Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sanctity Through the Rosary by Edouard Hugon, O.P.

Part I: The Rosary and the Author of Holiness.

Chapter I: The Rosary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus (continued).

We must now consider in the Sacred Heart of Jesus beauty which is sublime and heroic. When heroism appears nature is vanquished and God is present. The seeds of heroism are sown in the hearts of all the just; they are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When circumstances require it these supernatural energies are set in movement and heroism is spontaneously born, as the flower from the seed. That is why the heart of a mother is capable of sublime and noble deeds; that is why the life of a saint is, as it were, woven with heroism. Theologians teach that all the virtues which could adorn His soul were found united in Jesus Christ from the very first instant of His conception. In Him they reached their full perfection. They were practiced by Him in the most perfect degree possible the heroic degree, and in His case heroism was divine. These perfect virtues which adorned His soul have, in a sense, overflowed from His heart upon the world that He might manifest His Heart to us. We can, therefore, declare that He lived a life of heroism in each of His Mysteries: as He lay in the manger, as when He hung upon, the cross. In the Sorrowful Mysteries, however, this heroism is more evident than in the other Mysteries.

Can we picture a scene more mysterious, more heart rending, more sublime than the agony of Jesus? Were we to unite the most poignant anguish, the most bitter sorrows, the most painful sacrifices, the most admirable devotedness which have ever found expression in the human heart, we would have heroism of the highest degree and an ocean of affliction. We could realize from it something of the anguish of a dying man, but it would give us no idea whatever of the agony of the heart of a dying God. This is inexpressible.

But what is it that renders this mystery so sublime? It is love’s sacrifice spurned and unheeded. Jesus knew in advance that He was to be misunderstood, despised and persecuted. He heard the echo of that plaintive cry: love is not loved, love is detested. And still the love of the Heart of Jesus cries out more loudly than all the impious outrages and sacrileges which He suffered at the hands of men and of demons. His tears cry out, but above all, His love cries out: Clamant lacrymae, sed super omnia clamat amor.

We see the self-same heroism in the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross. At the Praetorium, in the streets of Jerusalem, on the way to Calvary, we hear the cries of the crowd, the insults of the executioners, but above all, we hear the voice of sublimity: Clamant lacrymae, sed super omnia clamat amor. Your tears cry out, your wounds cry out, O Jesus, but above all, your love cries out.

At length, God and death come face to face on Golgotha. God and Death! What a meeting! And it is God Who wills, Who wishes to be the conquered one. But death, which appears to triumph, only wins for Jesus a more glorious title: God is Love Omnipotent. He now has a new name: He is the Victim of Love.

The Crucifixion of Jesus is the perfection of sublimity, since here love is made perfect by the consummation and the totality of the sacrifice. There still remained some drops of blood in the heart of the Divine Crucified. Ah! they must be shed. The soldier drew near and opened His side and immediately there came forth blood and water. Et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua (John 19:34). And now there is nothing more to give : the sacrifice is complete; it is truly the perfection of love in the perfection of the sacrifice of the Man-God. Thus, sublimity predominates in every scene of the Passion of Jesus, but it is divine sublimity, the depths of which it is impossible for any man or created being to fathom.

In the Mystery of the Resurrection God and death come face to face once again, but this time it is God Who is the conqueror. Heroic in submitting to the ignominy of the grave, the Heart of Jesus is now sublime in triumphing over death and hell in order to bestow on us His own divine life. The last Mysteries are enacted in heaven. It is the sublimity of glory, the sublimity of eternity. We enter into the celestial regions and here does it become us, more than ever, to keep silence, when we recall those words of St. Paul : Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him (I Cor. 2:9).

We see how admirably all the beauty and magnificence of graciousness and sublimity is found in the depths of the Heart of Jesus, as in the Rosary which reveals this beauty to us. We ought, therefore, to contemplate and honor this divine heart by meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary, so that we may obtain through the intercession of the Immaculate Mother an abundance of graces from Him Who is their source and plentitude.

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