10 June 2009

The Agony Of The Heart Of Jesus

Continuing with reflections on the Sacred Heart of Jesus from the Carthusian Order, next up is Dom John of Torralba, Prior of Aula Dei. He died in 1578.

My heart is become like melting wax. (Psalm 21:15)

Consider, O my soul, what our Redeemer does when, for the last time, He devotes Himself to the holy exercise of prayer. He withdraws from His disciples into solitude, so that He may the better pour out the bitterness of His Soul before His Father, the one Consoler of those who are in anguish, Who alone is near to hearts in tribulation. At the sight of the torments that await Him, the inferior and sensitive part of His Soul seems for a moment overcome by terror. The Soul of Jesus Christ is filled with such great dread, that for the time He seems to forget what He is and why He came into this world. He prostrates Himself, and beseeches His Father to remove from Him, if possible, this chalice of suffering which He sees in store for Him. Nevertheless, the reasonable part of the Soul fully and freely submits its will to that of God; but between the inferior and superior parts, there is so sharp a struggle that our Lord is covered with sweat, a sweat of Blood, which oozes out in great drops and trickles down to the ground.

O my soul, consider attentively and inwardly contemplate the great agony of the most tender Heart of our Redeemer at this moment. On the one hand, His burning charity urges Him gladly to sacrifice Himself entirely for our salvation; but on the other, He is seized with horror at the thought of the terrible sufferings He foresees. A frightful combat is waged between love and fear, and His all-loving Heart is so overwhelmed in the struggle, that from His whole Body and its members there springs so abundant a sweat of Blood, that it penetrates His garments and wets the ground on which His Face is bent. Tell me, O my soul, hast thou ever seen a man so crushed under the weight of affliction and enduring so great an agony that he sweated blood? No, never has it been known for anyone to be reduced to this extremity. Only our Lord Jesus Christ, Who for our souls has become a true spouse of blood, has suffered this! Gather up these drops of Blood so precious; place them on thy heart, which is so hard; and their efficacy will soften it, and inflame it with love.

O heavenly Father, dost Thou not see the anguish of Thy Son? Is not Thy just anger allayed by all the sorrows that break His Heart?

O my Jesus, my sweet Jesus! Thou hast sacrificed Thyself in my stead, and hast most willingly suffered the divine wrath and vengeance, which should be cast on me, to fall on Thee! O good Lord Jesus Christ, what more couldst Thou have done for me? Love took such full possession of Thy Heart that It was induced to drink the bitter chalice of Thy Passion, even before Thy enemies came to torture Thee and to deliver Thee up to death. Yes, long before they put Thee to death, Thou didst suffer an interior death through the excessive sadness that oppressed Thy Heart. So ardent was Thy thirst to work out our salvation, that Thou didst Thyself perform all that was in Thy power in order to procure it, leaving to Thy enemies only what Thou couldst not do Thyself. What heart then, were it a heart of stone, would not be kindled by the fire of Thy Heart, which burns with the most intensive love?

Make me then feel compassion for Thy sufferings, O most loving and most sweet Jesus. O my Savior, so afflicted and so sorrowful, I cannot shed tears of blood, perhaps not even tears of water, but at least I can desire it, and my heart will know how to weep. Through the sadness and the oppression of Thy Heart, through this bloody sweat which, after so much suffering, gushed from all Thy members and abundantly watered the ground, I implore Thee, most sweet Jesus, to give me true contrition for my sins, to soften my hard heart with compunction, to inflame it with devotion, and to give to my eyes and abundance of tears, so that, by day and by night, I may weep for the injuries I have done Thee, the sins by which I have offended Thee. Put, I beseech Thee, this great sorrow of Thy Heart between Thy justice and my poor soul, that I may thereby be spared all that my iniquities deserve, and may be cleansed by Thy sweat of Blood.

Most sweet Jesus, Thou hast fought against the dread of death by a complete resignation. Thou hast subjected the natural love for Thy Humanity to be the uncreated love of the Divinity, and, with full consent, hast been obedient to Thy Father, even to the death of the Cross. Bestow upon me the same grace, in order that I may renounce my own will, be unmindful of self, and in such perfect submission to God and to all creatures for His sake, that I may only acknowledge in the depth of my soul, but also feel that I am indeed the most vile and worthless of beings. May I give up my will, and live without desires or choice, as though I had never had a will of my own. May Thy almighty power strengthen my weakness, in order that I may conquer the sensuality of my rebellious and unmortified nature, entirely overcome every inordinate desire for anything that is not Thee, and become perfectly detached from all that might sully my heart. Grant, in short, that I may love Thee with as pure and steadfast a love as is possible for a creature that is mortal. Make my heart so just, so upright, so pure, so conformable to Thy Heart, that between Thee and me there may be nothing to offend Thee or estrange Thee from me. In all my words and actions, may I seek, wish and have in view one thing only, namely, to please and honor Thee. I desire to perform all that is pleasing to Thee. I desire to love Thee with all my heart; and my unceasing care shall be to return Thee at least some little love for Thy great charity. Amen.