Third Hour: From 7 to 8 PM The Legal Supper
O Jesus, You now arrive at the cenacle together with Your beloved disciples and You begin Your supper with them. How much Sweetness, how much Affability You show through all Your Person, as You lower Yourself to taking material food for the last time! Everything is Love in You. Also in this, You not only repair for the sins of gluttony, but You impetrate the sanctification of food.
Jesus, my Life, Your sweet and penetrating gaze seems to search all of the apostles; and also in this act of taking food Your Heart remains pierced in seeing Your dear apostles still weak and listless, especially the perfidious Judas, who has already put a foot in hell. And You, from the bottom of Your Heart, say bitterly, “What is the usefulness of My Blood? Here is a soul so favored by Me—yet, he is lost!”
And You look at him with Your eyes refulgent with Light and Love, as though wanting to make him understand the great evil he is about to commit. But Your Supreme Charity makes You bear this sorrow and You do not make it manifest even to Your beloved disciples.
And while You grieve for Judas, Your Heart is filled with joy in seeing, on Your left, Your beloved disciple John; so much so, that unable to contain Your Love any longer, drawing him sweetly to Yourself, You let him place his head upon Your Heart, letting him experience Paradise in advance.
And it is in this solemn hour that the two peoples, the reprobate and the elect, are portrayed by the two disciples: the reprobate in Judas, who already feels hell in his heart; the elect in John, who rests and delights in You.
O my Sweet Good, I too place myself near You, and together with Your beloved disciple I want to place my weary head upon Your Adorable Heart, praying You to let me experience the delights of Heaven also on this earth so that, enraptured by the Sweet Harmonies of Your Heart, the earth may no longer be earth for me, but Heaven.
But in the midst of those Most Sweet and Divine Harmonies, I hear sorrowful heartbeats escaping You: these are for lost souls! O Jesus, O please, do not allow any more souls to be lost. Let Your heartbeat, flowing through them, make them feel the heartbeats of the Life of Heaven, just as Your beloved disciple John felt them, and attracted by the Gentleness and Sweetness of Your Love, they may all surrender to You.
O Jesus, as I remain upon Your Heart, give food also to me, as You gave it to the apostles: the Food of Love, the Food of the Divine Word, the Food of Your Divine Will. O my Jesus, do not deny me this Food, which You so much desire to give me so that Your very Life may be formed in me.
My Sweet Good, while I remain close to You, I see that the food You are taking together with Your dear disciples is nothing but a lamb. This is a figurative lamb, and just as this lamb has no vital humor left by force of fire, so You, Mystical Lamb, having to consume Yourself completely for creatures by force of Love, will keep not even a drop of Blood for Yourself, pouring it all out for Love of us.
So, O Jesus, there is nothing You do which does not vividly portray Your Most Sorrowful Passion, which You keep always present in Your Mind, in Your Heart—in everything. And this teaches me that if I too had the thought of Your Passion before my mind and in my heart, You would never deny me the Food of Your Love. How much I thank You!
O my Jesus, not one act escapes You that does not keep me present and that does not intend to do me a special good. So I pray you that Your Passion be always in my mind, in my heart, in my gazes, in my steps and in my pains, so that, wherever I turn, inside and outside of myself, I may always find You present in me. And You, give me the grace never to forget what You have borne and suffered for me. May this be my magnet, which, drawing my whole being into You, will never again allow me to go far away from You.
Reflections and Practices
Before taking food, let us unite our intentions to those of our Lovable and Good Jesus, imagining having the mouth of Jesus in our mouth, and moving our tongue and cheeks together with His. By doing this, we will not only draw the Life of Jesus Christ into ourselves, but we will unite to Him in order to give to the Father complete glory, praise, love, thanksgiving and reparation owed by creatures, and which the Good Jesus Himself offered in the act of taking food. Let us also imagine being at the table near Jesus Christ, and now looking at Him, now praying Him to share a bite with us, now kissing the hem of His mantle, now contemplating the movements of His lips and of His Celestial eyes, now noticing the sudden clouding of His Most Lovable Face in foreseeing so much human ingratitude!
Just as Loving Jesus spoke about His Passion during supper, as we take our food, we will make some reflections on how we meditated the Hours of the Passion. The Angels hang on our words, to gather our prayers, our reparations, and take them before the Father in order to somehow mitigate the Just Indignation for the so many offenses received from creatures—-just as they carried them when Jesus was on earth. And when we pray, can we say that the Angels were pleased; that we have been recollected and reverent, in such a way that they were able to joyously carry our prayers to Heaven, just as they carried those of our Jesus? Or did they rather remain saddened?
While afflicted Jesus was taking food, He remained transfixed at the sight of the loss of Judas; and in Judas He saw all the souls who were going to be lost. And since the loss of souls is the greatest of His pains, unable to contain it, He drew John to Himself in order to find relief. In the same way, we will remain always close to Him like John, compassionating Him in His pains, relieving Him, and giving Him rest in our heart. We will make His pain our own, we will identify ourselves with Him, to feel the heartbeats of that Divine Heart, pierced by the loss of souls. And we will give Him our own heartbeats in order to remove those piercings; and in the place of those piercings we will put the souls who want to be lost, so that they may convert and be saved.
Every beat of the Heart of Jesus is one “I Love you” which resounds in all the heartbeats of creatures, wanting to enclose all of them in His Heart in order to receive their heartbeats in return. But Loving Jesus does not receive it from many, and therefore His heartbeat remains as though suffocated and embittered. So let us pray Jesus to seal our heartbeat with His “I Love you,” so that our hearts too may live the Life of His Heart and, resounding in the heartbeats of creatures, may force them to say, “I love You, Jesus!” Even more, we will fuse ourselves in Him, and Loving Jesus will let us hear His “I Love you,” which fills Heaven and earth, circulates through the Saints, and descends into Purgatory. All the hearts of creatures are touched by this “I Love you”; even the elements feel New Life, and all feel Its effects. In His breathing too, Jesus feels as though suffocating for the loss of souls. And we will give Him our breath of love for His relief; and, taking His Breath, we will touch the souls who detach themselves from His arms in order to give them the Life of the Divine Breath, so that, instead of running away, they may return to Him, and cling more tightly to Him.
And when we are in pain and almost feel that our breath cannot come out freely, let us think of Jesus, Who contains the breath of the creatures in His own Breath. He too, as souls become lost, feels His breath being taken away. So, let us place our sorrowful and labored breath in the Breath of Jesus in order to relieve Him; and let us run after the sinner with our pain, so as to force him to enclose himself in the Heart of Jesus.
My beloved Good, may my breath be a continuous cry at every creature’s breath, forcing her to enclose herself in Your Breath.
The first Word that Loving Jesus pronounced on the Cross was a Word of Forgiveness, to justify all souls before the Father, and turn Justice into Mercy. And we will give Him our acts to excuse the sinner, so that, moved by our apologies, He may not allow any soul to go to hell. We will unite with Him as sentries of the hearts of creatures, so that nobody may offend Him. We will let Him pour out His Love, willingly accepting all that He may dispose for us—coldness, hardness, darkness, oppressions, temptations, distractions, slanders, illnesses and other things, so as to relieve Him from all that He receives from creatures. It is not by Love alone that Jesus pours Himself out to souls, but many times, when He feels the coldness of creatures, He goes to the soul and makes her feel His cold, to release Himself through her. And if the soul accepts it, Jesus will feel relieved from all the coldness of creatures, and this cold will be the sentry to someone else’sheart, to make Loving Jesus loved.
Other times, Jesus feels the hardness of hearts in His own, and unable to contain it, He wants to pour Himself out, and comes to us. He touches our heart with His Heart, making us share in His pain. And we, making His pain our own, will place it around the heart of the sinner in order to melt his hardness, and take him back to Him.
My beloved Good, You suffer greatly for the loss of souls, and out of compassion, I place my being at Your disposal. I will take Your pains and the pains of the sinners upon myself, leaving You relieved, and the sinner clinging to You.
O my Jesus, O please, let my whole being be melted in love, so that I may be of continuous relief to soothe all Your bitternesses.