Advice for Fruitful Meditation on the Passion

The saints have long proclaimed the meditation of the sufferings of Christ as an effective means of attaining salvation. The following excerpts are taken from The School of Jesus Crucified: The Lessons of Calvary in Daily Catholic Life by Fr. Ignatius of the Side of Jesus and explain why you should meditate on the Passion of Christ, five points to reflect on during your meditation, and 6 principal affections to aid your meditation.

Why Meditate On The Passion Of Christ

Perhaps there is no subject for meditation more suitable to every class of persons than the most sacred Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. In it may sinners find the encouragement and graces necessary for their conversion; from it may beginners derive strength and fervor where with to subdue their passions; in it may the good discover fresh incentives to advance in the paths of virtue. In short, there are none who will not find it an inexhaustible mine of hidden treasures, and an endless source of graces and spiritual blessings. 

Five Points To Reflect Upon During Your Meditation

Whatever mystery of the Passion you take for the subject of your meditation, you may always bestow attentive consideration on the following five points:

1. The infinite greatness of Him who suffers.

2. The excess of suffering and ignominy which He endures.

3. How great is the love with which He suffers.

4. The infinite unworthiness and vileness of those for whom He suffers.

5. That His principal aim in all His sufferings is to be loved by men.

Let these reflections sink deep into your mind, and if one of them, or any other point of the meditation which you are reading, should make a lively impression upon your heart, dwell a while on it without caring to go on any further. You may even make your prayer upon the same point for several days, and even weeks, in succession, if you find it productive of good thoughts, reserving the other points for the following days, and you will soon perceive how useful such repetitions will be to your soul. 

6 Principal Affections to Aid Your Meditation

The principal affections to which you may excite your mind during your meditation upon the sufferings of Jesus are as follows:

1. Admiration

How is it possible, you may say, that a God can suffer so much for the love of me, a vile creature? Oh, what excessive love and charity!

2. Gratitude

By exciting yourself to interior emotions of gratitude and appreciation of the greatness of the benefits bestowed upon you by Jesus in His Passion, feeling how much you are indebted to your dear Redeemer, and resolving constantly to praise and thank Him for His infi-nite love toward you.

3. Compassion

By compassionating your Crucified Jesus overwhelmed with sorrow and suffering, and by earnestly desiring that you had been present to have afforded some relief to your most afflicted Lord.

4. Contrition for your sins

By considering all that those guilty pleasures in which you have indulged contrary to the law of God have cost Jesus Christ, and how large a share you have had in His Passion and Death. Bewail your sins at His feet, and firmly resolve to die rather than ever more to offend a father so worthy of your love.

5. Love

By protesting that you will bestow all the affections of your heart upon Him who has so much loved you, and by desiring to have, if possible, a thousand hearts solely occupied in loving Him, and corresponding in some measure with His infinite charity. Offer and consecrate yourself entirely to the love of Jesus Crucified. Desire that He may be known and loved by all men.

6. Prayer

By asking of Our Lord grace to love Him, to imitate Him, and never to offend Him. Endeavor to inspire your heart with lively feel-ings of confidence that God will grant all your requests through the merits of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Your most fervent request ought to be for grace to correct some habitual fault, to overcome your predominant passion, and to practice that virtue in which you are most deficient, and which has occupied a prominent place in the subject of your meditation, thereby to imitate Jesus Christ; for the imitation of Christ should be the principal object of every meditation on His Passion. Having made the affections, you should proceed to resolutions. Promise Our Lord that you will never more displease Him by mortal or even deliberate venial sin. 

Final Exhortation

Remember that the principal fruit of your prayer consists in these resolutions, and far more in keeping them faithfully. Place them in the sacred Wounds of Jesus, and in the hands of Mary, and implore grace to put them in practice. Keep them in view during the whole course of the day, and an occasional examination as to the manner in which you are practicing them will be a most efficacious means of ensuring your fidelity.

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, Passionist which is available from TAN Books



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