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CHAPTER XVIII. How It Was With Him At That Hour in Regard of His Interior Man.
The Servant.—Eternal Wisdom! the more one reflects on Thy measureless Passion, the more unfathomable it appears. Thy extremity was so very great under the cross, but still more so on the cross, according to Thy exterior powers which, at that hour, felt all the pangs of bitter death. But, gentle Lord, how was it with Thy interior Man, with Thy noble Soul? Had it no consolation, no sweetness like other martyrs’ souls, so as to mitigate its cruel sufferings? Or, when did Thy sufferings come to an end?
Eternal Wisdom.—Now, hearken to a misery of miseries, such as thou never yet didst hear of. Although My soul, according to her highest powers, was at that time wrapt in the vision and enjoyment of the pure divinity, noble as, in truth, she is, behold, the lower powers of My exterior and interior nature were yet wholly abandoned to themselves, even to the very last drop of infinite bitterness of suffering, without any consolation, so that no torment was ever equal to it. And as I was thus left entirely helpless and forsaken, with running wounds, with weeping eyes, with extended arms, with the veins of My body on the rack, in the agony of death, then it was that I lifted up My voice in lamentation, and cried out miserably to My Father: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? And still in all this, My will was united in eternal conformity with His will. And when all My blood was poured out, and all My strength exhausted, behold, I was seized by a bitter thirst, because of My mortal agony. But I thirsted still more for the salvation of man. Then did they reach Me vinegar and gall to quench the burning thirst of My parched mouth. And when I had accomplished the work of human redemption, I cried out: It is finished! I was entirely obedient to My Father, even unto death. My spirit I commended into His hands, saying: Into Thy hands I commend My Spirit. And then My noble Soul separated from My body, both of which yet remained unseparated from the divinity! After this a sharp spear was thrust into My right side; forthwith a stream of precious blood gushed out, and with it a fountain of living water. Behold, My child, in an extremity so pitiable as this did I redeem thee, and all the elect, and did save thee by the living sacrifice of My innocent blood from everlasting death.
The Servant.—Alas! tender and loving Lord and Brother, with what sorrowful, what bitter toil didst Thou not reap me in! Alas! noble Lord, how ardently didst Thou love me, how generously didst Thou redeem me! Woe is me, Thou fair Wisdom, how shall I ever be in a condition to acknowledge Thy love and Thy sufferings? If I had Samson’s strength, Absalom’s beauty, Solomon’s wisdom, and the riches and greatness of all kings, my only wish would be to devote them to Thy praise and service. But, Lord, I am nothing, and therefore can do nothing. O Lord, how am I to thank Thee?
Eternal Wisdom.—If thou hadst the tongues of all the angels, the good works of all mankind, and the powers of all created beings, thou yet couldst not thank Me, nor requite Me, for the least pang which I suffered for the love of thee.
The Servant.—Tender Lord, inform and teach me, then, how I may become pleasing to Thee by means of Thy grace, since no one is able to make Thee a return for the tokens of Thy love.
Eternal Wisdom.—Thou shouldst often set My sorrowful cross before thy eyes, and let My bitter torments penetrate to thy heart, and shape thy own sufferings after them. If I allow thee to pine and wither in disconsolate affliction and dryness, without any sweetness, thou shouldst not seek after strange consolation. Let thy cry of misery rise to thy heavenly Father with a renunciation of thyself and all thy desires, according to His Fatherly will. The bitterer thy suffering is from without, and the more resigned thou art from within, the more like art thou to Me, and the more dear to My heavenly Father, for herein the most pious are put to the strongest proof. What though thy desires may have a thirsty craving to seek satisfaction and delight in something that might be pleasant to them, yet shouldst thou forego it for My sake, and thus will thy thirsty mouth be steeped with me in bitterness. Thou shouldst thirst after the salvation of men. Thy good works thou shouldst direct to a perfect life, and persevere to the end. Thy will must be subject, thy obedience prompt to thy superiors; thy soul, and all that belongs to it, thou must surrender into thy heavenly Father’s hands, and thy spirit must ever be dying out of time into eternity, in prefiguration of thy last journey. Behold, thus will thy cross be shaped after My miserable cross, and worthily accomplished in it. Thou shouldst wholly lock thyself up with My love-wounded heart in My open side, and dwell there, and seek there thy resting-place. Then will I wash thee with the waters of life, and deck thee out with My precious blood, in purple. I will associate Myself to thee, and unite thee with Myself eternally.
The Servant.—Lord, never was there any magnet so powerful in attracting hard iron to itself, as Thy love-fraught Passion, thus presented to my soul, is powerful to unite to itself all hearts. Alas! Thou loving Lord, draw me now by means of love and sorrow away from this world to Thee on Thy cross, fulfill in me the closest resemblance to Thy cross, so that my soul may enjoy Thee in Thy highest glory.
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