When we see Him dying upon the Cross for us, what does He not teach us?
“I have died for you,” He says, this Sovereign Lover; “what does My death require but that, as I have died for you, you also should die for Me, or at least live only for Me?” (2 Cor. 5. 14-15).
Oh, how powerfully this truth moves our will to love dearly Him who is so lovable and so worthy of our love!
Truth is the object of the understanding, and love that of the will.
As soon as our understanding learns the truth that Our Lord died for love us, ah, our will is immediately inflamed, conceiving great affection and desire to return this love as much as possible.
These affections make us burn with the desire to please this Sacred Lover so much that nothing is too difficult to do our to suffer; nothing seems impossible….
That is good. Persevere in that truth and all will be well. But we do not!
From this truth, which we have learned in prayer, we turn to vanity in action.
We are angels in prayer and often devils in conversation and action, offending this same God whom we have recognized as being so lovable and so worthy of being obeyed.
We will certainly deserve great punishment if, having known that we are so dearly loved by our good Saviour, we nevertheless are so ungrateful as not to love Him with all heart and power, nor follow with all our strength and all our care the examples He has given us in His life, passion and death.
[...] To avoid such a predicament, my dear souls, we must know how we are to hear and accept God’s word.
We must prepare to ourselves to hear it with the attention it deserves, not as if it were just any other word.
With our hearts thus opened before God, and with the good disposition to profit from what He will say to us, let us remain attentive.
Remember, it is His Majesty who speaks to us and makes known His will.
Thus, with a spirit of devotion and attention, let us hear the truths which the preacher proposes to us.
In obedience let us submit ourselves to the things that are taught us concerning God’s will for our perfection and spiritual advancement.
Let us listen to them and read them with the determination to profit from them.
Francis de Sales (1567-1622): From a Sermon given on Passion Sunday, 1622, (abridged from The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Lent. Ed. Fr. Lewis S. Fiorelli, O.S.F.S. Trans. the Nuns of the Visitation. TAN Books, Rockford, Ill 1987)