Monday, 10 March 2014

First Week of Lent: Tuesday - 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 reproves His disciples, and goes to meet the Traitor Judas

1st Prelude. Look at Jesus when He says these words: "Sleep ye now, and take your rest: behold, he is at hand that will betray Me."

2nd Prelude. Beg grace to draw great fruit from this meditation.

POINT I. And He cometh to His disciples, and findeth them asleep; and He saith to Peter, "Simon sleepest thou? What, couldst thou not watch one hour with Me?"

CONSIDERATION. This reproach so confounded the Apostles that the Evangelist says "they knew not what to answer Him." It must have been especially bitter to St. Peter, who such a short time previously had been making protestations of fidelity and constancy. This was why our Divine Saviour addressed him personally: "Simon, sleepest thou? What, while I, thy Master, have prayed and endured an extreme agony, hast thou not had the courage to watch one hour with Me in prayer, though I expressly commanded thee to do so; and thou art about this moment to be attacked by thy enemies?" Certainly the reproach was well deserved.

APPLICATION. Alas, how many times have you deserved the same reproach by your frequent langour and slumbering in your spiritual duties, and especially during the hour of meditation! -- that precious time which is given to you that you may foresee and prepare for all that the glory of your Divine Master and your own greatest interests demand from you during the day.


POINT II. "Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

CONSIDERATION. Spiritual lukewarmness, united to that presumption which makes us imagine we are going to do some great good, is a very dangerous state, and leads those who indulge in it into fatal delusions. Because they intend to do well, and are, like the Apostles, prodigal in grand promises, they think all is right with them, and they keep themselves in a false security; as if there were not a great difference between willing and doing a thing, and as if we had of ourselves strength to work out our salvation. Jesus Christ tells us the contrary when He says, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak"; and that is why He immediately adds these solemn words: "Watch and pray." Be always on your guard, always distrustful of self, always armed with prayer; for if not, you will certainly fall under temptation, under the deceitful attacks of your enemies.

APPLICATION. Examine yourself carefully, and dread any delusion about your state -- a delusion so much the more to be feared because faults and negligences, if they become habitual, cease to inspire us with fear.


POINT III. "And leaving them, He went again and He prayed... Then He cometh to His disciples, and saith to them, Sleep ye now, and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go; behold, he is at hand that will betray Me."

CONSIDERATION. The firmness with which Jesus Christ now goes forward to meet tortures and death, the mere thought of which had thrown Him into an agony, shows plainly the powerful effects of prayer -- of that long and fervent prayer that He had made to His Father. We shall also see, in the shameful flight of the Apostles at the first danger, the loss that the soul sustains which neglects to seek God in fervent prayer.

APPLICATION. It is from prayer and communication with God that we draw the strength we need in occasions of difficulty. If in our daily meditation we were careful to foresee these occasions, to animate ourselves to meet them, and humbly beg for grace, we should never lose courage; at the critical moment we should say with Jesus, "The hour is come; let us go and practise the resolutions made this morning under the inspiration of grace." We should then count as many victories as we have struggles.

COLLOQUY with Our Divine Saviour. We can also make it with the Saint of the day, or any other to whom we have a devotion.

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