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or mitigation. Such, O Jesus, would have been my lot, hadst thou called me out of life in my sins. Dearest Redeemer, I refuse not to suffer, but will truly love thee.

II. In this life by constantly suffering pain we become accustomed to it and better able to bear it; time mitigates sufferings which at first were most grievous to us. But will the souls in hell, by eternally suffering the torments which they endure, by the habit of enduring them for so many years, will they ever find their intensity diminished? No, for the torments of hell are of such a nature that, at the end of a hundred or a thousand years, those souls will experience the same degree of pain from them as when they first descended into that bottomless abyss. "In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, "let me never be confounded." I know, O Lord, that I have frequently deserved hell, yet I know likewise that thou dost not desire the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live. O my God, I will not continue obstinate, but will repent with my whole soul of all my sins, and will love thee more than myself; do thou restore me to life, to the life of thy holy grace.

III. In this life when a person suffers he has the pity and sympathy of his relatives and friends; and these afford at least some comfort. But how miserable would it be for a man in the most excruciating pains, to be upbraided and reproached by his relatives and friends with the misdeeds for which he was suffering, saying to him without pity: "Rave on in rage and despair; thou hast deserved 66 all that thou sufferest." The miserable wretches in hell suffer all kinds of torments, suffer them continually without any relief or comfort, and have none to compassionate them. Not even God can compassionate them, for they are his enemies: nor Mary, the mother of mercy: nor the angels, nor

the saints; on the contrary they rejoice in their sufferings. And, at the same time, what is the conduct of the devils towards the reprobate? They trample upon them and reproach them with the crimes which they have committed against God, and for which they are now most justly punished. Holy Mary, mother of God, have pity on me, for you have it now in your power to take pity on me and to recommend me to your divine Son. O Jesus, thou who didst not spare thyself, to have compassion on me, but didst die upon the cross for my sake, save me, and may my salvation be to love thee for ever. I am sorry, O Lord, for having offended thee, and will love thee with my whole heart.

Meditation Fifty-eighth.

On the love of Christ crucified.

I. WHO could have conceived that the Son of God, the Lord of the universe, to show his love for us, would suffer and die upon a cross, if he had not really done so? With reason therefore did Moses and Elias on mount Thabor speak of the death of Jesus Christ as of an excess of love. And what could be a greater excess of love than for the Creator to die for his creatures? To make thee an adequate return for thy love, my dear Redeemer, it would be necessary for another God to die for thee. It would therefore be but little, it would be nothing, were we poor miserable worms of the earth to give our whole lives for thee, who hast given thine for us.

II. What should still more excite us to love him is the ardent desire with which, through the course of his life, he longed for the hour of his death. By

this desire he indeed proved how great his love was for us. I have a baptism, said he, wherewith I am to be baptized, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished. St. Luke xii. 50. I must be baptized with the baptism of my own blood, to wash away the sins of men, and how am I dying with the desire of my bitter passion and death! My soul, lift up thine eyes, and behold thy Lord hanging upon a disgraceful cross; behold the blood which trickles down from his wounds; behold his mangled body, all inviting thee to love him. Thy Redeemer in his sufferings would have thee love him at least through compassion. O Jesus, thou didst not refuse me thy life and precious blood, and shall I refuse thee any thing that thou requirest of me? No, thou hast given thyself to me without reserve, I will give myself to thee in like manner.


III. St. Francis of Sales speaking of these words of the Apostle: The charity of Christ presseth us, 2 Cor. v. 14. says: Knowing that Jesus Christ "being true God has loved us even to the laying "down of his life for us, and this upon a cross, do we not feel our hearts as it were in a press, forcibly straitened, and love expressed from them by violence which is the more powerful as it is the more amiable ?" And he adds: " Why there"fore do we not cast ourselves upon Jesus Christ

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crucified, to die on the cross for the love of him "who has willingly died upon the cross for the "love of us? I will adhere to him, should we say, " and will never abandon him, I will die with him "and be consumed in the fire of his love. My "Jesus has given himself entirely to me, and I "will give myself entirely to him. I will live and die upon his bosom; neither life nor death shall ever separate me from him. O eternal love! my "soul seeks thee and espouses thee for ever." Mary, mother of God, obtain that I may belong entirely to Jesus Christ.

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Meditation Fifty-ninth.

On the irretrievable loss of the Soul.

I. THERE is no error so fatal in its consequences as the loss of eternal salvation. Other errors may be repaired: if a person lose a situation, he may perhaps in time regain it, if he lose his goods, he may replace them; but if he lose his soul he has no remedy nor hope of redemption. He can die but once; and if that once his soul be lost, it must be lost for ever, and no power can save it for all eternity. Behold, O God, a wretched sinner prostrate at thy feet, one who for so many years past has deserved to dwell in hell without further hope of salvation, but who now loves thee, and is sorry above every other evil for having offended thee, and hopes for mercy.

II. Does then nothing remain for the many wretched souls in hell but to lament bitterly, and say therefore we have erred, and there is no remedy for our error, nor will there be so long as God shall be God? Ah! my dear Redeemer, were I in hell, I could never more repent, nor love thee. I thank thee for having borne with me with such great patience, even though I have deserved hell; and now that I am still able to repent and to love thee, I do sincerely repent for having offended thy infinite goodness, and love thee above all things, more than I love myself. Never permit me, O Jesus, to cease to love thee.

III. Oh what a torment must it be to the souls in hell to think that they knew their error before they were lost, and that they are lost entirely through their own fault! If a person lose a gold ring through carelessness, or a valuable coin, he has no peace for thinking that he has lost it through his own fault. O God! how great is the internal


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torment of the wicked when they exclaim: "I have "lost my soul, I have lost heaven, I have lost my God; I have lost my all; and this, through my own fault!" O my dear Saviour, I desire never to lose thee if I have hitherto lost thee, I have done ill; I am sorry for it with my whole soul, and love thee above all things. O Jesus, thou hast saved me from hell that I may love thee. I will therefore truly love thee. Enable me to compensate by my love for the offences which I have committed against thee. Holy Virgin Mary, you are my hope.

Meditation Stxtieth.

On the Certainty of Death.

I. HOW much is contained in these words: we must die!" Christian brother, thou must one day certainly die. As thy name was one day entered in the baptismal register, so will it one day be entered in the book of the dead, and this day is already determined by Almighty God. As thou now speakest of the dear memory of thy father, or of thy uncle, or brother, so will posterity speak of thee. As thou now frequently hearest of the deaths of thy friends or acquaintance, so will others hear of thy death, and thou wilt be gone into eternity. O God, what will then become of me? When my body shall be carried to the church, and mass said over me, where will be my soul? Enable me, O Lord, to do something for thy service before death overtakes me. How wretched should I be if at this moment it should surprise me!

II. What would you say of a criminal on the way to execution, who was looking about him here


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