Image of 19th c. French Holy Card (Translation): "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd attracts everything to Him through the chains of his love."
(Source: "Meditations for Lent from St. Thomas Aquinas", pp. 66-68, 1937 Imp.)
THE LOVE OF GOD SHOWN IN THE PASSION OF CHRIST
God commendeth his charity towards us: because when
as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ
died for us. -Rom. v. 8, 9.
1. Christ died for the ungodly (ibid. 6) This is
a great thing if we consider who it is that died,
a great thing also if we consider on whose behalf
he died. For scarce for a just man, will one die
(ibid. 6), that is to say, that you will hardly find
anyone who will die even to set free a man who
is innocent, nay even it is said, The just perisheth,
and no man layeth it to heart (Isaias Ivii).
Rightly therefore does St. Paul say scarce will
one die. There might perhaps be found one, some
one rare person who out of superabundance of
would be so bold as to die for a good man.
But this is rare, for the simple reason that so to
act is the greatest
of all things. Greater love than
this no man hath, says Our Lord himself, that a man
down his life for his friends (John xv. 13).
But the like of what Christ did himself, to die
and the wicked, has never been seen.
Wherefore rightly do we ask in wonderment why
Christ did it.
2. If in fact it be asked why Christ died for the
wicked, the answer is that God in this way com-
mendeth his charity towards us. He shows us in this
way that He loves us with a love that knows no
limits, for while we were as yet sinners Christ died for
very death of Christ for us shows the love
of God, for it was His son whom He gave to die
that satisfaction might
be made for us. God so
loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son (John
iii. 1 6). And
thus as the love of God the Father
for us is shown in his giving us His Holy Spirit, so
also is it shown in this
way, by his gift of his only
The Apostle says God commendeth, signifying
thereby that the love of God is a thing which
cannot be measured. This is shown by the very
fact of the matter, namely the fact that he gave
His Son to die for us, and it is shown also by reason
of the kind of people we are for whom He died.
Christ was not stirred up to die for us by any merits
of ours, when as yet we were sinners. God (who is rich
in mercy) for his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us,
even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together
in Christ (Eph. ii. 4).
(In Rom. v.)
3. All these things are almost too much to be
believed. A work is done in your days, which
man will believe when it shall be told (Habac. i. 5).
This truth that Christ died for us is so
hard a truth
that scarcely can our intelligence take hold of it.
Nay it is a truth that our intelligence could in
way discover, And St. Paul, preaching, makes
echo to Habacuc, I work a work in your days, a work
which you will not believe, if any man shall tell it to
you (Acts xiii 14).
So great is God's love for us and his grace towards
us, that he does more for us than we can believe