The Love of Christ

There is a profound oversight in the salvic and infinite love of Christ within many Christian perspectives. This oversight has to do with the profundity of the depths of love which Our Savior has for us. It is easy to look at the phrase “Jesus loves you” as something sentimental and not particularly moving; not more so than some distant estranged relative saying the same thing. It is even easy to overlook just what it means when it is said that Christ has love for all of mankind. Yes, He said as much in His earthly ministry, and acted upon it through His Passion and death. Yet we are missing the key aspect of just what this love entails.

The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane by Adriaen van de Velde (1665)

Think of the agony of Our Lord in Gethsemane. He was overcome with human fear and anxiety, as His divine wisdom enlightened Him to just what He was about to endure. The bodily torture of the impious, the betrayal of His closest friends, the ingratitude of the suffering which He would endure by His own people. There was much weighing heavy on the mind of Christ in these quiet moments of prayer. And in light of this, He resigned His will to that of the Father’s and accepted what awaited Him. But we need to remember that it was not just His Passion which He was anticipating. Indeed, His bodily emotions were racked with fear and anticipation, but His divine intellect was aware of so much more than the temporal sufferings awaiting Him. Through His divine insight, Christ could see in those agonizing moments all of the sufferings and offenses and sacrileges which He would endure until the end of time. The disrespect and unbelief in His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, the fracturing of His Church, the corruption of His clerics, the indifference of His disciples; all of the sufferings which Christ would endure through His Church invaded His psyche at that moment of prayer among the olive trees.

And it isn’t just a realization of the blasphemies and offenses He would suffer through all time, but the sins which He was to take into Himself for the sake of all men. Through His divine knowledge, Christ was aware of every single sin which would be committed by the baptized and the elect too. It is easy to dismiss through mass quantification, but keep in mind that Christ also held particular knowledge of every sin and every soul which He was to redeem.

This is what is often overlooked when reflecting on Christ’s love.

Christus im Getsemani-Garten betend by Hermann Clementz

It’s so simple to include all sins and offenses in an overview and state how nice and loving it is. But it is not until we realize the effect of particular divine knowledge which Christ possessed through every moment of His earthly life. He not only had knowledge of the sins of all men, but specifically all of my sins and your sins too. When He agonized in the garden, He was thinking of me in particular and the redemption of my soul. When He endured the scourging, when the whips and cords ripped into His Pure Flesh, He endured it so my soul could be redeemed and that my sins could be forgiven.

Christ endured the humiliation of the crown of thorns so that all of the humiliations which I endure throughout my insignificant life can be redeemed in eternity. And when His body was raw and exhausted He still bore that heavy cross up to Calvary, keeping my soul in mind and the burden of my sins on His back.

When He willingly submitted to the agony of the cross, He took on the death of my own soul so that I could be reconciled with the Father. It is one of the most powerful and personal ways in which I have meditated on the Passion of Our Lord. To realize just how deep His love is for us through His particular knowledge of each and every soul He set out to redeem. No matter how unknown or ignored a soul is among men, Christ knows them and He suffered for them so that they could have a chance at eternal life.

Crucifixion by Gabriel Metsu (1660-1665)

My heart swells with love and tearful joy when I reflect on this immense charity. And this magnitude of love can be found in devotion to the Sacred Heart, or to His Holy Wounds, or to the Cross, or the instruments of His death. Each of these serve as symbols of that divine love which Christ felt for each and every individual soul. He is not just the God of all, but the personal God of all too. He loves every single soul as if there were only one of us. And we should love our God in this way too. To look at Him as our own personal God, who loves us in particular. Once we can understand just how deep the divine charity runs, then can we come to divine love of Our Lord and Savior.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, dying on the cross, I believe in Thy love for me

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