Practical Meditations For Every Day in the Year on the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ composed chiefly for the Use of Religious by a Father of the Society of Jesus. First translated from the French, 1868. Though primarily intended for Religious, the devout layman will find the Practical Meditations a most serviceable and bracing form of Spiritual Exercise amounting in fact to something like the daily practice of a Retreat.
FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
Affliction of the Soul of Jesus
1st Prelude. See Jesus Christ saying to His disciples: "My soul is sorrowful, even unto death."
2nd Prelude. Beg for Christian resignation in intense sufferings.
POINT I. "He began to grow sorrowful, and to be sad; to fear, and to be heavy."
CONSIDERATION. Man had sinned by misusing the faculties of his soul, before he misused his senses and the members of his body. Therefore, by the suffering of His soul, Jesus chose to begin His Passion. These sufferings were immense, above all created strength. He experienced them under every form, and no part of His soul was exempted, because He willed to give His Heavenly Father an entire and superabundant satisfaction, and to us a proof of infinite love.
APPLICATION. From the first step in His sorrowful Passion, Jesus unveiled the love for men, for each of us, which fills His Heart; for we were all present before Him, and we can say with the Apostle, "He loved me, and delivered Himself for me." The murderers could not touch His soul, but Jesus did what they had no power to do -- He suspended by miracle the ineffable joy with which the beatific vision filled His soul, and left it a prey to the terrible agony which the thought of death, and especially a cruel and violent one, naturally causes.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. "Then He saith to them, My soul is sorrowful, even unto death."
CONSIDERATION. "My soul is sorrowful unto death" means that He was overwhelmed with the sufferings and agony of one who dies by a violent death, and who is pressed down by terrible trouble of mind. What was the cause of this load of sorrow? First, the repulsive sight of the sins of men which His Father had laid on Him because He had offered Himself as the Victim of universal expiation. Posuit Dominus in eo iniquitates omnium nostrum -- "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Secondly, the vivid and detailed representation of all the torments, all the insults, that He had to undergo. Finally, the terrible thought of the uselessness of His death to a vast number of men who would harden themselves in sin. Quae utilitas in sanguine meo?
APPLICATION. Behold, then, O my soul, the cause of thy Saviour's immense sufferings. Dwell on them one by one, and see how far thou hast contributed to them during thy life, and particularly since thou hast made a profession of loving and serving Him more perfectly.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. "Stay you here and watch with Me, while I go yonder and pray."
CONSIDERATION. How did Jesus feel in the extreme desolation of His soul? First, He speaks to His three chosen disciples, and asks them to share His sorrow, and watch with Him; then He has recourse to prayer. He acted thus as Man, to serve as our model.
APPLICATION. We thus learn what in our interior troubles we may do and what we ought to do: we may seek alleviation in communicating them to a pious and discreet friend; but, as men, after all, cannot give us the supernatural strength that we need, we ought to have recourse to prayer, and wait upon God. Have you acted thus? Have you imitated those who obstinately shut themselves up when in trouble and temptation, at the risk of falling into dejection and melancholy? Or have you gone to the other extreme of those who communicate their interior suffering to everybody, and forget one thing only -- that of resorting to God in prayer, and to those whom He has given as guides in the spiritual life, so that they may receive counsel and consolation?
COLLOQUY with Jesus suffering.
First Friday Reminder