Sunday, 16 March 2014

Second Week of Lent: Sunday - Traditional Lenten Meditation

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.

Jesus condemned as a Blasphemer

1st Prelude. Behold Jesus, gentle and humble, in the midst of bloodthirsty men, who cry out, "He is guilty of death."

2nd Prelude. Beg grace to know and love Jesus Christ ever more and more.

POINT I. "Then the high priest rent his garments, saying, He hath blasphemed; what further need have we of witnesses?"

CONSIDERATION. How detestable was the hypocrisy of Caiphas and his party! Under an appearance of piety and zeal, they hid the mortal hatred they bore our Lord, and their long-conceived plan of putting him to death. Not wishing to enrage the people against them, they sought a specious excuse for their conduct; and Caiphas made sure he could find one by adjuring Jesus to say if He were really the Son of God; for if He said no, he should be able to condemn Him as an impostor, because the people had believed Him to be God; if He said yes, he would sentence Him as a blasphemer; and then he would use some of the expressive signs customary to the Jews, to make people believe he was overwhelmed with horror at the sin. The wicked are indeed very ingenious.

APPLICATION. Have I never dissimulated? Have I never imposed on men, on my brethren, or my superiors? Have I never concealed a wrong intention under a fair exterior, or tried to justify in my own eyes some forbidden pleasures in which I take delight? But it is God who will judge me; therefore what use is there in all of this? What will be the end of it?


POINT II. "Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy, what think you? But they, answering, said, He is guilty of death."

CONSIDERATION. The judges who pronounced this sentence upon the All-holy were men inflamed with hatred and blinded by passion. They hated Him because He had confessed the truth, and done righteously.

APPLICATION. In this world the innocent are often calumniated and oppressed by the crafty, and it is permitted by God, for wise and merciful reasons. And so, in this instance, Caiphas was the instrument by which God, made man, should complete the sacrifice of His life in reparation to His Father for the sins of mankind. That wicked sentence of death opened to us all the gates of eternal life.


POINT III. "But they, answering, said, He is guilty of death."

CONSIDERATION. If we look on Jesus according to the expression of the Apostle, as the new Adam, who is to expiate the sin of the first Adam and the innumerable sins of his whole posterity in His own Person, then indeed "He is guilty of death." Reus est mortis. It was in this sense that the Eternal Father ratified the sentence pronounced against His Son, and He Himself accepted it in loving silence.

APPLICATION. O my soul, thou hast sinned in Adam, thou hast sinned thyself, thou didst cause the death of Jesus. The sentence, "He is guilty of death," has been pronounced by Divine Justice against thee; but the Son of God made man became thy substitute, accepted in thy stead, and gave back to thee eternal life.

COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lord.

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