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Coleridge, which we have adopted, that our Saviour is not as yet going to Gethsemani, but is going to the altar to enter into a new existence in the Blessed Eucharist, quite a new light dawns upon these words: That the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father hath given Me commandment, so do I.
For now the sense must be that, in order to prove His boundless love to His Father, and His most complete and filial and loving obedience, He is rising up to begin this new existence under the form of wheaten bread and the juice of the grape.
The chalice which He was to drink on earth as Man, was entirely, every drop of it, prepared for Him by His Eternal Father. It is in obedience to His Father that He became Incarnate. In obedience to His Father He will die. So, too, is it a decree of His Father that He is to live in the Blessed Eucharist, in the form of a morsel of bread and a few drops of wine. This being His Father's will, at once, with all His Heart and all His mind and all His strength, He answers: Behold I come-that the world may know that I love the Father, and as He gave Me commandment, so do I. Arise, let us go hence.
B. Some of the holy Fathers apply to the Incarnation of the Son of God these words: Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills (Cant. ii.).
(a) To His first great downward leap, when from Heaven He entered into the virginal womb of His Blessed Mother, Holy Church applies the words of Wisdom: While all things were in quiet silence and the night was in the midst of her course, Thy Almighty Word leaped down from Heaven from Thy royal throne (Wisdom xviii.). In that hour the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us.
(b) A second great downward leap our Saviour took, constrained thereto by the excess of His charity, when at the ninth hour He passed from the life of this world, through the gates of death, into the darkness of the grave and the prison of the holy dead.
(c) The third, and perchance the deepest plunge of all, is when the compassionate love of our Father in Heaven asks of Him to enter into His Sacramental Life and become permanently the Food of men.
Yes; "Perchance the deepest plunge of all".
C. For when our Lord God takes the form of a little bread, He puts Himself in a position immeasurably lower than the state and position of a man, to which He came down at His Incarnation. What comparison, according to our notions, can there be between the condition of a man and the condition of the food which is taken into the body of man? When, therefore, He became our food, this is, we may say, a new annihilation. In a new and more astounding way He has emptied Himself, as St. Paul expresses it.
D. Then again-to continue the comparison in some detail-as an Infant in His mother's womb He was only known to her, and from her received nothing but continual veneration and love. But in the Blessed Eucharist He is in the presence of multitudes who judge Him and rate Him solely by the garb He wears. To them He is a morsel of bread, and they deride Him as a wafer God. "Exinanivit semetipsum.”
E. In the next place, as a Child He was subject to Holy Mary and St. Joseph, but they used their authority with inexpressible tenderness and most reverential love. In the Blessed Eucharist He shall be subject to men of every class and condition, to the good and to the bad alike. Sumunt boni, sumunt mali. This is the Eternal Father's will, and His immediate answer is: Behold, I come—Arise, let us go, because I love My Father, and as He gives Me commandment, so do I. "Exinanivit semetipsum."
The cost He has counted, and into His Eucharistic Life He enters, saying: My Heart hath expected misery and reproach.
F. True, as a Man He was afterwards subject to other masters besides His Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. He
was subject to Pilate, and to Herod, and to the Rulers, and to the soldiers and the servants of Jerusalem.
But in the first place, the power of these men was limited. All the others were dependent on the will of the Roman Governor, and required his sanction before they could carry into effect their designs regarding Jesus. Then Pilate himself was kept in check by the fear of Tiberius, and what he might say and do if Roman justice were outraged.
G. Moreover, all these masters who in Jerusalem had power over our Lord, even if we include the cohort of soldiers and all the servants, are few, very few when compared with the uncounted and countless crowd of masters that shall exercise power over Him in His Eucharistic state; and a power too not kept in check by any Roman Governor or Emperor.
H. Add besides, that the rule of all these masters in Jerusalem is short-lived. After the ninth hour, even Pilate himself, the head Ruler, shall no longer be able to say: I have power to crucify Thee, and power to let Thee
But when His wondering angels ask how long His Eucharistic subjection is to last, our Lord answers by pointing to His unchangeable word: Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.
I. Then if we compare the downward leap from life on earth into the darkness and the shadow of death, with this new plunge down into the depths, when He enters into His Sacramental existence, we must remember that when He died at the hour of the evening sacrifice, His Blessed Soul passed out of the power of men and malicious demons into the hands of His Eternal Father; and the anguish of His Blessed Body was also at an end. In the tomb, the wicked ceased to trouble Him, and His weary body was at
But when He begins His existence on the altar, He comes out, if we may so speak, from the shelter and
protection of the Most High which He enjoys in His Home in Heaven, to put Himself again into the hands of men, and into the power of those princes of darkness, whom men choose to have as their masters.
And this time it is not for one day that He is going to subject Himself to men. It is decreed and fixed that now
His exile on earth is to world.
be till the consummation of the
J. Neither will He now any more avail Himself of that power which He so often used in Judea, in order to escape from His enemies; in the Eucharistic life He will not hide Himself, He will not suddenly escape out of the hands of priests and people, and go elsewhere.
Why is this? Neither change, we are told, nor the shadow of change, can come over the unchangeable Son of God, Who is Jesus yesterday and to-day, and the same for ever. And yet, certainly, His disciple who knew Him well tells us that in Judea He did not trust Himself unto men, for that He knew all men. And because He needeth not that any should give testimony of man, for He knew what was in man (St. John ii.). How is it then? Are men so entirely altered and amended and trustworthy now that He can give Himself up so completely to our keeping? If so, how comes it that the Holy Spirit dictated that sentence, What is that that hath been? The same that shall be. Is not this the true meaning of these words, that the men living now are the true, genuine, unmistakable children of the men that then were, with all their passions; and surrounded by the same malicious spirits, ever seeking whom they may tempt and whom they may devour?
Was there any type of man existing in Jerusalem, in the Prætorium, or the Palace, or the Presbytery, or the streets, that has since died out? If the Heart of Jesus then expected reproach and misery, what is to come now when He puts Himself so completely into the power of men, the bad as well as the good? Sumunt boni, sumunt mali.
K. That the world may know that I love the Father. Arise, let us go.
For what more can He do to prove His loving obedience? Into what deeper depths can His love cast Him down? For in good truth, what else is our Lord's Eucharistic life to be but the Sacred Passion prolonged and perpetuated in a new and miraculous and stupendous way, invented by the charity of His Sacred Heart? In the revelation vouchsafed to St. Paul concerning the Blessed Eucharist, it is said: As often as you shall eat this bread and drink this chalice, you shall show the Death of the Lord until He come. In more ways than one the Blessed Eucharist is to show and represent the Death of the Lord, and not only His Death, but that ocean of disgrace and ignominy and degradation which overwhelmed Him during His Sacred Passion, before His Death. It is to be a memorial of all His wonderful works, and above all, a memorial and living representation of the ingratitude and injustice and opprobrium which in silence He endured during His Passion. He shall be dumb as a lamb before the shearer: and He shall not open His mouth (Isaias liii.).
L. He shall not open His mouth.
For a silence like the stillness of the grave shall reign for ever unbroken in the Tabernacle. A silence such as shall persuade multitudes of men to say, There is no one there. No one sees me; no one hears me. For the Lamb of God shall live there day and night - through honour and dishonour, good report and evil report - He shall not open His mouth. "Jesus autem tacebat."
As an infant He could be seen, and His very littleness and His tears could attract some compassion, and He could also make His cries heard to win some pity and get some help.
Later, again, when a Man of Sorrows, His pale face could draw the eyes of men, and His wounds could speak to their hearts. But in His Eucharistic state He is incom