MEDITATION OF THE DAY
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Not only during his life, but even in the arms of death, from the pulpit of the cross, Christ preached to us words few in number, but burning with love, most useful and efficacious, and in every way worthy to be engraved on the heart of every Christian, to be preserved there, meditated upon, and fulfilled literally and in deed. His first word is this, And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do….
Forgive. This word contains the chief petition which the Son of God, as the advocate for his enemies, made to his Father…. Them. This word applied to all for whose pardon Christ prayed. In the first place it is applied to those who really nailed Christ to the cross, and cast lots for his garments. It may also be extended to all who were the cause of our Lord’s Passion…and, to proceed still farther, to the first man and all his posterity who by their sins occasioned Christ’s death. And thus from his cross our Lord prayed for the forgiveness of all his enemies….
Therefore our High Priest Christ made a commemoration for all of us, even before our birth, in that most holy Memento, if I may so speak, which he made in the first Sacrifice of the Mass which he celebrated on the altar of the cross. What return then, O my soul, will you make to the Lord for all that he has done for you, even before you had a being? Our dear Lord saw that you also would one day rank yourself with his enemies, and though you asked not, nor sought him, he prayed for you to his Father not to lay to your charge the fault of folly. Does it not therefore behoove you to bear in mind so sweet a Patron, and to make every effort to serve him faithfully in all things?
Saint Robert Bellarmine
Saint Robert Bellarmine († 1621) was a brilliant Jesuit preacher and theologian noted for his rational argumentation. [From The Seven Last Words from the Cross. © 2016, Cluny Media, Department of Editing & Production, Tacoma, WA.]