From 6 P.M. to 7 P.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 adorable Jesus, as I have shared in your sufferings together with You, and in those of your afflicted Mama, I see that You are about to leave to go there, where the Will of the Father calls You. The love between mother and son is so intense that it makes you inseparable; and so you leave yourself in the heart of your mother, and the sweet mother and queen leaves herself in you. Otherwise it would be impossible for you to separate. So, blessing each other, you give her your last kiss to strengthen her in the bitter pain she is about to suffer. You tell her good bye for the last time, and leave.
But the paleness of your face, your trembling lips, your suffocated voice, as though wanting to burst into tears in saying good bye ah, everything tells me how much You love Her and how much You suffer in leaving Her! But to fulfill the Will of the Father, with your Hearts fused into each other, You submit Yourselves to everything, wanting to repair for those who, unwilling to overcome the tendernesses of relatives and friends, and bonds and attachments, do not care about fulfilling the Holy Will of God and corresponding to the state of sanctity to which God calls them.
What pain these souls give You by rejecting your love and by contenting themselves with the love of creatures! My sweet Love, while I make reparation with You, let me stay with your Mother. Let me console Her and support Her while You leave. Later, I will hurry my steps to catch up to You. But, oh, what sorrow I feel, seeing my anguished mother tremble! And while she tries to say good-bye to her son, her sorrow is so great that her voice dies on her lips and she cannot even pronounce a word. In her swoon of love, She almost faints. She cries, “My Son, my Son, I bless You! What a bitter separation this is—crueler than any death!”
But grief keeps Her from saying more and leaves Her speechless. Inconsolable Queen, let me help You. Let me dry your tears and comfort You in your bitter sorrow. My Mother, I will not leave You alone; I ask You to take me with You. In this most sorrowful hour for You and Jesus, You teach me what I must do. You teach me how I must defend Him, make reparation to Him, and console Him; and—if I must—give my life to defend Yours.
I will not come out from beneath your mantle. At a sign from You I will fly to Jesus. I will offer Him your Love, your affections and your kisses together with mine. I will place them on each wound, in each drop of his Blood, in each pain and insult. As He feels the kisses and Love of his Mother in each pain, may his wounds be soothed. Then I will come back to hide under your mantle. And I will bring his kisses back to You, to soothe your pierced Heart.
My Mama, my heart is pounding, I want to go to Jesus. And as I kiss your maternal hands, bless me as You blessed Jesus, and allow me to go to Him. My sweet Jesus, love directs me toward your steps and I reach You, as You walk along the streets of Jerusalem together with your beloved disciples. I look at You and I see You still pale.
I hear your voice—sweet, but sad—so sad as to break the hearts of your disciples, who are deeply disturbed by your sadness. As I lean to listen, I hear You say, This is the last time I will go through these streets alone. Tomorrow I will be bound and dragged through them amid a thousand insults. Pointing to the places where You will be more cruelly insulted and tortured, You say, Like the sun, my life here below is about to set. Tomorrow, at this hour, I will be no more. But I will rise, like the sun, on the third day. At your words, the disciples grow sad and silent and do not know what to answer. You add, Take courage! Do not despair! I am not leaving you. I will always be with you; still, it is necessary for me to die for the good of all.
As you pause, I see that You are moved, but with a trembling voice You proceed in your teaching. And before enclosing Yourself in the cenacle, You look at the sun which is setting, just as your life is setting; You offer your steps for those who find themselves at the setting of their lives, giving them the grace to let them set in You, and repairing for those who, in spite of the sorrows and disillusions of life, persist in not wanting to surrender to You.
Then you look again at Jerusalem, the center of your miracles and of the preferential love of your heart. In return, the city is already preparing the cross for you and sharpening the nails, to commit the deicide. You shudder, your Heart breaks and You cry over its destruction. With this, You repair for many souls consecrated to You, whom You tried to form with so much care as portents of your love, but ungrateful and unrequiting, they only bring you more bitter suffering! I want to share in your atonement, to soothe the breaking of your heart. But I see that You are horrified by the sight of Jerusalem, and, turning your eyes away, You enter the supper room.
My love, draw me closer to your heart, let me make your sorrows my own, and let me offer them together with you. Look mercifully on my soul; pour your love into it, bless me.
Reflections and Practices.
Without delay, Jesus withdraws from his Mother, although his most tender Heart suffers immensely. Are we as ready to sacrifice even the most legitimate and holy affections, in order to fulfill the Divine will? Let us especially reflect on those moments when we may feel distant from the Divine Presence or from an especially fond devotion.
Jesus did not take his last steps without purpose. In them he glorified the Father and asked for the salvation of souls. We must place in our steps the same intentions of Jesus that is, to sacrifice ourselves for the glory of the Father and for the good of souls. Furthermore, we should imagine that we are placing our steps in those of Jesus. He wasted nothing in each step, but enclosed all the steps of creatures in his own, making reparation for all ungodly steps, in order to give the Father the glory he deserves, and life to all the evil steps of creatures so that they might walk the path of good. Likewise, so should we place our steps into those of Jesus, repeating his own intentions. Do we walk among others modestly and recollected so as to be an example, inspiring them to devotion and holiness?
Despite his sufferings, from time to time he said a few words to the apostles, telling them about his imminent passion. How do we behave in conversation? When the occasion presents itself, do we turn our conversation to the Passion of our Divine Redeemer?
When loving Jesus saw his Apostles sad and discouraged, He tried to comfort them. In our conversations, do we have the intention of comforting Jesus? Do we try to carry on our conversations in the Will of God, by instilling the spirit of Jesus Christ in others?
As Jesus walks to the Cenacle, let us enclose all our thoughts, affections, heartbeats, prayers, actions, meals, work, and all our other acts in the Heart of Jesus as they unfold. In this way, our actions will acquire a divine character. However, since it is difficult to always keep this divine attitude because it is hard for the soul to fuse her acts continuously in Him the soul can compensate with the disposition of her good will, which will please Jesus very much. He will keep watch over her every thought, word, and heartbeat. He will place them in attendance inside and outside of Himself, gazing at them with great Love, as the fruit of the creature’s good will. Then, when the soul fuses itself in him, doing its immediate acts with him, good Jesus feels so drawn toward this soul that He will do what she does together with her, transforming the creature’s acts into a divine work.
All this is the effect of God’s goodness, who takes everything into account and rewards everything, even the smallest act done in the Will of God, so that the creature is restituted in everything.
O my Life and my all, may your steps become mine, and, as I walk this earth, grant that my thoughts may be in Heaven above!
(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.