Stand Alone Pages on 'Musings of an Old Curmudgeon'

Sunday, 12 September 2021

12 September, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

The Redemption

1. The Incarnation of God was sufficient to have saved us. It would have been enough for God made man to have offered Himself to God for our redemption in a single act of love. Every act of Jesus, the God-man, had infinite value and was therefore sufficient to be offered to the Father as an infinite satisfaction for all our sins.

But if Jesus had desired to show more clearly his great love for us, He could have offered His sufferings as a child in the cold cave at Bethlehem, when He lay whimpering on a wretched straw bed. He could have offered the sorrow of his exile in Egypt, He could have offered a single drop of His Precious Blood during the ceremony of circumcision. He could have offered the difficulties and privations of His simple working life at Nazareth, or the fatiguing exertions of His apostolic journeys. All these would have been more than enough to have made amends to the divine Father for all the sins of humanity, to have ransomed us from the devil, and to have restored to us God’s grace and love. But in God everything is infinite. His love has no limit. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart,” He has commanded men, “and with thy whole soul and with thy whole strength, and with thy whole mind, and thy neighbour as thyself.” He Himself did infinitely more than this, however. Jesus was not satisfied merely to love us, His brothers by adoption, as He loved Himself, but He wished to love us “more than He loved Himself. Greater love than this no one has,” He said, “that one lay down his life for his friends.” (1 John 15:13) This was what He Himself did. Sinful though we are, He called us friends. “You are my friends.” (John 15:14) Out of love for us He gave Himself entirely. He perspired blood in the Garden of Gethsemane; He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and abandoned by the Apostles; He was bound like a criminal, insulted, scourged, crowned with thorns, condemned to death, and burdened with a cross; finally, when He arrived at Calvary, He was nailed to the gibbet, where He shed His Precious Blood and gave His life for our redemption. Such was the extent of Jesus’ infinite love for us.

“Calvary,” writes St. Francis de Sales, “is the school of love.” The Saints were moved to tears by the strange spectacle of God-made-man dying on the cross for men. What is our reaction?

2. Do I ever think of all that I have cost Jesus? Do I ever meditate on His infinite love for me? If I could constantly bear in mind the work of Redemption and the passion of Jesus Christ, I should certainly never offend God and I should be on fire with love for Him. Moreover, if in time of temptation I were to pray earnestly before the image of Christ crucified, I should certainly succeed in my resistance by asking the suffering Lord for His divine assistance.

If by some misfortune, however, I should fall into sin, it should suffice to kiss the crucifix in order to revive my confidence in Christ, to rouse myself to sorrow, to obtain pardon, and to begin a new life. That should be the fruit of the Redemption for me.

3. In conclusion, let us say this prayer of St. Alphonsus de’ Ligouri: “My soul, look at this crucified Man… see how the arms extend to embrace you, how the head bows forward to give you the kiss of peace. See how His side is open to receive you. What have you to say? Such a good and loving God deserves to be loved. O my Jesus! Adorable Jesus! O Love of my soul! How can I ever forget You? How can I ever love anything apart from You? O suffering Jesus, may the memory of You ever remain in my heart.”

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