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rule, that the more self-sacrifice they entail, the more precious they are in God's sight. Hence those who have no silver or gold, but give their toil in the schoolroom, or by the sick-bed, and those who give their tears and fasting and earnest prayer for sinners, may be giving alms much more precious than gold, because they tax self more severely.
OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE. THE EVENING OF TUESDAY IN
And Jesus being come out of the Temple, went away
(St. Matt. xxiv. 1). Our Lord not having where to lay His Head in Jerusalem, is going, according to His custom, to the Mount of Olives.
“ Alas! most loving Lord, how often still art Thou in sore want, and we offer no help!”
And as He was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples
saith to Him : Master, behold what manner of stones, and what buildings are here. And Jesus answering said to him : Seest thou all these great buildings ? There shall not be left a stone upon a stone (St. Mark xiii. 1, 2).
A. Not a stone upon a stone! What are buildings ? what are great cities? what are empires in the sight of God if they cease to serve His purpose ? So, too, of great and distinguished men, great conquerors, great statesmen, great orators, famous mèn of science ! Sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine—“Without Thy grace, man is nothing, and worse than nothing ”.
Giants were on the earth in those days; the mighty men of old, men of renown (Genesis vi.). How many giants have appeared in every department; gigantic monarchs, giants
in war, giants in intellect, men of gigantic wealth.
, Where are they all ? In some factories, old blocks of patterns gone out of date are stowed away by the thousands. So is it with the natural gifts in Hell. There may be seen in plenty great emperors; there the heroes of a hundred fights on land and sea; there the poets, and the orators, and the great actors, on whose lips the audience hung entranced. There unrivalled musicians; there are the giants in science, the strong and the beautiful. The 48th Psalm describes their condition : They are laid in Hell like sheep.
Why this waste ? we may ask with far more reason than Judas had. These men, if allowed to come back, could dazzle the world, delight our ears, enlighten our minds, ravish our eyes.
Why are they cast aside and wasted ? The Holy Ghost gives the answer (Psalm xii.): The Lord hath looked down from Heaven on the children of men, to see if there be any that understand and seek God. They are all gone aside. They are become unprofitable together. There is none that doth good, no, not one. We know how useless for social life the idiot is who has lost, for the time, the rational life. Even so, in God's eyes, the men who ought to have the supernatural life of faith, hope, and charity, and have it not, are utterly useless, and accordingly are of necessity cast away and forgotten for ever.
B. The words heard by St. John concerning the fall of Babylon apply, many of them, as well to doomed Jerusalem : Rejoice over her, thou Heaven, and ye holy Apostles and Prophets ; for God hath judged your judgment on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone, as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying : With such violence as this shall Babylon that great city be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers shall no more be heard at all in thee ; and no craftsman of any art shall be found any more at all in thee; and the sound of the mill shall be heard no more at all in thee ; and the light of the lamp shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee ; for all nations have been deceived by thy enchantments. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth (Apoc. xviii.).
This, then, is the moral. No city, no empire, however glorious, is necessary unto God. So, too, no man, however gifted, is necessary to God, or even useful, unless he has grace to believe, to hope, and to love.
THE SLOPE OF THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.
And Jesus being come out of the Temple, went away. And as He sat on the Mount of Olivet over against the
Temple, Peter, James, and John, and Andrew asked Him apart : Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the world ? (St. Mark xiii.).
A. The evening of Tuesday in Holy Week is now come, a day into which so many all-important lessons, so many tremendous warnings, have been crowded. Our Saviour has spoken for the last time to His people in Jerusalem. When next He returns into the city, it will be to enter on His Sacred Pássion.
He has, with His disciples, walked down the steep side of Mount Moriah on which the Temple stands. He has crossed the Brook of Cedron, close to the south side of Gethsemani, and having walked a little way up Mount Olivet, is now sitting, with His disciples around Him, on the slope, near the spot where, on Palm Sunday, He wept over the city. Once more His Heart and His eyes are fixed on the sinful city and the desecrated Temple. For Jerusalem is the city of His predilection, His chosen sanctuary, His holy city. If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right
hand be forgotten. Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee (Psalm cxxxvi.). Call to mind some of the words which He had inspired His Prophets to speak concerning this favoured spot: Is this the city of perfect beauty, the joy of all the earth ? (Lament. i.). Thus saith the Lord God: This is Jerusalem ; I have set her in the midst of the nations, and the countries round about her (Ezechiel v.). The Temple on Mount Moriah was the one chosen house of the Lord, the House of Sacrifice. My eyes shall be open and my ears attentive to the prayer of him that shall pray in this place (2 Paral. vii.). From Sion the law shall come forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaias ii.). God is our King before ages. He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth (Psalm lxxiii.). We find many holy writers speaking of Jerusalem as the centre of the earth. Lastly, in the dying prayer of old Tobias, we read : Jerusalem, city of God, give glory to the Lord for thy good things, and bless the God Eternal. Thou shalt shine with a glorious light, and all the ends of the earth shall worship thee. Blessed are they that love thee and rejoice in thy peace. Happy shall I be if there shall remain of my seed to see the glory of Jerusalem (c. xiii.). Our Blessed Lord knows all that He has planned to do for Jerusalem, if only His people would acknowledge Him. Try to enter into the grief of His most loving and disappointed Heart.
And here we must reflect upon ourselves, for He that is mighty has done for us things a thousand times more merciful and more loving than for Jerusalem. How far more intense His disappointment when He is obliged to say to us too: My people, what have I done to thee ?? (Micheas vi. 3).
B. Our Blessed Saviour had just been speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem. On former occasions, He had spoken of His Second Coming. The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels (St. Matt. xvi. 27). His Apostles remember this, and now question Him concerning both events: Tell us when shall these things be ?
He answers first : Take heed that no man seduce you. For
many will come in My Name, and they will seduce many. And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you be not troubled. For these things must come to pass. But the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and there shall be pestilences and famines and earthquakes in places. Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows (St. Matt. xxiv. 4-8).
He here teaches them not to expect the consummation of the world too soon, as His Church has first to pass through a long term of sufferings. These are only the beginnings of sorrows; worse are to follow.
(1) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall
put you to death, and you shall be hated by all nations. (2) Then shall many be scandalised, and shall betray one another and hate one another. (3) And many false prophets shall rise and seduce many. And (4) because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold (vv. 9-12).
Here are the greater sorrows that are to follow : (1) persecution; (2) many shall be scandalised; (3) false prophets shall seduce many; (4) the charity and fervour of many shall grow cold.
In the midst of these greater sorrows our days are now spent. How have we been affected by them ? Have we been at all seduced by false teachers? Have we been scandalised ? shaken in our faith ? Have we ever turned traitors ? Has the chilling atmosphere of Protestantism and worldliness and unbelief caused charity to grow cold within us ?
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy, and according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies