Meditation XI – Jesus Charged with the Sins of the Whole World
lnquitates eorum ipse portabit.
“He bore their iniquities.”—–lsaiah 53:11
Consider that the Divine Word, in becoming man, chose not only to take the form of a sinner, but also to bear all the sins of men, and to satisfy for them as if they were His Own: He bore their iniquities. Father Cornelius adds, ”as if He had committed them Himself.”
Let us here reflect what an oppression and anguish the heart of the Infant Jesus must have felt, Who had already charged Himself with the sins of the whole world, in finding that the Divine justice insisted on His making a full satisfaction for them.
Well did our Lord know the malice of every sin, whilst, through the Divine light which accompanied Him, He knew immeasurably more than all men and Angels the infinite goodness of His Father, and how infinitely deserving He is of being revered and loved. And then he saw drawn up in array before Him an innumerable number of transgressions which were to be committed by men and for which He was to suffer and die. Our Lord once showed to St. Catherine of Siena the hideousness of one single venial sin; and such was the dread and sorrow of the Saint that she fell senseless to the ground, What, then, must have been the sufferings of the Infant Jesus when, on His entrance into the world, He saw before Him the immense array of all the crimes of men for which He was to make satisfaction!
And then He knew in particular every sin of each one of us: “He had regard to every particular sin,” says St. Bernard of Siena. And Cardinal Hugo says that the executioners “caused Him exterior pain by crucifying Him, but we interior pain by sinning against Him.” He means that each one of our sins afflicted the Soul of Jesus Christ more than crucifixion and death afflicted His Body. Such is the beautiful recompense which has been rendered to our Divine Savior for His love by everyone who remembers to have offended Him by mortal sin.
Affections and Prayers
My Beloved Jesus, I, who have offended Thee, am not worthy of Thy favors, but through the merit of that pain which Thou didst suffer, and which Thou didst offer up to God at the sight of my sins. and to satisfy Divine justice for them, give me a share in that light by which Thou didst see their malice, and in that hatred with which Thou didst then abominate them. Can it then be true, my amiable Savior, that ever since Thou wert an infant, and in every moment of Thy life, I have been a murderer of Thy Sacred Heart, and a murderer more cruel than all those who crucified Thee? And I have renewed and increased this suffering every time I have repeated my offenses against Thee? O Lord! Thou hast indeed died to save me; but Thy death will not save me if I do not on my part detest every evil, and have true sorrow for the sins I have committed against Thee. But even this sorrow must be given me by Thee. Thou givest it to him that asks it of Thee. I ask it of Thee through the merits of all the sufferings Thou didst endure on this earth; give me sorrow for my sins, but a sorrow that will correspond to my transgressions. Help me. O Lord! to make that act of contrition which I now intend to do. O eternal God, supreme and infinite Good! I, a miserable worm, have dared to lose respect for Thee, and to despise Thy grace; I detest above every evil and abhor the injuries I have committed against Thee; I repent of them with my whole heart, not so much on account of Hell, which I have deserved, as because I have offended Thy infinite goodness. I hope for pardon from Thee through the merits of Jesus Christ: and I hope also to obtain, together with Thy pardon the grace of loving Thee. I love Thee, O God, Who art worthy of infinite love, and I will always repeat to Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee; and as Thy beloved St. Catherine of Genoa said to Thee, while she stood in spirit at Thy feet, O Thou crucified one, so will I also say to Thee now that I am standing also at Thy feet, My Lord, no more sins, no more sins! No, for Thou indeed dost not deserve to be offended, O my Jesus, but Thou only deservest to be loved. My blessed Redeemer, help me. My mother Mary, assist me, I pray thee; I only ask of thee to obtain for me that I may love God during the time that is left me in this life.
–Extracted from The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus, by St. Alphonsus Liguori with Nihil Obstat andImprimatur