Annual Retreat Exercise #11: Consideration of the love that Jesus Christ bears us

October 26, 2021 • 3 min

#Exhortation #Passion #Love

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 278
By St. Francis de Sales

CHAPTER XIII.

The fourth consideration: the love that Jesus Christ bears us.

Consider the incomparable love on account of which Jesus Christ our Lord suffered so much in this world, especially in the garden of Olivet and upon Mount Calvary, for our sake.

By all these pains and sufferings He obtained of God the Father the good resolutions and protestations which your heart has made; and by the same means He also obtained for you whatever is necessary to maintain, nourish, strengthen, and fulfil them.

O holy resolutions, how precious are ye, since ye are the fruits of the passion of my Saviour! Oh, how tenderly ought my soul cherish ye, having been so dear to my sweet Jesus! Alas! O Saviour of my soul, Thou didst die to purchase for me these resolutions, Oh, grant me thy grace rather to suffer death than to lose them.

Observe, Philothea, that it is certain that the Heart of Jesus beheld your heart from the tree of the cross, and by the love which He bore it, obtained for you all the good you ever had or shall ever have.

Yes, Philothea, we may all say with the prophet Jeremias: “O Lord, before I had a being, Thou didst behold me, and didst call me by my name;” since the divine goodness did actually prepare for us all the general and particular means of our salvation, and consequently of our resolutions.

As a woman before the birth of her infant prepares the cradle, the linen, the swathing clothes, and even a nurse for it, although it is not yet in the world, so our Saviour, who designed to bring you forth to salvation, and make you his child, prepared on his cross all that was necessary for you—your spiritual cradle, your linen, your swathing clothes, and your nurse, all for your happiness; for such are all those graces whereby He seeks to attract your soul and bring it to perfection.

Ah! my God, how deeply ought we to imprint this thy love in our memory! It is impossible that I could have been so tenderly beloved by my Saviour, as that He could think of me in particular, even in all those little occurrences by which He has drawn me to Himself!

How much then ought we to love, cherish, and employ all that to our profit! O consoling reflection! the tender heart of Jesus thought on Philothea, loved her, and procured for her a thousand means of salvation, even as many as if it had no other soul in the world to think on.

As the sun, shining upon one place of the earth, enlightens it no less than if it shone on no other, so, in the very same manner, is our Lord solicitous for all his dear children, thinking on each of them as if there was no other in the world. “He loved me, and gave Himself up for me,” says St. Paul, speaking as of himself alone, and as if Jesus had done nothing for others.

O Philothea, let this sacred truth be engraved on your soul, in order to cherish and nourish your resolution, which was so precious to the heart of your Saviour.

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