From 3 to 4 AM
Preparation Before Each Hour
O my Lord Jesus Christ, prostrate in your divine presence, I implore your most loving heart to allow me to enter into the sorrowful meditation of the twenty-four hours of your passion, in which, for love of us you wanted to suffer so much in your adorable body and in your most holy soul, even to death on the cross. O give me help, grace, love, profound compassion, and understanding of your sufferings as I now meditate this Hour.
For those hours which I cannot meditate, I offer you the will I have to meditate them; and I propose to meditate them with my intention during all the hours in which I must dedicate myself to my duties, or sleep.
Accept, O merciful Lord, my loving intention, and let it be beneficial for me and for all, as if I effectively and in a saintly way accomplished what I desire to do.
I give You thanks, O my Jesus. I thank You for calling me to union with You in prayer. To please You, I take your thoughts, your tongue, and your Heart. I want to pray with them. I want to fuse myself in your Will and in your Love. I extend my arms to embrace You, I rest my head on your Heart— and I begin….
My afflicted and abandoned Good, while my weak nature sleeps in your sorrowful Heart, my sleep is often interrupted by the pangs of love and sorrow of your Divine Heart. Between vigil and sleep, I hear the blows that they give You, so I wake up and I say:
“My poor Jesus, abandoned by everyone! There is no one who takes your part. But from within your Heart I offer You my life as support for You, as they knock You about.”
Then I drowse off again. But another pang of love of your divine heart wakes me, and I feel my ears deafened by the insults they give you, by the whisperings, the shouts and the stirring of people.
My love, why is everyone against you? What have you done, that, like so many rabid wolves, they want to tear you apart? I feel my blood freeze as I hear the preparations your enemies are making. I tremble and become sad, while thinking about what I can do to defend you.
Having me in his heart, my sad Jesus presses me closer to himself, and says:
“My child, I have done no wrong, and [at the same time] I have done everything. I have committed the “crime” of love which contains all sacrifices—love, which is of immeasurable cost. We are still at the beginning. Remain in my heart, observe everything, love me, be silent, and learn. Make your chilled blood flow in my veins to give relief to my blood which is all ablaze. Make your shivering flow in my members so that, unified in me, you may become steadfast; and warm yourself so you can feel part of my pains, as well as acquire strength by seeing me suffer so much. This is the best way to defend me. Be faithful and attentive.”
My dear love, your enemies are making so much noise that I cannot go back to sleep. The shoves are becoming more violent. I can hear the rattling of the chains. They have bound you so tightly that blood is dripping from your wrists, and it stains those streets. Remember that my blood flows in yours, and as yours is poured out mine kisses it, adores it, and makes reparation. May it be light to all who offend you at nighttime, and magnet to draw all hearts around you.
My love and my all, as they drag you, and the air is deafened by shouts and whistles, you now come before Caiaphas. You are all meek, modest, humble; your sweetness and patience is such as to terrorize even your enemies; and Caiphas, full of rage, would want to devour You. O how easily sin and innocence are distinguished!
My Love, You stand before Caiphas to be condemned as the guiltiest of criminals. Caiaphas now asks the witnesses what your crimes are. Oh, he would have done better to ask about your love! Someone accuses you of one thing and another accuses you of something else, blundering and contradicting each other. While they are accusing you, the soldiers at your side pull your hair. They slap your most sacred face so hard that it echoes in all the room. They twist your lips. They beat you. You remain silent and suffer. When you look at them, the light of your eyes descends into their hearts, and unable to resist, they go away from you. But others take their place to torture you more.
Peter’s three denials
In the midst of so many accusations and outrages, I see You become more attentive. Your Heart pounds violently as if it were going to burst for the pain. Tell me, my afflicted Good, what is it? I see that your love is so great that You anxiously await that which your enemies are doing to You, and You offer it for our salvation. With perfect calmness, your heart makes reparation for slander, hatred, false testimony, the wrong done to the innocent with premeditation, for those who offend you by instigation of their leaders, and for the offenses of the clergy.
United to You, I join in your reparations, and I feel a new sorrow grieving your most tender Heart—one never felt before. Tell me, tell me, what is it? Share everything with me, O Jesus.
“My child, do you want to know what it is? I hear Peter’s voice saying that he does not know me. Then he swears again and again that he does not know me; and finally, vehemently cursing, he affirms he does not know me.
O Peter, how is it that you do not know me? Don’t you remember how many goods I have showered on you? If the others make me die of pain, you make me die of sorrow! Oh, what a mistake it was to follow me from a distance, and then expose yourself to the occasions of sin!”
My denied Good, how quickly the offenses of your dearest ones can be recognized! O Jesus, I want to make my heartbeat flow within Yours to soothe the harrowing spasm that You suffer. And my heartbeat in Yours swears loyalty and love to You, and repeats and swears thousands and thousands of times that I know You. But your love still has not calmed down, and you are seeking out Peter with your eyes. Before your loving gazes, your eyes swollen with tears for his denial, Peter is moved, and he weeps as he goes away. Having saved him, you calm down again, and you make reparation for the sins of the popes and of the leaders of the Church, especially for those who expose themselves to the occasions of sin.
Meanwhile, your enemies continue to accuse you. Seeing that you do not answer their accusations, Caiaphas says to you:
“I solemnly order you under oath to the living God, tell me: Are you really the true Son of God?”
My Love, you always have the word of truth on your lips. And so, assuming an attitude of supreme majesty, with a resonant but gentle voice that strikes everyone and makes the demons themselves plunge into the abyss, you respond:
“You have said it. Yes, I am the true Son of God. And one day I will descend on the clouds of heaven to judge all nations.”
At your creative words, everyone becomes silent. They are shuddering and frightened. But Caiphas, after a fearful moment, recovers. More furious than a wild beast, he says to everyone:
“What need have we of more witnesses? He has uttered a grave blasphemy. Why should we wait to condemn Him? He is already deserving of death!”
To give greater force to his sacrilegious words, he rends his garments with such rage and fury that all scream together, as one man, “He is guilty and must die! He is guilty and must die!” They attack You, my good Jesus. One hits You and slaps You, while another spits in your face. Still others trample You under their feet. They torment You in so many ways that the earth trembles and the heavens are shaken.
My Love and my Life, how they torment You! My heart breaks for sorrow… Oh, permit me to come out of your sorrowful heart to face all these outrages in your place. Yes, if it were possible, I would snatch you from the hands of your enemies, but you do not want me to because the salvation of everyone demands this. So I am compelled to resign myself.
My sweet love, permit me to clean you, arrange your hair, remove the spit and wipe away the blood, to then enclose myself in your heart, because I see that Caiaphas is tired and wants to retire, and that he is turning you over to the soldiers.
So, I bless you. And I ask your blessing on me, and that you give me the kiss of love. I enclose myself in the furnace of your divine heart to go to sleep. I place my mouth on your heart so that as I breathe I may kiss you. And by the difference of your heartbeats—more or less suffering—I will notice whether you suffer or rest. And now, forming wings with my arms to defend you, I embrace you, press myself close to your heart, and fall asleep.
Reflections and Practices.
Jesus is brought before Caiphas and unjustly accused. He is subjected to unprecedented torture and when He is interrogated, He speaks only the truth. When the Lord permits others to calumniate and unjustly accuse me, do I seek God alone who knows my innocence, or do I beg for the esteem and honor of other creatures? Do my lips always speak the truth? Am I the enemy of all deception and lies? Do I patiently endure the mockery and humiliations that others cause me? Am I ready to offer my life for the sake of their salvation?
My sweet Jesus, how different I am from You! I humbly ask You, grant that my lips always speak the truth, to wound the hearts of those who hear me and to guide all souls to You!.
(Personal Offering and Thanksgiving)
Thanksgiving after each hour
My Beloved Jesus, You have called me to this Hour of your Passion to keep You company—and I have come. I seem to have heard you, anguished and sorrowful, praying, making reparation and suffering. With the most loving, eloquent voices you were pleading for the salvation of souls. I tried to follow You in everything. Now, I owe You my heartfelt “Thank You” and “I bless You.”
Yes, O Jesus, I repeat my “Thank You” thousands and thousands of times. I bless You for all that You have done and suffered for me and for everyone. I thank You and I bless You for every drop of Blood You shed. I thank You for every breath, for every heartbeat, and for every step. I thank You for every word, glance, affliction, and outrage that You had to endure. In everything, O my Jesus, I intend to give You my “Thank You” and “I bless You.” O my Jesus, let my soul send forth a continuous flow of thanksgiving and blessings to You—to draw down upon all of us the abundant flow of your blessings and graces. Please, O Jesus, press me to your Heart, and with your most holy hands seal every particle of my being with your “I bless you”, so that nothing other than a continuous hymn to You may come from me.
So I leave my being within Yours, to follow you in all you do; better still, you will be so alive in me that I will leave my thoughts in you to defend you from your enemies, my breaths as a faithful companion, my heartbeat to recall my “I love you,” and to give you the love that the others refuse to give you; I will give you the drops of my blood to atone and make up the honor and regard that your enemies deny you with their insults and offenses. I will leave my entire being as a guard.
My dear love, while I must go about my duties, I will remain in your heart. I am afraid to leave It. Is it not true that You will keep me here? Our heartbeats will continually touch so that You will give me life, love, and close and inseparable union with You.
Jesus, if You see that I am about to run from You at times, let your heartbeat hasten in mine. Let your hands press me closer to your Heart; let your eyes look at me and pierce me with rays of fire so that I may feel your presence and immediately return to union with You.
O my Jesus, be on guard so that I may not exhaust You. I beg You to watch over me. O give me a kiss, embrace me, and bless me! Give me your most holy hands so that I can do all that I must do united with You! My Jesus, give me the kiss of Divine Love, embrace me and bless me; I will kiss your intoxicating Heart, and take my rest in You.