The Love of God for Men.
Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret.
“God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son.” – St. John, iii. 16.
Consider that the eternal Father, in giving us his Son for a Redeemer, for victim and price of our ransom, could not have given us stronger motives for hope and love, to inspire us with confidence, and to oblige us to love him. In giving us his Son (says St. Augustine), he could give us nothing more. He desires that we should avail ourselves of this immense gift in order to gain for ourselves eternal salvation, and every grace that we want; whilst in Jesus we find all that we can desire; we find light, strength, peace, confidence, love, and eternal glory; for Jesus Christ is a gift which contains all the gifts that we can seek for or desire.
How hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?1 God having given us his beloved only-begotten Son, who is the fountain and treasure of all good, who need fear that he should deny us any favor that we ask of him? Christ Jesus is of God made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption.2 God hath given him to us in order that he might be to us ignorant and blind creatures light and wisdom, wherewith to walk in the way of salvation; in order that to us who are deserving of hell he might be justice, enabling us to aspire to paradise; that to us sinners he might be sanctification, to obtain for us holiness; that, finally, to us slaves of the devil he might be a ransom to purchase for us the liberty of the sons of God. In short, the Apostle says that with Jesus Christ we have been enriched with every good gift and every grace, if we ask it through his merits: In all things you are made rich in Him, . . . so that nothing is wanting to you in any grace.3
And this gift which God has made us of his Son is a gift to each one of us; for he hath given him entirely to each of us, as if he had given him to each one alone, so that every one of us may say: Jesus is all mine; his body is mine; his blood is mine; his life is mine; his sorrows, his death, his merits, are all mine. Wherefore St. Paul said, He loved me and delivered Himself for me.4 And every one may say the same thing: “My Redeemer has loved me; and for the love that he bore me he hath given himself entirely to me.”
Affections and Prayers.
O eternal God! who could ever have given us this treasure of infinite value, but Thou, who art a God of infinite love? O my Creator, what more couldst Thou have done to give us confidence in Thy mercy, and to put us under an obligation of loving Thee? O Lord, I have repaid Thee with ingratitude; but Thou hast said, To them that love God all things work together unto good.5 Therefore, notwithstanding the great number and the enormity of my sins, I will not despair of Thy bounty; rather let my transgressions serve to humble me the more whenever I meet with any insult; other insults and humiliations does he deserve who has had the temerity to offend Thy divine majesty. I wish that my sins may serve to reconcile me the more to the crosses which Thou shalt send me, that I may be more diligent to serve and honor Thee, in order to compensate for the injuries I have committed against Thee. O my God! I will always remember the displeasure I have caused Thee, in order that I may the more exalt Thy mercy, and be inflamed with love for Thee, who hast brought me back when I was flying from Thee, and who hast done me so much good after I had behaved so ill to Thee. I trust, O Lord! that Thou hast already forgiven me. I repent, and will always repent, of the outrages I have committed against Thee. I will endeavor to please Thee by making compensation by my love for the ingratitude I have shown Thee; but I depend upon Thee to help me; from Thee I hope to obtain the grace to fulfil this my desire. O my God! for Thy Glory’s sake, vouchsafe to grant that, as I have offended Thee much, I may also love Thee much. My God, my God, how can I ever leave off loving Thee, and separate myself again from Thy love! O Mary, my queen! do thou assist me; thou knowest my weakness; grant that I may have recourse to thee whenever the devil tries to separate me from God. My Mother, my hope, do thou help me.