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III. Behold that innocent Son, attentive to the will of his Father, who would have him thus sacrificed for our sins, full of humility before his Father, full of love towards us, obediently embraces his life of pain and his bitter death: He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. Phil. ii. 8. Dearest Saviour, I will therefore say to thee with the penitent Ezechias: Thou hast delivered my soul that it should not perish, thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. xxxviii. 17. I had deserved by my sins to be cast into hell, but thou hast delivered me from it, and, as I hope, pardoned me. I had offended thy divine majesty, and thou hast loaded thyself with my crimes, and hast suffered for me. After this, if I should again offend thee, or if I should not love thee with my whole heart, what punishment will ever be sufficient for my chastisement? Beloved Jesus, O love of my soul, I am exceedingly sorry for having so grievously offended thee. I give thee my whole self; accept of me, and suffer me not to be any more separated from thee. Holy virgin, Mary, mother, pray to your divine Son for me, that he may be pleased to accept of me, and make me all his own.
On the one thing necessary.
I. ONE thing is necessary, the salvation of our souls. It is not necessary to be great, noble, or rich in this world, or to enjoy uninterrupted health; but it is necessary to save our souls. For this has God placed us here: not to acquire honours, riches, or pleasures, but to acquire by our good works that
eternal kingdom which is prepared for those, who, during this present life, fight against and overcome the enemies of their eternal salvation. Ah! my
Jesus, how often have I renounced heaven, by renouncing thy grace! But, O Lord, I am more grieved for having forfeited thy friendship, than for having lost heaven. Give me, O Jesus, a great sorrow for my sins, and mercifully pardon me.
II. Of what consequence is it if a man be poor, mean, infirm, and despised in this life, provided that in the end he dies in the grace of God and secures his salvation? The more he has been afflicted with tribulations, if he have suffered them with patience, the more will he be glorified in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, what does it profit a man to abound in riches and honours, if, when he dies, he is lost for ever? If we are lost, all the goods we have enjoyed in this world will be remembered only to increase our misery for eternity. Do thou, my God, enlighten me: give me to understand that my only evil is to offend thee, and my only good to love thee. Enable me to spend the remainder of my days in serving thee.
III. Salvation is necessary, because there is no medium we must either be saved or lost. It will not do to say: I shall be satisfied with not going to hell, I shall not be concerned at being deprived of heaven. No: either heaven or hell; either for ever happy with God in heaven in an ocean of delights, or for ever trampled upon by devils in hell in an ocean of fire and torments: either saved, or lost; there is no other alternative. O Jesus, I have hitherto chosen hell, and for years past I should have been suffering there, if in pity thou hadst not borne with me. I thank thee, O my Saviour, and I am sorry above every evil for having offended thee. I hope, for the future, with the assistance of thy grace, to walk no more in the way which conducts
to hell. I love thee, O my sovereign good, and I desire to love thee for ever. Grant me perseverance in good, and save me through that blood which thou hast shed for me. O Mary, my hope, intercede for me.
On the sinner's disobedience to God.
I. PHARAOH, when Moses announced to him the orders of God for the liberation of the Hebrews, insolently answered: Who is the Lord, that I should hear his word? I know not the Lord. Exod. v. 2. It is thus that the sinner replies to his own conscience when it intimates to him the divine precepts, which forbid him to do that which is evil: "I know not God: I know that he is my Lord, but I will not obey him." Thus have I too often addressed thee, O God, when I have committed sin. If thou hadst not died for me, O my Redeemer, I should not dare to crave thy pardon; but thou hast offered me thy pardon from the cross, if I be desirous of availing myself of it. I do indeed desire it; I am sorry for having despised thee, my sovereign good. I will rather die than offend thee any
II. Thou hast broken my yoke; thou saidst, I will not serve. Jer. ii. 20. The sinner, when tempted to commit sin, hears indeed the voice of God, saying to him: My son, do not revenge thyself, do not gratify thyself with that infamous pleasure, relinquish the possession of that which is not thine. But by yielding to sin, he replies: "Lord, I will not serve thee. Thou desirest that I should not commit this sin, but I will commit it." My Lord,
and my God, how frequently have I, not by my words, but by my deeds, and my will, thus daringly replied to thee! Alas! cast me not away from thy face. I am now sensible of the wrong I have done thee in parting with thy graces for the gratification of my own wretched desires. O that I had died rather than ever offended thee!
III. God is the Lord of all things, because he has created all. All things are in thy power, because thou hast made heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of heaven. Esther xiii. 9, 10. All creatures obey God; the heavens, the earth, the sea, the elements, the brute creation: while man, although he has been gifted and loved by God above all other creatures, obeys him not! and is heedless of the loss of his grace! I give thee thanks, O God, for having waited for me. What would have become of me, had I died in one of those nights in which I went to rest under thy displeasure? But as thou hast patiently waited for me, it is a sign that thou art desirous of pardoning me. Pardon me, then, O Jesus. I am sorry above every evil for having ever lost the respect which is due to thee. But then I did not love thee; now I do love thee more than myself, and I am ready to die a thousand times rather than again forfeit thy grace and friendship. Thou hast said that thou lovest those who love thee. I love thee, do thou love me in return, and give me grace to live and die in thy love, that so I may love thee for ever. Mary, my refuge, through you do I hope to remain faithful to God until the hour of my death.
On the merciful chastisements of God.
I. GOD, being infinite goodness, desires only our good and to communicate to us his own happiness. When he chastises us, it is because we have obliged him to do so by our sins. Hence the prophet Isaias says, that, on such occasions, be doth a work foreign to his desires. xxviii. 21. Hence it is that it is said, that it is the property of God to have mercy and to spare, to dispense his favours and to make all happy. O God, it is this thy infinite goodness which sinners offend and despise, when they provoke thee to chastise them. Wretch that I am, how often have I offended thy infinite goodness!
II. Let us therefore understand that when God threatens us, it is not because he desires to punish us, but because he wishes to deliver us from punishment; he threatens, because he would have compassion on us. O God ...... thou hast been angry, and hast had mercy on us. Ps. lix. 3. But how is this? he is angry with us, and treats us with mercy? Yes! He shows himself angry towards us, in order that we may amend our lives, and that thus he may be able to pardon and save us; hence, if in this life he chastise us for our sins, he does so in his mercy, for by so doing he frees us from eternal How unfortunate then is the sinner who escapes punishment in this life! Since then, O God, I have so much offended thee, chastise me in this life, that thou mayest spare me in the next. I know that I have certainly deserved hell; I accept all kinds of pain, that thou mayest reinstate me in thy grace and deliver me from hell, where I should be for ever separated from thee. Enlighten and