RECALL now, therefore, thy thoughts, O my soul; enter into thyself, and in silence and solitude pause awhile, and consider the portion of such great riches as these which belong to thee. Tell me, when that most holy soul of Jesus Christ in that happy moment when it was created, opened its eyes and perceived itself to be such as it appeared, and knew so well from Whose hands it had come, and that it was born a king, and found itself at the head of all creation, and beheld all the hierarchies of heaven in the attitudes of adoration before it who at that moment worshipped Him as the apostle says;[Heb. 1. 6.] tell me, if it can possibly be expressed, with what love such a soul would love that which thus sought to glorify it? With what longing would it desire to offer all in its power to please and serve such a giver? Is there any language of the Cherubim or Seraphim which could express it?

Then I must add further; it was in respect to this desire that it was said that the Will of God was to seek and to save the human race which had been lost by the offence of one man, and that He burdened Himself with this office out of His reverence and obedience; and that He took to heart this glorious design and never rested until He had gone through with it. As then the Son of God when invested with humanity took upon Himself this work of redeeming men, He must needs love them with such affection and desire that, out of His longing to see them healed and restored to their primeval glory, He might be able to do and to suffer all that was necessary to that end.

After this generous soul knew of this necessity, being desirous to please the Eternal Father with an offspring of ineffable love, He endeavoured by His love and tenderness towards them to bring back men through this obedience to the Father. We see that when any piece of ordnance discharges a shot with much powder and force, if the ball rebounds obliquely from the point at which it was aimed, it rebounds with so much greater impetus in proportion to the greater force with which it was impelled. Just so this love of the soul of Jesus Christ towards God carried such admirable force because the powder of that grace which impelled it was infinite, that after it had gone straight and pierced the heart of the Father, there rebounded from thence the love of men; and there is neither language nor power to express with what force and gladness it returned upon them to love them and heal them. This is that force which the prophet indicates when he says: "He hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way; His going out is from the end of heaven and His circuit even to the end thereof, and there is no one that can hide himself from His heat".[Ps. xviii. 6, 7.]

O Love Divine that camest forth from God, and didst descend to man, and didst return to God, because Thou didst not love man for man's sake but for God, and Thou didst love him in such sort that whosoever reflects upon this love cannot resist Thy love, for it possesses power over all hearts, as Thy holy apostle saith: "For the charity of Christ presseth us".[2 Cor. v. 14.] This is that fervour and devotion which Thy holy Church depicts in the Song of Songs when she says: "Behold He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. My beloved is like a roe, or a young hart".[Cant. ii. 8, 9.] The prophet Isaias signifies the same thing when he says: "He shall not fail nor be discouraged until He has established judgement and order in the earth, and the isles shall hope in Him".[Isa. xlii. 4.] From hence spring those exalted words which Thou hast uttered: "I will not give sleep to mine eyes, and scarcely let mine eyelids close, nor take any rest for my life until I find out on earth a dwelling-place and habitation amongst men".[Ps. cxxxi. 4. 5., paraphrase]

This is the source and origin of the love of Christ for men, if thou desire to know; for neither the virtue, the goodness, nor the beauty of man was the cause of this love; but the virtues of Christ, His favour and His grace, and His ineffable affection towards God. Such is the meaning of His words when He said to His disciples on the Thursday of the Supper: "That the world may know how much I love My Father, let us arise and go hence to the place where I must die upon the cross for men ".[John xiv. 31, paraphrase]

See now, therefore, my soul, the cause of so great a love as this. The splendour of the sun burns so much the more as his rays are more strongly refracted. The rays of fire from this Divine Sun went straight to the heart of God, and from thence were refracted upon men. If then those rays are so direct, how must His splendour burn? No angelic intellect can comprehend how this fire doth glow, nor how far its efficacy reaches. Thou desirest, Lord, that we should repay this love of Thine with our love, and that we should love Thee in return for that boundless love wherewith Thou hast loved and dost love us. The love which Thou hadst and still hast for us, placed Thee on the cross; and in order to be loved by us Thou didst deliver Thyself unto death. O my good Jesus! how well I now understand that which Thou saidst: "I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?"[Luke xii. 49.] I see Thee entirely consumed by love, and with thousands of tongues of fire, and with 'wounds almost innumerable. Thou dost encounter my soul which is hemmed in on all sides by a fire of pitch which is Thy most holy love. I know not how it is that it has not already submitted, yielding itself freely into the hands of Thy Divine Majesty, since it cannot be that any one would die who would freely surrender himself into the hands of Him Who is the true Life according to that which Thou saidst to holy Martha: "I am the resurrection and the life".[John xi. 25.]

What dost thou fear, my soul? Why dost thou resist Him Who is of infinite power? A Seraph is inflamed with love; fear not, but love Him Who demands love only. If thou fly from life, what remains but thou must find death? and if thou fear death, why dost thou not give thyself up when Jesus Christ is offering thee life, in Whom, as His apostle saith, thou hast life, being and movement?[Acts xvii. 28.] Behold how greatly thy Spouse Jesus Christ loves thee, and do not either stop or take rest until thou art altogether converted to His love, and become a living coal inflamed with the pure fire of love, as thou art bound to desire Him Who loves thee after so wondrous a manner.