Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Jesus takes up the Cross and walks toward Calvary,
My Jesus, unquenchable love, I see you take no rest. I hear your ravings of love and your pains. Your heart is pounding; and in every beat I hear bursts, tortures and violences of love. Unable to contain the fire that is devouring you, you become anxious, you groan, you sigh. And in every groan I hear you say, Cross! Each drop of your blood repeats, Cross! You are swimming in the endless sea of all your pains which repeat among themselves, Cross! And you exclaim:
“O beloved and longed¬for cross, you alone will save my children; and in you I concentrate all my love.”
Meanwhile, your enemies make you enter the praetorium again. Wanting to put your garments back on you, they remove the purple mantle. But, oh, what pain! It would be sweeter for me to die than to see you suffer so! The garment snags on the crown and they can't remove it. So, with cruelty never before seen, they tear off together both the clothing and the crown. At the cruel pull many thorns break and remain fixed in your most holy head. Blood runs down in little streams, and the pain is so intense that you groan. But not caring about your torments, your enemies put your garment back on you. Again they put the crown on you; and pressing it deep into your head, the thorns enter your eyes and your ears, such that there is no part of your most holy head which does not feel their punctures. The pain is so intense that you stagger under those cruel hands, and you tremble from head to foot. Among atrocious spasm you are about to die. Your eyes being weak and filled with blood, you can hardly look at me to ask my help in so much pain.
My Jesus, king of sorrows, let me hold you up and press you to my heart. I would like to take the fire that is devouring you to reduce your enemies to ashes and so free you. But you don't want this, because your longings for the cross are increasing, and you want to immolate yourself on it at once, even for your very enemies! As I press you to my heart, you press me to your, and say to me:
“My child, let me vent my love. Together with me, make reparation for those who dishonor me in the good they do. These Jews dress me in my garments in order to further discredit me before the people and to convince them that I am a criminal. The act of dressing me apparently was good, but in itself it was evil. Yes, how many do good works, administer sacraments and receive them with human and even evil purposes. But to do good in a malicious way hardens the person. And I want to be crowned a second time, with pains more biting than the first, to break this hardness, and so with my thorns, draw them to me. Yes, my child, this second crowning is much more painful for me. I feel my head, as it were, swimming in thorns; and at every movement I make or shove they give me, I suffer so many cruel deaths. With this, I make reparation for the malice of sins; I make reparation for those who, regardless of the state of soul they are in, instead of occupying themselves with their own sanctification, dissipate themselves and reject my grace, thus giving me thorns all over again, which are even more biting. Meanwhile, I am forced to groan, to weep with tears of blood and to long for their salvation. O I do everything to love them and creatures do everything to offend Me! Yes, I do everything to love them, and creatures do everything to offend me! At least you be one who does not leave me alone, to suffer and make reparations by myself.”
My tortured Jesus, I make reparation and suffer with you. I see that your enemies push you down the steps, while the mob is waiting for you with fury and eagerness. They have you find the cross already prepared, which you are seeking with great longing. You look at it with love, and go straight to it, to embrace it. But first you kiss it; and as a shiver of joy surges through your most holy humanity, you look at it with the utmost contentment, measuring its length and width. You now establish the portion in it for each creature. You endow them with sufficient cross in order to bind them to the divinity with a nuptial bond and make them heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Then, unable to contain the love with which you love them, you kiss the cross again, and say to it:
“Adorable cross, I embrace you at last! You were the longing of my heart, the martyrdom of my love. You, O cross, lingered until now, while my steps were always directed toward you. Holy cross, you were the goal of my desires, the purpose of my existence here below. In you I concentrate my whole being; in you I place all my children. You will be their life and their light, their defense, their guard and their strength. You will come to their assistance in everything and will bring them to me glorious, in heaven. O cross, seat of wisdom, you alone will teach true holiness; you alone will form heroes, athletes, martyrs and saints. Beautiful cross, you are my throne; and having to depart from the earth myself, you will remain in my place. I give all souls to you as your dowry. Keep them for me, save them for me; I entrust them to you.”
With this, you anxiously receive the cross on your most holy shoulders. Yes, my Jesus, for your love it is too light; but to the weight of the cross there is added that of our sins, enormous and immense as the expanse of the heavens. My overwhelmed Jesus, you feel crushed under the weight of so many sins. Your soul is horrified by their sight, and you feel the pain of each sin. In the face of so much ugliness, your holiness is shaken. Therefore, as you take the cross on your shoulders, you stagger, you gasp; and a mortal sweat trickles from your most sacred humanity. No, my love, I don't have the heart to leave you alone. I want to share the weight of the cross with you. To relieve you of the weight of sins, I embrace your feet. In the name of all creatures I want to give you love for those who do not love you; praise for those who despise you; blessings, thanksgiving and obedience for everyone. I promise that in any offense you receive, I intend to offer you my whole being to make reparation to you, to do the act contrary to the offense creatures commit against you and to console you with my kisses and continual acts of love.
But I see I am too miserable. I need you in order to truly make reparation to you. So, I unite myself to your most holy humanity. Together with you, I join my thoughts to yours to make reparation for my evil thoughts and those of everyone. I join my eyes to yours to make reparation for evil glances. I join my mouth to yours to make reparation for blasphemies and evil discourses. I join my heart to yours to make reparation for evil tendencies, desires and affections. In a word, I want to make reparation for all that your most holy humanity does, by uniting myself to the immensity of your love for everyone and to the immense good that you do to everyone.
But I am not yet content. I want to unite myself to your Divinity, and I dissolve my nothingness in It, and in this way I give You everything. I give You your Love to quench your bitternesses; I give You your Heart to relieve You from our coldness, lack of correspondence, ingratitude, and the little love of the creatures. I give You your Harmonies to cheer your hearing from the deafening blasphemies it receives. I give You your Beauty to relieve You from the ugliness of our souls, when we muddy ourselves in sin. I give You your Purity to relieve You from the lack of righteous intention, and from the mud and rot You see in many souls. I give You your Immensity to relieve You from the voluntary constraints into which souls put themselves. I give You your Ardor to burn all sins and all hearts, so that all may love You, and no one may offend You, ever again. In sum, I give You all that You are, to give You infinite satisfaction, eternal, immense and infinite love.
My most patient Jesus, I see you are taking your first steps under the enormous weight of the cross. I join my steps to yours. When you are weak, bleeding, staggering and about to fall, I will be by your side to raise you up. I will put my shoulders under the cross to share its weight with you. Do not turn me away, but accept me for your faithful companion. O Jesus, you look at me; and I see that you are making reparation for those who do not carry their own cross with resignation, who instead curse, become angry, commit homicides and suicide. And with your entreaties you obtain love and resignation for everyone, for their own cross. The pain is so intense that you feel as if your were being crushed under the cross. You have taken but the first steps, and already you fall under it. As you fall you hit against the rocks. The thorns are driven deeper into your head, while your pains are sharpened and all your wounds let more blood. And since you don't have the strength to get up, your enemies become angry and try to get you to your feet with kicks and shoves.
My fallen love, let me help you to your feet, kiss you, wipe away the blood, and together with you make reparation for those who sin out of ignorance, frailty and weakness. And I pray you to give help to these souls. My life, Jesus, with unspeakable torments, your enemies manage to bring you to your feet. As you stagger on, I hear your labored breath. Your heart pounds harder, and new intense pains transfix it. Now you shake your head to free your eyes of the blood that fills them, and anxiously look. Yes, my Jesus, now I understand perfectly: It is your mother, who, like a mournful dove is searching for you. She wants to say a last word to you and receive one last look from you. You feel her pains, and her heart lacerated in yours and moved to compassion and wounded by her love and yours. Now you see her making her way through the mob. At any cost she wants to see you, embrace you and give you her last goodbye.
But you are more transfixed to see her deathly paleness and all your pains reproduced in her by force of love. If she lives it is only by a miracle of your almighty power. Now you are directing your steps toward her, but you can hardly look at each other. Oh, what a rent to the heart of both! The soldiers become aware, and with knocks and shoves keep mother and son from saying goodbye. The anguish of both is so immense that your mother is petrified by the sorrow, and is about to faint, while you again fall under the cross. Faithful John and the pious women hold her up. Then, what your sorrowful mother does not do bodily because she can't, she does with her soul. She enters into you, making the Will of the Eternal One her own; and associating herself with all your pains, she mothers you, kisses you, makes reparation, soothes you, and pours the ointment of her sorrowful love on all your wounds.
My suffering Jesus, I too join with your transfixed mother. I make all your pains mine. I want to mother you in every drop of your blood and in every wound. Together with you and with her I want to make reparation for all the dangerous encounters and for those who expose themselves to the occasions of sin, or being constrained by the necessity to expose themselves, become entangled in sin. Meanwhile, fallen under the cross, you moan.
The soldiers are afraid you may die under the weight of so many martyrdoms and for the shedding of so much blood. So, by means of lashes and kicks they manage to get you to your feet. With this, you make reparation for the repeated falls into sin and for the grave sins committed by every class of person; and you pray for obstinate sinners, weeping tears of blood for their conversion. My exhausted love, while I am following you in your reparations, I see you cannot bear the enormous weight of the cross any longer. You are now trembling from head to foot. With the continual knocks you receive, the thorns penetrate ever deeper into your most sacred head. The heavy weight of the cross makes it sink deeper into your shoulder, forming a wound so deep that the bones are laid bare. It seems to me that you die at each step, and so it is impossible for you to go on.
But your love, which can do everything, gives you strength. As you feel the cross sinking into your shoulder you make reparation for hidden sins, which, not having been satisfied for, increase the bitterness of your torments. My Jesus, let me put my shoulder under the cross to relieve you and to make reparation with you for all hidden sins. Fearing that you may die under the cross, your enemies force the Cyrenian to help you carry it. Unwilling and grumbling, he helps you, not out of love but by force. Then, in your heart there echo all the complaints of those who suffer, the lack of resignation, the rebellions, the anger and the contempt in suffering. But you are transfixed much more to see that the souls consecrated to you, whom you call as companions and help in your suffering, escape from you. If you draw them to yourself through suffering, unfortunately they free themselves from your arms to go in search of pleasures, leaving you like this, to suffer alone. My Jesus, while I am making reparation with you, I pray you to clasp me so tightly in your arms that there won't be any pain you suffer which I do not share with you, to transform myself into them, and to compensate you for the abandonment of all creatures.
My exhausted Jesus, you can hardly walk, and you are bent low. I see that you stop, and try to look. My heart, what is it? What do you want? Yes, it is Veronica, who, fearing nothing, courageously wipes your blood-covered face with a cloth, while you leave your impression on it as a sign of gratitude. My generous Jesus, I too want to dry you, not with a cloth, but by offering my whole being to relieve you. O Jesus, I want to enter into your interior and give you heartbeat for heartbeat, breath for breath, affection for affection, desire for desire. I intend to cast myself into your most holy intelligence. And making all these heartbeats, breaths, affections and desires flow in the immensity of your Will, I intend to multiply them to the infinite. O my Jesus, I want to form waves of heartbeats so that no evil heartbeat will echo in your heart, and in this way soothe all your interior bitternesses. I intend to form waves of affections and of desires to drive away all the evil affections and desires that could sadden your heart in the least. Furthermore, I intend to form waves of breaths and of thoughts to drive away any breath or thought that could displease you in the least. I will be on guard, O Jesus, so that nothing else may afflict You, adding more bitterness to your interior pains.
O my Jesus, please, let all of my interior swim in the immensity of yours; in this way I will be able to find enough love and will, so that no evil love may enter your interior, nor a will which may displease You. O my Jesus, to be more certain, I pray You to seal my thoughts with Yours, my will with Yours, my desires with Yours, my affections and heartbeats with Yours; so that, being sealed, they may take no life but from You. I ask You, again, O my Jesus, to accept my poor body which I would want to tear to shreds for love of You, and reduce it to tiny little pieces, to place over each one of your wounds. On that wound, O Jesus, which gives You pain from so many blasphemies, I place a little piece of my body, wanting it to say to You constantly: “I bless You”. On that wound that gives You so much pain from the many ingratitudes, I intend, O Jesus, to place a portion of my body, to prove my gratitude to You. On that wound, O Jesus, which makes You suffer so much from coldness and lack of love, I intend to place many little bits of my flesh, to say to You constantly: “I love You, I love You, I love You!” On that wound which gives You so much pain from the so many irreverences to your Most Holy Person, I intend to place a piece of myself, to tell You always: “I adore You, I adore You, I adore You!” O my Jesus, I want to diffuse myself in everything, and in those wounds embittered by the many misbelieves, I desire that the shreds of my body tell You, always: “I believe I believe in You, O my Jesus, my God, and in your Holy Church, and I intend to give my life to prove my Faith to You!” O my Jesus, I plunge myself into the immensity of your Will, and making It my own, I want to compensate for all, and enclose the souls of all in the power of your Most Holy Will.
O Jesus, I still have my blood left, which I want to pour over your wounds as balm and soothing liniment, in order to relieve You and heal You completely. Again, I intend, O Jesus, to make my thoughts flow in the heart of every sinner, to reprimand him continuously, that he may not dare to offend You. And I pray to You with the voice of your Blood, so that all may surrender to my poor prayers. In this way I will be able to bring them into your Heart! Another grace, O my Jesus, I ask of You: that in everything I see, touch and hear, I may see, touch and hear always You; and that your Most Holy Image and your Most Holy Name, always be impressed in every particle of my poor being.
Meanwhile, your enemies look with contempt at Veronica's deed, and they whip you, shove you and make you move on. A few more steps, and you stop again. your love does not stop under the weight of so many pains. seeing the pious women weeping over your pains, you forget yourself and console them with these words:
“Daughters, do not weep over my pains, but over your sins and over your children.”
What a sublime lesson! How gentle is your word! O Jesus, I make reparation with you for the lacks of charity, and I ask you for the grace of making me forget myself so that I will remember nothing but you alone. Hearing you speak, your enemies go into a rage. They jerk you with the ropes and angrily shove you, so you fall. As you fall you strike against the rocks. The weight of the cross torments you, and you feel yourself dying. Let me hold you up and protect your most holy face with my hands. I see you on the ground, gasping in your blood. Your enemies want to get you on your feet: They pull you with the ropes, they raise you up by the hair, they kick you—but all in vain. You are dying, my Jesus. What grief! My heart breaks for the sorrow.
Practically dragging you, they bring you to Mount Calvary. While they are dragging you I perceive that you are making reparation for all the sins of the souls consecrated to you, who weigh you down so heavily, that, in spite of all your efforts to get up, you can't. And so, dragged and trampled, you reach Calvary, leaving red traces of your precious blood wherever you pass. New sufferings are waiting for you here. They strip you again, tearing off your garments and the crown of thorns. Yes, you groan as you feel the thorns being torn from your head. As they tear off your clothes they rip off the lacerated flesh stuck to them as well. The wounds are torn open; blood flows in little streams to the ground, and the pain is so intense that, almost dead, you fall. But no one is moved to compassion for you, my Jesus. On the contrary, with the fury of wild beasts, they again put the crown of thorns on you and drive it onto your head. You are so tormented by the lacerations and by the tearing of your hair, all stuck together in the dried blood, that only the angels could say what you suffer, while horrified, they turn away their heavenly gazes and weep. My stripped Jesus, let me press you to my heart to warm you, for I see you are trembling, and that a cold mortal sweat spreads over your most holy humanity. How I would like to give my life and my blood to substitute yours, which you have lost to give me life!
Meanwhile, looking at me with his fading and dying eyes, Jesus seems to say to me:
“My child, how much souls cost me! Here is the place where I am waiting for everyone in order to save them. This is the place where I want to make reparation for the sins of those who go so far as to degrade themselves below the beasts, and who persist so much in offending me that they even reach the point of not being able to live without committing sins. Their reason is blinded and they sin madly. This is why they crown me with thorns for the third time. And by being stripped, I am making reparation for those who wear luxurious or indecent dress; for the sins committed against modesty; and for those who are so bound to riches, honors and pleasure that they make a god of them for their hearts. Oh, yes, each of these offenses is a death I feel, and if I do not die it is because the Will of my eternal Father has not yet decreed the moment of my death.”
My stripped Jesus, while I am making reparation with you, I pray you to strip me of everything with your most holy hands, and not to permit any evil affections to enter my heart. Keep watch over it for me, surround it with your pains and fill it with your love. May my life be none other than the repetition of your life; and confirm my dispossession with your blessing. Bless me from the heart, and give me the strength to assist at your sorrowful crucifixion, to remain crucified together with you.
Reflections and Practices.
Jesus’ love for the Cross and his eager desire to die on it to save souls were immense! But do I love suffering like Jesus? Can I say that my heartbeats form the echo of his divine heartbeats and that I too ask for the Cross? When I suffer, do I have the intention of keeping Jesus company and of lightening the burden of his Cross? How do I accompany Him? With respect to the insults He receives, am I ready to offer Him a hand to lift Him up, and give Him my small sufferings to ease his pain? Are my eyes always fixed on Jesus, that I may wipe his mortal sweat and the Blood pouring from his Wounds, like an inseparable companion who never leaves Him? As I work, pray, and experience the weight of the intense pain and adversity of my suffering, do I allow my suffering to soar to Jesus to refresh Him like a veil wiping away his sweat? Do I make his difficulties my own?
O my Jesus, always call me to be at your side, and grant that You may always remain by me, walking with me through the whole sad pilgrimage of this life. Soar with me up the holy mountain of your Will—for You want me to reach it— and there we shall rest together. Grant that my pains and Yours may always merge—so that we hold each other—as I continuously wipe the Blood that pours from your most holy Wounds.