From Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange we offer this thoughtful meditation on the love of Jesus.
The Strength and Tenderness of Our Savior’s Love for Us
Christ’s love descends upon our souls from the summit of the beatific vision, and in Jesus’ love for us we find the same two qualities which are so different: the deepest tenderness and the most heroic strength. Our Lord’s tender mercy for souls did not lessen for a moment, in spite of all the ingratitude, the opposition, and the hatred that He met on His path.
We human beings find it easy to love with tender affection a few persons in our family or among our friends, but often this tenderness is entirely a matter of superficial feelings. . .
Our hearts are poor, miserly with their affection: the indifferent remain outside, and all the more so those who have offended or wounded us. Toward the latter we are even hard and sometimes pitiless. The supernatural tenderness of Christ for souls is deep, because its primary object is the soul and the desire for its eternal happiness. At the same time, it is universal, immense, and extends to everyone.
Jesus is, as He Himself says, the Shepherd of souls; all can become the sheep of His fold, and He knows each of them by name. He is concerned about those that are absent, He rushes forth to seek them and takes them up on His shoulders. He explains to them with kindness the doctrine of salvation, and He even waits upon them. He chooses His apostles among the poor and the humble. . . .
What does He say to sinners? “Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you” (Matt. 11:28).
He is the father of the prodigal son, He embraces the child who is unhappy through his own fault. He forgives the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned. He receives repentant Mary Magdalen, and at once opens to her the mystery of His intimate life. He speaks of eternal life to the Samaritan woman in spite of her unsavory past. He promises prompt entry into heaven to the good thief.
“Christ died for all,” says St. Paul. Many turn from Him, but He drives no one away. And even when many have turned away from Him, He intercedes for the ingrates, as when He prayed for His executioners. This is the supreme degree of mercy, sweetness, and humility. He tells Peter that he must forgive “seventy times seven,” that is, always, and He is the first to do it.
He is the voluntary victim who offered Himself up to save us. “Greater love than this no man hath,” Jesus Himself has told us, “that a man lay down his life for His friends.” Jesus bore the punishment that each of us should have borne. He suffered because of sin in the measure of His love for God whom sin offends, and in the measure of His love for our souls which sin ravages and kills.
The Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary was intimately associated with this heroic oblation, and helps us to fathom this mystery. . . .Jesus has consented to take for Himself the loathsome chalice of Gethsemane, so that He might give us the chalice of His precious blood which is raised up every morning on the altar. These two chalices represent the whole history of the world of souls. They are as it were the two pans of the scales of good and evil, and it is good that prevails. The precious blood of Christ can obliterate all crimes if their perpetrators beg forgiveness.
Jesus, by His victory over sin on the cross, is the source of life and of holiness, the source of all consolation, the salvation of those who hope in Him, the hope of the dying, the delight of the saints, as the Litany of the Sacred Heart reminds us.
Finally, He has left us the Eucharist so that He might remain with us until the end of the world and give Himself as food to each and every one of us.
To His privileged friends who follow His example, He says: “It is My love which keeps open the wound of My heart. I desire to prove to souls that My heart is never closed. On the contrary, My greatest wish is that souls may enter through My wounded heart, which is an abyss of charity and mercy. It is only in the heart of God that they will find solace for their sufferings and strength for their weakness. If they will but hold out their hands to Me, I will lead them to it Myself.”
We remain selfish because our love is too weak, too poor, too narrow, and because it is pitifully engrossed with our own selves. The heart of Jesus will dilate our hearts by teaching us to love above all else the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
Why are we cowards? Because we do not love enough, because our hearts are cold, because we rely far too much on our own strength when our helplessness is obvious, and because we do not depend enough on the heart of Jesus, on His love for us. The heart of Jesus is able and desires to give us the saintly powers we need, confidence and love, which inspire adoration, thanksgiving, and atonement, by placing the glory of God above all else.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received, have mercy on us!
(Garrigou-Lagrange O.P., Reverend Reginald. Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. Collection [16 Books] . Aeterna Press. Kindle Edition)
The above thoughts are offered to you, as they were written, in love; for in the end, that is all we will have and the love with which we meet our dear Saviour is all the love we shall have for all eternity.
Now, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, we have entered into a time where there is a growing lack of love, an environment of darkness, confusion and acrimonious discord.
Harmony is becoming an undefinable concept in what passes for our society today. And part of our task is to maintain the entirely Christian concept from the early church, “See how these Christians love one another.” As St. John of the Cross enjoined us, “Where there is not love, put love in and you will draw love out.”
A lofty concept, to be sure, but within reach for those who put aside reliance on their own wills, their own reasoning, and trust with all their loving hearts the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is just for this especial time that He has given us devotion to His Sacred Heart. These two hearts have designs of mercy on us, and so we take up our Rosaries and follow Our Most Blessed Mother, our sure path to Him and the joys He has prepared for us, which no one can take from us.
The coming trials can do nothing to take us from Our Saviour as long as we hold fast to the sure means He offers us from His Cross, that is, the Immaculate Heart of His beloved Mother, the perfectly pure and invincible will of the Blessed Virgin Mary who always protects those whom He entrusts to her.
This article is already too long and I have not come near to saying what I had hoped to tell you. I will write more soon, God willing. Until then, please:
Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey: First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.
Open your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only: and He will free you from the hands of your enemies. With all your heart return to Him, and take away from your midst any strange gods” (I Kings 7:3)
✝︎ Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
✝︎ Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
✝︎ St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
✝︎ St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!