Meditations

Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Good Friday

14 April 2017

“Good Friday”
14 April 2017 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

Good Friday

The Death of Christ

That Christ should die was expedient.

1. To make our redemption complete. For, although any suffering of Christ had an infinite value, because of its union with His divinity, it was not by no matter which of His sufferings that the redemption of mankind was made complete, but only by His death. So the Holy Spirit declared speaking through the mouth of Caiaphas, It is expedient for you that one man shall die for the people (John xi. 50). Whence St. Augustine says, “Let us stand in wonder, rejoice, be glad, love, praise, and adore since it is by the death of our Redeemer, that we have been called from death to life, from exile to our own land, from mourning to joy.”

2. To increase our faith, our hope and our charity. With regard to faith the Psalm says (Ps. cxl. 10), I am alone until I pass from this world, that is, to the Father. When I shall have passed to the Father, then shall I be multiplied. Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die itself remaineth alone (John xii. 24).

As to the increase of hope St, Paul writes, He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also, with him, given us all things? (Rom. viii. 32). God cannot deny us this, for to give us all things is less than to give His own Son to death for us. St. Bernard says, “Who is not carried away to hope and confidence in prayer, when he looks on the crucifix and sees how Our Lord hangs there, the head bent as though to kiss, the arms outstretched in an embrace, the hands pierced to give, the side opened to love, the feet nailed to remain with us.”

Come, my dove, in the clefts of the rock (Cant. ii. 14). It is in the wounds of Christ the Church builds its nest and waits, for it is in the Passion of Our Lord that she places her hope of salvation, and thereby trusts to be protected from the craft of the falcon, that is, of the devil.

With regard to the increase of charity, Holy Scripture says, At noon he burneth the earth (Ecclus. xliii. 3), that is to say, in the fervour of His Passion He burns up all mankind with His love. So St. Bernard says, “The chalice thou didst drink, O good Jesus, maketh thee lovable above all things.” The work of our redemption easily, brushing aside all hindrances, calls out in return the whole of our love. This it is which more gently draws out our devotion, builds it up more straightly, guards it more closely, and fires it with greater ardour.


Meditations for Each Day of Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Holy Thursday

13 April 2017

“Maundy Thursday”
13 April 2017 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

Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper

It was most fitting that the sacrament of the body of the Lord should have been instituted at the Last Supper.

1. Because of what that sacrament contains. For that which is contained in it is Christ Himself. When Christ in His natural appearance was about to depart from His disciples, He left Himself to them in a sacramental appearance, just as in the absence of the emperor there is exhibited the emperor’s image. Whence St. Eusebius says, “Since the body He had assumed was about to be taken away from their bodily sight, and was about to be carried to the stars, it was necessary that, on the day of His last supper, He should consecrate for us the sacrament of His body and blood, so that what, as a price, was offered once should, through a mystery, be worshipped unceasingly.”

2. Because without faith in the Passion there can never be salvation. Therefore it is necessary that there should be, for ever, among men something that would represent the Lord’s Passion and the chief of such representative things in the Old Testament was the Paschal Lamb. To this there succeeded in the New Testament the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is commemorative of the past Passion of the Lord as the Paschal Lamb was a foreshadowing of the Passion to come.

And therefore was it most fitting that, on the very eve of the Passion, the old sacrament of the Paschal Lamb having been celebrated, Our Lord should institute the new sacrament.

3. Because the last words of departing friends remain longest in the memory, our love being at such moments most tenderly alert. Nothing can be greater in the realm of sacrifice than that of the body and blood of Christ, no offering can be more effective. And hence, in order that the sacrament might be held in all the more veneration, it was in His last leave-taking of the Apostles that Our Lord instituted it.

Hence St. Augustine says, “Our Saviour, to bring before our minds with all His power the heights and the depths of this sacrament, willed, ere He left the disciples to go forth to His Passion, to fix it in their hearts and their memories as His last act.”

Let us note that this sacrament has a threefold meaning :

(i) In regard to the past, it is commemorative of the Lord’s Passion, which was a true sacrifice, and because of this the sacrament is called a sacrifice.

(ii) In regard to a fact of our own time, that is, to the unity of the church and that through this sacrament mankind should be gathered together. Because of this the sacrament is called communion.

St. John Damascene says the sacrament is called communion because by means of it we communicate with Christ, and this because we hereby share in His body and in His divinity, and because by it we are communicated to and united with one another.

(iii) In regard to the future, the sacrament foreshadows that enjoyment of God which shall be ours in our fatherland. On this account the sacrament is called viaticum, since it provides us with the means of journeying to that fatherland.


#Meditations for Each Day of #Lent by St Thomas #Aquinas: #HolyWeek #PalmSunday

9 April 2017

Holy Week Begins: Palm Sunday
11April 2017 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


Holy Week: Palm Sunday

 

Christ’s Passion Serves us as an Example

The Passion of Christ is by itself sufficient to form us in every virtue. For whoever wishes to live perfectly, need do no more than scorn what Christ scorned on the cross, and desire what He there desired. There is no virtue of which, from the cross, Christ does not give us an example.

If you seek an example of charity, Greater love than this no man hath, than that a man lay down His life for his friends (John xv. 13), and this Christ did on the cross. And since it was for us that He gave his life, it should not be burdensome to bear for Him whatever evils come our way. What shall I render to the Lord, for all the things that He hath rendered to me (Ps. cxv. 12).

If you seek an example of patience, in the cross you find the best of all. Great patience shows itself in two ways. Either when a man suffers great evils patiently, or when he suffers what he could avoid and forbears to avoid. Now Christ on the cross suffered great evils. O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see, if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow (Lam. i. 12). And He suffered them patiently, for, when he suffered He threatened not (i Pet. ii. 23) but led as a sheep to the slaughter, He was dumb as a lamb before His shearer (Isaias liii. 7).

Also it was in His power to avoid the suffering and He did not avoid it. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and He will give Me presently more than twelve legions of angels? (Matt. xxvi. 53). The patience of Christ, then, on the cross was the greatest patience ever shown. Let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb xii. i, 2).

If you seek an example of humility, look at the crucified. For it is God who wills to be judged and to die at the will of Pontius Pilate. Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked (Job xxxvi. 17). Truly as that of the wicked, for Let us condemn him to a most shameful death (Wis. ii. 20). The Lord willed to die for the slave, the life of the angels for man.

If you seek an example of obedience, follow Him who became obedient unto death (Phil. ii. 8), for as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just (Rom. v. 19).

If you seek an example in the scorning of the things of this world, follow Him who is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom. Lo! on the cross He hangs naked, fooled, spit upon, beaten, crowned with thorns, sated with gall and vinegar, and dead. My garments they parted among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots (Ps. xxi. 19).

Error to crave for honours, for He was exposed to blows and to mockery. Error to seek titles and decorations for platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying Hail, king of the Jews (Matt, xxvii. 29).

Error to cling to pleasures and comfort for they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (Ps. Ixviii. 22).


Meditations for #Lent by Saint Thomas Aquinas – Passion Sunday

2 April 2017

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Passion Sunday

The Passion of Christ

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish; but may have life everlasting.–John iii. 14, 15

We may note here three things. 1. The Figure of the Passion. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert. When the Jews said, Our soul now loatheth this very light food (Num. xxi. 5), the Lord sent serpents in punishment, and afterwards, for a remedy, He commanded the brazen serpent to be made–as a remedy against the serpents and also as a figure of the Passion. It is the nature of a serpent to be poisonous, but the brazen serpent had no poison. It was but the figure of a poisonous serpent. So also Christ had no sin, which is the poison, but He had the likeness of sin. God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and of sin (Rom. viii. 3). Therefore Christ had the effect of the serpent against the movements of our blazing desires.

2. The Mode of the Passion. So must the Son of Man be lifted up. This refers to His being raised upon the cross. He willed to die lifted up, (i) To purify the air: already He had purified the earth by the holiness of His living there, it still remained for Him to purify, by His dying there, the air; (ii) To triumph over the devils, who in the air, make their preparations to war on us; (iii) To draw our hearts to His heart, I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all things to myself (John xii. 32). Since in the death of the cross He was exalted, and since it was there that He overcame His enemies, we say that He was exalted rather than that He died. He shall drink of the torrent by the way side; therefore shall Hie lift up His head (Ps. cix. 7).

The cross was the cause of His exaltation. He became obedient unto death even to the death of the cross, wherefore God hath exalted Him (Phil. ii. 8).

3. The Fruit of the Passion. The fruit is eternal life. Whence Our Lord says Himself, Whosoever believeth in Him, doing good works, may not perish, but may have life everlasting (John iii. 16).

And this fruit corresponds to the fruit of the serpent that foreshadowed Him. For whoever looked upon the brazen serpent was delivered from the poison and his life was preserved. Now the man who looks upon the Son of Man lifted up is the man who believes in Christ crucified, and it is in this way that he is delivered from the poison that is sin and preserved for the life that is eternal.


31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Ten

7 December 2016

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

10th Day: REBELLION AGAINST OUR KING

starWhat do we mean by rebellion? We mean refusal to submit to the lawful authority of the King, to whose dominion the rebel is subject; it involves a desire, actual or virtual, to shake off his yoke, and even to dethrone him if opportunity offers. Let us see how this applies to those, who are rebels against Jesus Christ our King.

The rebellion of man was not the first instance of rebellion that the universe had witnessed. Previously a vast number of beings far superior to him had declared open revolt. They were conscious of their own excellence, and began to esteem themselves by reason of it, forgetting that they had received it from God. And when He required of them that they should adore, they rose in rebellion, and refused to obey. Every act of willful disobedience of which I am guilty is therefore some approach to the sin that consigned the devils to hell.

Why was this so grievous, so unpardonable? It was because of the wonderful graces and gifts God had bestowed upon them, because of the very nobility of their nature. It was also because it was a sin, not of weakness, but of malice, pure and simple. There was nothing to be gained by it, except an imagined liberty. It was the pure craving of self-will for indulgence. Is not this the character of many of my offenses, which thus makes me like to the devils?

Did God forgive the angels who rebelled? Had they a chance of retrieving themselves? No, not one. They were cast down for ever into hell. Hence if God has forgiven my offenses against my King, it is owing simply to His gratuitous mercy and love.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals,com


31 Meditations for #Advent and #Christmas 8th Day: HIS SOLDIERS’ ARMOR

5 December 2016

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

8th Day: HIS SOLDIERS’ ARMOR

To the soldiers of our King the shield of Faith is indispensable. Without Faith it is impossible to please God, and without Faith no one can be a true soldier of Jesus Christ. It is the Faith of the Christian that overcomes the world and puts the devil to flight. The Faith of the martyrs won them their crown; the Faith of confessors enabled them to work miracles; it is this Faith which is dear to every true Catholic beyond all else. And this Faith must be a living Faith, if it is to avail us against the foe. It must be actuated by charity; it must comprise firm confidence in God and dependence on Him. With such a Faith we are secure against all the assaults of the King’s enemies.

christian soldierThe Christian soldier must also have the sword of the Spirit, which is the “Word of God,” and which consists in obedience to all those holy inspirations that God puts into our minds, and all the holy lessons that we learn from Holy Scripture, the sermons we hear, the pious books we read, and the example of others. These holy inspirations are chiefly gained in prayer, and without prayer we shall never be safe. Without prayer we never shall be able to put the devil to flight, and to withstand the seductive influence of the world, and the temptations of the flesh.

The Christian soldier must also be clothed with the breastplates of justice. Justice is the virtue which makes us give to each his due, and primarily which makes us give God His due. To God we owe everything we have; nothing is really our own. Yet how grudging we are in giving to God His due in our worship, in our alms, in our remembrance of Him, and our dependence upon Him.

Source: CatholicHarborofFaithandMorals.com


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

21 March 2016

Monday in Holy Week

From the website, Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

Vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Santi de Tito 1593

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday in Holy Week

It is necessary that we be wholly clean

1. If I wash thee not, thou shaft have no part with me (John xiii. 8). No one can be made a sharer in the inheritance of eternity, a co-heir with Christ, unless he is spiritually cleansed, for in the Apocalypse it is so stated. There shall not enter into it anything defiled (Apoc. xxi. 27), and in the Psalms we read, Lord who shall dwell in Thy tabernacle? (Ps. xiv.) Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord; or who shall stand in His holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart (Ps. xxiii. 3, 4).

It is therefore as though Our Lord said, If I wash thee not, thou shalt not be cleansed, and if thou art not cleansed, thou shalt have no part with me.

2. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head (John xiii. 9). Peter, utterly stricken, offers his whole self to be washed, so confounded is he with love and with fear. We read, in fact, in the book called The journeying of Clement, that Peter used to be so overcome by the bodily presence of Our Lord, which he had most fervently loved, that whenever, after Our Lord’s Ascension, the memory of that dearest presence and most holy company came to him, he used so to melt into tears, that his cheeks seemed all worn out with them.

We can consider three parts in man’s body, the head, which is the highest, the feet, which are the lowest part, and the hands which lie in between. In the interior man, that is to say, in the soul, there are likewise three parts. Corresponding to the head there is the higher reason, the power by means of which the soul clings to God. For the hands there is the lower reason by which the soul operates in good works. For the feet there are the senses and the feelings and desires arising from them. Now Our Lord knew the disciples to be clean as far as the head was concerned, for He knew they were joined to God by faith and by charity. He knew their hands also were clean, for He knew their good works. But as to their feet, He knew that the disciples were still somewhat entangled in those inclinations to earthly things that derive out of the life of the senses.

Peter, alarmed by Our Lord s warning (v. 8), not only consented that his feet should be washed, but begged that his hands and his head should be washed too.

Lord, he said, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. As though to say, “I know not whether hands and head need to be washed. For I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified (i Cor. iv. 4). Therefore I am ready not only for my feet to be washed, that is, those inclinations that arise out of the life of my senses, but also my hands, that is, my works, and my head, too, that is, my higher reason.”

3. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean (John xiii. 10). Origen, commenting on this text, says that the Apostles were clean, but needed to be yet cleaner. For reason should ever desire gifts that are better still, should ever set itself to achieve the very heights of virtue, should aspire to shine with the brightness of justice itself. He that is holy, let him be sanctified still (Apoc. xxii. 11).


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

6 March 2016

15 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

Laetare Sunday – Fourth Sunday of Lent

Christ by His Passion opened to us the gates of Heaven

We have a confidence in the entering into the holies by the blood of Christ.–Heb. x. 19.

The closing of a gate is an obstacle hindering men’s entrance. Now men are hindered from entrance to the heavenly kingdom by sin, for Isaias says, It shall be called the holy way : the unclean shall not pass over it (Is. xxxv. 8).

Now the sin that hinders man’s entrance into heaven is of two kinds. There is, first of all, the sin of our first parents. By this sin access to the kingdom of heaven was barred to man. We read in Genesis (iii. 24) that after the sin of our first parents God placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubim and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. The other kind of hindrance arises from the sins special to each individual, the sins each man commits by his own particular action.

By the Passion of Christ we are freed not only from the sin common to all human nature, and this both as to the sin and as to its appointed penalty, since Christ pays the price on our behalf, but also we are delivered from our personal sins if we are numbered among those who are linked to the Passion by faith, by charity and by the sacraments of the Faith. Thus it is that through the Passion of Christ the gates of heaven are thrown open to us. And hence St. Paul says that Christ, being come an high priest of the good things to come, by His onw blood entered once into the holies, having obtained a redemption that is eternal (Heb. ix. 11).

And this was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, where we read (Num. xxxv. 25, 28), the man-slayer shall abide there, that is, in the city of refuge, until the death of the high priest, that is anointed with holy oil. And after he is dead, then shall the man-slayer return to his own country.

The holy fathers who (before the coming of Christ wrought works of justice earned their entrance into heaven through faith in the Passion of Christ, as is written, The saints by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice (Heb. xi. 33). By faith, too, it was that individuals w r ere cleansed from the sins they had individually committed. But faith or goodness, no matter who the person was that possessed it, was not enough to be able to move the hindrance created by the guilty state of the whole human creation. This hindrance was only removed at the price of the blood of Christ. And therefore before the Passion of Christ no one could enter the heavenly kingdom, to obtain that eternal happiness that consists in the full enjoyment of God.

Christ by His Passion merited for us an entrance into heaven, and removed what stood in our way. By His Ascension, however, He, as it were, put mankind in possession of heaven. And therefore it is that He ascended opening the way before them.


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

31 March 2015

Tuesday in Holy Week
31 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

Tuesday in Holy Week

Christ preparing to wash the Apostle’s feet

He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself.–(John xiii. 4).

1. Christ, in His lowly office, shows Himself truly to be a servant, in keeping with His own words, The Son of Man is not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give His life a redemption for many (Matt. xx. 28).

Three things are looked for in a good servant or minister:

(i) That he should be careful to keep before him the numerous details in which his serving may so easily fall short. Now for a servant to sit or to lie down during his service is to make this necessary supervision impossible. Hence it is that servants stand. And therefore the gospel says of Our Lord, He riseth from supper. Our Lord himself also asks us, For which is greater, he that sitteth at table or he that serveth? (Luke xxii. 27).

(ii) That he should show dexterity in doing at the right time all the things his particular office calls for. Now elaborate dress is a hindrance to this. Therefore Our Lord layeth aside his garments. And this was foreshadowed in the Old Testament when Abraham chose servants who were well appointed (Gen. xiv. 14).

(iii) That he should be prompt, having ready to hand all the things he needs. St. Luke (x. 40) says of Martha that she was busy about much serving. This is why Our Lord, having taken a towel, girded himself. Thus he was ready not only to wash the feet, but also to dry them. So He (who came from God and goeth to God–John xiii. 3), as He washes their feet, crushes down forever our swollen, human self-importance.

2. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash (John xiii. 5).

We are given for our consideration this service of Christ; and in three ways his humility is set for our example.

(i) The kind of service this was, for it was the lowest kind of service of all! The Lord of all majesty bending to wash the feet of his slaves.

(ii) The number of services it contained, for, we are told, he put water into a basin, he washed their feet, he dried them and so forth.

(iii) The method of doing the service, for He did not do it through others, nor even with others helping him. He did the service Himself. The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things (Ecclus. iii. 20).


#Meditations for Each Day of #Lent by St Thomas #Aquinas-Passion Saturday

28 March 2015

28 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


Passion Saturday


How we, each of us, should wash on another’s feet

If I then being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also out to wash one another’s feet–John xiii. 14

Our Lord wishes that His disciples shall imitate His example. He says therefore, If I, who am the greater, being your master and the Lord, have washed your feet, you also, all the more who are the less, who are disciples, slaves even, ought to wash one another s feet. Whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister . . . . Even as the Son of Man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister (Matt. xx. 26-28).

St. Augustine says every man ought to wash the feet of his fellows, either actually or in spirit. And it is by far the best, and true beyond all controversy, that we should do it actually, lest Christians scorn to do what Christ did. For when a man bends his body to the feet of a brother, human feeling is stirred up in his very heart, or, if it be there already, it is strengthened. If we cannot actually wash his feet, at least we can do it in spirit. The washing of the feet signifies the washing away of stains. You therefore wash the feet of your brother when, as far as lies in your power, you wash away his stains. And this you may do in three ways:

(i) By forgiving the offences he has done to you. Forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also (Coloss. iii. 13).

(ii) By praying for the forgiveness of his sin, as St. James bids us, Pray for one another that you may be saved (James v. 16). This way of washing, like the first, is open to all the faithful.

(iii) The third way is for prelates, who should wash by forgiving sins through the authority of the keys, according to the gospel, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive , they are forgiven them (John xx. 23).

We can also say that in this one act Our Lord showed all the works of mercy. He who gives bread to the hungry, washes his feet, as also does the man who harbours the harbourless or he who clothes the naked.

Communicating to the necessities of the saints (Rom. xii. 13).


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