The Love That God Has Shown Us in the Redemption
EXTRACT FROM The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus, St. Alphonsus Liguori
with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur
Dilexit nos, et tradidit semetipsum pro nobis.
"He hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us."-----Eph. 5:2
Consider that the eternal Word is that God Who is so infinitely happy in Himself that His happiness cannot be greater than it is, nor could the salvation of all mankind have added anything to it or have diminished it; and yet He has done and suffered so much to save us miserable worms that if His beatitude [as St. Thomas says] had depended on that of man, He could not have done or suffered more: "As if without him He could not be happy;" and, indeed, if Jesus Christ could not have been happy without redeeming us, how could He have humbled Himself more than He has done, in taking upon Himself our infirmities, the miseries of infancy, the troubles of human life, and a death so barbarous and ignominious?
None but God was capable of loving to such an excess so wretched sinners as we are, and who were so unworthy of being loved: A devout author says: If Jesus Christ had permitted us to ask of Him to give us the greatest proof of His love, who would have ventured to ask of Him that He should become a child like unto us, that He should clothe Himself with all our miseries, and make Himself of all men the most poor, the most despised, and the most ill-treated, even to being put to death by the hands of executioners, and in the greatest torments upon an infamous gibbet, cursed and forsaken by all, even by His Own Father, Who abandoned His Son that He might not abandon us in our ruin?
But that which we should not have had the boldness even to think of, the Son of God has thought of and accomplished. Even from His childhood He has sacrificed Himself for us to sufferings, to opprobrium, and to death: He hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us. He hath loved us, and out of love hath given us Himself, in order that we, by offering Him as a victim to the Father, in satisfaction for our debts, might through His merits obtain from the Divine goodness all the graces that we desire; a victim dearer to the Father than if we had offered Him the lives of all men and of all the Angels. Let us therefore continually offer to God the merits of Jesus Christ, and through them let us seek and hope for every good.
Affections and PrayersMy Jesus, I should indeed do great injustice to Thy mercy and Thy love, if, after Thou hast given me so many proofs of the love Thou bearest me, and the desire Thou hast to save me, I should still distrust Thy mercy and Thy love. My beloved Redeemer, I am a poor sinner: but Thou hast said that Thou didst come to seek sinners: I am not come to call the just, but sinners. [Matt. 9:13] I am a poor infirm creature,------Thou camest to cure the infirm, and Thou didst say, They that are whole need not the physician, but they that are sick. [Luke 5:31] I was lost through my sins; but Thou didst come to save the lost: The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost. [Matt. 18:11] What, then, can I fear, if I am willing to amend my life and to become Thine? I have only myself and my own weakness to fear; but my own weakness and poverty ought to increase my confidence in Thee, Who hast declared Thyself to be the refuge of the destitute: The Lord is become a refuge for the poor. [Ps. 9:10] And Thou hast promised to grant their desires: The Lord hath heard the desire of the poor. [Ps. 10:17] Therefore I implore this favor of Thee, O my Jesus! Give me confidence in Thy merits, and grant that I may always recommend myself to God through Thy merits. Eternal Father, save me from Hell, and first from sin, for the love of Jesus Christ; for the merits of this Thy Son enlighten my mind to obey Thy will; give me strength against temptations; grant me the gift of Thy holy love; and, above all, I beseech Thee to give me the grace to pray to Thee to help me, for the love of Jesus Christ, Who hast promised that Thou wilt grant to him who prays in His name whatever he asks of Thee. If I continue to pray to Thee in this way, I shall certainly be saved; but if I neglect it, I shall certainly be lost. Most holy Mary, obtain for me this great gift of prayer, and that I may persevere in recommending myself constantly to God, and also to thee, who dost obtain from God whatever thou willest.