltreated with blows, with spittle, with blindfolding, accused before Caiphas, and pronounced worthy of death. Unspeakable sorrows of heart were then seen in My dear Mother, from the first sight she had of My distress till I was hung upon the cross. I was shamefully presented before Pilate, falsely denounced, and sentenced to die. They stood over against Me with terrible eyes like fierce giants, and I stood before them like a meek lamb. I, the Eternal Wisdom, was mocked as a fool in a white garment before Herod, My fair body was rent and torn without mercy by the rude stripes of whips, My lovely countenance was drenched in spittle and blood, and in this condition I was condemned, and miserable and shamefully led forth with My cross to death. They shouted after Me very furiously, so that: Crucify, crucify the miscreant! resounded to the skies.

The Servant.—Alas! Lord, the beginning is indeed so bitter, how will it end? If I were to see a wild beast so abused I should hardly be able to bear it. With what reason, then, must not Thy Passion pierce my heart and soul! But, Lord, this is a great marvel to my heart; I would needs seek Thy divinity, and Thou showest me Thy humanity; I would needs seek Thy sweetness, and Thou settest before me Thy bitterness; I would needs conquer, Thou teachest me to fight. Lord, what dost Thou mean?

Eternal Wisdom.—No one can attain divine exaltation or singular sweetness except by passing through the image of My human abasement and bitterness. The higher one climbs without passing through My humanity, the deeper one falls. My humanity is the way one must go, My Passion the gate through which one must penetrate, to arrive at that which thou seekest. Therefore, lay aside thy faint-heartedness, and enter with Me the lists of knightly resolve: for, indeed, softness beseems not the servant when his master stands ready in warlike boldness. I will put thee on My coat of mail, for My entire Passion must thou suffer over again according to thy strength. Make up thy mind to a daring encounter, for thy heart, before thou shalt subdue thy nature, must often die, and thou must sweat the bloody sweat of anguish because of many a painful suffering under which I mean to prepare thee for Myself; for with red blossoms will I manure thy spice garden. Contrary to old custom, must thou be made prisoner and bound; thou wilt often be secretly calumniated and publicly defamed by My adversaries; many a false judgment will people pass on thee; My torments must thou then diligently carry in thy heart with a motherly heartfelt love. Thou wilt obtain many a severe judge of thy godly life; so also will thy godly ways be often mocked as folly by human ways; thy undisciplined body will be scourged with a hard and severe life; thou wilt be scoffingly crowned with persecution of thy holy life; after this, if only thou shalt issue forth from thy own will and deny thyself, and shalt stand as wholly disengaged from all creatures in the things which might lead thee astray in thy eternal salvation, even as a dying man when he departs hence, and has nothing more to do with this world—if only thou shalt do this, then wilt thou be led forth with Me on the miserable way of the cross.

The Servant.—Woe is me, Lord, but this is a dreary pastime! My whole nature rebels against these words. Lord, how shall I ever endure it all? Gentle Lord, one thing I must say: couldst Thou not have found out some other way, in Thy eternal wisdom, to save me and show Thy love for me, some way which would have exempted Thee from Thy great sufferings, and me from their bitter participation? How very wonderful do Thy judgments appear!

Eternal Wisdom.—The bottomless abyss of My hidden mysteries (in which I order everything according to My eternal providence), let no one explore, for no one can fathom it. And yet, in this abyss, what thou askest about and many things besides are possible, which yet never happen. However, know this much, that, in the order in which emanated beings now are, a more acceptable or more pleasing way could not be. The Lord of nature knows well what He can do in nature. He knows what is best suited to every creature, and He operates accordingly. How should man better know the hidden things of God than in His assumed Humanity? How might he, who has forfeited all joy through irregular lusts, be rendered susceptible of regular and eternal joy? How would it be possible to follow the unpracticed way of a hard and despised life, unless it had been followed by God Himself? If thou didst lie under sentence of death, how could He, who should suffer the fatal penalty in thy stead, better prove His fidelity and love towards thee, or better excite thee to love Him in return? Him, therefore, whom My unfathomable love, My unspeakable mercy, and My bright divinity, My most affable humanity, brotherly truth, espousing friendship, cannot move to ardent love, what else shall soften his stony heart? Ask the fair array of all created beings if ever I could have maintained My justice, evinced My fathomless mercy, ennobled human nature, poured out My goodness, reconciled heaven and earth, in a way more efficacious than by My bitter death?

The Servant.—Lord, truly, I begin to perceive that it is even so, and he whom want of understanding has not blinded, and who well considers the subject, must confess it to Thee, and extol the beautiful ways of Thy love above all ways. But still to follow Thee is very painful to a slothful body.

Eternal Wisdom.—Be not terrified at the following of My Passion. For he whose interior is so possessed by God that suffering is easy to him has no cause to complain. No one enjoys Me more in My singular sweetness than he who stands with Me in harsh bitterness. No one complains so much of the bitterness of the husks as he to whom the interior sweetness of the kernel is unknown. For him who has a good second the fight is half won.

The Servant.—Lord, Thy comforting words have given me such heart, that, methinks, I am able to do and suffer all things in Thee. Therefore, I desire that Thou wouldst unlock for me the entire treasure of Thy Passion, and tell me still more about it.

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