Jesus the Lover of Souls – Meditation by St. John Henry Newman
THE inspired writer says, “Thou hast mercy upon all, because Thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance. For Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made … And how could anything endure, if Thou wouldst not? or be preserved, if not called by Thee? But Thou sparest all, because they are Thine, O Lord, who lovest souls” (Wisdom xi. 24-27). This is what brought Him from Heaven, and gave Him the Name of Jesus—for the Angel said to St. Joseph about Mary, “She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. i. 21). It was His great love for souls and compassion for sinners which drew Him from Heaven. Why did He consent to veil His glory in mortal flesh, except that He desired so much to save those who had gone astray and lost all hope of salvation.” Hence He says Himself, “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Matt. xvii. 11, Luke xix. 10). Rather than that we should perish, He did all that even omnipotence could do consistently with its holy Attributes, for He gave Himself. And He loves each of us so much that He has died for each one as fully and absolutely as if there were no one else for Him to die for. He is our best friend, our True Father, the only real Lover of our souls—He takes all means to make us love Him in return, and He refuses us nothing if we do.
Let us pray for the conversion of all sinners.
O Lord, “who didst give Thyself for us, that Thou mightest redeem us from all iniquity, and mightest cleanse to Thyself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works,” look upon Thy baptized, look on the multitude of those who once were Thine and have gone from Thee. Ah, for how short a time do they keep Thy grace in their hearts, how soon do they fall off from Thee, with what difficulty do they return; and even, though they repent and come to penance, yet how soon, in the words of Scripture, doth the dog return to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. O my God, save us all from the seven deadly sins, and rescue those who have been made captive by them. Convert all sinners—bring judgments down upon them, if there is no other way of reclaiming them. Touch the hearts of all proud men, wrathful, revengeful men; of the obstinate, of the self-relying, of the envious, of the slanderer, of the hater of goodness and truth; of the slothful and torpid; of all gluttons and drunkards; of the covetous and unmerciful; of all licentious talkers; of all who indulge in impure thoughts, words, or deeds. Make them understand that they are going straight to hell, and save them from themselves and from Satan.