OF ADVENT

       By St. Alphonsus Liguori

              MEDITATION VIII

               SECOND SUNDAY

God Sends His Son to die in order to restore us to Life.

Deus autem, qui dives est in misericordia, propter nimiam charitatein suam qua dilexit nos, et cum essemus mortui peccatis, convivificavit nos in Christo.

But God (who is rich in mercy) for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ. Eph. ii. 4, 5.

Consider that sin is the death of the soul; because this enemy of God deprives us of divine grace, which is the life of the soul. We, therefore, miserable sinners, were already by our sins dead and condemned to hell. God, through the immense love which he bears to our souls, determined to restore us to life; and how did he do so? He sent his only-begotten Son into the world to die, in order that by his death he might restore us to life.

With reason therefore does the Apostle call this work of love exceeding charity; too much love; yes, indeed, for man could never have hoped to receive life in such a loving manner if God had not found this means of redeeming him: Having obtained eternal redemption. All men were therefore dead there was no remedy for them. But the Son of God, through the bowels of his mercy, hath come down from heaven, the Orient from on high, and has given us life. Justly, therefore, does the Apostle call Jesus Christ our life: When Christ shall appear, who is your life. Behold our Redeemer, clothed with flesh and become an infant, says to us: I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. For this end be accepted death, that he might give us life. It is but reason able, therefore, that we should live only to God, who has condescended to die for us: Christ died, that they who live may not live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them? It is reasonable that Jesus Christ should be the only sovereign of our heart since he has spent his blood and his life to gain it to himself: To this end Christ died and rose again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living? O my God! who would be so ungrateful a wretch as to believe as an article of faith that God died to secure his love, and yet refuse to love him, and, renouncing his friendship, choose voluntarily to make himself a slave of hell?


             Affections and Prayers

My Jesus! if Thou hadst not accepted and suffered death for me, I should have remained dead in my sins, without hope of salvation and without the power of ever loving Thee. But after Thou hast obtained life for me by Thy death, I have again many times voluntarily forfeited it by returning to sin. Thou didst die to gain my heart to Thyself, and I by my rebellion have made it a slave of the devil. I lost all reverence for Thee, and I said that I would no longer have Thee for my master. All this is true; but it is also true that Thou desirest not the death of the sinner, but that he should be converted and live; and therefore didst Thou die to give us life. I repent of having offended Thee, my dearest Redeemer; and do Thou pardon me through the merits of Thy Passion; give me Thy grace; give me that life which Thou hast purchased for me by Thy death, and henceforth mayest Thou have entire dominion over my heart. Never let the devil have possession of it again; he is not my God, he does not love me, and has not suffered anything for me. In past times he was not the true sovereign, but the robber of my soul; Thou alone, my Jesus, art my true Lord, who hast created and redeemed me with Thy blood; Thou alone hast loved me, and oh, how much! It is therefore only just that I should be Thine alone during the life that remains to me. Tell me what Thou wouldst have me to do; for I will do it all. Chastise me as Thou wilt; I accept everything Thou sendest me; only spare me the chastisement of living without Thy love; make me love Thee, and then dispose of me as Thou wilt. Most holy Mary, my refuge and consolation, recommend me to thy Son: his death and thy intercession are all my hope.


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