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accursed spirits of darkness, but singing for ever and ever the canticles of gratitude and love: Thou hast broken my bonds, I will sacrifice to Thee the sacrifice of praise (Psalm cxv.).
N. They bound Him.
He knows too that His faithful, after seeing Him bound, as a man that hath no help, will feel sure, when, on behalf of their persecuted brethren, they are crying out: Let the groans of the fettered (gemitus compeditorum) come in before Thee, that He never can forget His suffering little ones : since they know that we have not a High Priest Who cannot have compassion on our infirinities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are (Hebrews iv.).
O. And they bound Him.
Yes, and while He stands bound under the walls of His Holy City, in the moonlight, and among the olive-trees, and with the flaming torches waving round Him, and quite alone among His enemies—while they looked and stared upon Me-all this time He has the joy set before Him, which the comforting Angel brought back to His mind, that a long linė of men and women, moved by this scene, and by the bonds and chains of His captivity, will not be content to be bound only by His precepts and commandments; but will add on other straiter shackles and more precious bonds, binding them closely to Him, and to His Holy Mother, in voluntary poverty, chastity of choice, and most willing and complete obedience.
All shall be made new, and man who heretofore said, I will not serve, now glories to style himself: 1, the prisoner of Jesus Christ (Ephes. iii.).
P. They took Yesus and bound Him,
“Alas, my Lord and my God, if Thou art bound, if Thy power is lessened by man's foolish will, so much the worse for me! so much the worse for us all.
"May Thy hands never be bound, Lord Jesus, our Saviour! May Thy enemy and our enemy never be able to say: I have prevailed against Him! May Thy Kingdom
come, Lord Jesus! All the days of my life, let not my will but Thine be done, my Lord and my God.”
Let us sing a hymn to the Lord, let us sing a new hymn to our God. 0 Adonai, Lord, great art Thou, and glorious in Thy power, great in the OMNIPOTENT WEAKNESS OF THY GOODNESS, and no one can overcome Thee (Judith xvi.).
Q. They bound Him.
The Holy Spirit speaks of the bonds of darkness, the chains of darkness. We must not forget that we habitually are bound in bonds of darkness. Too often are the things hidden from our eyes that are to our peace. Even our sins become hidden and we cease to see them. We have need to cry out earnestly: From my hidden sins cleanse me, o Lord. Hidden sins are preventing the love of our Lord from growing more rapidly in our soul. For ourselves then, and for our neighbours too, we must often beg heartily that the bonds of our Lord may deliver us from the bonds of darkness.
R. They bound Him.
Jesus, when He came as an Infant into this world, had before Him the whole earth; all its cities, all its palaces. The blessed angels could prepare His cradle wherever it pleased Him. Out of all the dwelling-places existing, He selected the stable at Bethlehem with its Crib. Even so has He now chosen this spot, this hour, to stand here alone and friendless, and to be bound here, and chained and beaten and bruised here. For He knows that men will remember this hour and this place, and will look at Him in this condition, and that virtue will go out from Him to them. Therefore does He now stand meek and dumb as a lamb before his shearer (Isaias liii.).
S. Holy Mary, Mother of God, in the stable you bound your divine Child in swathing bands. By those bands, and by the cords and chains that bind Him now,
for us to break loose from the bonds of sin.
Solve vincla reis,
Break the chains that bind,
(St. Mark xiv. 50). Whither did the disciples go? Where did they seek a refuge ? Tradition agrees with what we should naturally expect from the nature of the ground. Mount Olivet is behind them to the east. Some writers think that they took the road over this hill, in order to hide at Bethany. But is it likely that, eager to escape, they would face a high hill ? Then, secondly, the walls of Jerusalem are in front of them to the west, with a very steep pathway to be climbed, and they doubtless believe that the soldiers who came by that road, will return by the same. So that their flight would certainly not be in that direction. Then, on their right hand, the road from Gethsemani to the north, through the Valley of Josaphat, also suddenly becomes very steep. The only level road, then, is the remaining one on the left hand to the south, This one, according to tradition, they chose, and it seems natural that men in a state of terror would do so. Escape would appear to them impossible by any of the other three steep roads. On the south side of the city, the caverns are still shown in which the scared disciples hid themselves. Some of these have recently been purchased by a Religious (rder in the hope that they may be made into a holy sanctuary.
A. The disciples leaving Him, all fled away.
We may follow them to their hiding-place, to contemplate their condition. Oh, what a night of trouble, of sorrow, of shame, of bewilderment, of remorse it is to them! The little flock is scattered, and left without their Shepherd. Drawn closely to Him by a strong attracting grace, they have remained with Him in His temptations. Seeing His many miracles, they have acquired a supernatural dependence on Him. They have clung to Him, and borne with Him the burden of the day and the heat. Now, for the first time since they left all things to follow Him, there is a terrible separation. True, they were without Him on the sea, during the midnight storm ; but only for a short time. He soon came back to comfort them. And besides, on that night it was no fault of theirs that He was not with them. They had not fled away to leave Him a prisoner in the hands of His enemies. They went at His bidding into the boat, and very soon they found
Him again. But to-night they have all, by their own choice, fled away from Him and left Him alone among His enemies. Later in life, indeed, they will be able to look back with a calm sorrow and with grateful hearts upon this night; each of them will be able to say: “O Lord Jesus, it is good for me that Thou hast humbled me. Before I was humbled, I offended (Psalm cxviii.). In the Cenacle, alas, I said with so much senseless presumption: I am ready to die with Thee, Master. I never will deny Thee." For when Simon Peter said it, In like manner said they all (St. Mark xiv.). And they will shed tears of loving contrition when they remember how meekly their Master urged them to pray, and warned them that, though the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. " Ah me! little I knew how weak I was."
But to-night all is trouble and fear and remorse. Bitter tears are falling from their eyes. They have no mind now to sleep. Wo, wo is me! the light of our eyes, the comfort of our life, is gone! “O Master, we having all things together with Thee, ought not to have let Thee go from us ” (Tobias x.).
And now come back to their minds those terrible words He spoke so solemnly a week ago, which then made no impression: We go to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed to the Chief Priests and Scribes.
“We could not believe it. So often have we seen Him deliver Himself out of their hands; we never thought that they could take Him. Wo, wo to us! For if this is come to pass, the rest too will all be true: They shall condemn Him to death ; He shall be crucified. Oh! better for us to have been drowned that stormy night upon the sea, than live to go through this unhappy night! Alas, alas ! the breath of our mouth, Christ the Lord, is taken, and taken for our sins; to Whom we said so often : Under Thy shadow we shall live" (Lament. iv.).
Some one, perchance the privileged one, James, the brother of the Lord, might suggest : “He gave us a sure promise that He would not leave us orphans". But the
answer comes too quickly : " He has not left us. It is we who have lest Him. Oh, most dismal night!
“ How can we show ourselves any more in presence of the Blessed Mother? She will not look at us. She will turn her face away from us!”
All this while, their Divine Master is most mindful of His promise: I will not leave you orphans. He has given His angels a special charge over His little flock, to comfort them and guide them, and not suffer the spirits of wickedness to tempt them beyond their strength. Earnestly His most compassionate Heart has been pleading for them: “ Father, forgive them”. And His Most Holy Mother, who is in the closest union with Him, her heart beating with His, she too is, with all the tenderness of the best of mothers, pleading : "Father, forgive them”.
Our Lord has good reason to say to the poor sinner, crushed by the thought of his sin: Have confidence (St. John xvi.). For My thoughts are not your thoughts (Isaias lv.). It is the father of lies who tells you so urgently that I am the austere man who will take vengeance. But, I know the thoughts that I think towards you : thoughts of peace and not of affliction. You shall pray to Me, and I will hear you. You shall seek Me, and you shall find Me (Jerem. xxix.). Remember My word : You now indeed have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice (St. John xvi.).
THE WAY OF CAPTIVITY.
And they brought Jesus to the High Priest (v. 53).
A. Observe how quickly this story is told. How few words are needed. If we merely read and pass on, how little we know of what happened during the journey. The pages of the Holy Gospel are like the surface of the earth beneath which precious mines lie hid. With great reason does our Blessed Saviour call to us : “ O vos omnes– you