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CHAPTER XV. From The Fond Caresses Which The Soul Has Has With God Beneath The Cross, She Returns Again To His Passion.
The Servant.—Thou hast revealed to me the measureless sufferings which Thou didst suffer in Thy exterior Man on the gibbet of the cross, how cruelly tormented Thou wast, and encompassed about with the bands of miserable death. Alas! Lord, how was it beneath the cross? Or was there not one at its foot whose heart was pierced by Thy woeful death? Or how didst Thou bear Thyself in Thy sufferings towards Thy sorrowing Mother?
Eternal Wisdom.—Oh, listen now to a woeful thing, and let it sink into thy heart. When, as thou hast heard, I hung suspended in mortal anguish before them, behold, they stood over against Me, and, with their voices, called out scoffingly to Me, wagging their heads contemptuously, and scorning Me utterly in their hearts, as though I had been a loathsome worm. But I was firm amidst it all, and prayed fervently for them to My heavenly Father; behold, I, the innocent Lamb, was likened to the guilty thieves; by one of these was I reviled, but by the other invoked. I listened to his prayer and forgave him all his evil deeds. I opened to him the celestial paradise. Hearken to a lamentable thing. I gazed around Me and found Myself utterly abandoned by all mankind, and those very friends who had followed Me, stood now afar off; yea, My beloved disciples had all fled from Me. Thus was I left naked, and stripped of all My clothes. I had lost all power and was without victory. They treated Me without pity, but I bore Myself like a meek and silent lamb. On whichever side I turned I was encompassed by bitter distress of heart. Below Me stood My sorrowful Mother, who suffered in the bottom of her motherly heart all that I suffered in My body. My tender heart was, in consequence, deeply touched, because I alone knew the depth of her great sorrow, and beheld her distressful gestures and heard her lamentable words. I consoled her very tenderly at My mortal departure, and commended her to the filial care of My beloved disciple, and gave the disciple in charge to her maternal fidelity.
The Servant.—Ah, gentle Lord, who can here refrain from sighing inwardly, and weeping bitterly? Yes, Thou beautiful Wisdom, how could they, the fierce lions, the raging wolves, be so ungentle to Thee, Thou sweet Lamb, as to treat Thee thus? Tender God, oh, that Thy servant had but been there to represent all mankind! Oh, that I had stood up there for my Lord, or else had gone to bitter death with my only Love; or, had they not chosen to kill me with my only Love, that I yet might have embraced, with the arms of my heart, in sorrow and desolation, the hard stone socket of the cross, and, when it burst asunder for very pity, that my wretched heart, too, might have burst with the desire to follow my Beloved.
Eternal Wisdom.—It was by Me from all eternity ordained, that when My hour was come, I alone should drink the cup of My bitter Passion for all mankind. But thou, and all those who desire to imitate Me, deny yourselves, and take up, each of you, your own cross, and follow Me. For this dying to yourselves is as agreeable to Me as though you had actually gone with Me to bitter death itself.
The Servant.—Gentle Lord, teach me then, how I should die with Thee, and what my own cross is. For, truly, Lord, since Thou hast died for me, I ought not to live any more for myself.
Eternal Wisdom.—When thou dost strive to do thy best as well as thou dost understand it, and for so doing, dost earn scornful words and contemptuous gestures from thy fellow-men, and they so utterly despise thee in their hearts that they regard thee as unable, nay, as afraid, to revenge thyself, and still thou continuest not only firm and unshaken in thy conduct, but dost lovingly pray for thy revilers to thy heavenly Father, and dost sincerely excuse them before Him; lo! as often as thou diest thus to thyself for love of Me, so often is My own death freshly renewed and made to bloom again in thee. When thou dost keep thyself pure and innocent and still thy good works are so misrepresented, that with the joyful consent of thy own heart thou art reckoned as one of the wicked, and that from the bottom of thy heart thou art as ready to forgive all the injury thou hast received as though it never had happened, and, moreover, to be useful to and assist thy persecutors by word and deed, in imitation of My forgiveness of My crucifiers, then truly art thou crucified with thy Beloved. When thou dost renounce the love of all mankind, and all comfort and advantage, so far as thy absolute necessities will allow, the forsaken state in which thou dost then stand, forsaken by all earthly love, fills up the place of all those who forsook Me when My hour was come. When thou dost stand, for My sake, so disengaged from all thy friends in those things by means of which they are an impediment between Me and thee, even as though thy friends did not belong to thee, then art thou to Me a dear disciple and brother, standing at the foot of My cross, and helping Me to support My sufferings. The voluntary detachment of thy heart from temporal things, and its devotion to Me, clothe and adorn My nakedness. When, in every adversity which may befall thee from thy neighbour, thou art oppressed for the love of Me, and dost endure the furious wrath of all men from whichever side its blast come, how fiercely soever it come, and whether thou be right or wrong, as meekly as a silent lamb, so that, in virtue of thy meek heart, and sweet words, and gentle looks, thou disarmest the malice of the hearts of thy enemies; behold even this is the true image of My death accomplished in thee. Yes, wherever I find this likeness, what delight and satisfaction have I not then, and My heavenly Father also, in man. Oh, carry but My bitter death in the bottom of thy heart, and in thy prayers, and in the manifestation of thy works, and then wilt thou fulfill the sufferings and fidelity of My immaculate Mother and My beloved disciple.
The Servant.—Ah, loving Lord, my soul implores Thee to accomplish the perfect imaging of Thy miserable Passion on my body and in my soul, be it for my pleasure or my pain, to Thy highest praise and according to Thy blessed will. I desire, also, in particular, that Thou wouldst describe something more of the great sorrow of Thy sorrowing Mother, and wouldst relate to me how she bore herself in the hour that she stood under the cross.
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