The Value of Meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ.

OF all forms of Catholic devotion the devotion to the Passion of Our Lord and Savior is the most ancient, the most venerable, the most universal. Jesus Himself has written the remembrance of His Passion deep into the hearts of His faithful. What else is Holy Mass but the unbloody renewal of His Passion? What else Holy Communion but a memorial of His Passion? And when, in order to atone for our chilling coldness towards the Sacrament of Love, for our forgetfulness and ingratitude towards Our Lord's redeeming Death — when for this purpose fervent souls burn with love for the Heart of Jesus, what else do they do than sink their memories and affections into the depths of our Savior's Passion?

How deep, think you, were the wounds of Jesus chiseled into the Heart of Mary? From His death to her own, so it was revealed to many favored souls. His entire Passion was reenacted in her every week. ’Twas the Dolorous Mother who first practiced the Way of the Cross.

The Apostles, too, lived and breathed in the mystery of the Passion and Death of their Master. Think of St Andrew, who hung two days upon his beloved cross, or of St. Peter, who in humble love for his Lord was crucified head downwards.

To realize how strongly Holy Mother Church desires her children to think over and over again upon the Passion of Jesus, we need but glance at the many feasts she has instituted in honor of this mystery. How overpowering are the ceremonies of Holy Week, particularly the Lamentations! How beautiful and touching the feast of the Finding and the Exaltation of the Cross!

No wonder, then, that the saints of all ages have been unable to tear themselves away from the Cross. Out of thousands of testimonies to be found in their writings, let us here consider a few brief passages:

Saint Bonaventure: "Let him who desires to attain union with God keep the eyes of his soul ever fixed on Him who hangs dying on the Cross. ’Tis from those wounds of the Savior that man draws power to suffer, not with patience merely but with joy."

"Nothing so promotes our salvation as daily to contemplate the excessive pain endured by the God-Man for love of us. The marks on His body wound even the hardest hearts and inflame even the most zealous souls."

"If thou, O man, wouldst climb from one virtue to another, if thou wouldst lead a perfect life, then contemplate daily on the Passion of Christ. Nothing else can drive the soul so powerfully to holiness. By frequent experience I have learned that when we devoutly think of the Passion of our Lord all devils are terrified and put to flight."

St Alphonsus of Liguori: "A soul that believes in the Passion of Jesus Christ and frequently thinks thereon, will find it impossible to go on offending her Savior. Rather, she will have to begin to love Him, yea, she will even, in the holy sense of the word, have to become foolish for love, in beholding a God become foolish for love of her."

"Meditation is the blessed hearth where burns the precious fire of divine love. Daily consider and contemplate the Passion of Christ, and when thy heart begins in turn to burn with love, then pray and meditate still more."

"Souls that are tortured by the devil and trembling for their eternal salvation will feel great consolation in withdrawing their eyes from the outward world and fixing them on the Cross where Jesus hangs bleeding from every wound. The sight of the crucified One, drives from our soul all desires for the goods of this world. Down from the Cross where Jesus hangs on high there floats a heavenly atmosphere that makes us forget all that is earthly, that inflames us with a holy desire to love nothing but Jesus alone, who in love laid down His life for us."

"Oh how devoutly and readily will he obey the voice of God who frequently remembers how much Jesus Christ has done for love of us! How continuously and decisively will he advance in virtue!"

St Augustine: "Nothing is more salutary than daily to recall how much the God-Man has done for us."

"Brethren, let us look upon our crucified Jesus in order to be healed of our sins."

"As often as I am attacked I seek refuge in the wounds of Jesus, I fly into the heart of the mercies of my Lord. Christ died for me— this is my sweet consolation when suffering weighs most heavy. All my hope rest on the death of Christ."

"A single tear shed in memory of the Passion of Christ outbalances a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year's fast on bread and water."

St Bernard: "Nothing is better suited to heal the wounds of conscience, to purify and perfect the soul, than continued contemplation of the wounds of Christ."

"Contemplation of Our Lord's sufferings is what I style wisdom; in them I find the riches of salvation and the fulness of merit; from them I dip the draughts, now of salutary bitterness, now of sweetest consolation."

Following of Christ: "Dost thou wish to learn the love of Jesus, to cleanse thy soul from all its spots and adorn it with all virtues, to win a glorious victory from the enemies of thy salvation, to enjoy sweet consolation in the midst of suffering and pain, to make great progress in prayer, to obtain final perseverance, to die a blessed death and reign forever in Heaven — then contemplate diligently the Passion and Death of Our Divine Redeemer."