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now, she would perfect it. It is no longer our Jesus fasting and praying in the Desert, that she offers to our consideration; it is this same Jesus, as the great Victim immolated for the world's salvation. The fatal hour is at hand; the power of darkness is preparing to make use of the time that is still left; the greatest of crimes is about to be perpetrated. A few days hence, and the Son of God is to be in the hands of sinners, and they will put him to death. The Church no longer needs to urge her children to repentance; they know too well, now, what sin must be, when it could require such expiation as this. She is all absorbed in the thought of the terrible event, which is to close the life of the God-Man on earth; and by expressing her thoughts through the holy Liturgy, she teaches us what our own sentiments should be.

The pervading character of the prayers and rites of these two weeks, is a profound grief at seeing the Just One persecuted by his enemies even to death, and an energetic indignation against the deicides. The formulas, expressive of these two feelings, are, for the most part, taken from David and the Prophets. Here, it is our Saviour himself, disclosing to us the anguish of his soul; there, it is the Church, pronouncing the most terrible anathemas upon the executioners of Jesus. The chastisement, that is to befal the Jewish nation, is prophesied in all its frightful details; and on the last three days, we shall hear the Prophet Jeremias uttering his Lamentations over the faithless City. The Church does not aim at exciting idle sentiment; what she principally seeks, is to impress the hearts of her children with a salutary fear. If Jerusalem's crime strike them with horror, and if they feel that they have partaken of her sin, their tears will flow in abundance.

Let us, therefore, do our utmost to receive these strong impressions, too little known, alas! by the

superficial piety of these times. Let us reflect upon the love and affection of the Son of God, who has treated his creatures with such unlimited confidence, lived their own life, spent his three and thirty years amidst them, not only humbly and peaceably, but in going about, doing good.1 And now, this life of kindness, condescension and humility, is to be cut short by the disgraceful death, which none but slaves endured the death of the Cross. Let us consider, on the one side, this sinful people, who, having no crimes to lay to Jesus' charge, accuse him of his benefits, and carry their detestable ingratitude to such a pitch, as to shed the Blood of this innocent and Divine Lamb; and then, let us turn to this Jesus, the Just by excellence, and see him become a prey to every bitterest suffering,—his Soul sorrowful even unto death,2-weighed down by the malediction of our sins, drinking, even to the very dregs, the Chalice he so humbly asks his Father to take from him ;and, lastly, let us listen to his dying words: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? This it is that fills the Church with her immense grief; this it is that she proposes to our consideration: for she knows, that if we once rightly understood the Sufferings of her Jesus, our attachments to sin must needs be broken, for, by sin, we make ourselves guilty of the crime we detest in these Jews.

But the Church knows, too, how hard is the heart of man, and how, to make him resolve on a thorough conversion, he must be made to fear. For this reason, she puts before us those awful imprecations, which the Prophets, speaking in Jesus' person, pronounced against them that put our Lord to death. These prophetic anathemas were literally fulfilled against the obdurate Jews. They teach us what the Christian, also, must expect, if, as the Apostle so

1 Acts, x. 38. 2 St. Matth. xxvi. 38. 3 Ibid. xxvii. 46.

PASSIONTIDE.

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forcibly expresses it, we again crucify the Son of God. In listening to what the Church now speaks to us, we cannot but tremble as we recal to mind those other words of the same Apostle: How much more, think ye, doth he deserve worse punishments, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the Blood of the testament unclean, (as though it were some vile thing,) by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace? For we know Him that hath said: Vengeance belongeth to me, and I will repay. And again: The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.2

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Fearful indeed it is! Oh! what a lesson God gives us of his inexorable Justice, during these days of the Passion! He that spared not even his own Son,3his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased,-will he spare us, if, after all the graces he has bestowed upon us, he should find us in sin, which he so unpitifully chastised even in Jesus, when he took it upon himself, that he might atone for it? Considerations such as these, the Justice of God towards the most innocent and august of Victims, and the punishments that befel the impenitent Jews,-must surely destroy within us every affection to sin, for they will create within us that salutary fear, which is the solid foundation of firm hope and tender love.

For, if, by our sins, we have made ourselves guilty of the death of the Son of God, it is equally true, that the Blood, which flows from his sacred Wounds, has the power to cleanse us from the guilt of our crime. The Justice of our heavenly Father cannot be appeased, save by the shedding of this precious Blood; and the Mercy of this same Father of ours wills that

1 Heb. vi. 6.

2 Ibid. x. 29, 30, 31.

3 Rom. viii. 32.
4 St. Matth. iii. 17.

The cruelty of Jesus' Wounds in his sacred

it be spent for our ransom. executioners have made Five Body; and from these, there flow Five sources of salvation, which purify the world, and restore within each one of us that image of God, which sin had destroyed. Let us, then, approach with confidence to this redeeming Blood, which throws open to the sinner the gates of heaven, and whose worth is such that it could redeem a million worlds, were they even more guilty than this of ours. We are close upon the anniversary of the day when it was shed; long ages have passed away since it flowed down the wounded body of our Jesus, and fell in streams, from the cross, upon this ungrateful earth; and yet, its power is as great as ever.

Let us go, then, and draw from the Saviour's fountains; our souls will come forth full of life, all pure, and dazzling with heavenly beauty; not one spot of their old defilements will be left; and the Father will love us with the love wherewith he loves his own Son. Why did he deliver up unto death this his tenderly beloved Son? Was it not that he might regain us, the children whom he had lost? We had become, by our sins, the possession of Satan; hell had undoubted claims upon us; and lo! we have been suddenly snatched from both, and all our primitive rights have been restored to us. Yet, God used no violence in order to deliver us from our enemy; how comes it, then, that we are now free? Listen to the Apostle: Ye are bought at a great price. And what is this price? The Prince of the Apostles explains it: Know ye, says he, that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold or silver, but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb unspotted and undefiled. This divine

1 Is. xii. 3.

2 L Cor. vi. 20.

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3 I. St. Pet. i. 18, 19.

Blood was placed in the scales of God's Justice, and so far did it outweigh the weight of our iniquities, as to make the bias in our favour. The power of this Blood has broken the very gates of hell, severed our chains, and made peace both as to the things on earth, and the things that are in heaven.1 Let us receive upon us, therefore, this precious Blood, wash our wounds in it, and sign our foreheads with it as with an indelible mark, which may protect us on the day of wrath, from the sword of vengeance.

There is another object most dear to the Church, and which she, during these two weeks, recommends to our deepest veneration; it is the Cross, which is, as it were, the altar upon which our incomparable Victim is immolated. Twice, during the course of the year, that is, on the Feasts of its Invention and Exaltation, this sacred Wood will be offered to us that we may honour it as the trophy of our Jesus' victory; but now, it speaks to us but of his Sufferings, it brings with it no other idea than that of his humiliation. God had said in the ancient Covenant: Accursed is he that hangeth on a tree.2 The Lamb, that saved us, disdained not to suffer this curse; but, for that very cause, this tree, this wood, of infamy, has become dear to us beyond measure. It is the instrument of our salvation, it is the sublime pledge of Jesus' love for us. On this account, the Church is about to lavish her veneration and love upon it; and we intend to imitate her, and join her, in this as in all else she does. An adoring gratitude towards the Blood that has redeemed us, and a loving veneration of the holy Cross,-these are the two sentiments which are to be uppermost in our hearts, during these two weeks.

But for the Lamb himself,-for him that gave us this Blood, and so generously embraced the Cross

1 Coloss. i. 20.

2 Deut. xxi, 23.

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