Hours of the Passion
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church
From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Third Hour of Agony on the Cross.
« I am thirsty! »
My crucified, dying Jesus, embracing the cross, I feel the fire that is burning all your most holy person. Your heart pounds so violently that it heaves your ribs, tormenting you in such an agonizing and horrible way that all your most holy humanity undergoes a transformation which makes you unrecognizable. The love with which your heart is ablaze parches and burns you. Unable to contain it, you feel the intense torment not only of the physical thirst for the shedding of all your blood, but much more, that of the burning thirst for the health of our souls. You would like to drink us as water to bring us all to safety in yourself. So, gathering your faded strength, you cry:
“I am thirsty!”
Yes, you repeat these words to every heart:
“I am thirsty for your will, for your affections, for your desires, for your love. You could not give me any water cooler and more refreshing than your soul. Please, don't make me burn. I am burning with thirst, for which I not only feel my tongue and my throat burning—such that I can no longer utter a word—but I also feel my heart and my organs drying up. Have pity on my thirst! Have pity!” Delirious, as it were, for the immense thirst, you abandon yourself to the Will of the Father.
No, my heart cannot go on living like this: I see the wickedness of your enemies, who, instead of water, give you gall and vinegar—which you do not refuse. Yes, I understand: It is the gall of so many sins; it is the vinegar of our untamed passions that they want to give you, which, instead of relieving you, make you burn even more.
O my Jesus, here are my heart, my thoughts, my affections. Here is my whole being, for you to quench your thirst and to refresh your dry and embittered mouth. All that I am and all that I have is for you, O my Jesus. If my pains are necessary in order to save even a single soul, here I am. I am ready to suffer everything. I offer myself entirely to you, to do with me as you please. I intend to make reparation for the pain you suffer for all the souls that are lost, and for the pain those souls give you, that, while you permit them sadness and abandonment, instead of offering them to you in relief of the burning thirst that devours you, they lose heart and so make you suffer more.
« It is consummated! ».
My dying Jesus, the unending ocean of your pains, the fire that consumes you, and more than all this, the Supreme Will of the Father that wants you to die, no longer permit us to hope that you can continue to live. How will I be able to live without you? Your strength is already gone, your eyes are glazed, your face is transformed and veiled with deathly paleness. Your mouth is half-open, and your breath is labored and interrupted, such that there is no longer any hope that you can revive. To the fire that burns you, there follows a chill and a cold sweat that wets your forehead. The muscles and the nerves contract ever more for the harshness of the pains and for the transfixion of the nails, while the wounds tear still more. I tremble, and feel myself dying. O my good Jesus, I look at you and see the last tears trickling from your eyes as the forerunners of your approaching death, while with great effort you say still another word:
“It is consummated!”
O my Jesus, you have now exhausted everything. You have nothing left. Love has reached its end.
And what about me: Am I entirely consumed for your love? How grateful I must be to you! O my Jesus, I intend to make reparation for everyone. I intend to make reparation for the lack of correspondence to your love, and to console you for the affronts you receive from creatures while you are consuming yourself for love of us on the cross.
« Father, into your hands I commend my spirit! »
My crucified, dying Jesus, you are about to breathe the last breath of your mortal life. Your most holy humanity is already rigid, and it seems your heart is no longer beating; if I hear a heartbeat, it is so faint that I am not sure You are dead, and I cry and rant. Could my Life really have died? With Mary Magdalene, I embrace your feet; and if it were possible, I would like to give my life to animate yours. Meanwhile, O Jesus, I see you open your dying eyes again, and look around the cross as if you wanted to say your last goodby to everyone. You look at your dying mother who is motionless and speechless for the pains she feels, and say:
“Good-by, mother. I am leaving, but I will keep you in my heart. Take care of my children and yours.”
You look at weeping Mary Magdalene and faithful John, and say to them with your gaze: “Good-bye”. You look at your very enemies with love, saying to them with your gaze: “I forgive you; I give you the kiss of peace.” Nothing escapes your gaze. You forgive everyone and say good-by to all. Then, gathering all your strength, with a powerful and resonant voice you cry:
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit!”
And bowing your head, you die...
My Jesus, at this cry all nature is upset and weeps over your death—the death of its Creator. The earth quakes violently and with its tremor seems to be weeping, wanting to shake souls to make them recognize you as true God. The veil of the Temple is torn; the dead rise; and the sun, which, until now has wept over your pains, is horrified and withdraws its light. At this cry, your enemies fall on their knees, beat their breast, and declare: “Truly he is the Son of God!” Your petrified and dying mother suffers pains harder than death. My dead Jesus, with this cry you put all of us as well into the hands of the Father so that he won't reject us. So, you not only cry out with your voice, but with all your pains and with the voices of your blood as well:
“Father, into your hands I place my spirit and all souls.”
My Jesus, I too abandon myself in you. Give me the grace to die completely, in your love and in your Will. I pray you never to permit me, neither in life nor in death, to go out of your Most Holy Will. Meanwhile, I intend to make reparation for all those who do not abandon themselves perfectly to your Most Holy Will, thus losing or diminishing the precious fruit of your redemption. What sorrow your heart feels, O my Jesus, to see so many creatures escape from your arms and become disheartened! O my Jesus, in these last moments, call all souls around You, press them to your Heart, while I come out of It and go over your wounds with my last kisses, asking your forgiveness once more, and promising to always love You here on earth, and never to offend You again.
My Jesus, I kiss your Head crowned with thorns. I ask your pardon for my so many thoughts of pride, ambition and self-esteem. I promise You that every time a thought comes to me that is not all for You, my Jesus—and I find myself on the verge of offending You— I will cry immediately: “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to You!”
O Jesus, I kiss your beautiful eyes still bathed in tears and covered with clotted blood. I ask you to forgive me all the times I have offended you with evil and immodest gazes. I promise that whenever my eyes are brought to look at things of the earth, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
O my Jesus, I kiss your most sacred ears, deafened right to the last moments by insults and horrible blasphemies. I ask forgiveness for all the times I have listened to, or have made others listen to, conversations that draw us away from you, and for so many evil conversations spoken by creatures. I promise that every time I find myself in the occasion of hearing unnecessary conversations, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
O my Jesus, I kiss your most holy face, pale, bruised and covered with blood. I ask you to forgive the countless scoffings, affront and insults you receive from us, such vile creatures, with our sins. I promise that every time I am tempted not to give all glory, love and adoration to you, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
O my Jesus, I kiss your most sacred mouth, parched and embittered. You have already breathed your last breath, and as I approach You, I see your mouth all parched and embittered. I ask forgiveness for all the times I have offended you with evil conversations, adding to your bitterness and increasing your thirst. I promise that whenever the thought comes to me to say things that could offend you, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
O my Jesus, I kiss your most holy neck. I still see the marks of the chains and the ropes that oppressed you. I ask your forgiveness for so many bonds and so many attachments of creatures, which added ropes and chains to your most sacred neck. I promise that whenever I feel troubled by attachments, desires or affections that are not for you, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
My Jesus, I kiss your most holy back. As you lay nailed to the Cross, I can easily see the how they mangled your most holy Body! How deep are your wounds and how they hurt, made worse as they are by the cold! I ask you pardon for so many illicit satisfactions and for so many sins committed with all five senses of our body. I promise that every time the thought comes to me to take some pleasure or satisfaction which is not for your glory, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
My Jesus, I kiss your most holy chest. I ask you pardon for so many illicit satisfactions and for so many sins committed with all five senses of our body. I promise that every time the thought comes to me to take some pleasure or satisfaction which is not for your glory, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
My Jesus, I kiss your most holy chest. I ask you to forgive so much cold-heartedness, indifference, lukewarmness and horrible ingratitude which you receive from creatures. I promise that whenever I feel myself growing cold in your love I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
My Jesus, I kiss your most sacred hands. They contain all of our works, and you with your holy Works expiate ours with your most bitter and suffering sorrows. I ask you forgiveness for all the evil and indifferent works, and for so many acts ruined by selflove or self-esteem. I promise that whenever the thought come to me not to work only for your love, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
O my Jesus, I kiss your most holy feet. I ask you pardon for so many steps and for so many ways trodden without the right intention, and for so many who go away from you, in search of the pleasures of the earth. I promise that whenever the thought comes to me to go away from you, I will cry immediately, “Jesus and Mary, I commend my soul to you!”
O Jesus, I kiss your most Sacred Heart and as I do so, I enclose myself in It. These are the final instants of your mortal life, and you would like to gather all souls in your hand and take them with You. But, Jesus mine, as I enclose myself within your Heart, I take first place in It, and together with your Love, your suffering and your Will, I intend to enclose in It all the souls that You have redeemed, so that everyone may be saved, excluding none.
O Jesus, nothing is denied in one’s last moments. As you are about to draw your last breath, I ask you the grace to allow me to die with You, or at least to grant me your Heart as my chamber, your Blood as my drink, all of You as my food—otherwise how could I live without You? O Jesus, enclose me in your Heart and close the doors for me so that I may see nothing but You. I promise You that every time I am tempted to leave your Sacred Heart, I will immediately cry out, “Jesus and Mary, I give You my heart and my soul!”
Reflections and Practices.
Jesus is consumed with thirst. His tongue is parched, as if so great a thirst had changed it into a tongue of fire. And can I say that I am consumed with love for Jesus? Do I have a burning thirst for Jesus? Do my thoughts and affections always seek to refresh Him in his ardent thirst? Or do I thirst for material things?
Many times the will asks souls, but at that point their desires turn elsewhere, even toward good things—but things that appeal to their own self-interest. As these are not in harmony with the will, the will remains alone. And, not being able to harmonize with the desires and affections, it cannot weave a web of influences around Jesus in such a way as to oblige Him to pledge and concede what the will desires. And when this web is not complete, it is impossible for souls to face the Divine Justice. To be able to complete this web of influences perfectly, above all I will place myself in Jesus Christ, and then I will multiply myself in each drop of his Blood, in each one of his pains and prayers, so that Justice may find its complete support. Then I will pour myself into all creatures, touching their drops of blood with drops of the Blood of Jesus, the sores in their souls with the sores of Jesus, to heal them. I will touch their sorrows with those of Jesus, that they may draw comfort. I will multiply myself in each and every offense, offering an act of reparation for each one of them.
With Jesus’ voices I will cry into every heart, that I may bring all of them to Him, and weaving myself into Jesus, and into all creatures, my cordon will be complete. I will place it around Jesus, that his Divine Justice may find complete fulfillment and satisfaction. And, daringly, I will disarm his Justice, and I will ask his Justice for souls, and He will not be able to deny them to me, because all Justice is satisfied in Jesus. The Lord wants all souls to be saved, but also wants the claims of Justice to be secure. When Justice finds satisfaction in souls, it gives up its claims and saves souls. Thus, the fire grows only when there is complete agreement in our interior; our steadfastness in being good nourishes the fire and makes us bold with that Divine Heart, imploring what He himself wants.
O, thirst of souls! Can I say that you are my predominant passion? And if you are not, it means that I am not entirely united to you. My agonizing Jesus, pour your thirst into me, that I may become a tongue of fire like You. Jesus thirsts, and, unable to endure the thirst that consumes Him, He says, All is consummated. Then Jesus is completely consumed for us. Do I make every effort in all that I do to be continuously consumed for love of Jesus? Or do I let something seep into me that could frustrate the consummation between myself and Jesus? Every thought, word, and deed of Jesus brought Him to his consummation. Does my every thought, word, and deed work together to prod me to consume myself for love of Jesus? In Jesus, everything was boundless: the glances, the words, the suffering. And as in Jesus, so in us also everything should be boundless in our love for Him.
Each additional act that my Jesus did was a consummation that He offered to his Father, and then gave to us. Can we say that each one of our acts is an act of consummation on behalf of Jesus? We want to send our sufferings flying over the Cross of Jesus, to keep company with his sufferings, and that He may share his fire with us. And while our sufferings keep Jesus company and are crucified with Him, we shall say to Him: “Jesus, I want to repeat your acts, I want my sufferings to increase in value through your very own sufferings, and I want them to fulfill the same duty that you discharged on the Cross toward your Father and toward all souls.”
Jesus will be so happy that He will transform his pain into ours, will give us the same effects, and in a sort of sweet enchantment will pull our heart close to His, and find relief for his pains in ours, so that, as I suffer, I hasten to send my sufferings on the Cross to Jesus. And may He, in turn, enraptured by my suffering, find succor in them. Often, when we must attend to material chores that are supposedly necessary, such as work, rest, or taking food, it seems as if the consummation that Jesus still requires of us is interrupted. To remedy this, I shall say to Him: “See, O Jesus, while I am attending to these human chores, I protest because I want to go about them joined to yours, be consumed just as You are consumed, thus forming between You and me so many binding links. May the breath of your consummation blow into my being, and consume both of us. And while I am busy I place my being upon your burning flames that rise, and if they see that I am interrupting the consummation between You and me, may these flames burn and consume me together with You.”
When pain takes hold of us, when we are mortified or sad, or, especially, when it seems that life would flee from us—it is especially in these junctures that we must join our consummation to that of Jesus Christ. But do we do it? Or do we divert God’s desires away from us? When we suffer, we must think that Jesus is giving us suffering to form his consummation inside of us. Because he wants to give us his form, and because He is good, He kindly places sorrows in our heart. And as our soul receives them, we must think that good Jesus is consuming all of his being to make Himself live again in us. Thus Jesus destroys our material being, to form his image in us. In the suffering that burdens us, we take the same divine consummation and make it ours; we offer it to Him until nothing of ours is left: none of our thoughts, turmoil, anxiety, or disorders—for when the soul keeps these anxious vigils, it prevents a true consummation, forming as it were, a split flame. Every pain is a flame that destroys, and in consuming our being it makes divine life be reborn in us.
O Jesus, my sweet life, may your expended breath always breathe in my poor heart so that I may receive the imprint of your consummation.
On the Cross, Jesus accomplishes the Will of the Father in everything and, with a perfect act of abandonment into his most holy Will, He takes his last breath. Do I accomplish the Will of God in everything? Am I perfectly abandoned to his Will, accomplishing it in his very arms, as if I wanted to make Jesus’ Will and the Father’s Will my own? Do I let myself go irrespective of whether something good or bad happens to me? Do I remain content with the mere assurance that I am abandoned into his most holy arms? Do I continuously die to myself for love of Jesus? Can I say that while living that I no longer live, that I am dead to everything for the sake of living solely for the interest of Jesus and not for my own? In other words, do the things I think, desire, love, and do remind me of living for Jesus, so that in Him I may put to death my words, my steps, my desires, and my thoughts?
O my Jesus, may my death be a continuous death for your love, and may every death I undergo be a life that I long to give to every soul.