The Love of Jesus Christ : Part 1
St. Francis de Sales called Mount Calvary ” the mountain of lovers,” and says that the love which springs not from the Passion is weak; meaning, that the Passion of Jesus Christ is the most powerful incentive to inflame us to love our Saviour. To be able to comprehend a part (for to comprehend the whole is impossible) of the great love which God has shown us in the Passion of Jesus Christ, it is sufficient to glance at what is said of it in the divine Scriptures, of which I shall here set forth some of the principal passages. Nor let anyone complain that I thus repeat the texts which I have already repeated several times in my other works when speaking of the Passion. Many writers of mischievous books constantly repeat their immodest jests, in order the more to excite the passions of their thoughtless readers; and shall it not be permitted to me to repeat those holy texts which most inflame souls with divine love?
Speaking of this love, Jesus himself said, God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son. The word so expresses much. It teaches us that when God gave his only-begotten Son, he displayed to us a love which we can never attain to comprehend. Through sin we were all dead, having lost the life of grace; but the Eternal Father, in order to make known his goodness to the world, and to show us how much he loved us, chose to send on earth his Son, that by his death he might restore to us the life we had lost. In this appeared the love of God to us, in that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live by Him. Thus, in order to pardon us, God refused that pardon to his own Son, desiring that he should take upon him to satisfy the divine justice for all our faults; He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. The words delivered up are used because God gave him into the hands of the executioners, that they might load him with insults and pains, until he died of agony on a shameful tree. Thus he first loaded him with all our sins. The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. And then he chose to see him consumed with the most bitter inward and outward pangs and afflictions: For the wickedness of My people I have stricken Him. The Lord bruised Him in infirmity?
St. Paul, considering this love of God, goes on to say. On account of the too great love with which He loved us, when we were dead in sins, He raised us up in Christ. The Apostle calls it his too great love. Could there be anything indeed in excess in God? Yes; by this he means us to understand that God has done such things for us, that if faith had not assured us of them, none could have believed them. And therefore the Church cries out in astonishment, “Oh, wonderful is that which Thy love towards us has thought fit to do! O inestimable Love of love! that Thou mightest redeem Thy servant, Thou hast delivered up Thy Son.” ‘ Remark here the expression of the Church, Love of love; for the love of God to us is more than that he has shown to any other creatures. God, being love itself, as St. John says, he loves all his creatures ; Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest nothing that Thou hast made.” But the love that he bears to man seems to be that which is the dearest and most beloved to him, for it appears as though, in love, he had preferred man to the angels, since he has been willing to die for men and not for the fallen angels.
Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, Benziger Brothers, 1887, pg 322-324
Image taken from this image in the public domain