O Good Jesus, Lamb without spot, who suffered so many torments on Your Cross, while beholding the virgin Heart of Your dearest Mother plunged into an ocean of sorrows, teach me, I beg You, to accompany You in Your sufferings and to feel Your afflictions.
What a sorrowful sight to see those two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, two Hearts so holy, so innocent, so full of graces and perfections, so enkindled with divine love, so closely united to each other, and compassionate towards each other! The holy Heart of the Mother of Jesus feels most keenly the terrible torments of her Son; the Only Son of Mary is wholly convulsed by the incomparable sufferings of His Mother. Jesus, the innocent Lamb, and Mary, His immaculate Mother, call to each other; the one weeps for the other, receiving no consolation; and the purer and more ardent their mutual love is, the more their sorrows penetrate and pierce.
O heart of stone! why do you not melt with sorrow and tears seeing that you are the cause of the unutterable sorrows of your spotless Mother and that most gentle Lamb of God? What have they done to suffer so many afflictions? O wretched sinner, it is you and your abominable sins that are the executioners of those most holy and innocent Hearts. O Hearts most kind, pardon me and exercise upon me the vengeance which I deserve. Since creatures obey you, command them all to punish me as I deserve. Send me your sorrows and sufferings, so that, as I have been the cause of them, I may succor you in your weeping and pain. O Jesus, love of my heart, O Mary, consolation of my soul, perfect image of Your Son, stamp upon my heart a great aversion to the pleasures of this life, which you have spent in suffering. I am yours, belonging to your house and your service, although I am unworthy. Let me take no pleasure in this world except where you find it. Grant that I may always bear your sorrows in my soul, putting my glory and delight in being crucified with Jesus and Mary.
O most holy Virgin, how are all your joys changed into sorrows? If they had been like those of the world, it would have been fitting that they should have suffered these changes. But, O Queen of angels, you have never taken pleasure except in divine things. God alone possessed your Heart and nothing was able to satisfy you but what proceeded from Him and led to Him. You have had the joy of seeing yourself a Mother, the Mother of God; of bearing Him in your sacred womb; of seeing Him resting on your sacred bosom; of waiting on Him with your most pure hands; of offering Him in the temple to His Eternal Father; and of seeing Him recognized and adored by Simeon the Just and holy Anna the Prophetess. All your satisfactions, throughout the thirty years of your life with Him, were divine, inward and spiritual. They were the jubilant, spiritual and interior delights with which your most holy soul, enkindled with love for Jesus, your Son and your God, was raised and transported into His divine majesty. Your holy heart, transformed and united to Him, received therefrom favors greater than all the ranks of heaven, since your love exceeded that of all the Seraphim. O Lady and Queen of angels, what can one find in satisfactions so pure and holy, in joys so spiritual and heavenly, that could turn into sorrows? Can it be that the wretchedness and the servitude of the poor children of Eve exiled and banished from paradise, in whose sin you have never had part, have reached even to you? Has that exile, then, not yet ceased to be for you a land of sorrows and a vale of tears?
O poor sinner, who would persuade yourself to find pleasure in this life which has only false and deceitful pleasures. Behold the sufferings of the King and Queen of heaven, and perish with confusion at the sight of your own disordered life and your aversion for crosses. The whole life of Jesus, who is innocence itself, is one continual suffering; the whole life of Mary, who is all holy and immaculate, is a perpetual Cross; and you, wretched sinner, deserving hell a thousand times over, you seek pleasure and comfort!
O Queen of angels, in all the years of the hidden life with your Son Jesus, you awaited the sorrows which were prophesied by holy Simeon, sorrows without parallel, since the magnitude of your love was the measure of your sorrow. When the time of the Passion of that loving Savior had come, He took leave of you to go forth to suffer, letting you know that it was the will of His Father that you should accompany Him to the foot of the Cross and that your Heart should be pierced with the sword of sorrow. St. John gave you the warning, when he saw the time come for the divine Lamb to be sacrificed. You left your house to bathe Jerusalem’s streets with your tears. You found your Son in the midst of an innumerable pack of human wolves and lions, howling and roaring at Him, shouting like madmen: Tolle, tolle, crucifige, crucifige! (John 19:15). You saw Him, now no longer adored by kings, but held up to the people as a false king, blasphemed, dishonored, condemned to death, shouldering His Cross, led to Calvary, where you followed Him, bathed in your tears and overwhelmed with sorrow.
You heard the blows of the hammer as He was being fastened to the Cross: they pierced your Heart. You suffered unspeakable tortures, awaiting that dire hour of the Crucifixion. You saw Him lifted up, while so many shouts and blasphemies were hurled at Him by the evil tongues of the Jews that your blood congealed in your veins. You spent these sad hours at the foot of the Cross, hearing the awful insults heaped by these wretches upon your Lamb and seeing the frightful tortures which they made Him suffer, until at last you saw Him expire under such obloquy and suffering.
Whereupon they restored Him to your loving arms, that you might wrap His body in a shroud and bury Him and, just as you had given Him at birth the first attentions, you might now perform for Him the last rites; but with sorrows so heavy and anguish so sharp and desolation so penetrating to your Mother’s Heart that, if we are to comprehend anything of them, we should have first to comprehend the degree of your well-nigh infinite love for your Son. All things distressed you. Wherever you turned you saw only reasons for sorrow and tears. Your Mother’s Heart was rent the more with wounds bleeding and innumerable because your Dear Jesus was also being wounded in Heart and body. It is true that your faith was not diminished and that your obedience kept your Heart perfectly resigned to the divine will, but you did not cease to suffer inconceivable pain, even as your beloved Son, in spite of His most perfect submission to all the commands of His Divine Father. Lastly, no heart with a lesser love than yours will ever be able to comprehend what you suffered at that time.
When your faithful servants and your true friends consider these things, they give way to tears and are filled up with sorrow at seeing your divine consolations changed into such cruel sufferings, your most holy innocence falling prey to such inhuman sorrows. If they could only be torn asunder and consumed to console you, most willingly would they suffer it. What a martyrdom of blood for the Heart of your divine Lamb, the Only Son of God and your Son, in seeing so clearly all the sorrows penetrating your Heart, the desolation in which you are, the anguish necessarily caused by Your absence, and the fact that you can neither speak to Him nor He to you, because no words can be found capable of appeasing such great sorrows!
O Father of mercies and God of all consolation, what are those two Hearts that You are keeping thus crucified? Why do You not succor Your Only Son and Your loving daughter? Why do You not break the law that You have made that one shall not sacrifice in the same day on Your altar the Lamb and its Mother? And yet here, in one and the same day, at the selfsame hour, on the same Cross and with the same nails, You keep fastened the Only Son of sorrowing Mary and the virgin Heart of His most innocent Mother. Can it be that You care for the dumb animals, unwilling that the mothers should be sacrificed on the day they suffer the loss of their lambs, more than You do for this most pure Virgin, grieving over the sorrows and the death of her divine Lamb? You will that she should have no other executioner of her martyrdom than her tender love for her Only Son. Nevertheless, in the midst of such cruel tortures, the sight of the sufferings of His most worthy Mother were known to her Beloved Son even as He filled the cup of her affliction and torture. Immortal praise and blessing, O my God, for the incomprehensible love that You have for sinners! Thanksgiving, infinite and eternal, for all the works of that divine love!
O Jesus, Only Son of God, Only Son of Mary, divine light of my soul, I beseech You, for the infinite love You have for me, to enlighten my mind with Your holy truths, to drive from my heart the desire for the consolations of this life, and to instill into it the desire to suffer for love of You. Your love was the cause of Your torments. Your love for Your holy Mother and her love for You were for her the source of a torrent of tribulations. How great my blindness when I fancy I can please You by walking in any other way! How long, O love, shall I be thus blinded and deceived? How long shall this earthy man refuse to enter into Your divine plans? Why do I want life if not to employ it for You, as did Your most holy Mother, since You have given Your life for me on the Cross? What more vivid enlightenment do I desire or need? O divine wisdom, let Your heavenly light everywhere be my guide; let the strength of Your love possess me utterly and work in my soul the transformation it operates in hearts obedient to it. I surrender myself, I offer myself, I give myself all to You; may it be with a heart pure and entire, O Lord. Take from me the pleasure I find in earthly things, that I may find my pleasure only in loving You and suffering with You.
O God of my heart, I adore You and render You infinite thanks for turning to my advantage those sufferings which You endured in being confronted with those of Your holy Mother, giving her to me as Lady and Mother, and showing that You loved me so much that You desired her to love me as her son in place of You. As my heavenly Mother she will have compassion on me in my need and will succor me, help me, protect, keep and govern me as her child. Perhaps You have not found, O my Redeemer, any greater consolation for Your most holy Mother than to give her evil and sinful children to Yourself that she may use her power and charity to obtain their conversion and salvation. Blessed and praised be You forever that You have willed that nothing should perish, but that all things should be used to cure my ills and to shower me with true blessings. Therefore, O good Physician, do not allow me, in the midst of such great remedies, to remain without relief. Receive me as Your own and make me a worthy servant and a faithful child of this great Queen and kindly Mother.
O most holy Mother of God, remember that the pains which you did not suffer in the virgin birth of your Only Son you now suffer doubly at the foot of the Cross, in the spiritual birth whereby all sinners become your children. I have cost you so much, receive me as your son. I am infinitely unworthy of it; perform for me, O most holy Virgin, the office of Mother, protecting me, succoring and guiding me in all things, and obtaining for me the grace of Your Son, so that I, worthless and miserable child, may not be lost. O citizens of heaven, blessed and holy fruit of the spiritual maternity and the mother’s Heart of this most pure Virgin, pray that she will always be a most kind Mother to me, and obtain for me from Jesus faithfully to serve and love the Son and the Mother in this world, and to be reckoned among those who shall bless and love them eternally in the other. Amen.
The preceding excerpt is taken from St. John Eudes, The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Chapter 15, and edited by the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at www.heartsofjesusandmary.org.