On the Abandonment of Our Savior on the Cross.
"My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" Oh, how terrible must have been that abandonment, which forced tears and sighs from a God, and made him complain before his enemies, who triumphed; before many who believed no longer that he was the Son of God, but a wicked man, since he was thus abandoned by his Father!
Jesus was never separated from either grace or glory. His divinity was never separated from his humanity. He was always holy, always happy, always God. This terrible abandonment was only a suspension of the succors and sensible consolations that his divinity imparted to his humanity. It was a shadow and figure of the pain a sinner feels in hell when he is abandoned by God.
The agony that the divine Son suffered on the cross gives me an idea of what the damned endure in hell. God’s temporary abandonment of the just affords me some conception of the horrors of the eternal abandonment of the wicked. If the loss of the Father’s presence was so bitterly and sensibly felt by the Son, who can bear for ever the weight of God’s infinite anger? Who can suffer, in hell, an eternal separation from God, an eternal privation of grace, love, presence, consolations, succor, providence, felicity, and of all that the immortal soul values, desires, and loves? Who could, added to this, suffer an everlasting deluge of evil in the actual presence of all that the soul most fears and is most afflicted by?
Resolution: I will never abandon my God in this life that I may not be abandoned by him in the life to come. As a sign of this I will make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament to console Jesus abandoned on the Cross. If I cannot actually visit the Tabernacle I will go there in spirit.
Prayer: My beloved Jesus, what hast thou done? It is I who deserve to be abandoned. It is I who am guilty and have sinned. Oh, thy abandonment terrifies and consoles me at the same time. It fills me with terror to see what I merit; it fills me with consolation to see what I ought to hope for. If thou wast abandoned at thy death, it was that I may not be at mine. Oh Lord, be thou with me and succor me when all the world shall have forsaken me.
Oh my God, do not abandon me, although I deserve it, having so often abandoned thee. Deprive me, if such be thy will, of all consolation, but not of thy grace. Abandon me, if necessary, in life, but not at the hour of my death. If thou shouldst abandon me in time, then abandon me not in eternity.
O Mary, my Mother, I know thou wilt not abandon me. Neither let me be abandoned by my God.
By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.