The motives for loving our divine Saviour are so great, so irresistible, that St. Paul does not hesitate to condemn to eternal perdition those who will not love Him, for they are guilty of the foulest ingratitude. The benefits conferred on mankind by Jesus Christ are so great and numerous, that our heart must be either of ice or of stone, if we can refrain from loving Him with all our heart. The principal motives for loving Him are drawn from:
I. HIS INCARNATION.
The Son of God, who is eternal, infinitely perfect, be came man by assuming our human nature, a body and soul like ours; He was born a helpless child in a stable, and led for thirty years the poor, obscure, laborious and humble life of a mechanic, unknown, unhonored by those He had come to save. And why did the Son of God so humble himself? For the salvation of sinful and ungrateful man kind.
II. His PASSION AND DEATH.
"Greater love than this no man hath, than that he lay down His life for His friends." (John 15. 13). For us, who were not His friends, but His enemies by our sins, He sacrificed everything, His goods, His body, His honor, all His blood, His very life on a gibbet of infamy! Could love go any further? And yet men instead of loving and thanking Him, continue to insult Him, hate and outrage Him daily, hourly!
III. THE BLESSED EUCHARIST.
What should astonish us even more than His sufferings and death for us ungrateful sinners, is the infinite, incomprehensible love He manifests to us in the Blessed Eucharist. His love for us is so great, that it would seem that He could not be happy without us. Love, intense love, tends to intimate union with the beloved, to remain constantly with the beloved, to become, as it were, one with the beloved. And this is what Jesus does most wonderfully in our regard in the Blessed Eucharist. In order to remain always near us, to be always among us, to unite Him self most intimately with us and, as it were, inseparably from us, He has, in some manner, humbled Himself in the Blessed Eucharist more than in the Incarnation, more even than in His ignominious death on the cross. In the Incarnation and on the cross Jesus hid only His divinity, but in the Eucharist He conceals even His humanity, and constantly exposes Himself to every kind of insult and outrage, such as want of faith, of reverence, indifference, insults and all kinds of profanation. And who are we, that He should so ardently desire our love? We are but poor, helpless, imperfect, miserable, sinful creatures. And it is out of His tender love of such wretched creatures, that the Son of God has, so to speak, exhausted His power and His love in the Blessed Eucharist! What more can we desire of Him? The great wonder in the Eucharist is not so much God's power, as His excessive and incomprehensible love for us miserable and ungrateful creatures !
IV. HOW WE SHOULD REPAY OUR SAVIOUR'S BOUNDLESS LOVE FOR US.
1. First, by an unlimited confidence in Him. In all that He has done for us, and in all the crosses and trials that beset our path in life, we should put all our trust in Him, for He seeks only our welfare. Therefore, whatever may happen to us, let us say, like the mother of Samson: "If the Lord had a mind to kill us, He would not have showed us all these things" (Judges 13. 23). Since His mercy and love in our regard have no bounds, our confidence in Him also should know no bounds.
2. We owe our divine Saviour our inmost gratitude. But how different is our conduct in His regard! We continue to offend Him daily, preferring our own ease and comfort, our worldly interests, the gratification of our passions to keeping His commandments, to seeking to please Him. Let us apply to ourselves the stinging rebuke Jesus addressed to the Jews who had taken up stones to stone Him to death: "Many good works have I shown you from My Father; for which of those works do you stone Me?" (John 10. 32).
3. We owe our divine Saviour the most tender and constant love. Our love for Jesus should be like that of the martyrs; sovereign, generous and self-sacrificing. Like them we should be ready to do all, to suffer all, to sacrifice all, even our very life, for His sake. We should so conduct ourselves as to be able to say with St. Paul: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ... I am sure that ... no creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"; (Rom. 8. 35-39).
4. Another means of repaying the love of the Son of God for us is daily to consider, to reflect on the ineffable love Jesus bore us in His humiliations, in His passion and death, and in all the gifts He has bestowed upon us, and to make frequent ejaculatory prayers, especially acts of sorrow for sin, of divine love, of gratitude.
5. Devout assistance daily, if possible, at holy Mass. Also frequent fervent holy Communion, even daily if it is in our power. A spiritual Communion renewed often during the day.
6. A daily visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament inwhich we should pour out our ardent love for Him. We should long to be often with Him, to remain in His presence as long as we can, where we can tell Him of our troubles, of our wants, of our love for Him, in the same manner as a little child tells these things to his mother. We are ignorant; but He will instruct us; we are weak, but He will strengthen us; we are sinful, but He will sanctify us; we are cold or lukewarm in the service of God, but He will inflame us with fervor and divine love, and enable us to serve Him faithfully to the end of our life.
Source: Sermon Matters, Imprimatur 1915