Sivut kuvina

After the Contemplation, Reflection.-St. Ignatius prescribes after the contemplation a little time for Reflection (during retreat, fifteen minutes; out of retreat, if we can get even five minutes, it will be useful).

Reflection 1.--is simply turning back to see whether we have done our work well or ill. A tailor sewing locks back occasionally to see if the stitches are all rightly made. A painter turns back to see if the drawing and colouring is all well done. A careful man, after writing an important letter, turns back, and reads it over again to see if the wording and spelling and punctuation are all correct.

Even so it is well worth our while to turn back at the end of a contemplation to see whether we have done our work well, if we have followed the method carefully, the preparation overnight and in the morning, the Preparatory Prayer and Preludes; if we have contemplated rightly the persons, words, actions; if we have availed ourselves in contemplating the Sacred Passion of the other three points ; (4) how much He is suffering ; (5) how entirely voluntary His suffering is; (6) how this is all for me.

We must also examine whether we have during the contemplation turned back upon ourselves, and tried to gain some fruit for our souls; whether we roused our will to good resolutions;and whether we have made fervent colloquies.

Reflection 2.—If we find that by God's blessing we have done all carefully and gained fruit, we must take care to give God thanks, and resolve to follow the same method faithfully the next time.

If we find that we have committed faults, or made mistakes, and not been successful, we must be sorry, and beg grace to do better.

Reflection 3.–St. Francis Xavier used to advise those whom he trained to keep a little diary of their contemplations, noting briefly some thought that made impression.

This practice has these advantages :

1. By writing down a thought in this way, we impress it on our memory, and it may remain with us during the day, serving much the same purpose as a little lavender which we carry with us out of a garden. The morning contemplation or meditation often gives a colour to the rest of the day. It puts new life into Holy Mass and Holy Communion; and the thought that we have laid up may help very much to recollection during the day, and prove a good antidote against temptation. The Psalmist

says: : Thy words I have hidden in my heart, that I may not sin (Psalm cxviii.).

2. In after time, if the eye chances to rest on the entries in such a diary, a valuable thought that has been quite forgotten is brought back to the mind; and thoughts that have once impressed us in time past may more easily affect us now than a new thought.

3. Moreover, if in looking back we find that our contemplations used heretofore to succeed better than they are doing now, the discovery may act as a salutary stimulant.

4. The very fact of examining each day whether we have gained some fruit, and taking a note of it, helps to keep us alive to the necessity of getting somne profit every day out of our contemplation.






From Mid-Lent to Passion-Week.


The raising of Lazarus was, to use a familiar phrase, “the beginning of the end of our Blessed Lord's career on earth, and therefore we may fitly commence our study of the close of our Saviour's life from that wonderful miracle. If we adopt the commonly received tradition that the Crucifixion took place on Friday, the 25th of March, then we may either follow the opinion more generally held, that Lazarus was raised to life about three weeks earlier, that is, in the week before our MidLent Sunday; or we may prefer a theory advanced by soine modern English scholars, that this great miracle was wrought two months earlier, that is, in the week before our Septuagesima Sunday. We shall adhere in these pages to the more wide-spread tradition, because such traditions may fairly claim to be left in possession till really strong arguments are brought against them; and there do not seem to be any valid arguments against either the date assigned for the Crucifixion, or the date more commonly accepted for the raising of Lazarus—that is, two or three days before our Mid-Lent Sunday.

1. Against the day assigned to the Crucifixion, March the 25th, the strongest argument that is commonly alleged is, that according to the Law (Levit. xxiii. 10--15, and Deut. xvi. 9), on the morrow after the (Paschal) Sabbath, the first-fruits of the harvest were to be offered in the Temple. In Deuteronomy the time is specified as the day wherein thou didst put the sickle to the corn. Now, so certain critics argue, the earliest crop, which was the barley, was never ready for the sickle in Judea before the middle of April. Therefore, they conclude, the Paschal Sabbath could not be before the middle of April.

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