THE love that Thou bearest to us is of such a nature, O our Lord and Redeemer, and the Life of my soul, and it is so profound, that the limit of Thy love is not that it lasts until death whenever it comes, even the death of the cross, but extends much further; for if as Thou didst receive commandment to suffer one death, they should command Thee to undergo thousands of deaths, Thou wouldst cherish love for them all; and if that which they commanded Thee to suffer for all men, they should command Thee to perform for each one of them, Thou wouldst have done this for each one as for all; and if, as Thou wast hanging on the cross for those three hours, it had been necessary for Thee to remain there until the day of judgement. Love would have sufficed for that. So that Thou, O Lord, hast loved much more than Thou hast suffered, and a much greater love possessed Thee enclosed in Thy heart than that which Thou didst show forth externally in Thy wounds. It was not without a great mystery that the Holy Spirit desired it to be written amongst the other particulars of the temple of Solomon, viz., that the windows of the temple were wider and more open on the inside than on the outside, and thus they were larger inside than they appeared without.[3 Kings vi. 4.; cf. Exech. xl. 16 and xli. 16.] O Divine Love! how much more loving wert Thou in Thy inner being than Thou didst appear externally! So many wounds, so many scourgings, and such cruel outrages, doubtless do preach to us of the greatest love, but they do not tell us all the greatness of that love, for without doubt that love was much greater which burned within Thy sacred bosom than that which appeared externally. Those wounds were the sparks which issued from that fire; they were a branch that grew out of that tree; a rivulet that flowed from this infinite sea of boundless love. This is the sign that love has to show, viz., to lay down its life for its friends; a sign or mark, but not an exact equality. If then I owe Thee so much, my God and my Lord, for that which Thou hast done for me, how much more must I owe Thee for that Thou hast desired to do! If that was so great a boon which was public and which the eyes of all beheld, how much greater is that which only the eyes of God behold! O sea of infinite love, O boundless depth of affection! who could doubt, O Lord, the love which Thou hast towards us? Who would not esteem himself the richest being in the world since he is beloved by such a Lord? I beseech Thee, my Saviour, by those bowels of mercy which moved Thee to bestow upon me such a gift, that Thou wouldst give me eyes and a heart that I may know and feel this, and may always glory in Thy mercies, and sing Thy praises all the days of my life. If then, my soul, thou desirest to discover something of the greatness of thy Lord's love, and of the longing which He felt to suffer for thee, set thyself to meditate on the greatness of the desire which the saints felt to suffer for God, and thereby thou wilt be able to understand something of the longing which the Holiest of the holy ones felt, since it exceeded all others in holiness and grace as much as the light of the sun overpowers the darkness, and much more. Consider the desire which those blessed fathers, S. Francis and S. Dominic, felt, who wished for martyrdom as the hart desireth the water-brooks, while the glorious S. Dominic prayed that all the members of his body might be mutilated, considering that martyrdom alone was but a small matter, and desiring a martyrdom for every member. Consider, too, the wish of the blessed apostle S. Andrew, who, when he saw the cross on which he had to suffer, embraced it as a beloved spouse, and asked if it rejoiced with him as he was satisfied with it. I come to another much more exalted martyrdom, and a new kind of desire, viz., that of S. Paul, who, considering that all kinds of suffering joined together were but a small thing to satisfy the love which he felt towards God, desired the very pains and torments of hell itself, for the honour of God and the salvation of men. "I wished myself," says the holy apostle, "to be an anathema from Christ for my brethren."[Rom. ix. 3.] He therein desired to be for ever separated from Christ so far as regards any participation in His glory, though not in respect to the grace and love of God. Take then now, my soul, wings to fly and mount this step towards the bowels and heart of thy Spouse Jesus Christ, and consider that if this holy apostle having only one drop of grace was possessed of such love to men, how much greater must be the longings of the Saviour Who is a boundless sea of grace, for in proportion to the love is the longing. This, O Lord, is what Thou desirest us to understand in those words of Thine when Thou saidst: "I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptised, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!"[Luke xii. 50.] Thy heart, O Lord, was full of anguish and affliction, because the desire that Thou hadst was so great to see Thyself already dyed with Thine own Blood for love of us, that every hour that this was delayed seemed to Thee a thousand years, owing to the greatness of Thy love. And hence was derived that glorious Feast of Palms which Thou desiredst should take place when Thou wentest forth to suffer, in order to show the world the joy of Thy heart, since Thou didst desire to go thus surrounded with roses and flowers to the bridal chamber of the cross. Thou didst not appear, O Lord, to be going to the cross, but to the betrothal, for it was such a festival that Thou didst desire to be celebrated on the way.