The Love of Jesus Christ in Being Willing to Satisfy the Divine Justice for Our Sins
The Love of Jesus Christ in Being Willing to Satisfy the Divine Justice for Our Sins

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We read in history of a proof of love so prodigious that it will be the admiration of all ages. There was once a king, lord of many kingdoms, who had one only son , so beautiful, so holy, so amiable, that he was the delight of his father, who loved him as much as himself. This young prince had a great affection for one of his slaves; so much so that, the slave having committed a crime for which he had been condemned to death, the prince offered himself to die for the slave; the father, being jealous of justice, was satisfied to condemn his beloved son to death, in order that the slave might remain free from the punishment that he deserved: and thus the son died a malefactor's death, and the slave was freed from punishment.

This fact, the like of which has never happened in this world, and never will happen, is related in the Gospels, where we read that the Son of God, the Lord of the universe, seeing that man was condemned to eternal death in punishment of his sins, chose to take upon Himself human flesh , and thus to pay by His death the penalty due to man: He was offered because it was His own will (1). And His Eternal Father caused him to die upon the cross to save us miserable sinners : He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (2) . What dost thou think, O devout soul , of this love of the Son and of the Father?

Thou didst, then , O my beloved Redeemer, choose by Thy death to sacrifice Thyself in order to obtain the pardon of my sins. And what return of gratitude shall I then make to Thee? Thou hast done too much to oblige me to love Thee; I should indeed be most ungrateful to Thee if I did not love Thee with my whole heart. Thou hast given for me Thy divine life; I , miserable sinner that I am, give Thee my own life . Yes, I will at least spend that period of life that remains to me only in loving Thee, obeying Thee, and pleasing Thee.


O men, men! let us love this our Redeemer, who, being God, has not disdained to take upon Himself our sins, in order to satisfy by His sufferings for the chastisement which we have deserved: Surely He hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows (3).

St. Augustine says that our Lord in creating us formed us by virtue of His power, but in redeeming us He has saved us from death by means of His sufferings: "He created us in His strength; He sought us back in His weakness (4)."

How much do I not owe Thee, O Jesus my Saviour! Oh, if I were to give my blood a thousand times over, if I were to spend a thousand lives for Thee, --it would yet be nothing. Oh, how could any one that meditated much on the love which Thou hast shown him in Thy Passion, love anything else but Thee? Through the love with which Thou didst love us on the cross, grant me the grace to love Thee with my whole heart. I love Thee, infinite Goodness; I love Thee above every other good; and I ask nothing more of Thee but Thy holy love.

"But how is this?" continues St. Augustine. How is it possible, O Saviour of the world, that Thy love has arrived at such a height that when I had committed the crime, Thou shouldst have to pay the penalty? "Whither has Thy love reached? I have sinned; Thou art punished (5)."

And what could it then signify to Thee, adds St. Bernard, that we should lose ourselves and be chastised, as we well deserved to be ; that Thou shouldst choose to satisfy with Thy innocent flesh for our sins, and to die in order to deliver us from death! "O good Jesus, what doest Thou? We ought to have died, and it is Thou who diest. We have sinned and Thou sufferest. A deed without precedent, grace without merit, charity without measure (6)." O deed which never has had and never will have its match! O grace which we could never merit! O love which can never be understood!


Isaias had already foretold that our blessed Redeemer should be condemned to death , and as an innocent lamb brought to the sacrifice: He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter (7). What a cause of wonder it must have been to the angels, O my God, to behold their innocent Lord led as a victim to be sacrificed on the altar of the cross for the love of man! And what a cause of horror to heaven and to hell, the sight of a God extended as an infamous criminal on a shameful gibbet for the sins of His creatures! Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (for it is written , Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree): that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ (8). "He was made a curse upon the cross," says St. Ambrose, "that thou mightest be blessed in the kingdom of God (9)."

O my dearest Saviour! Thou wert, then, content, in order to obtain for me the blessing of God, to embrace the dishonor of appearing upon the cross accursed in the sight of the whole world , and even forsaken in Thy sufferings by Thy Eternal Father, --a suffering which made Thee cry out with a loud voice, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me (10)? Yes, observes Simon of Cassia, it was for this end that Jesus was abandoned in His Passion in order that we might not remain abandoned in the sins which we have committed: "Therefore Christ was abandoned in His sufferings that we might not be abandoned in our guilt (11)." O prodigy of compassion! O excess of love of God towards men! And how can there be a soul who believes this, O my Jesus, and yet loves Thee not?


He hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood (12). Behold, O men, how far the love of Jesus for us has carried Him , in order to cleanse us from the filthiness of our sins. He has even shed every drop of His blood that He might prepare for us in this His own blood a bath of salvation: "He offers His own blood," says a learned writer, "speaking better than the blood of Abel: for that cried for justice; the blood of Christ for mercy (13)."

Whereupon St. Bonaventure exclaims, "O good Jesus, what hast Thou done (14)?" O my Saviour, what indeed hast Thou done? How far hath Thy love carried Thee? What hast Thou seen in me which hath made Thee love me so much? "Wherefore hast Thou loved me so much? Why, Lord, why? What am I (15)? " Wherefore didst Thou choose to suffer so much for me? Who am I that Thou wouldst win to Thyself my love at so dear a price? Oh, it was entirely the work of Thy in finite love! Be Thou eternally praised and blessed for it.

O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to My sorrow (16). The same seraphic Doctor, considering these words of Jeremias as spoken of our blessed Redeemer while He was hanging on the cross dying for the love of us, says, " Yes, Lord , I will attend and see if there be any love like unto Thy love (17)." By which he means, I do indeed see and understand, O my most loving Redeemer, how much Thou didst suffer upon that infamous tree; but what most constrains me to love Thee is the thought of the affection which Thou hast shown me in suffering so much, in order that I might love Thee.


That which most inflamed St. Paul with the love of Jesus was the thought that He chose to die, not only for all men, but for him in particular: He loved me, and delivered Himself up for me (18). Yes, He has loved me, said he, and for my sake He gave himself up to die. And thus ought every one of us to say; for St. John Chrysostom asserts that God has loved every individual man with the same love with which He has loved the world: "He loves each man separately with the same measure of charity with which He loves the whole world (19)." So that each one of us is under as great obligation to Jesus Christ for having suffered for every one, as if He had suffered for him alone.

F or supposing, my brother, Jesus Christ had died to save you alone, leaving all others to their original ruin , what a debt of gratitude you would owe to him! But you ought to feel that you owe Him a greater obligation still for having died for the salvation of all. For if he had died for you alone, what sorrow would it not have caused you to think that your neighbors, parents, brothers, and friends would be damned, and that you would, when this life was over, be forever separated from them? If you and your family had been slaves, and some one came to rescue you alone, how would you not entreat of him to save your parents and brothers together with yourself! And how much would you thank him if he did this to please you! Say, therefore, to Jesus:

O my sweetest Redeemer! Thou hast done this for me without my having asked Thee; Thou hast not only saved me from death at the price of Thy blood, but also my parents and friends, so that I may have a good hope that we may all together enjoy Thy presence forever in paradise. O Lord! I thank Thee, and I love Thee, and I hope to thank Thee for it, and to love Thee forever in that blessed country.


Who could ever, says St. Laurence Justinian, explain the love which the divine Word bears to each one of us, since it surpasses the love of every son towards his mother, and of every mother for her son? "The intense charity of the Word of God surpasses all maternal and filial love; neither can human words express how great his love is to each one of us (20)!" So much so, that our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that He would be ready to die as many times as there were souls damned, if they were yet capable of redemption: "I would die as many deaths as there are souls in hell (21)."

O Jesus, O treasure more worthy of love than all others! why is it that men love Thee so little? Oh! do Thou make known what Thou hast suffered for each of them, the love that Thou bearest them , the desire Thou hast to be loved by them , and how worthy Thou art of being loved . Make Thyself known, O my Jesus, make Thyself loved.


I am the good shepherd, said our Redeemer; the good shepherd gives his life for his sheep (22). But, O my Lord, where are there in the world shepherds like unto Thee? Other shepherds will slay their sheep in order to preserve their own life. Thou, O too loving Shepherd, didst give Thy divine life in order to save the life of Thy beloved sheep. And of these sheep, I , O most amiable Shepherd, have the happiness to be one. What obligation, then, am I not under to love Thee, and to spend my life for Thee, since Thou hast died for the love of me in particular! And what confidence ought I not to have in Thy blood, knowing that it has been shed to pay the debt of my sins! And thou shalt say in that day, I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord. Behold, God is my Saviour; I will deal confidently, and will not fear (23). And how can I any longer mistrust Thy mercy, O my Lord, when I behold Thy wounds? Come, then , O sinners, and let us have recourse to Jesus, who hangs upon that cross as it were upon a throne of mercy. He has appeased the divine justice, which we had insulted. If we have offended God, He has done penance for us; all that is required for us is contrition for our sins. O my dearest Saviour, to what have Thy pity and love for me reduced Thee? The slave sins, and Thou, Lord , payest the penalty for him. If, therefore, I think of my sins, the thought of the punishment I deserve must make me tremble; but when I think of Thy death, I find I have more reason to hope than to fear. O blood of Jesus! thou art all my hope.


But this blood, as it inspires us with confidence, also obliges us to give ourselves entirely to our Blessed Redeemer. The Apostle exclaims, Know you not that you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price (24).

Therefore, O my Jesus, I cannot any longer, without injustice, dispose of myself, or of my own concerns, since Thou hast made me Thine by purchasing me through Thy death. My body, my soul, my life are no longer mine; they are Thine, and entirely Thine. In Thee alone, therefore, will I hope. O my God, crucified and dead for me, I have nothing else to offer Thee but this soul, which Thou hast bought with Thy blood ; to Thee do I offer it. Accept of my love, for I desire nothing but Thee, my Saviour, my God, my love, my all. Hitherto I have shown much gratitude towards men; to Thee alone have I, alas! been most ungrateful. But now I love Thee, and I have no greater cause of sorrow than my having offended Thee. O my Jesus, give me confidence in Thy Passion; root out of my heart every affection that belongs not to Thee. I will love Thee alone, who dost deserve all my love, and who hast given me so much reason to love Thee. And who, indeed, could refuse to love Thee, when they see Thee, who art the beloved of the Eternal Father, dying so bitter and cruel a death for our sake? O Mary, O Mother of fair love, I pray thee, through the merits of thy burning heart, obtain for me the grace to live only in order to love thy Son, who, being in himself worthy of an infinite love, has chosen at so great a cost to acquire to Himself the love of a miserable sinner like me. O love of souls, O my Jesus! I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee; but still I love Thee too little. Oh, give me more love, give me flames that may make me live always burning with Thy love! I do not myself deserve it; but Thou dost well deserve it, О infinite Goodness. Amen. This I hope, so may it be. Amen

1. "Oblatus est, quia ipse voluit." --Isa. liii . 7.
2. Proprio Filio suo non pepercit, sed pro nobis omnibus tradidit illum." --Rom . viii . 32 .
3. Vere languores nostros ipse tulit , et dolores nostros ipse portavit."--Isa . liii . 4 .
4. "Condidit nos fortitudine sua, quaesivit nos infirmitate sua."--In Jo. tr . 15.
5. Quo tuus attigit amor? Ego inique egi , tu poena mulctaris." --Medit. c. 7.
6. "O bone Jesu! quid tibi est? Mori nos debuimus, et tu solvis? Nos peccavimus, et tu luis?--Opus sine exemplo, gratia sine merito, charitas sine modo:'--Apud Lohn . Bibl. tit . 110,
7. "Sicut ovis ad occisionem ducetur. "--Isa. liii . 7.
8. "Christus nos redemit de maledicto legis, factus pro nobis male. dictum, quia scriptum est : Maledictus omnis qui pendet in ligno ; ut in gentibus benedictio Abrahæ fieret in Christo Jesu."--Gal. iii . 13 .
9. "Ille maledictum in cruce factus est, ut tu benedictus esses in Dei regno."--t.pist. 47.
10. "Deus meus ! Deus meus ! ut quid dereliquisti me?"--Matt. xxvii . 46.
11. "Ideo Christus derelictus est in penis, ne nos derelinquamur in culpis." --Lib. xiii , de Pass. D.
12. "Dilexit nos, et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine suo."--Apoc. i . 5 .
13. "Offert sanguinem melius clamantem quam Abel ; quia iste justitiam, sanguis Christi misericordiam interpellabat."--Contens. 1. 10, d . 4, c. 1 , sp. 1 .
14. "O bone Jesu! quid fecisti?"
15. "Quid me tantum amasti? quare, Domine, quare? quid sum ego?"--Stim . div. am. p. I , C. 13.
16. " O vos omnes qui transitis per viam! attendite , et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus."--Lam . i . 12.
17. "Imo, Domine, attendam , et videbo si est amor sicut amor tuus, "
18. "Dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro mene."--Gal. ii .
19. " Adeo singulum quemque hominum pari charitatis modo diligit, quo diligit universum orbem."--In Gal. ii .
20. "Praecellit omnem maternum ac filialem affectum Verbi Dei immensa charitas; neque humano valet explicare eloquio, quo circa unumquemque moveatur amore."--De Tr. Chr. Ag. c . 5 .
21. "Toties morerer, quot sunt animae in inferno."--Rev. 1. 7 , c . 19.
22. " Ego sum Pastor bonus. Bonus Pastor animam suam dat pro ovibus suis."--John , x . 11 .
23. " Et dices in die illa: Confitebor tibi , Domine! . . . Ecce Deus Salvator meus; fiducialiter agam, et non timebo."--Isa. xii . 1 .
24. "An nescitis quoniam . . . non estis vestri? Empti enim estis pretio magno."--1 Cor . vi . 19.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre

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