Choosing the better part

Choosing the better part

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our sins alone, without the executioner's help - could have brought about his death


In his desire to expiate our crimes, Jesus voluntarily abandoned himself to an infinite sorrow for all our excesses.  He saw them all, one by one, and was afflicted by them beyond measure, as if he himself had committed them, for he was charged with them before God.  Yes, our iniquities poured upon him from every direction, so that he could say with David, "the torrents of iniquity troubled me."  This is why he said, "Now is my soul trouble."  This was the cause of the inexplicable anguish that brought him to pronounce these words: "My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death."  The immensity of sorrow could, in fact, have dealt the death blow itself, if Jesus had not restrained his soul, preserving it to endure greater evils and to drink the whole cup of his Passion.  He nevertheless allowed his blood to overflow in the Garden of Olives to convince us that our sins - yes, our sins alone, without the executioner's help - could have brought about his death.  Can you believe that sin could have such great and evil power?  If we only saw Jesus fall into the hands of the soldiers who scourged, tormented, and crucified him, we would blame his death only upon this torture.  Now that we see him succumb in the Garden of Olives, where he has only our sins to persecute him, we may accuse ourselves.  Let us weep, beat our breasts, and tremble in the very depths of our conscience.  How could we not be seized with fright, having ourselves, in our very hearts, so certain a cause of death?  If sin alone sufficed to kill God, how can mortal men survive with such a poison in their bodies?  No.  We exist only by a continuous miracle of mercy.  The same divine power that miraculously sustained the soul of the Savior, that he might endure the whole punishment, sustains ours that we might accomplish our penance, or at least begin it.

"Meditations for Lent"
Jacques Bossuet

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