The Twenty-fourth Hour: From 4 to 5 PM
The Burial of Jesus. Desolated Mary Most Holy.
My Sorrowful Mama, I see that You dispose Yourself to the final sacrifice of having to give burial to Your lifeless Son, Jesus. Most perfectly resigned to the Will of God, You accompany Him, and You place Him in the sepulcher with Your own hands. But as You compose those limbs and are about to give Him the last good-bye and the last kiss, You feel Your Heart being torn from Your breast because of the pain. Love nails You to those limbs, and by force of Love and sorrow, Your life is about to fade together with Your lifeless Son. Poor Mama, how shall You go on without Jesus? He is Your Life—Your All. Yet, it is the Will of the Eternal One that wants it so. You will have to fight with two Insurmountable Powers: Love and Divine Will. Love nails You, in such a way that You cannot separate from Him; the Divine Will imposes Itself and wants the sacrifice. Poor Mama, how will You go on? How much compassion I feel for You! O please, Angels of Heaven, come to raise Her from the stiffened limbs of Jesus, otherwise She will die!
But, O portent, while She seemed to be extinguished together with Jesus, I hear Her voice, trembling and interrupted by sobs, say, “Beloved Son, O Son, this was the only relief which was left to Me, and which halved My pains: Your Most Holy Humanity—pouring Myself out on these Wounds, adoring them, kissing them. Now this too is taken away from Me, because the Divine Will wants it so, and I resign Myself. But know, Son, that I want it and I can not. At the mere thought of doing it, My strengths leave Me and life runs away from Me. O please, O Son, so that I may have life and strength to be able to depart, allow Me to remain all buried in You, and to take for Myself Your Life, Your Pains, Your Reparations, and all that You are. Ah, only an exchange of Life between You and Me can give Me the strength to make the sacrifice of departing from You!”
So determined, my afflicted Mama, I see that You go through those limbs again, and You place Your head in the Head of Jesus. Kissing it, You enclose in It Your thoughts, and You take for Yourself His Thorns, His afflicted and offended Thoughts, and everything He suffered in His Most Holy Head. O, how You would want to animate the Intelligence of Jesus with Your own, to be able to give Life for Life! You now begin to feel revived, by having taken the Thoughts and the thorns of Jesus into Your mind.
Sorrowful Mama, I see You kiss the lifeless eyes of Jesus, and I feel pierced in seeing that Jesus no longer looks at You. How many times His Gazes filled You with Paradise, and made You rise again from death to Life; and now, not seeing Yourself gazed upon, You feel You are dying! Therefore You place Your eyes in those of Jesus, and You take for Yourself His eyes, His tears and bitternesses in seeing the offenses of the creatures, and the many insults and scorns.
But I see, my Pierced Mama, that You kiss His Most Holy Ears, and You call Him over and over again, saying, “My Son,how can it be that You no longer listen to Me—You, who would hear My slightest motion? And now I cry, I call You, and You do not hear Me? Ah, Love is the most cruel tyrant! You were more than My own life for Me, and now I will have to survive so much pain? Therefore, O Son, I leave My hearing in Yours, and I take for Myself what You have suffered in Your Most Holy Hearing, the echo of all the offenses that resounded in it. Only this can give Me Life—Your Pains, Yoursorrows!” And as You say this, the pain and the grip on Your Heart is so great, that You lose Your voice and remain motionless. My Poor Mama, my Poor Mama, how much compassion I feel for You! How many cruel deaths You suffer!
But the Divine Will imposes Itself and gives You motion; and You look at His Most Holy Face, You kiss it, and exclaim,“Adored Son, how disfigured You are! Ah, if love did not tell Me that You are My Son, My Life, My All, I would no longer recognize You, so unrecognizable You are! Your Beauty was transformed into deformity; Your cheeks into bruises, and the Light, the Grace of Your Face—which was such that seeing You and remaining beatified was the same thing—has turned into paleness of death, O Beloved Son. Son, how You are reduced! What an awful crafting sin has made upon Your Most Holy Limbs! Ah, how much would Your inseparable Mama want to give You back Your original Beauty! I want to fuse My face in Yours, and take for Myself Your Face, and the slaps, the spit, the scorns, and everything You have suffered in Your Most Holy Face. Ah, Son, if You want Me alive, give Me Your Pains; otherwise I will die!”
And Your pain is so great that it suffocates You, it breaks Your speech, and You remain as though lifeless on the Face of Jesus. Poor Mama, how much compassion I feel for You! My Angels, come to comfort my Mama; Her sorrow is immense— it inundates Her, it suffocates Her, and leaves Her no more life or strength. But the Divine Will, breaking through these waves, gives Life back to Her.
You are now at the mouth of Jesus and, kissing it, You feel Your lips embittered by the gall which so much embittered His mouth; and sobbing, You continue, “Son, say a last Word to Your Mama. How can it be that I will no longer be able to listen to Your Voice? All of the Words You have spoken to Me in life, like many arrows, wound My Heart with sorrow and with Love. And now, seeing You mute, they put themselves in motion once again within My lacerated Heart; they give Me many deaths, and would want to snatch, by force, a last Word from You. But not receiving it, they torment Me, and they say to Me, ‘So, You will no longer hear Him; You will no longer hear His sweet accent, the melody of His Creative Word!’ He Created as many Paradises in Me as Words that He spoke. Ah, My Paradise is finished, and I will have nothing but bitternesses! Ah, Son, I want to give You My tongue in order to animate Yours. Give Me what You suffered in Your Most Holy Mouth—the bitterness of the gall, Your ardent thirst, Your Reparations and Prayers; and so hearing Your Voice through them, My sorrow will be more bearable, and Your Mama will be able to live through Your Pains.”
Tormented Mama, I see You hasten, because those who surround You want to close the sepulcher. And almost flying, You take the Hands of Jesus between yours, You kiss them, You press them to your Heart; and placing your hands in His, You take for Yourself the pains and the piercings of those Most Holy Hands. Then You fly over the Feet of Jesus, looking at the cruel torture that the nails have made in them; and as You place Your feet in them, You take for Yourself those Wounds, and You offer Yourself to run toward sinners in the place of Jesus, in order to snatch them from hell.
Anguishing Mama, I see You give the last good-bye to the Pierced Heart of Jesus. Here You pause. It is the last assault to Your Maternal Heart; You feel It being torn from Your breast because of the vehemence of Love and pain and, by Itself, It runs to place Itself in the Most Holy Heart of Jesus. And You, in seeing Yourself without a Heart, hasten to take His Most Holy Heart into Yours—His Love rejected by many creatures, His many ardent desires not fulfilled because of their ingratitudes, and the pains and piercings of that Most Holy Heart, which will keep You crucified for the rest of Your Life. And looking at the wide Wound, You kiss it, You lap up the Blood; and feeling the Life of Jesus in Yourself, You have the strength to fulfill the bitter separation. Then You embrace Him, and You allow the sepulchral stone to close on Him.
My Sorrowful Mama, crying, I pray You not to allow, for now, that Jesus be taken away from our gaze. Wait for me to first enclose myself in Jesus, in order to take His Life within me. If You, who are the Spotless, the All-Holy, the Full of Grace, cannot live without Jesus, much less can I do it, who am weakness, misery, and full of sins. How can I live without Jesus? Sorrowful Mama, do not leave me alone, take me with You; but first place all of myself in Jesus. Empty me of everything, in order to place all of Jesus within me, just as You placed Him within Yourself. Begin with me the Maternal Office which Jesus has given You on the Cross; let my extreme poverty break through Your Maternal Heart, and with Your own hands, enclose me completely in Jesus.
Enclose the Thoughts of Jesus in my mind, so that no other thought may enter into me. Enclose the eyes of Jesus within mine that He may never escape from my gaze; and His hearing in mine, that I may always listen to Him and do His Most Holy Will in everything. Place His Face within mine, so that, by looking at Him so disfigured for Love of me, I may love Him, compassionate Him, and repair; His tongue in mine, that I may speak, pray and teach with the tongue of Jesus; His Hands in mine, so that each movement I make and each work I perform may have Life from the Works and Actions of Jesus. Place His Feet in mine, so that each one of my steps may be a life of salvation, of strength and of zeal for the other creatures.
And now, my afflicted Mama, allow me to kiss His Heart and to lap up His Most Precious Blood; and You Yourself, enclose His Heart in mine, that I may Live of His Love, of His Desires, of His Pains. Lastly, take the stiffened right Hand of Jesus, that He may give me the last Blessing.
The stone closes the sepulcher. And You, tortured, kiss it, and crying You give Him the last good-bye and depart. But Your pain is so great, that You remain almost petrified as Your blood runs cold. My Pierced Mama, together with You, I say good-bye to Jesus; and crying, I want to compassionate You and accompany You in Your bitter desolation. I want to place myself at Your side, to give You a word of comfort, a gaze of compassion at each sigh, strain and sorrow of Yours. I will gather Your tears, and I will sustain You in my arms, if I see You faint.
But I see that You are forced to return to Jerusalem along the path from which You came. After only a few steps, You are already before the Cross on which Jesus suffered so much, and died. You run to embrace It, and in seeing It colored with Blood, the pains that Jesus suffered on It are renewed in Your Heart, one by one. But unable to contain the pain, sobbing You exclaim, “O Cross, how could You be so cruel with My Son? Ah, You have spared Him nothing! What wrong had He done to You? You have not permitted Me, His Sorrowful Mama, to give Him even a sip of water while He was asking for it; and to His parched mouth You gave gall and vinegar! I felt My Pierced Heart melt, and I wanted to offer It to His lips to quench His thirst, but I had the sorrow of seeing Myself rejected. O Cross, cruel, yes, but Holy, because Divinized and Sanctified by contact with My Son! Turn that cruelty which You used with Him into compassion for miserable mortals; and for the sake of the pains He suffered on You, impetrate Grace and Strength for the souls who suffer, so that not one of them may be lost because of tribulations and crosses. Souls cost Me too much—they cost Me the Life of a Son God; and as Co-Redemptrix and Mother, I bind them to You, O Cross.” And after kissing It over and over again, You leave.
Poor Mama, how much compassion I feel for You! At each step and encounter, New Pains arise, which increase in their immensity and become more bitter; they inundate You, they drown You; and You feel You are dying at each instant. And You are now at the point at which You met Him this morning—exhausted, under the enormous weight of the Cross, dripping Blood, and with a bundle of thorns on His Head, which, bumping against the Cross, penetrated deeper and deeper, giving Him pains of death at each blow. In crossing Your gaze, the Gaze of Jesus looked for pity; but the soldiers pushed Him and made Him fall to deny You this comfort, making Him shed new Blood. You see the ground soaked with It; You throw Yourself to the ground, and as You kiss that Blood, I hear You say, “My Angels, come to place yourselves as guardians of this Blood, so that not one drop of It may be tread upon and profaned.”
Sorrowful Mama, allow me to give You my hand to lift You and raise You, because I see You faint on the Blood of Jesus. As You walk, You find new sorrows. Everywhere You see traces of Blood, and You remember the pains of Jesus; so You hasten Your step and enclose Yourself in the Cenacle. I too enclose myself in the Cenacle—but my Cenacle is the Most Holy Heart of Jesus; and from there I want to come to You, to keep You company in this hour of bitter desolation. My heart cannot bear leaving You alone in so much sorrow.
But I feel pierced in seeing that, as You move Your head, You feel the thorns You have taken from Jesus penetrate into it—the pricks of all our sins of thought which, penetrating even into Your eyes, make You cry tears of blood. And since You have the sight of Jesus in your eyes, all the offenses of the creatures pass before Your sight. How embittered You remain! How You comprehend all that Jesus has suffered, having His own Pains within You! But one pain does not wait for another. As You prick up Your ears, You feel deafened by the echo of the voices of the creatures and from the variety of these offenses that reach Your Heart and pierce It; and You say, “Son, how much You have suffered!”
Desolate Mama, how much compassion I feel for You! Allow me to dry Your face, wet with tears and with blood. But I feel like drawing back on seeing it now covered with bruises, unrecognizable and pale with a mortal paleness. I understand—these are the mistreatments against Jesus which You have taken upon Yourself, and which make You suffer so much that, as You move Your lips in prayer or as Your enflamed breast sighs, You feel Your breath embittered and Your lips burned by the thirst of Jesus. Poor Mama, how much compassion I feel for You! Your Sorrows increase ever more, and as I take Your hands in mine, I see them pierced by nails. It is in Your hands that You feel the pain and see the murders, the betrayals, the sacrileges and all the evil works, repeating the blows, widening the wounds and embittering them more and more. How much compassion I feel for You! You are the true Crucified Mother, so much so, that not even Your feet remain without nails; even more, You feel them not only being pierced, but as torn by many iniquitous steps, and by the souls who go to hell. And You run after them, that they may not fall into the infernal flames.
But this is not all, Pierced Mama. All of Your pains, uniting together, echo in Your Heart and pierce It—not with seven swords, but with thousands and thousands of swords. More so, since You have the Divine Heart of Jesus within You, which contains all hearts, and in whose Heartbeat the heartbeats of all are enclosed; and in beating, It says,“Souls! Love!” And from the Heartbeat “Souls!” You feel all sins flow in Your heartbeat, and death being inflicted on You; while in the Heartbeat “Love!” You feel Life being given to You. Therefore, You are in a continuous act of death and of Life.
Crucified Mama, as I look at You, I compassionate Your Sorrows—they are unspeakable. I would like to transform my being into tongue and voice in order to compassionate You, but before so much pain, my compassion is nothing. Therefore I call the Angels, the very Sacrosanct Trinity, and I pray Them to place Their Harmonies, Their Contentments and Their Beauty around You, to soothe and compassionate Your intense Sorrows; to sustain You in Their arms, and to requite all of Your pains with Love.
And now, Desolate Mama, I thank You in the name of all for everything You have suffered; and I pray You, for the sake of Your bitter desolation, to come to my assistance at the moment of my death. When I find myself alone and abandoned by all, in the midst of a thousand anxieties and fears—come then, to return to me the company that I have given You many times in life. Come to my assistance; place Yourself beside me, and put the enemy to flight. Wash my soul with Your tears, cover me with the Blood of Jesus, clothe me with His Merits, embellish me and heal me with Your Sorrows and with all the Pains and Works of Jesus; and by virtue of them, let all my sins disappear, giving me total forgiveness. And as I breathe my last, receive me into Your arms, place me under Your mantle, hide me from the gaze of the enemy, take me straight to Heaven, and place me in the arms of Jesus. Let us make this agreement, my Dear Mama!
And now, I pray you to return the company I have given You to all those who are agonizing. Be the Mama of all; these are extreme moments, and great aids are needed. Therefore, do not deny Your Maternal Office to anyone.
One last word: as I leave You, I pray you to enclose me in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus; and You, my Sorrowful Mama, be my Sentry, so that Jesus may not put me out of it; and I, even if I wanted, may not be able to leave. So I kiss Your Maternal hand; and You, bless me.
Reflections and Practices
Jesus is buried. A stone seals Him and prevents His Mama from looking at Her Son any longer. And we—do we hide from the gazes of creatures; are we indifferent if everyone forgets us? In holy things, do we remain indifferent, with that holy indifference which makes us never disobey? In the total abandonment of Jesus, do we conquer everything with a holy indifference that leads us continuously to Him? And do we form with our constancy a sweet chain, so as to draw Him toward us? Is our gaze buried in the Gaze of Jesus, so that we look at nothing but what Jesus wants? Is our voice buried in the Voice of Jesus, so that if we want to speak, we do not speak but with the tongue of Jesus? Are our steps buried in His, so that as we walk, we may leave the mark of the steps of Jesus, not of our own? And is our heart buried in His, in order to Love and desire as His Heart Loves and desires?
My Mama, when Jesus hides from me for the good of my soul, give me the Grace that You had in the privation of Jesus, so that I may give Him all the Glory that You gave Him, when He was placed in the Sepulcher.
O Jesus, I want to pray to You with Your Voice. And just as Your Voice penetrated into the Heavens and resounded in the voices of all, in the same way, honoring Your Voice, may my voice penetrate even into the Heavens, to give You the Love and the Glory of Your own Word.
My Jesus, my heart palpitates, but I am not content if You do not let me palpitate with Your Heart; with Your Heartbeat, I will Love as You Love. I will give You the love of all creatures, and one will be the cry, “Love, Love…!” O my Jesus, give Honor to Yourself, and in everything I do, place the seal of Your own Power, of Your Love and of Your Glory.