Meditation XIV – The Greatest Sorrow of Jesus
Quæ utilitas in sanguine meo, dum descendo in corruptionem?
“What profit is there in My Blood, whilst I go down to corruption?”—–Ps. 29:10
Jesus Christ revealed to the Venerable Agatha of the Cross that whilst He was in his Mother’s womb, that which afflicted Him more than any other sorrow was the hardness of the hearts of men, who should, after His Redemption, despise the graces which He came into the world to diffuse. And He had expressed this sentiment before, by the mouth of David, in the words just quoted, which are generally thus understood by the holy Fathers: What profit is there in My blood, whilst I go down to corruption? St. Isidore explains whilst I descend into corruption, “whilst I descend to take the nature of man, so corrupted by vices and sins;” as if He had said, “O my Father, I am indeed going to clothe Myself with human flesh, in order to shed My Blood for men; but what profit is there in My Blood?—–the greater part of the world will set no value on My Blood, and will go on offending Me, as if I had done nothing for the love of them.”
This sorrow was the bitter chalice which Jesus begged the Eternal Father to remove from Him, saying: Let this chalice pass from Me. [Matt. 26:39] What chalice? The sight of the contempt with which His love was treated. This made Him exclaim again on the Cross: My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Our Lord revealed to St. Catherine of Sienna, that this was the abandonment of which He complained—–the knowledge, namely, that His Father would have to suffer that His Passion and His love should be despised by so many men for whom He died.
And this same sorrow tormented the Infant Jesus in the womb of Mary, the foresight of such a prodigality of sorrows, of ignominy, of blood-shedding, and of so cruel and ignominious a death, and all to so little purpose. The holy Child saw, even there, what the Apostle says, that many [indeed the greater number] should trample under foot His Blood, and despise His grace, which this Blood would obtain for them: Treading under foot the Son of God, and offering an affront to the Spirit of grace. [Heb. 10:29] But if we have been of the number of these ungrateful men, let us not despair; Jesus, at His birth, came to offer peace to men of good will, as He made the Angels sing: And on earth peace to men of good will. [Luke 2:14] Let us, then, change our will, repent of our sins, and resolve to love this good God, and we shall find peace, that is, the Divine friendship.
Affections and Prayers
O my most amiable Jesus, how much have I too caused Thee to suffer during Thy lifetime! Thou hast shed Thy blood for me with so much sorrow and love, and what fruit hast Thou hitherto drawn from me but contempt, offenses, and insults? But, my Redeemer, I will no longer afflict Thee; I hope that in the future Thy Passion will produce fruit in me by Thy grace, which I feel is already assisting me. I will love Thee above every other good; and to please Thee, I am ready to give my life a thousand times. Eternal Father, I should not have the boldness to appear before Thee to implore either pardon or graces, but Thy Son has told me, that whatever grace I ask of Thee in His name Thou wilt grant it to me: If ye shall ask anything of the Father in My name, He will give it to ye. [John 16:23] I offer Thee, therefore, the merits of Jesus Christ, and in His name I ask of Thee first a general pardon of all my sins; I ask holy perseverance even unto death; I ask of Thee, above all, the gift of Thy holy love. that it may make me always live according to Thy Divine will. As to my own will, I am resolved to choose a thousand deaths sooner than offend Thee, and to love Thee with my whole heart, and to do everything that I possibly can to please Thee. But in order to do all this, I beg of Thee, and hope to receive from Thee, grace to execute what I purpose. My Mother Mary, if thou wilt pray for me, I am safe. Oh, pray for me, pray; and cease not to pray till thou seest that I am changed, and made what God wishes me to be.
Taken From The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus, St. Alphonsus Liguori