Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jesus Proves on the Cross His Love for His Enemies (Lenten Meditations Part 2)

Second Point

In view of the circumstances in which He loved His enemies, Jesus’ love was something astonishing. Up to now the circumstances we have considered have been the hate, the rabidness and the unheard of savagery that His enemies displayed against Jesus. Now, my soul, ponder the circumstances of that love Jesus showed them at the very time of their rage. I do not doubt that a consideration of these two points will supply the weightiest motives for admiring a love so immense.

The first circumstance was the time in which He prayed for those who were crucifying Him – Jesus needed to say a number of things from the Cross: to His Eternal Father, to commend His Spirit to Him; to His beloved Mother, to entrust Her to His Disciple John; to John, to charge him with the care of His afflicted Mother; to bystanders, to ask relief in His extreme thirst. But for whom did He give first attention when He spoke? Ah! His sorrowful Mother would wait, the faithful disciple would hold off; Jesus’ personal affairs would be forgotten; and the first words would be directed to His Eternal Father in favor of His enemies, begging pardon for them: “Father, forgive them.” (Lk. 23:34). What love! What wonderful love!

The second circumstance was His enemies’ malice – This was growing more and more on each occasion, the more ardent Jesus’ love appeared to be – One might think that, before setting about to obtain the pardon of His enemies, Jesus would wait until they first recognized the enormous misdeed they had committed and with humility and regret begged for pity and mercy. But His Charity was of another quality, which did not allow Him to wait until they recognized their great fault; but He at once became their Mediator with the Eternal Father to obtain their forgiveness. I love them, Jesus said; and because I love, I intercede. I love and I intercede at the very moment in which I hear their ridicule and blasphemy, and I see their hate and experience all the effects of their rage and fury. I love them and I intercede for them and I offer all My Blood for them…

What do you say, my soul, at the sight of a love of this fine quality?

The third circumstance as the reason which Jesus presented in His prayer – It is undeniable that the Jews had committed against Jesus an injustice of the most horrible, abominable kind, choosing for Him the most cruel kind of death. The miracles that He had worked and which they had seen with their own eyes, the blamelessness of His life, known even to the Gentile prefect (Pontius Pilate), the very accusations which they had invented and had produced at the trial – all in an evident way proved their bad will. In spite of this, Jesus prayed for them, and to excuse them He pointed to their ignorance, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34). It was as if He wanted to say, “Father, I do not say that they have not sinned. I only say that their impiety can be pardoned, that ignorance plays a great part in it. Otherwise they would never have treated Me this way. Therefore, I beg Thee, My Father, to forgive them as I forgive them, and that Thou love them as I love them…”

Oh, the wonderful love of Jesus for His enemies, which moved Him to love them with such love! My soul, you, too, learn to love the person that has offended you, and, if you please, look at your enemies with those eyes with which Jesus looked at His enemies from the Cross and it will become very easy for you. What did Jesus find in His enemies that could incline His Heart to love them? Ah! He saw in them the weakness of fallen nature that is prone to evil from birth. He saw in them precious souls fashioned to His Own Image and Likeness and called to share His Glory. He saw in them the most profound designs of His Heavenly Father, Who, by the very hands of His enemies, offered Jesus the chalice which He, the Father, had prepared. Finally, He saw that very great number of sins for which He had freely obliged Himself to make due payment to Divine Justice and which that Justice was punishing in Him by means of His enemies. These reasons were the strongest ones that persuaded Him to earnestly plead and intercede with His Eternal Father, to win for them the forgiveness of the great crimes that they had committed.

Affective Acts

Ah, my Jesus! Now I understand the true cause of the difficulty I have always experienced in loving people by whom I have been offended. The cause is that I have never looked at them with those eyes with which Thou looked at Thy enemies; and this is also the true cause of my bad state. If only I had always regarded people who offended me as persons by whose hands my Heavenly Father was offering me the chalice He had prepared for me; if only I had always regarded them as persons whom Divine Justice was using to punish my sins – ah! – how many perfect acts of love might I not have made up to now, and how closely my heart would come to resemble Thy loving Heart! But now – what is the state of my heart? What kind of charity do I have? Ah, my beloved Redeemer, let me be silent and hide myself from Thy eyes, because the great shame I feel restrains me from talking to Thee and looking at Thee. But what would be the benefit of being silent and hiding from Thee? It is better that I sincerely confess my folly and humbly beg the forgiveness of Thy Mercy. Ah, my Jesus! I have certainly reflected on the outstanding ways in which Thou hast been an example of love. I have admired this and have praised it. But when have I taken up the task of imitating it?

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:43-45


  1. Splendid meditations, wow, I was moved...

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    Loving our 'enemies' is never easy yet possible. I pray for God's grace to do this in my life.

  3. I hope luck is with you. Waiting on a reply from your visit. Happy Easter. GBU