Because our first parent Adam had rebelled against God, he was driven out of paradise and brought on himself and all his descendants the punishment of eternal death. But the son of God, seeing man thus lost and wishing to save him from death, offered to take upon Himself our human nature and to suffer death Himself, condemned as a criminal on a cross. ‘But, My Son,’ we may imagine the eternal Father saying to Him, ‘think of what a life of humiliations and sufferings Thou wilt have to lead on earth. Thou wilt have to be born in a cold stable and laid in a manger, the feeding trough of beasts.
While still an infant, Thou wilt have to flee into Egypt, to escape the hands of Herod. After Thy return from Egypt, Thou wilt have to live and work in a shop as a lowly servant, poor and despised. And finally, worn out with sufferings, Thou wilt have to give up Thy life on a cross, put to shame and abandoned by everyone.’ ‘Father,’ replies the Son, ‘all this matters not. I will gladly bear it all, if only I can save man.’
What should we say if a prince, out of compassion for a dead worm, were to choose to become a worm himself and give his own life blood in order to restore the worm to life? But the eternal Word has done infinitely more than this for us. Though He is the sovereign Lord of the world, He chose to become like us, who are immeasurably more beneath Him than a worm is beneath a prince, and He was willing to die for us, in order to win back for us the life of divine grace that we had lost by sin.
When He saw that all the other gifts which He had bestowed on us were not sufficient to induce us to pray His love with love, He became man Himself and gave Himself all to us. ‘The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us;’ ‘He loved us anddelivered Himself up for us.’
O Great Son of God, Thou hast become man in order to make Thyself loved by men. But where is the love that men give Thee in return?
Thou hast given Thy life blood to save our souls. Why then are we so unappreciative that, instead of repaying Thee with love, we spurn Thee with ingratitude? And I, Lord, I myself more than others have thus ill treated Thee.
But Thy Passion is my hope. For the sake of that love which led Thee to take upon Thyself human nature and to die for me on the cross, forgive me all the offenses I have committed against Thee.
I love Thee, O Word Incarnate; I love Thee, O infinite goodness. Out of love for Thee, that I could die of grief for these offenses. Give me, O Jesus, Thy love. Let me no longer live in ungrateful forgetfulness of the love Thou bearest me. I
wish to love Thee always. Grant that I may always preserve in this holy desire.
O Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, pray for me that thy Son may give me the grace to love Him always, unto death.