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To stir up the soul to praise God.

Nowen, O my soul, and as many as have been redeemed by the precious Blood of Christ, come, and with inward compassion and fervent devotion, let us go up to the blessed palm-tree of the Cross, for it is all laden with the fairest fruit. Even as the busy bee, let us pass from wound to wound, for they are all full of honey. Let us search into and weigh with exceeding care-the sacred words of Christ, which He uttered on the Cross; for everything is medicinal and good which cometh from this blessed tree. All our salvation, all our health, all our life, all our glory, are centred in the Cross of our Lord and Saviour; and as the Apostle saith: “If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” And that we may not be found ungrateful for such immense benefits, let us stir up heaven and earth, and all things 331that in them are, and call them to our help, in order to praise and bless God, and give Him thanks. Let us invite them to come and gaze on this marvellous spectacle, and say: “Magnify our Lord with me, for He hath done wonderful things. Praise and bless the Lord with me, for His mercy over us is great.” O ye angelic spirits, come up, I pray you, with me, to Mount Calvary, and behold your King Solomon on His throne, and with the diadem wherewith His Mother hath crowned Him. Let us weep before the Lord Who made us, Who is Himself the Lord our God. O all mortals, and as many as are members of Christ, behold, I beseech you, with tearful eyes, your Redeemer, Who hangeth on high. See if any sorrow can be compared with His sorrow. Acknowledge the cruelty of your sins, which required such satisfaction. Go to every part of Christ’s Body, and ye will find nothing but wounds and blood. Cry to Him with mournful voice, and say: “O Jesus, our redemption, love, and desire, what mercy is this that hath overcome Thee, that Thou shouldst bear our sins, and suffer a cruel death, in order to snatch us from death, even death everlasting!”

And Thou, O God, the Father Almighty of heaven, look down from Thy high sanctuary on Thy innocent Son Joseph, sold, and wrongfully betrayed into the hands of 332blood-thirsty men, and given over to a shameful death. See whether this be Thy Son’s garment or not. Of a truth, an evil beast hath devoured Him. The blood of our sins is sprinkled over His garments, and all the coverings of His good name and reputation are defiled thereby. See how Thy holy Child hath been condemned with the wicked, how Thy Royal Son hath been crowned with thorns. Behold His guiltless hands, which have known no sin, dropping with blood; His sacred feet, which have never turned from the path of justice, pierced with a cruel nail; His naked and helpless side transfixed by a sharp lance; His fair face, on which the angels desire to look, all utterly debased and devoid of all beauty; His blessed Heart, which no stain of unclean thought hath ever touched, pressed down by inward woe. Behold, O loving Father, Thy sweet Son, all stretched out on the harp of the Cross, and harping blessings on Thee with all His members. Wherefore, I earnestly beseech Thee, O my God, to pardon me, for the sake of the Passion of Thy Son; whatever sin I may have committed in my members. Look, O merciful Father, on Thy only-begotten Son, that, Thou mayest have pity on Thy servant: As often as that red Blood of; Thy Son speaketh in Thy sight, so often do Thou wash me from every stain of sin; and as many times as 333Thou patiently beholdest the wounds of this Thy Son, so many times open to me the bosom of Thy fatherly mercy. Behold now, O tender Father, how Thy most obedient Son crieth not out: “Bind my hands and my feet, lest I should rebel against Thee;” but how of His own free will He stretcheth out His hands and His feet, and gladly suffereth them to be pierced with nails. Look down, I pray Thee, not on the brazen serpent hanging upon a pole for Israel’s salvation, but Thy only Son, hanging on the Cross for the salvation of all mankind. It is no longer Moses, who stretcheth forth his hands to heaven, that the thunder, and the lightning, and the other plagues of Egypt may cease, but it is Thy beloved Son, Who lovingly stretcheth forth His bleeding arms to Thee, that Thine anger may depart from the whole race of man. No longer do Aaron and Hur hold up the hands of Moses, that he may pray more perseveringly for Israel; but rough, rude nails have fastened the hands and feet of Thy only-begotten Son to the Cross, that He may wait with long-suffering for our penance, and that He may take us back into His grace, and that He may not in His anger turn Himself away from our prayers. This, indeed, is that faithful David, who now tighteneth the harp strings of His Body, and maketh sweet melody before 334Thee, singing to Thee the sweetest song that hath been ever sung to Thee: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is that High-Priest, Who by His own Blood bath entered into the Holy of Holies, to offer Himself a peace-offering for the sins of the whole world. This is that guiltless Lamb, Who hath washed us in His own precious Blood, Who never knew sin, but Who hath taken away all the sins of the world.

From the treasury, then, of this Passion, I borrow the price of my debt, and all its merits I count out before Thee in payment of what I owe. For all that He hath done, He hath done in my nature, and for my sake. O gracious Father, if Thou weighest all my sins on one side of the balance, and placest in the other the Passion of Thy Son, the latter will outweigh the former. For what sin can be so great that the guiltless Blood of Thy Son lath not washed away? What pride, or disobedience, or lust, is so unbridled and lifted up, that such lowliness, obedience and poverty cannot do away with? O, merciful Father, accept the actions of Thy beloved Son, and pardon the wanderings of Thy wicked servant; for the innocent Blood of our Brother Abel crieth to Thee from the Cross, not for vengeance, but for grace and mercy, saying: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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