Meditation

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Eleven

8 December 2016

Advent-Masthead-20121-1024x266

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”

11th Day: THE TRUE NATURE OF REBELLION

Rebellion consists in any willful disobedience to the express commands of our King in order to gratify our own will, or promote what seems to us to be our interest. Let us see what such disobedience involves.

It involves a preference of ourselves to God our King, of our supposed advantage to His glory. It thus reverses the order of Divine Providence. The disobedient man places himself, so to speak, above his King, and, instead of serving his King, seeks to make his King serve him. He who is Lord of Heaven and earth is set aside for a miserable worm, made of the dust of the earth, who is of no account and nothing. What insolence could be greater than this?

Every act of disobedience treats as of no account the Passion and Death of our King. It deliberately adds to His suffering, and if it is a serious act of disobedience it in some way shares the malice and cruelty of those who scourged and mocked Christ, and put Him to death. St. Paul tells us that when, after swearing allegiance to Him, we afterwards join the ranks of His enemies, we “crucify the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame.” What is not deserved by those who are guilty of such infamy?

Rebellion and disobedience to our King are also the most frightful ingratitude. Nothing is more hateful than to return evil for good. When we think of the most generous sacrifice of Himself that our King made of His life for us, what can be more shamelessly base and ungrateful than to insult and outrage Him in return. Yet this, (alas!) is what I have too often done.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Wednesday in Holy Week

23 March 2016

“Spy Wednesday”
Wednesday in Holy Week
16 April 2014 Anno Domini

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday in Holy Week

Three things are symbolised by the washing of the Feet

He putteth “water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded–(John xiii. 5).

There are three things which this can be taken to symbolise. 1. The pouring of the water into the basin is a symbol of the pouring out of His blood upon the earth. Since the blood of Jesus has a power of cleansing it may in a sense be called water. The reason why water, as well as blood, came out of His side, was to show that this blood could wash away sin.

Again we might take the water as a figure of Christ’s Passion. He putteth water into a basin, that is, by faith and devotion He stamped into the minds of faithful followers the memory of His Passion. Remember my poverty, and transgression, the wormwood and the gall (Lam. iii. 19).

2. By the words and began to wash it is human imperfection that is symbolised. For the Apostles, after their living with Christ, were certainly more perfect, and yet they needed to be washed, there were still stains upon them. We are here made to understand that no matter what is the degree of any man’s perfection he still needs to be made more perfect still; He is still contracting uncleanness of some kind to some extent. So in the Book of Proverbs we read, Who can say My heart is clean I am pure from sin (Prov. xx. 9).

Nevertheless the Apostles and the just have this kind of uncleanness only in their feet.

There are however others who are infected, not only in their feet, but wholly and entirely. Those who make their bed upon the soiling attractions of the world are made wholly unclean thereby. Those who wholly, that is to say, with their senses and with their wills, cleave to their desire of earthly things, these are wholly unclean.

But they who do not thus lie down, they who stand, that is, they who, in mind and in desire, are tending towards heavenly things, contract this uncleanness in their feet. Whoever stands must, necessarily, touch the earth at least with his feet. And we, too, in this life, where we must, to maintain life, make use of earthly things, cannot but contract a certain uncleanness, at least as far as those desires and inclinations are concerned which begin in our senses.

Therefore Our Lord commanded His disciples to shake off the dust from their feet. The text says, “He began to wash,” because this washing away on earth of the affection for earthly things is only a beginning. It is only in the life to come that it will be really complete.

Thus by putting water into the basin, the pouring out of His blood is signified, and by His beginning to wash the feet of His disciples the washing away of our sins.

3. There is symbolised finally Our Lord’s taking upon Him the punishment due to our sins. Not only did He wash away our sins but He also took upon Himself the punishment that they had earned. For our pains and our penances would not suffice were they not founded in the merit and the power of the Passion of Christ. And this is shown in His wiping the feet of the disciples with the linen towel, that is the towel which is His body.

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent

16 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent


Christ underwent every kind of suffering

Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

“Every kind of suffering.” The things men suffer may be understood in two ways. By “kind” we may mean a particular, individual suffering, and in this sense there was no reason why Christ should suffer every kind of suffering, for many kinds of suffering are contrary the one to the other, as for example, to be burnt and to be drowned. We are of course speaking of Our Lord as suffering from causes outside himself, for to suffer the suffering effected by internal causes, such as bodily sickness, would not have become him. But if by “kind” we mean the class, then Our Lord did suffer by every kind of suffering, as we can show in three ways:

1. By considering the men through whom He suffered. For He suffered something at the hands of Gentiles and of Jews, of men and even of women as the story of the servant girl who accused St. Peter goes to show. He suffered, again, at the hands of rulers, of their ministers, and of the people, as was prophesied, Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

He suffered, too, from His friends, the men He knew best, for Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him.

2. If we consider the things through which suffering is possible. Christ suffered in the friends who deserted Him, and in His good name through the blasphemies uttered against Him. He suffered in the respect, in the glory, due to Him through the derision and contempt bestowed upon Him. He suffered in things, for He was stripped even of His clothing; in His soul, through sadness, through weariness and through fear; in His body through wounds and the scourging.

3. If we consider what He underwent in His various parts. His head suffered through the crown of piercing thorns, His hands and feet through the nails driven through them, His face from the blows and the defiling spittle, and His whole body through the scourging.

He suffered in every sense of His body. Touch was afflicted by the scourging and the nailing, taste by the vinegar and gall, smell by the stench of corpses as He hung on the cross in that place of the dead which is called Calvary. His hearing was torn with the voices of mockers and blasphemers, and He saw the tears of His mother and of the disciple whom He loved. If we only consider the amount of suffering required, it is true that one suffering alone, the least indeed of all, would have sufficed to redeem the human race from all its sins. But if we look at the fitness of the matter, it had to be that Christ should suffer in all the kinds of sufferings.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Monday After First Sunday of Lent

15 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


Christ had to be tempted in the desert

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

1. It was by Christ’s own will that He was exposed to the temptation by the devil, as it was also by His own will that He was exposed to be slain by the limbs of the devil. Had He not so willed, the devil would never have dared to approach Him.

The devil is always more disposed to attack those who are alone, because, as is said in Sacred Scripture, If a man shall prevail against one, two shall with stand him easily (Eccles. iv. 12). That is why Christ went out into the desert, as one going out to a battle-ground, that there He might be tempted by the devil. Whereupon St. Ambrose says that Christ went into the desert for the express purpose of provoking the devil. For unless the devil had fought, Christ would never have overcome him for me.

St. Ambrose gives other reasons too. He says that Christ chose the desert as the place to be tempted for a hidden reason, namely that he might free from His exile Adam who, from Paradise, was driven into the desert; and again that He did it for a reason in which there is no mystery, namely to show us that the devil envies those who are tending towards a better life.

2. We say with St. Chrysostom that Christ exposed Himself to the temptation because the devil most of all tempts those whom he sees alone. So in the very beginning of things he tempted the woman, when he found her away from her husband. It does not however follow from this that a man ought to throw himself into any occasion of temptation that presents itself.

Occasions of temptation are of two kinds. One kind arises from man’s own action, when, for example, man himself goes near to sin, not avoiding the occasion of sin. That such occasions are to be avoided we know, and Holy Scripture reminds us of it. Stay not in any part of the country round about Sodom (Gen. xix. 17). The second kind of occasion arises from the devil’s constant envy of those who are tending to better things, as St. Ambrose says, and this occasion of temptation is not one we must avoid. So, according to St. John Chrysostom, not only Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Ghost, but all the children of God who possess the Holy Ghost are led in like manner. For God’s children are never content to sit down with idle hands, but the Holy Ghost ever urges them to undertake for God some great work. And this, as far as the devil is concerned, is to go into the desert, for in the desert there is none of that wickedness which is the devil’s delight. Every good work is as it were a desert to the eye of the world and of our flesh, for good works are contrary to the desire of the world and of our flesh.

To give the devil such an opportunity of temptation as this is not dangerous, for it is much more the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, who is the promoter of every perfect work, that prompts us than the working of the devil who hates them all.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – First Week: Sunday

14 February 2016

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas


First Sunday of Lent:It was fitting that Christ should be tempted

Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted
by the devil. Matt. iv. i.

Christ willed to be tempted:

1. That He might assist us against our own temptations. St. Gregory says, ” That our Redeemer, who had come on earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of Him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by His own, in the same way that He had come to overcome our death by His death.”

2. To warn us that no man, however holy he be, should think himself safe and free from temptation. Whence again His choosing to be tempted after His baptism, about which St. Hilary says, “The devil’s wiles are especially directed to trap us at times when we have recently been made holy, because the devil desires no victory so much as a victory over the world of grace.” Whence too, the scripture warns us, Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation (Ecclus. ii. i).

3. To give us an example how we should over come the temptations of the devil, St. Augustine says, “Christ gave Himself to the devil to be tempted, that in the matter of our overcoming those same temptations He might be of service not only by His help but by His example too.”

4. To fill and saturate our minds with confidence in His mercy. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are, without sin (Heb. iv. 15).


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – The Third Sunday of Lent

8 March 2015

8 March 2015 Anno Domini

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Third Sunday of Lent

It is the Passion of Christ that has freed us from sin

He hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.–Apoc. 1. 5.

The Passion of Christ is the proper cause of the remission of our sins, and that in three ways

1.Because it provokes us to love God. St. Paul says, God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners Christ died for us (Rom. v. 8).

Through charity we obtain forgiveness for sin, as it says in the gospel, Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much (Luke vii. 47).

2.The Passion of Christ is the cause of the forgiveness of sins because it is an act of redemption. Since Christ is Himself our head, He has, by His own Passion undertaken from love and obedience delivered us His members from our sins, as it were at the price of His Passion. Just as a man might by some act of goodness done with his hands buy himself off for a wrong thing he had done with his feet. For as man’s natural body is a unity, made up of different limbs, so the whole Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, is reckoned as a single person with its own head, and this head is Christ.

3.The Passion of Christ was a thing equal to its task. For the human nature through which Christ suffered His Passion is the instrument of His divine nature. Whence all the actions and all the sufferings of that human nature wrought to drive out sin, are wrought by a power that is divine.

Christ, in His Passion, delivered us from our sins in a causal way, that is to say, He set up for us a thing which would be a cause of our emancipation, a thing whereby any sin might at any time be remitted, whether committed now, or in times gone by, or in time to come: much as a physician might make a medicine from which all who are sick may be healed, even those sick in the years yet to come.

But since what gives the Passion of Christ its excellence is the fact that it is the universal cause of the forgiveness of sins, it is necessary that we each of us ourselves make use of it for the forgiveness of our own particular sins. This is done through Baptism, Penance and the other sacraments, whose power derives from the Passion of Christ.

By faith also we make use of the Passion of Christ, in order to receive its fruits, as St. Paul says, Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood (Rom. iii 25). But the faith by which we are cleansed from sin is not that faith which can exist side by side with sin–the faith called formless–but faith formed, that is to say, faith made alive by charity. So that the Passion of Christ is not through faith applied merely to our understanding but also to our will. Again, it is from the power of the Passion of Christ that the sins are forgiven which are forgiven by faith in this way.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Saturday After First Sunday of Lent

28 February 2015

28 February 2015 Anno Domini
Ember Saturday in Lent

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday After First Sunday of Lent

The Love of God Shown in the Passion of Christ

God commendeth His charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us.–Rom. v. 8, 9

1. Christ died for the ungodly(ibid. 6). This is a great thing if we consider who it is that died, a great thing also if we consider on whose behalf he died. For scarce for a just man, will one die (ibid. 6), that is to say, that you will hardly find anyone who will die even to set free a man who is innocent, nay even it is said, The just perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart (Isaias lvii).

Rightly therefore does St. Paul say scarce will one die. There might perhaps be found one, some one rare person who out of superabundance of courage would be so bold as to die for a good man. But this is rare, for the simple reason that so to act is the greatest of all things. Greater love than this no man hath, says Our Lord himself, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John xv. 13).

But the like of what Christ did himself, to die for evildoers and the wicked, has never been seen. Wherefore rightly do we ask in wonderment why Christ did it.

2. If in fact it be asked why Christ died for the wicked, the answer is that God in this way commendeth His charity towards us. He shows us in this way that He loves us with a love that knows no limits, for while we were as yet sinners Christ died for us.

The very death of Christ for us shows the love of God, for it was His son whom He gave to die that satisfaction might be made for us. God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son (John iii. 16). And thus as the love of God the Father for us is shown in his giving us His Holy Spirit, so also is it shown in this way, by his gift of his only Son.

The Apostle says God commendeth signifying thereby that the love of God is a thing which cannot be measured. This is shown by the very fact of the matter, namely the fact that He gave His Son to die for us, and it is shown also by reason of the kind of people we are for whom He died. Christ was not stirred up to die for us by any merits of ours, when as yet we were sinners. God (who is rich in mercy) for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (Eph. ii. 4).

3. All these things are almost too much to be believed. A work is done in your days, which no man will believe when it shall be told (Habac. i. 5). This truth that Christ died for us is so hard a truth that scarcely can our intelligence take hold of it. Nay it is a truth that our intelligence could in no way discover. And St. Paul, preaching, makes echo to Habacuc, I work a work in your days, a work which you will not believe, if any man shall tell it to you (Acts xiii 14).

So great is God’s love for us and His grace towards us, that He does more for us than we can believe or understand.


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