How is it that Christians do not respond to Christ loving them unto death? September 2, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, manhood, religious, Sacraments, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori ruminates on the failure of so many Christians to comprehend the depth of God’s love for them, even to the point of becoming a stinking, hairy man made of dirt, and subsequently dying quite probably the most tortuous death ever suffered. Why are we so ungrateful? The great Moral Doctor lays it out for us. We can in fact come best to appreciate Christ’s Sacrifice by meditating on it frequently.
From The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, as translated by Father Eugene Grimm CSsR (the ONLY version to get!) pp. 269-70:
How is it, then, that so many Christians, although they know by faith that Jesus Christ died for love of them, instead of devoting themselves wholly to love and serve Him, devote themselves to offend and despise Him for the sake of brief and miserable pleasures? Whence comes this ingratitude? It comes from their forgetfulness of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. And, O my God, what will be their remorse and shame at the Day of Judgment, when the Lord shall reproach them with all that He has done and suffered for them?
Let us not, then, cease, O devout souls, ever to keep before our eyes Jesus crucified, and dying in the midst of torments and insults through love of us. From the Passion of Jesus Christ all the Saints have drawn those flames of love which made them forget all the good things of this world, and even their own selves, to give themselves up wholly to love and please this Divine Savior, Who so loved men that it seems as if He could not have done more in order to be loved by them. In a word, the Cross, that is, the Passion of Jesus Christ, is that which will gain for us the victory over all our passions and all the temptations that hell will hold out to us, in order to separate us from God. The Cross is the road and ladder by which we mount to Heaven. Happy he who embraces it during his life, and does not put it off till the hour of death. He that dies embracing the Cross has a sure pledge of eternal life, which is promised to all those who follow Jesus Christ with their cross.
O my crucified Jesus! To make Thyself loved by men, Thou has spared nothing;; Thou hast even given Thy life with a most painful death; how, then can men who love their kindred, their friends, and even animals from whom they receive any token of affection be so ungrateful to Thee as to despise Thy Grace and Thy love, for the sake of miserable and vain delights! Oh, miserable that I am, I am one of those ungrateful beings who, for things of no worth, have renounced Thy friendship, and have turned my back upon Thee. I have deserved that Thou shouldst drive me from Thy Face, as I have often banished Thee from my heart. But I know that Thou dost not cease to ask my heart of me; Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God (Dt vi:5). Yea, O my Jesus, as Thou desirest that I should love Thee and offerest me pardon, I renounce all creatures, and henceforth I desire to love Thee alone, my Creator and my Redeemer. Thou dost deserve to be the only object of my soul’s love.
O Mary, Mother of God, and refuge of sinners, pray for me; for me the Grace of loving God, and I ask for nothing more.
I was really struck with that bit about animals. I see married couples with stickers on their cars who say “We have children with four legs” in the shape of a dog’s paw. Perhaps a few simply could not have children by accident but given how many today are proudly childless by choice and in fact view children as “life ruining” I imagine there’s quite a bit of crossover between the two.
But I’m just as guilty of putting my love for vain pleasures ahead of my love for Jesus Christ. I hope and pray I’m better at it today than I was 5 years ago but I know I still fail to live my life in accord with God’s Will on an all too frequent basis. One of the many glories of our religion, however, is the fact that we have Confession and sacramental Grace to make us whole after we fail. Far too many today, however, simply do not choose to avail themselves of that Grace, or hold themselves above it. That’s the biggest tragedy of all, and will be a point of bitter remembrance for many souls, I fear, at their particular judgment, knowing how easy forgiveness to obtain and yet still failing to do so.
Lord, may I never be so foolish. When I fail, which is far too much, may I ever turn to Your mercy in the Sacrament of Confession, and always have true contrition for my sins and the firmest possible purpose of amendment.