Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
From 4 A.M. to 5 A.M.
Jesus in the midst of the soldiers.
My most sweet Life, Jesus, while sleeping, clinging to your Heart, I often felt the pricks of the thorns which pierce your Most Holy Heart. Wanting to wake up together with You, that You may have at least one who notices all of your pains and feels compassion for You, I cling more tightly to your Heart; and feeling your prickings more vividly, I wake up. What do I see? What do I hear? I would like to hide you in my heart to offer myself in your place and to receive upon myself such terrible pains, such incredible insults and humiliations. Only your love could endure such outrages. My most patient Jesus, what can you expect from such inhuman people!
Now I see that they are making fun of you. They cover your face with thick spit, and the light of your beautiful eyes is obscured by it. Then, shedding streams of tears for our salvation, you clear your eyes of that spit. But in the wickedness of their heart they cannot bear to see the light of your eyes, and so they cover them with spit again.
Others, becoming more daring in evil, open your most sweet mouth and fill it with disgusting spit, to the point that they themselves feel nausea. And since some of that spit flows away, revealing, in part, the majesty of your Face and your superhuman sweetness, they shudder and feel ashamed of themselves. In order to feel more free, they blindfold You with a miserable rag, to be able to hurl themselves, unrestrained, at your adorable Person. And so they beat You up without pity; they drag You; they trample You under their feet; they repeat blows and slaps to your Face and over your head, scratching You, tearing your hair, and pushing You from one point to another.
Jesus, my love, my heart cannot bear to see you in such pains. You want me to witness everything, while I would rather cover my eyes to avoid seeing such sorrowful scenes, capable of tearing the heart from every breast. But your love compels me to observe what is happening to you. I see that You utter not a breath, that You say not a word to defend Yourself; that You are in the hands of these soldiers like a rag, and they can do with You whatever they want. And in seeing them jumping on You, I fear You may die under their feet.
My Good and my All, the sorrow I feel for your pains is so great, that I would like to shout so loudly as to be heard up there in Heaven, and call the Father, the Holy Spirit and all the Angels; and here on earth, from one point to another, call sweet Mama first, and all the souls who love You, so that, forming a circle around You, we may prevent these insolent soldiers from drawing near You to insult You and torment You more. Together with you, we will make reparation for all the various kinds of sins committed during the night, especially for those committed during the night hours on your sacramental person, by those belonging to sects, as well as for all the sins of those souls that do not remain faithful in the night of the test.
My insulted Jesus, I see that the soldiers, drunk and tired, want to rest. My poor heart, oppressed and lacerated by all these pains of yours, does not want to remain alone with you, and feels the need for another companion.
Yes, my gentle mother, you be my inseparable companion. I clasp your maternal hand tightly and kiss it, while I ask you to strengthen me with your blessing. While together we embrace Jesus, let us rest our head on his sorrowful heart to console it. O Jesus, together with Mother Mary I kiss you and bless you. And now she and I will sleep the sleep of love on your adorable heart.
Reflections and Practices.
In this hour, Jesus stands in the midst of soldiers with composure and undaunted determination. Being the God that He is, He suffers all the abuses given by the soldiers and looks at them with so much Love that He seems to invite them to inflict even more pain.
Am I constant in the face of persistent suffering, or do I complain, become troubled, and lose peace—that peace of heart that is necessary for Jesus to dwell happily in me?
Steadfastness is the virtue that enables one to know whether God truly reigns in him. If our virtue is genuine, we will be steadfast in trials, with a constancy that is not subject to change. Only this kind of steadfastness can communicate peace to us. The more we remain steadfast in doing good, in suffering, and in working, the more we increase the space around us, wherein Jesus communicates his graces. So, if we fail to be constant, our space will be restricted and Jesus will have little or no room in which to move. But if we remain steadfast and constant, Jesus will find abundant space and will find his support and assistance in us—He will find a place to increase his grace.
If we want beloved Jesus to rest in us, let us surround Him with the same steadfastness with which He won the salvation of our souls. Defended in this manner, He will remain in our hearts to take his sweet rest.
Jesus lovingly gazed at those who mistreated Him. Do I gaze with the same love at those who offend me? Is the love that I show them so intense that, like a powerful voice penetrating their hearts, it converts them to Jesus?
My Jesus, boundless Love, grant me this love and let every pain I suffer lead souls to You.