"GO forth, ye daughters of Sion," go forth, that is, ye devout souls of Jesus Christ," and see King Solomon in the diadem wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the joy of his heart."[Cant. iii. 11.] I find no other garland, O Lord, than that which Thy Mother the Synagogue made for Thee on the Friday of Thy Crucifixion, one neither of leaves, nor flowers, but of cruel thorns to torture Thy Sacred Head. How then can this day be called a festival and the joy of Thy heart? Perhaps those thorns did not hurt Thee? They hurt Thee more than any amongst men, because Thy sensitiveness was greater; but because of the greatness of the love which Thou didst bear towards us, Thou didst not regard Thy pains but our healing, nor Thy wounds but the medicine for our diseased souls. If to Thy Patriarch Jacob the many years of his laborious servitude appeared but a few days so that he might marry Rachel,[Gen. xxix. 20.] because of the great love which he bore to her, what did those three hours on the cross and one day of Thy Passion seem to Thee that Thou mightest betroth Thyself unto Thy Church, and make her so beautiful that she should possess neither spot nor wrinkle?[Eph. v. 27.] This love caused Thee to die with such goodwill, it transported Thee in such a manner that it occasioned Thee to be stripped and suspended on a cross, and made the scorn and contempt of the world. O marvellous love! which didst descend to such an extremity, and singular blindness of men who took occasion to disbelieve Thee just when they had every reason to love Thee! Tell me, O most sweet love, if that mere spark which Thou hast shown to us here outwardly, was so wonderful to men as to become a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles,[1 Cor. i. 23.] what would they have thought if Thou hadst shown them all the greatness of this love of Thine? What will Thy brethren, Thy sons and Thy friends who have such faith in Thee and such intimate knowledge of Thee, think when Thy love is more unfolded? This is what makes them beside themselves, remaining enraptured when, retired within the privacy of their hearts, Thou discoverest to them these secrets, and makest them understand and feel them. Hence arises their self-suppression; and the kindling of their affections; hence the desire of martyrdom; hence their contentment with tribulations; hence their delighting in what the whole world fears, their embracing what the world abhors. The soul which is betrothed unto Thee, O Redeemer of the world, and which voluntarily unites itself to Thee in the bridal chamber of the cross, holds nothing to be more glorious than to bear within itself the offence of the Crucified. How then, my love, shall I repay Thee for this love? Blood must be repaid with blood. That blood which Moses[Exod. xxiv. 6-8.] consecrated in cementing the friendship of God with His people by joining them in covenant with Him, and making an agreement with Him, and was the figure of Thy blood, was, in part, sprinkled upon the altar, and in part upon the people; that which fell upon the altar was in order to appease God; while that which fell upon the heads of the people was to impose obligation on men. Dearest Lord, I know this obligation; let me not abandon it; let me see myself bound by this blood and nailed to this cross. O cross! open a place for me and receive my body within thee, and deliver me to my Lord! Enlarge thyself, O crown, that I may be able to place my head within thee; O nails, quit those innocent Hands and pierce through my heart and wound it with compassion and love! For love of this kind Thy holy Apostle said Thou didst die to become supreme Lord of the living and the dead, not with menaces and chastisements, but with the deeds of love.[Rom. xiv. 9.] Account me, then, amongst those over whom Thou dost rule, either as living or dead, and behold me a captive under the sovereignty of Thy love. O how wonderful and excellent a method of warfare hast Thou chosen, O Lord, since Thou hast conquered men not with a deluge, nor with fire from heaven, but with caresses of peace and love; not by slaying them, but by dying; not by shedding another's blood, but by giving Thine own for us upon the cross! O marvellous and novel virtue! for that which Thou didst not do for heaven when Thou wast waited on by angels. Thou didst upon the cross when associated with thieves! The tongues of fire which tell me that I should love Thee are as many as the wounds which I see and which Thou bearest in Thy Sacred Body out of love for me; every single wound amongst them is a tongue which cries out that I should love Thee. It will be well for thee, O my soul, to occupy thyself in loving Him Who at all times and in every place laboured with such great' devotion to seek thee out. O greatness of Divine Love! inflame my whole heart that it may be completely filled with Thee, no other, lawless love finding place within me! O Paradise of the delights of God, and temple of peace for our soul, receive us wanderers and pilgrims in this valley of misery!