The last moments of our dying Redeemer are at hand. His throat being parched, and His whole Body consumed with inward fever owing to the immense quantity of blood He has lost, and the innumerable tortures and sufferings He has endured, He exclaims in a mournful voice, “I thirst!”
Long has He suffered this thirst, and patiently has He forborne to utter a word of complaint but yet, when now at length He reveals it, even in the tone of a suppliant imploring relief, there is not found one man who will give Him a drop of water to refresh His burning lips! The God who created the rivers, and supplied the sea with fountains of water; the God who miraculously assuaged the thirst of a million of Jews in the desert—that God is without even a drop of water to moisten His parched lips!
Thus does our Divine Savior expiate in His own Person our gluttony and excessive delicacy! Thus does He endure the penalty of the sins we commit by our intemperance in eating and drinking.
A soldier now raised to the mouth of Our Lord a sponge soaked in vinegar. Can you point out any culprit treated with such refinement of cruelty as this exercised upon the innocent Son of God in the midst of His most excruciating sufferings? My soul, compassionate thy sweet Jesus. He says, “I thirst,” and yet they do not even give Him a drop of water to moisten His lips!
But little does God require of you to satisfy His Divine Heart, and yet you refuse Him even that little! At what time does Jesus say, “I thirst”? When about to die, when plunged in an abyss of suffering, when about to consummate His great sacrifice for our redemption! At what time do you refuse God the little He asks of you? At the very moment when He is most liberally loading you with benefits of every description! Oh, how great is your ingratitude.
From whence does Jesus say, “I thirst?” From the Cross, on which He has been languishing for three long hours. The very place from which He speaks ought to be sufficient to move you to compassion. At the sight of a God hanging for your sake upon a Cross, and imploring you to correct some fault, break off some improper friendship, or fly from some occasion of sin, can you turn away, can you refuse Him that consolation? Ah, reflect at least before uttering a refusal which will be a source of so much suffering to Him!
This article is taken from a chapter in The School of Jesus Crucified: The Lessons of Calvary in Daily Catholic Life by Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, which is available from TAN Books.