There is no subject of meditation more pleasing to God and more profitable to the soul than the Passion of Jesus Christ. It contains in itself all sweetness. It is the remedy for every evil; the food that nourishes the soul. It is continued still in the Blessed Eucharist, and every Mass is a representation and renewal of the Sacred Passion. It is a subject always in season, but especially during the holy time of Lent.
These Meditations deal with some of the main incidents of Our Lord's Sacred Passion. They are intended to be begun on Ash Wednesday, and to end on Holy Saturday. A few verses of Scripture are suggested to be read before each meditation, as furnishing the subject-matter of which it treats.
St. Bonaventure tells us that if we desire to meditate with fruit on the Passion of Jesus Christ, three conditions are necessary. Our meditation must be:
I. Humble; for the Passion is unlike anything else in the world, it is unfathomable to human reason—a bottomless ocean of mystery. Reason must bow its head and confess its inability to grasp the mysteries that even Faith sees only darkly and through a glass. The story of Christ's humiliation is to the proud a sealed book; they see nothing attractive in it. Christ suffering has no beauty that they should admire Him. I must therefore begin by praying for humility.
2. Full of confidence; since the Passion is the source of all our confidence. It is the proof of the exceeding love wherewith Christ loved us. How can I fear with the sight before me of Christ suffering for love of me ? It is, too,'a medicine for every possible evil, for every temptation, for every sin ; whatever the malady of my soul, the Passion of Christ can cure it. At the foot of the cross each mortal wound will be made whole.
3. Persevering: the beauty of the Passion does not appear all at once. The world considers it a degradation, the careless and the indifferent pass it by unmoved; even the faithful Christian scarcely penetrates beneath the surface of that Divine Mystery, unless he prays earnestly and continually to appreciate it. Only gradually and by degrees are we drawn by the sacred attractiveness of the cross. Before I begin my meditations I must ask God for this spirit of humility, confidence, persistency.