FROM The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy
of Jesus, St. Alphonsus Liguori
Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper.
"My sorrow is continually before me."-----Ps. 38:18
Consider that all the sufferings and ignominy that Jesus endured in His life and death, all were present to Him from the first moment of His life: My sorrow is continually before Me; and even from His childhood He began to offer them in satisfaction for our sins, beginning even then to fulfill His office of Redeemer. He revealed to one of His servants that from the commencement of His life even until His death, He suffered continually; and suffered so much for each of our sins that if He had had as many lives as there are men, He would as many times have died of sorrow, if God had not preserved His life, that He might suffer more.Oh, what a martyrdom did the loving heart of Jesus constantly endure in beholding all the sins of men! He beheld every single fault. Even whilst He was in the womb of Mary every particular sin passed in review before Jesus, and each sin afflicted Him immeasurably. St. Thomas says that this sorrow which Jesus Christ felt at the knowledge of the injury done to His Father, and of the evil that sin would occasion to the souls that He loved, surpassed the sorrows of all the contrite sinners that ever existed, even of those who died of pure sorrow; because no sinner ever loved God and His Own Soul as much as Jesus loved His Father and our souls. Wherefore that agony which our Redeemer suffered in the garden at the sight of our sins was endured by Him even from His mother's womb: I am poor, and in labors from my youth. [Ps. 87]
Thus through the mouth of David did our Savior prophesy of Himself, that all His life should be a continual suffering. From this St. John Chrysostom deduces that we ought not to afflict ourselves for anything but for sin alone; and that since Jesus was afflicted all His life long on account of our sins, so we who have committed them ought to feel a continual sorrow for them, remembering that we have offended God Who has loved us so much. St. Margaret of Cortona never ceased to shed tears for her sins: one day her confessor said to her, "Margaret, no more tears; it is enough, our Lord has already forgiven thee." "What," answered the Saint, "how can my tears and my sorrows suffice for the sins for which my Jesus was afflicted all His life long?"
Affections and PrayersBehold, my Jesus, at Thy feet the ungrateful sinner, the persecutor who kept Thee in continual affliction during all Thy life. But I will say to Thee with Isaias: But Thou hast delivered my soul that I should not perish. Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back. [38:17] I have offended Thee, I have pierced Thee through with all my sins; but Thou hast not refused to bear on Thy shoulders all my sins: I have voluntarily cast my soul into the fire of Hell every time that I have consented to offend Thee gravely; and Thou, at the cost or Thy Own Blood, hast continually liberated me and prevented me from being entirely lost. My beloved Redeemer, I thank Thee. I could wish to die of sorrow when I think how I have abused Thy infinite goodness; forgive me, my Love, and come and take entire possession of my heart. Thou hast said that Thou wouldst not disdain to enter into the abode of him that opens to Thee, and to remain in his company: If any man shall open to Me the door. I will come in to him, and will sup with him. [Apoc. 3:20] If I have hitherto driven Thee away from me, I now love Thee, and desire nothing but Thy favor. Behold, the door is open, enter Thou into my heart, hut enter never to depart from it again. I am poor; but if Thou enter Thou wilt make me rich. I shall always be rich as long as I possess Thee, the sovereign good. O Queen of Heaven, sorrowful Mother of this suffering Son, I have also been a cause of sorrow to thee, because thou hast participated, in great part, in the sufferings of Jesus: my Mother, do thou also forgive me, and obtain for me the grace to be faithful to thee, now that I hope my Jesus has returned into my soul.
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