Saturday, June 13, 2009

The compassion of Jesus

The compassion of Jesus.

Earthly parents, father and mother,
in our flesh, are wont to feel great compassion and sympathy for their
offspring; and if they find them afflicted with pain of any kind, or
any bodily inconvenience, are ready enough to spend both themselves and
their fortunes, should reason so require, for their children's recovery
to ease and soundness. Ofttimes, too, many dumb animals even do not
shrink from facing death itself for their young; and only too willingly
go to meet it, that their offspring may escape it, Whence, now, comes
this to man and to the brute? Whence comes this natural sympathy, but
from Him who is the Father of sympathy and compassion; who wills not
that any should perish, and rejoices not in the destruction of them
that die? Our Creator, therefore, the Fountain of compassion, the
Fountain of mercy, when He sees us His children stained with any sinful
contagion, or hurt well nigh to death with the many and deep wounds
that crime has made, displays towards us greater devotion in curing our
sins, in healing our sickness, in cleansing away the leprosy and filth
of our misdeeds, in wiping out the soils of our vain thoughts, than
does earthly father for his children, or reasonless brute for its
young. Nor is it enough for Him simply to cure our sicknesses, and so
dismiss us; when we are healed, He makes us His own close familiars,
and afterwards folds us tenderly in His arms as His own dearest
children; ay, He embraces us and kisses us, and then soothes and
consoles away all our infirmities, and all the sinful leprosy we had
contracted by our folly, and entirely forgets all the injuries we once
did Him by spurning Him in His consolations. He clothes us with honour
in this present life, and crowns us with glory in the next; He makes us
kings; and, as to our soul, her He makes a queen, whence He admonishes
us as kings, already made so in the psalm: And now, O ye kings,
understand; receive instruction, you that judge the earth' (Ps. ii.
10). For we then are kings indeed, when we rule our inordinate motions,
and reduce them to reason and the will of our Creator; we receive
instruction when we judge the earth, that is to say, when, if we see
that our heart desires earthly things, we compel it to contemn the
earthly and to love the heavenly. Our soul becomes a queen; for arrayed
in varied robes--that is to say, adorned with divers virtuous
gifts--she is wedded in mind's continuous act and habit to Christ her
Spouse who is in heaven, even whilst she sojourns here on earth. It was
not enough for our Creator to create us, and to govern us when created,
and to send angels, as often as need was, to defend us; but He in His
own Person, taking our form to Him, taking our nature to Him, out of
pity for the work of His hands, came down to us, looked carefully at
our wounds, touched them, felt them; and, moved with pity for the
misery which He saw enthralled us, grieved over us, and sighed in His
inmost soul. He pitied, grieved, and sighed for us; and then of that
very Flesh which He had assumed for our sake, made as it were a healing
ointment, and applied it to our griefs, and restored us from our
sickness back to perfect health. And, that He might in this mystery
show how much He loved us, He gave us that very Flesh which He had
assumed for us, that we might eat It; and onwards to this day fails not
to administer It to us in the sacrifice of His altar.

Thou, then, my soul, consoled and animated by the sweet recollection of
all these mercies, pray to thy Lord, pray to thy Creator; invoke all
His saints to thy assistance, that, aided and consoled by their
intercession, thou mayest gain of Him who made thee grace so to live in
this thy present state, so to purge away thy iniquities by true
repentance and confession, as that, thy transitory passage run, thou
mayest merit to mount up to joys eternal; by His help who liveth and
reigneth God to eternal ages. Amen.

Book of Meditations and Prayers.

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