IF, after contemplating the eternity of the love wherewith Thou didst forestall me, I desire to consider the greatness of that love, in such a meditation, O my Redeemer and Lord, all created intelligence would be exhausted. There is no tongue that would be competent to express it; and Thy apostle S. Paul saith that Thy charity surpasseth all knowledge[Ephes. iii. 19.] and sense, even though it be that of the angels. What man, then, can expound it if the angels cannot compass the knowledge thereof?

Some, erroneously reasoning, have thought it impossible that Thou shouldst love us. For since all love springs from the goodness and perfection of the thing which is loved, and since the food of love is the goodness and perfectness of things, man being a creature so low and so imperfect in his body, and in his soul a mere vessel of iniquity, what love can attach itself to a creature so wretched?

If, moreover, they take into especial consideration that Thy Divine Love is neither blind nor impassioned nor capricious, they would believe erroneously that the love which Thou entertainest for us is trifling if they think that it has its source in ourselves. For where there is neither blindness nor passion in the person who loves and the thing which he loves is so imperfect, deformed and wretched, the love must be but slight. But Thy Holy Love, O Lord, does not spring from any perfection that exists in us, but from that which Thou ever beholdest in Thy Eternal Father.

The fullness of perfection and the riches of grace which were bestowed by the Holy Trinity on the most sacred Manhood of our Redeemer were conferred on Him at the moment of His conception. At that moment were bestowed on Him three graces so great that each one of them is in its own way infinite, viz., the grace of the Divine Union; the universal grace which was given to Him as the Head of the whole Church; and the essential grace of His Soul.

He first united this Holy Manhood with the Divine Personality in such sort that we can with truth affirm that this Man is God, and the Son of God, and that He is to be worshipped as God both in heaven and on earth. This grace is clearly infinite, because of the gift which is bestowed in it, which is the greatest that can be conferred, since in it God gives Himself; as well as in respect to the mode in which this boon is administered, which is the most intimate that exists, viz., by means of personal union; and thus Christ is not two persons, but one person, and an infinite substance.

He [God] also bestowed on this New Man that He should be the universal father and first principle of all men, in order that as their spiritual Head He might infuse into them His own virtue; so that so far as He is God, He is equal to the Eternal Father, while in so far as He is Man He is the Beginning and Head of all men; and in conformity with this pre-eminence He [God] conferred upon Him infinite grace, in order that from Him as from a fountain of grace and a sea of holiness all men might receive grace; and He is entitled Holy of Holies, not only because He is greater than all, but because of His being the Sanctifier of all, and, if one may say so, a dye of holiness from which every one who is to be sanctified may receive that colour and lustre [which represents sanctification by His precious blood]. This grace also is in a sense infinite, because it is for the whole race, so that the number of persons is not in any way limited, but so far as He is concerned it may be multiplied infinitely, while for every one included therein the merits and grace are multiplied in the blessed soul of Jesus Christ.

God particularly bestowed another special grace upon Him, in order to the sanctification and perfection of His life, which may also be entitled infinite, because He possesses all that pertains to grace in the most perfect conceivable degree.

Moreover, in the moment of His most holy conception there were conferred upon Him all graces freely given for the working of miracles and wonders, as many as He would.[Isa. lxi. 1.; Luke iv. 18.] These were all conferred upon Him in the highest measure and perfection; for this is that fair flower of beauty on which the white dove of the Holy Spirit rested, and extending its wings, covered Him, and spread over Him all its virtues and graces. This is the chosen vessel from which is most abundantly poured that bounteous river of all graces with all its streams, without a single drop failing to enter it. Herein God bestowed the greatest benefit He had to give, and conferred all that could be so given; for herein He exercised the extreme of power and grace, in lavishing all that He could on that most blessed soul at the very moment when it became a creature.

And above all, there was given to it at the same moment to behold immediately the Divine Essence and to recognise clearly the majesty and glory of the Word with which it was united, and thus beholding to be blessed and filled with the same essential glory as it now enjoys at the right hand of the Father. If so great a gift excites your admiration, there is another wonderful circumstance connected with it, which is that He [God] gave all this out of pure free grace independently of all merit and before this blessed soul could have performed any meritorious act whatever whereby it could have deserved such bounty.

The creation of that soul and the bestowal of all these graces upon it were accomplished only because the Lord was desirous in this way to enlarge and spread out His hands and bounty and thus to magnify His grace, on which account S. Augustine calls Christ the exemplar and model of grace. For just as great writers and painters are wont to make some patterns or models of the works of their craft when they wish to make them known, wherein employing all their knowledge they exert their ability to the utmost in order that the whole world may see how important is the object at which they are aiming; so the goodness and greatness of God resolved to create a new creature, and to exercise upon it, in His own fashion, all His greatness and grace in order that by that work the greatness of God might be known in heaven and on earth.

King Assuerus made a most solemn feast in order that all his kingdoms might behold the greatness of his riches and power.[Esth. i. 1-4.] The King of heaven desired to make another most wonderful feast for that Holy Humanity whereto He was betrothed, in order that all creatures both in heaven and earth should know thereby the greatness of the Divine goodness and bounty which extended itself to such matters.

Behold then, now, my soul, what an admirable gift this is, and how happy was that blessed soul of thy Redeemer on which God was pleased to bestow such grace; do not entertain envy, but joy, since the grace which He received He partook of not solely on His own account, but also for thee. In His Name are these words of Job written: "If I have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof (for from my infancy mercy grew up with me, and it came out with me from my mother's womb)".[Job xxxi. 17, 18.] Thus He did not eat His morsel alone, but rather divided it with strangers, and our true Head received what He obtained not for Himself alone, but for His members as well.