From 6 A.M. to 7 A.M.
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 suffering Jesus, you are now out of prison, but are so exhausted that you waver at every step. I want to be by your side to hold you up when I see you are about to fall.
I see that the soldiers bring you before Caiaphas. O my Jesus, you reappear in their midst like a sun, and though disfigured, you radiate light everywhere. Now I observe that Caiaphas is overjoyed to see you reduced to such a pitiful state. The rays of your light blind him even more, and in his fury he questions you again:
“So, you are really the true Son of God?”
And you, my love, your voice full of grace, with supreme majesty and your usual sweet and moving words that captivate hearts, answer:
“Yes, I am the true Son of God.”
Then, although they feel all the force of your words in themselves, suffocating everything and not wanting to know more, they cry out with one voice:
“He deserves to die! He deserves to die!”
Caiaphas confirms the death sentence and sends you to Pilate. My condemned Jesus, you accept this sentence with such love and resignation that you almost snatch it from the wicked pontiff. And you make reparation for all the sins committed deliberately and with sheer malice, and for those who instead of being sorry for the wrong they have done, rejoice and are glad for the sin itself—which blinds them and brings them to suffocate all light and grace. My life, your reparations and prayers echo in my heart, and I make reparation and pray together with you.
My tender love, having lost what little esteem they had of you, now that you have been sentenced to death, I see that the soldiers grab you. They add more ropes and chains, and tie you so tightly that your divine person can hardly move. Then, pushing and dragging you, they remove you from Caiaphas’ palace.
Throngs of people are waiting for you, but not one of them to defend you. My divine sun, you go out into their midst, wanting to envelop them all in your light.
As you take your first steps, with the intention of enclosing all the steps of creatures in yours, you pray and make reparation for those who take their first steps to do wrong: In one instance to take revenge; in another to kill, to betray, to rob, or to do even worse. Oh, how all these sins wound your heart! To prevent so much evil you pray, make reparation, and offer up your whole self.
As I follow you, my sun, Jesus, I see that as you begin to descend from Caiaphas’ palace you meet with Mary, our beautiful and gentle mother. Your eyes meet, wounding both of you. And although you are comforted by seeing each other, this encounter causes still new pains. For you it is a new pain to see our beautiful mother pierced, pale, and clothed in mourning. For your dear mother it is also a new suffering to see you, the divine sun, eclipsed and covered with so many outrages, weeping and shrouded in blood. But you are not able to enjoy your exchange of glances for long. With the pain of not being able to exchange even one word, your hearts say everything. You fuse yourselves in each other, but stop looking at each other because the soldiers press you on. And so, trampled and dragged you come before Pilate.
My Jesus, I join our pierced mother in following you, and I want to fuse myself together with her in you. And giving me a look of love, you bless me.
Reflections and Practices.
Jesus is brought at dawn before Caiphas and He courageously declares that He is the Son of God. When I go somewhere, do I allow Jesus to direct me? Is my conduct an example for others, and do my steps, like magnets, attract other souls to Jesus? Jesus’ entire life is a continuous calling to souls. If we conform ourselves to his Will—that is, if our feet call souls as we walk, if our heartbeats, echoing the divine heartbeats, harmonize together and call souls, and so on with all the rest—by doing this, we will form the same humanity of Jesus in ourselves. So, each time we call souls, it is another imprint that we receive from our Jesus. Is our life always the same, or do we change for the worse according to the encounters we have?
My Jesus, holiness beyond compare, guide me and make even my outward demeanor manifest all your divine life..
(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.