« EdellinenJatka »
vanced when He crosses Mount Olivet with them to arrive at Bethany. Do they murmur at being obliged thus to watch and walk after their weary day? Thy sweet presence, O Lord, is to them better than sleep and rest. Better is Thy mercy than lives (Psalm lxii.); better than pleasant days, better than nights of still repose. . “ Blot out our iniquity, O Lord, which prevents our souls from resting in Thee."
J. The saints learned from our Lord to love prayer by night. How much of the strong faith of Ireland is due to the long hours devoted every night by St. Patrick to prayer and penance !
How many graces are won for the unconscious world by the night-watches and holy psalmody of cloistered monks and virgins! Even among the faithful laity many can say with the Psalmist: I rose at midnight to give praise to Thee, O Lord (Psalm cxviii.). “I trust to the holy hour on Thursday night for my contrition," a good and faithful servant of our Lord used to say.
At His Birth our Lord invited to His first reception shepherds keeping the night-watch. His Apostles, afterwards, were most of them fishermen accustomed to watch by night.
THE ROAD FROM BETHANY. MONDAY MORNING.
In the morning returning into the city, He was hungry
(St. Matt. xxi. 18).
According to tradition, our Blessed Saviour on this morning went into Jerusalem by the road that runs round the base of Mount Olivet. The site of the fig-tree is still shown.
A. In the morning.
Our Divine Master, as we have seen, trained His followers to labour. If “early to bed" was not always their rule, “early to rise” apparently was. St. Luke writes that during these last days of His life the people came early to Him in the Temple. The Latin word manicabant is a word not often met with. It expresses that the people were spending the early hours waiting for Jesus and listening to Him.
Stay a little while to reflect on our early mornings. Are we in the temple betimes for Holy Mass? Do we secure quiet time in the morning for a meditation on our Lord's Life and Death? Or are we desecrating those hallowed morning hours by sloth ? Are we giving much trouble and scandal by breakfasting in bed when not compelled by sickness ?
B. He was hungry. What wonder! He had said before now: My food is to do the will of Him that sent Me. For others He would multiply the loaves, but for Himself He would not bid the stones become bread. And now that His working-day is nearly at an end, He redoubles, as we shall see, His efforts to save that which was lost, and forgets food and rest.
To St. Elizabeth of Hungary He revealed on occasion, towards the end of her life, how much He had suffered from weariness and exhaustion.
She was praying with great fervour, when suddenly she saw spread out before her a hand resplendently white and luminous, but very much wasted away, and with the fingers elongated, and in the palms a deep wound. By this last sign she knew that it was the hand of Jesus Christ, and was astonished to see it so lean and fleshless. The voice with which she was so familiar answered at once: “ The cause is that I was worn away with watching and prayer by night, and journeying by day through towns and country places to preach the Kingdom of God".
C. How gladly would Mary and Martha and Lazarus and Simon have ministered to His wants, if permitted ! But His compassionate Heart is turned so early in the morning towards Jerusalem, to seek and to save that which
was lost, that they have no opportunity of giving Him food.
D. How happy we should be had we on that morning been allowed to prepare breakfast for Jesus and His Blessed Mother, and some of the great Saints who were following Him! Waste no time in wishing for that happiness, but make haste to use your present great privilege. Deal thy bread to the hungry (Isaias lviii.), for as long as you did it to one of these, My least brethren, you did it to Me (St. Matt. xxv.).
E. He was hungry. That is, He allowed Himself to feel hunger and exhaustion. For forty days and nights in the wilderness He fasted and prayed, sustaining Himself not on bread, but on every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God (St. Matt. iv.). Then, after the forty days of retreat, , He was hungry: and He allowed Himself to feel the natural effects of the long fast. Satan observed His exhausted state, and thought he had found the fitting time to tempt Him to act inordinately by providing some refreshment for Himself in a miraculous way.
F. He was hungry.
Before going on further to contemplate the last scenes of our Saviour's Passion, let us stay here a little while, and not hurry away.
Allow time for an attentive consideration of His thirst, His hunger, and His weariness. We must no doubt also turn from Him to ourselves; for we look at Him in order to learn what to do ourselves. It is, however, still true that if we only glance hastily at Him, and then turn away too soon, to become engrossed with our own badness and cowardice and sensuality, the sure result will be discouragement and an increase of cowardice. We must never forget that it was while the Israelites looked on the brazen serpent that they were cured. If cowardly thoughts are setting in, this is a clear
. sign that we have turned our eyes away too soon from Jesus, and ceased to look on Him. We must go back to Him, and continue to contemplate His hunger, His thirst, and His weariness, till, after a time, we find that virtue is coming out from Him to us; that a little of His Divine strength is being infused into us. “ Passion of Christ, strengthen us.”
G. We do not here want high thoughts and conceptions; we have to look at Jesus, hungry, thirsty, and tired, and say humbly and perseveringly, Passio Christi, conforta
First, “May Thy holy hunger and thirst, Lord Jesus, atone for my gluttony and greediness".
Secondly, “May Thy hunger and thirst awaken in me a desire to share Thy hunger, and Thy thirst, and Thy weariness”.
“ Blot out, merciful Jesus, my iniquity which hinders me from loving Thee, and wishing to suffer something for Thy sake.”
H. He was hungry.
We will also remember, and not forget, that it is to the Passion of Christ that we owe not only life eternal, and, here on earth, the perpetual Sacrifice, the holy sacraments, and the forgiveness of our sins; but also that purified and hallowed and enlarged enjoyment of all the good things of this earth which is the outcome of our Blessed Saviour's plentiful redemption. We may say in all truth that our food, our refreshment, our rest, the sunlight by day, the stillness of the night, and all the kindness of domestic life and social life, all come to us blessed and sanctified by the Sacred Blood of our Saviour. Call to mind, therefore, what happened to David. He was in a fortress beleaguered by the Philistines : And David longed and said, O that some man would give me water of the cistern of Bethlehem, which is in the gate.
The Philistines were at the time in possession of Bethlehem; but three of David's valiant men broke through the midst of the camp of the Philistines, and drew water out of the cistern of Bethlehem—and brought it to David to drink. And he would not drink of it, but rather offered it to the Lord, saying: God forbid that I should do this in the sight of my God ; and should drink the blood of these men : for with the danger of their lives they have brought me this water. And therefore he would not drink (1 Paral. xi.).
We must mark the words, God forbid that I should drink the blood of these men: for with the danger of their lives they have brought me this water. It is by His hunger and thirst and weariness and wounds, that our Blessed Saviour has won for us our present life in the Christian Church, with all its comforts and blessings. Even every cooling cup of water, and every refreshing breeze as they come to us now saying, Sursum corda ! all are bought at a great price.
Should we not, then, be more occupied with love for the Giver than with the gifts ? “O merciful Lord Jesus, blot out our iniquity which clings to Thy gifts, and forgets the Giver”.
I. He would not drink, but rather offered it to the Lord.
If we give a cup of cold water to one of Christ's little ones in the name of a disciple, we shall not lose our reward, for we have given it to Christ. But there are two ways giving a cup of cold water to Christ. We may give it out of our superfluity, without depriving ourselves; and even so, if we give it to one who wants, because He is Christ's disciple and our brother, we are sure of a reward. But if we rob ourselves, if we are thirsty ourselves and will not drink, but either give it to the thirsty or offer a sacrifice direct to our Lord, this is a much higher gift, and it comforts unspeakably His suffering Heart.
J. St. Ignatius reminds us that when health does not permit us to curtail food, we may sometimes safely share the thirst of our Saviour, and deny ourselves some refreshing drink.
“ Passion of Christ, strengthen me, that I may conquer my selfish sensuality.”
K. If we satisfy fully our hunger and our thirst with the meat and drink of this world, can we ever obtain a