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blessing that we now enjoy, it may most truly be said: It was bought for you at a large cost.
Fac Cor amans Jesu mei. Loving Heart of my Jesus, give me grace to believe and realise this great truth. ' He loved me and delivered Himself up for me.
STATION XII. And He said: Where have you laid him? They said : Lord,
come and see. And Jesus wept. The Fews, therefore, said : Behold, how He loved him (vv. 34-36).
A. He said: Where have you laid him ? With the Prophet we may answer: “Domine Deus, tu nosti”—O Lord God, Thou knowest (Ezechiel xxxvii.). Why does our Blessed Saviour
so often to tell Him what He knows already? Why does He afterwards make Mary at His own tomb tell Him whom she is seeking ? Why does He make Cleophas and his companion tell Him their troubles on the road to Emmaus? We have, I think, the answer in the words of the Eternal Wisdom: My delights were to be with the children of men (Prov. viii. 31). As a good mother takes pleasure in hearing her children telling in their own way things she knows already, but pretends not to know;
our Lord finds comfort and delight in having us to speak to Him. So much so, that He will not give us our daily bread unless we come to Him and ask for it. He never tires of being with us, and therefore would have us always conversing with Him. He spoke a parable to them (His disciples) that we ought always to pray and not to faint (St. Luke xviii.).
B. And Jesus wept. Spiritual writers tell us that He often wept, but was not ever seen to laugh. A truehearted mother could scarcely laugh while her much-loved child lies under sentence of death. Night and day she is thinking how to rescue him. Holy Church presents our Lord to us giving this account of His own most loving Heart: My Heart expected reproach and misery (Psalm Ixviii.). He woke every morning with a heavy load on His
Heart; and, moreover, fully expecting to meet with ingratitude and contempt from those He loved. What wonder if His tears flow often, and if He does not laugh, or even smile! Yet all the while He has within Him His own peace; that peace which the world cannot give, and which no man can take from Him.
To His faithful followers in like manner He foretells that sorrow is to be their portion here on earth : You shall lament and weep, but the world will rejoice ; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy (St. John xvi.). The world gives its best wine first, but in the end a wine more bitter than gall and wormwood. Our Lord, on the contrary, gives first the bitter draught from His chalice; but endless sweetness afterwards throughout the long eternity. And He does not always wait for the next world to console. For even here in this valley of tears, they who are so blessed as to mourn can often say with St. Paul: I superabound with joy in all my tribulations (2 Cor. vii.). What wonder ? for it is to the blessed mourners that He promises that priceless legacy: Peace I leave you, My peace I give you.
STATION XIII. The Jews, therefore, said: Behold, how He loved him (v. 36).
A. In Purgatory, if we die well, we shall make long meditations on this word, Behold, how He loved. There at last we shall have leisure. For we shall be no longer under the bewitching power of trifling (Wisdom iv.), which keeps us so occupied and so busy here. And ten thousand times a thousand proofs will pass before our minds, each of them saying, See how He loved you. It is not a few tears only that are the proof; but He created me, made Himself my Father and me His child; He became Man for me ; He made me His brother and His bride; He died for me; He invented His Blessed Eucharist for me; He sent His Holy Spirit to me; He charged His Blessed Mother to be a Mother to me; and at last He asked: What is there
that I ought to do more for My vineyard and have not done to it? (Isaias v.). O cor amans Jesu mei. O loving Heart of Jesus, open my eyes here; give me grace to begin to see here how much, how truly, how wonderfully Thou hast loved me.
of the man born blind have caused that this man should not die ? (v. 37).
A. This is a fair and reasonable question. Our Lord's answer, had He chosen to give one, would be: “Certainly, I could; but I had just and wise reasons for not hindering his death. It was expedient for you that I should not hinder it." What I am doing thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter (St. John xii.). We often are inclined to condemn the providence of our God. He could have prevented this misery; why did He not?
So we argue. At the final Judgment when He makes known all His reasons and the whole plan and design on which He has acted, the prophetic Psalmist tells us: He shall be justified in all His words, and shall overcome (and triumph) when He is judged (Psalm 1.). Angels and men will join
. with His Blessed Mother, their Queen, in her hymn: My soul magnifies the Lord (St. Luke i.). The Lord is just in all His ways, and holy in all His works (Psalm cxliv.).
B. Moreover, we often say: God can do all things. Why does He not bring about what I want? We forget that He has given us free-will and made the earth over to men: The earth He gave to the sons of men (Psalm cxiii.). As a father makes over a rty to an eldest son and then does not interfere unduly, so God has made over this world to us, and has truly bound Himself not to interfere beyond a certain point with our supremacy here. He lets our will rule, but at the same time watches, and so overrules all our doings, that even our sins shall further His holy designs.
Jesus, therefore, again groaning in Himself, cometh to the
sepulchre. Now it was a cave, and a stone was laid over it (v. 38).
The sepulchres of the Jews were not all of the same form. As part of Judea was a very rocky country, caves or grottoes abounded. These were utilised, sometimes as chambers or outhouses attached to a dwelling-place, often too as graves for the dead. The doorway, or entrance, was sometimes in the side of the rock. In this case a large stone door stood in a prepared groove, and could be closed or rolled back as required. other cases the cave or grotto lay underground, and the entrance to the grave was from above. Consequently, the stone, or slab, that covered the entrance was “laid over it," as is here said of the tomb of Lazarus.
This tomb, which is still shown, stands about forty yards higher up Mount.Olivet than the house of Lazarus. At present you enter through a door into a chamber, or grotto, and there you find steps leading down to the grave. It must have been over these steps that the stone was laid. Here, as in the case of so many other holy places, the Turks have desecrated the sacred spot by erecting a mosque. From the stone on the level where our Saviour conversed with Martha and Mary to the grave on the hill-side, the distance was nearly half a mile.
A. Jesus, therefore, again groaning in Himself.
Why is the Heart of our Blessed Lord again troubled ? He is groaning, “ fremens," that is, with a shudder or convulsion of horror. Has He not cause enough ? He sees all things, and hears the never-ending wail of those who have been duped by Satan: We fools. The serpent deceived
Death and the grave are only feeble representations of the eternal death and of that prison-house out of which there is no resurrection.
B. What wonder that the most compassionate Heart of Jesus pours out mercy in a torrent on all who help Him to save a poor sinner from the grasp of Satan? Forget
not the golden message delivered by St. James: My brethren, if any of you err from the truth and one convert him ; he must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his ways, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins (c. v.).
Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart (1 Cor. ii.) of any man on earth to conceive how sheer gladness and joy will overwhelm the soul at the judgment-seat, when the grateful Heart of our Lord speaks that word : So long as you did it to the least of My little ones, you did it unto Me (St. Matt. xxv.).
Jesus saith : Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him
that was dead, saith to Him: Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days. Jesus said to her : Did I not say to thee, that if thou believe thou shalt see the glory of God ? (vv. 39, 40). A. Take
away the stone. When our Lord wishes to give us a great grace, as a rule He requires us to do some little thing as a preparation. At Cana: Fill the water-pots with water. This was an easy effort. To the young man: Go, sell what thou hast, and give it to the poor. This seemed hard; but, compared with the eternal reward, how small! But, easy or hard, our Blessed Lady's advice is ever the same as at Cana, Whatever He shall say to you, do ye. If you have to offer with her two pigeons, do it. If you have to offer a lamb, do it. Whatever the price, pay it, in order to secure to yourself the Child Jesus.
Our Lord goes further. He says to us: If thy right hand scandalise thee, cut it off and cast it from thee. Why? Because it is better for thee to go into Heaven maimed, than having two hands to be castinto everlasting fire (St. Matt. xviii.).
B. But, alas! when our Blessed Lord thus asks us to give some little that He may have a plea for giving us much, our habit is to demur. They began all at once to make