FROM The Incarnation, Birth
of Jesus, St. Alphonsus Liguori
"I have a
Baptism wherewith I am to be
Baptized: and how
am I straitened until
Consider that Jesus suffered, even from the first moment of His life, and all for the love of us. During the whole of His life He had no other object in view, after the glory of God, than our salvation. He, as the Son of God, had no need to suffer in order to deserve Paradise; but whatever He suffered of pain, of poverty, of ignominy, He applied it all towards meriting for us eternal salvation. And even although He could have saved us without suffering, yet He chose to embrace a life of nothing but sufferings, poor, despised, and deprived of every comfort, with a death the most desolate and bitter that was ever endured by any Martyr or penitent, only to make us understand the greatness of the love He bore us, and to gain our affections.
He lived thirty-three years, and He lived sighing after the hour in which He was to sacrifice His life, which He desired to offer up to obtain for us Divine grace and eternal glory, in order that He might have us with Him forever in Paradise. It was this desire which made Him say, I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished! He desired to be Baptized with His Own Blood, not to wash out His Own sins, since He was innocent and holy, but the sins of men whom He loved so much: He loved us, and washed us in His Own Blood. [Apoc. 1:5] Oh, excess of the love of God, which all the men and Angels that ever existed will never arrive at understanding or praising as it deserves.
St. Bonaventure complains on considering the great ingratitude of men for so great love: "It is wonderful that the hearts of men do not break for love of Thee." It is a wonder, says the Saint, to see a God endure such sufferings, shedding tears in a stable, poor in a workshop, languishing on a Cross; in short, afflicted and troubled whole of His life for the love of men; and then to see these men, who not only do not burn with love towards such a loving God, but even have the boldness to despise His love and His grace. O Lord, how is it possible to know that a God should have given Himself up to so much suffering for men, and yet that there should be men who can offend, and not love this merciful God!
Affections and Prayers
My beloved Redeemer, I am
also one of those ungrateful
have repaid Thy immense love, Thy sorrows, and death, with offenses and
contempt. O my dearest Jesus! How is it possible that, seeing as Thou
the ingratitude I should show Thee for all Thy mercies, Thou couldst
love me so much, and resolve to endure so much contempt and suffering
me! But I will not despair. The evil is already done. Give me,
O my Savior, that sorrow which Thou hast merited for me by Thy tears;
let it be a sorrow equal to my iniquities. O loving heart of my Savior,
once so afflicted and desolate for my sake, and now all burning with
for me, I beseech Thee, change my heart, give me a heart will make
for the offenses I have committed against Thee, give me a love that
equal my ingratitude!
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