Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
From midnight until 1 a.m.
Jesus is captured in the Garden of Olives.
My Jesus, we have already reached midnight. I hear your enemies approaching. Composing Yourself, drying your Blood, and feeling strengthened by the comfort You have received, You return to your disciples. You call them and admonish them; and, taking them with You, You go to meet your enemies. In this way with your promptness You make reparation for my slowness, unwillingness, and laziness in working and suffering for your Love.
But, O my gentle love, what a moving scene I see! The first to meet you is wicked Judas who comes up to you, throws his arms around your neck, greets you and kisses you. And you, my ardent love, do not refuse to kiss those infernal lips. You embrace him and press him to your heart, wanting to snatch him from hell by giving him new demonstrations of love.
My Jesus, how is it possible not to love You? The tenderness of your Love is so great that it should jerk every heart into loving You —and yet You are not loved! My Jesus, with this kiss, You make reparation for all the betrayals, pretenses, and deceptions worked under the cloak of friendship and sanctity, especially by consecrated souls. And with this kiss, You ask and obtain pardon for every and any penitent sinner that returns, humbled, to your most holy Heart.
O how sweetly the words that You spoke to Judas descend into my Heart:
“Friend, why have you come?”
Ah, it seems as though You address the same words to me—not in calling me “Friend,” but with the sweet name of “child,” saying, My daughter, for what have you come? You say it to hear me answer You, “Jesus, I come to love You.” “Why have you come?”, You repeat to me when I wake up in the morning; “Why have you come?”, if I pray; “Why have you come?”, You repeat to me in the Holy Host, if I come to receive You into my heart. What a beautiful call for me and for all!
But how many, to your “Why have you come?”, answer: “I come to offend You!” Others, pretending not to hear You, give themselves to all kinds of sins, and answer your “Why have you come?” by going to hell! How much compassion I feel for You, O my Jesus! I would like to take the very ropes with which your enemies are about to bind You, in order to bind these souls and spare You this sorrow.
But, again, I hear your most tender voice which says, as You go to meet your enemies:
“Who are you looking for?”
And they answer:
“Jesus the Nazarene”.
And You, to them:
Oh, what wickedness and ingratitude! Instead of humbling themselves and lovingly throwing themselves at your feet to ask your forgiveness, abusing your goodness and despising your graces and miracles, they lay their hands on you, and with ropes and chains, tie you and immobilize you. They throw you to the ground, trample you under their feet and tear out your hair. And, with inconceivable patience, You remain silent—suffering in atonement for the offenses of sinners, who do not surrender, but harden their hearts still more in spite of your miracles. With your ropes and chains, You rend the chains of our sins and bind us with the sweet chains of love.
You lovingly correct Peter who wants to defend You even by cutting off Malchus’ ear. In this way, You want to make reparation for good works done without holy prudence and for those who fall into sin through excessive zeal.
My most patient Jesus, these ropes and chains seem to add something more beautiful to your Sacred Humanity. Your Forehead becomes more majestic, so much so that it even attracts the attention of your enemies. Your eyes radiate more light—and your Holy Face reflects a supreme peace and sweetness that even charms your executioners. With a few gentle and penetrating words, You make them tremble, and if they dare to offend You it is only because You permit it.
O bound and enchained love, are you going to be tied for me, to show an even greater love for me, and then permit that I, your little child, be without chains? No, no. Tie me with your most holy hands, using your own ropes and chains. So, while I kiss your divine forehead, I pray you to bind my whole being: all my thoughts, my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my heart, my affections. And at the same time, tie all creatures, so that, feeling the sweetness of your loving chains, they will not dare to offend you any more.
My most tender Jesus, You have already handed Yourself over to your enemies, giving them the power to do whatever they wish with You. My Jesus, I, also, put myself in your Hands so that You may freely do with me whatever pleases You. United with You, I want to follow your Will, share in your reparations, and suffer your pains.
I want to remain always in your Presence so that there is no offense I do not repair, no bitterness I do not soothe, no spittle or insult that You receive that I do not cover with my kisses and caresses.
In your falls, my hands will always be ready to lift You. I want to be with You always and I do not wish to leave You abandoned. And to be sure of this, fuse me with Yourself. Then I will be in your mind, in your gaze, in your Heart, and in all of You—so that what You do, I will also do. In this way, I will always have You for a faithful companion and none of your pains will be able to elude me, so that I can give You my love on behalf of all creatures.
My dear good Jesus, it is already one o'clock in the morning, and my mind is beginning to drift asleep. I will do all I can to stay awake, but if sleep should take me by surprise, I will leave myself in you to follow whatever you do. What is more, you yourself will do it for me. So, my Jesus, I leave my thoughts in you to defend you from your enemies; my breath as escort and company; my heartbeat to always tell you that I love you, and to make good for the love which the others do not give you; the drops of my blood to make reparation, and to give back to you the honors and the esteem that the others will take from you with their insults, spit and slaps.
O my Jesus, embrace me and bless me. If You want me to sleep, make me sleep in your adorable Heart. As your heartbeats intensify in Love and suffering, may they awaken me often, so that our communion will never be broken.
Reflections and Practices.
Seeing the Will of the Father in his enemies, Jesus readily handed himself over to them.
When I am deceived or betrayed by creatures, am I as ready to forgive as Jesus was? Do I take all the wrongs I receive from creatures, from the hands of God? Am I ready to do everything Jesus wants from me? In the crosses and the mistreatment I receive, can I say that my patience is similar to Jesus' patience?
My chained Jesus, let your chains bind my heart and keep it steadfast, ready to suffer whatever you want.