Thursday, June 16, 2011

At The Foot of The Cross

Crucifixion, by Alfajarin Master (1480)
As they were looking on, so we too gaze on his wounds as he hangs. We see his blood as he dies. We see the price offered by the redeemer, touch the scars of his resurrection. He bows his head, as if to kiss you. His heart is made bare open, as it were, in love to you. His arms are extended that he may embrace you. His whole body is displayed for your redemption. Ponder how great these things are. Let all this be rightly weighed in your mind: as he was once fixed to the cross in every part of his body for you, so he may now be fixed in every part of your soul.

from "What We Behold On the Cross"
St. Augustine of Hippo (c. 354-430)

Had Jesus not come to die, but instead to restore the earthly kingdom of David in glorious triumph, who would not have wondered and worshiped! But as King of kings, He had no need to take what was already His. What the King did not have was me: banished forever because I would not serve! So what did He do? He Himself relinquished His own kingdom, and came to live with me, in this valley of tears, where Satan rules. Taking up the cross, He told Satan, “You cannot have her! She is mine! Take me instead!” How could the evil one refuse such an offer, believing that he would then truly be the King’s usurper!

And now I see the terrible price of my redemption! Nothing less than His body and blood! The evil one and those who serve him have inflicted a form of execution upon the King so horrific, that it could only have come out of hell itself! It tears me apart to see you like this, dear Lord, but still, I must look at You! And as I behold Your wounds, Your very heart pierced through, Your broken, lifeless body still fixed to the instrument of Your death, I find that I, too, no longer wish to live.

What have I done! Forgive me, Lord! I didn’t know that You loved me. I didn’t know what love was—until now. Why is it, Lord, that only now do I love You; that only now I am Yours? Yet now I see, my precious Lord: it is precisely by the death You endured that You have won me for Yourself! And even in Your glorious victory over death, may I never forget the cost; may the scars You ever bear ever be for me tokens of this Love that will not let me go!

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal on your arm;
For stern as death is love,
Relentless as the nether world is devotion;
Its flames are a blazing fire.
Deep waters cannot quench love,
Nor floods sweep it away.
Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love,
He would be roundly mocked. (Sg 8:6-7)

No comments:

Post a Comment