Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
From 5 A.M. to 6 A.M.
Jesus in prison.
My prisoner Jesus, I have woken up, but you are not here. My heart pounds, longing for your love. Tell me, where are you? My angel, take me to Caiaphas' house. I look all around, I search everywhere but don't find you. My love, hurry: With your hands move the chains with which you have my heart bound to yours, and draw me to yourself so that I may fly to you and throw myself into your arms. Now, my love, wounded by my voice and desirous of my company, you draw me to yourself; and I see that they have put you in prison. While my heart leaps for joy to find you, I feel it wounded by the sorrow of seeing how they have reduced you.
I see you with your hands tied behind you to a column, your feet tied together, your most sacred face bruised, swollen and bleeding for the horrible slaps received. Your most holy eyes are bruised, your gaze is weary and suffering for the sleeplessness, your hair is all disheveled, your most holy person is all beaten. And what is more, you can neither help nor clean yourself because you are tied. O my Jesus, while sobbing and embracing your feet, I say to you: Oh! What have they done to you, Jesus?
Looking at me, Jesus answers:
“Come, my child, and pay attention to what you see me doing, to do it together with me, so that I can continue my life in you.”
To my amazement, I see that instead of occupying yourself with your pains, with indescribable love you concern yourself with glorifying the Father, to compensate him for our obligations toward him. And you call all souls around you, to take all their evils upon yourself and to give them every good of yours. And since we are at the dawn of the new day, I hear your gentle voice that says:
“Holy Father, I thank you for all I have suffered and for that which remains for me to suffer. As this dawn calls the day, and the day makes the sun rise, so too, let the dawn of grace appear in all hearts. And forming the day, may I, divine sun, rise in all hearts and reign over all. O Father, do you see these souls? I want to answer to you for everyone: for their thoughts, words, deeds and steps, at the cost of my blood and death.”
My Jesus, boundless love, I join with you. I too thank you for all that you have made me suffer and for what remains for me to suffer. I pray you to make the dawn of grace rise in all hearts, so that you, divine sun, may rise again in all hearts and reign over everyone.
But I also see, my sweet Jesus, that You repair for all the very first thoughts, affections and words, which, at the rising of the day, are not offered to You to honor You; and that You call to Yourself, as though in custody, the thoughts, the affections and the words of the creatures, in order to repair for them and give to the Father the glory they owe Him.
My Jesus, Divine Master, since we have one hour free in this prison and we are alone, not only do I want to do what You are doing, but I want to clean You, fix your hair, and fuse myself completely in You. So, I begin with your most holy head; and arranging your hair, I want to make reparation to you for so many minds twisted and full of earth that do not have even one thought for you. Then, fusing myself in your mind, I want to gather up all the thoughts of creatures and fuse them in your thoughts, in order to find sufficient reparation for all evil thoughts, and for so many suffocated lights and inspirations. I would make all thoughts one alone with yours, to give you true reparation and perfect glory.
My suffering Jesus, I kiss your sad and tearful eyes. With your hands tied to the column you cannot dry them or clean away the spit with which they have dirtied you. And since the position in which they have tied you is excruciating, you cannot close your weary eyes to rest. My love, how willingly I would make a bed for you with my arms, to give you rest. I want to dry your tears, ask your forgiveness and make reparation for all the times we have not had the intention of pleasing you and of looking to you to see where you wanted us to go.
And I want to fuse my eyes and the eyes of all creatures in yours, to be able to make reparation with your own eyes for all the wrong we have done with our sight. My pitiful Jesus, I kiss your most holy ears, wearied by the insults of the whole night, and much more by the echo of all the offenses of creatures, which resounds in your ears. I ask your forgiveness and I make reparation for all the times you have called us and we were deaf or we pretended not to hear you. And you, my weary Jesus, repeated the calls, but in vain. I want to fuse my ears and those of all creatures in yours to make continual, complete reparation.
My loving Jesus, I kiss your most holy face which is all bruised from the blows. I ask you pardon, and I make reparation for all the times you have called us to be victims of reparation, and we, united with your enemies, gave you slaps and spit. My Jesus, I want to fuse my face in yours to return your natural beauty to you and to make complete reparation for all the ridicule which your most holy majesty receives.
My embittered, good Jesus, I kiss your most sweet mouth bruised by the blows and parched by love. I want to fuse my tongue and that of all creatures in yours to make reparation with your own tongue for all the sins and evil discourses committed. My thirsty Jesus, I want to make all voices one with yours, so that when they are about to offend you, your voice, flowing in the voices of creatures will suffocate the voices of sin and change them into voices of praise and love.
Enchained Jesus, I kiss your neck weighed down by heavy chains and ropes which, running from your breast behind your back and passing around your arms, keep you tightly bound to the column. Your hands are tied so tightly that they are already swollen and darkened, and blood is dripping from various parts of them. My bound Jesus, permit me to free you. And if you love to be bound, I will bind you with the chains of love which, being sweet, will soothe you instead of making you suffer. And while I loose you I want to fuse myself in your neck, to be able to make reparation together with you for all attachments, and to give the chains of your love to everyone.
I fuse myself in your breast to make reparation for all the coldness of creatures and to fill the breast of all creatures with your fire, because I see you have so much that you cannot contain it. I fuse myself in your back to make reparation for all illicit pleasures and love of comfort, to give the spirit of sacrifice and the love of suffering to everyone. I fuse myself in your hands to make reparation for all evil works and for the good that is done in a bad manner or with presumption, to give the perfume of your works to everyone. Fusing myself in your feet, I enclose the steps of all creatures there, to make reparation for them. And I give your steps to everyone to make them walk with holy steps.
Now, my dear life, as I fuse myself in your heart, permit me to enclose all affections, heartbeats and desires there, to make reparation for them together with you, and to give everyone your affections, heartbeats and desires so that no one may offend you again.
But now I hear the squeaking of the key echoing in my ears. It's your enemies who have come to take you from the prison. Jesus, I am trembling, I feel myself freezing. You will be in the hands of your enemies again. What will happen to you?
I seem to hear the squeaking of the tabernacle keys as well. How many profaning hands come to open them and perhaps to make you descend into sacrilegious hearts! How many unworthy hands you are forced to be in! My prisoner Jesus, I want to be in all your prisons of love to be the spectator when your ministers take you out, and to keep you company and make reparation for the offenses you may receive.
I see that your enemies are coming, and you are greeting the rising sun—the last of your days. Loosing you, and seeing how majestic you appear, and that you look at them with so much love, in exchange they slap your face so hard that it turns red with your most precious blood.
My love, in my sorrow I ask you to bless me before you leave the prison, to give me the strength to follow you in the rest of your passion.
Reflections and Practices.
Jesus is placed in prison, bound to a column, immobilized, and smeared with spittle and mud. He searches for my soul to cleanse Him and keep Him company. Am I happy to be alone with Jesus, or do I seek the company of others? Is Jesus my only breath and my only heartbeat?
If I hold everything that is inside of me—sorrows, irritations—as if they were my own, I will never be alone with Jesus. must hold what surrounds me and even the creatures, as if they belonged to Jesus, that they may surround Him like a retinue; on the other hand, if I hold them as if they concerned me, I will never be alone with Jesus.
That is why I must lay everything, both interior and exterior, that concerns me around Jesus to keep Him company, and I shall be satisfied only with Jesus. May Jesus be my only breath, my only heartbeat. Am I careful to change all the offenses that creatures do to me into love? With Jesus in prison, do I have the strength, the promptness to jail myself in Jesus, for love of Him? To make us like Him, loving Jesus binds our souls, but how? With hardship, oppression, sorrow, and every other kind of mortification. Are we happy to be bound by Jesus in the prison where his Love places us—that is, in darkness, oppression, and even worse?
Jesus is in prison. Do I think that my prison ought to be similar to that of Jesus? Do I feel the strength and readiness to imprison myself in Jesus for his love? My afflicted Jesus yearns for my soul to untie Him and sustain Him in the sorrowful situation that confronts Him. Do I yearn only for the company of Jesus to free me from the chains of every passion and bind me to his Heart with even stronger chains? Do I place my pains around suffering Jesus to remove the spittle and mud that sinners hurl at Him?
Jesus prays in prison. Is my prayer with Jesus constant?
My enchained Jesus, You became a prisoner out of Love for me. I beg You, then, to imprison in You all that I am— my mind, my tongue, my heart—so that I will no longer be free and You will have absolute dominion over me.