Requiescat in Pace

Called to his eternal reward on this special day, The Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Lady Day, 25th March 1991. Requiescat in Pace.

“The See of Peter and the posts of authority in Rome being occupied by anti-Christs, the destruction of the Kingdom of Our Lord is being rapidly carried out even within His Mystical Body here below; especially through the corruption of the Holy Mass which is both the splendid expression of the triumph of Our Lord on the Cross, ‘Regnavit a Ligno Deus’, and the source of the extension of His kingdom over souls and over societies”.

Pilate tries to save Jesus from the Fury of the Jews – Lenten Meditation

THIRD WEEK OF LENT: SATURDAY
Pilate tries to save Jesus from the Fury of the Jews

1st Prelude. Imagine you see Pilate pleading with the crowd on behalf of Jesus.

2nd Prelude. Beg the grace to persevere till the end in our holy vocation.

POINT I. “Pilate saith to them: What shall I do, then, with Jesus, that is called Christ? They say all: Let Him be crucified.”

CONSIDERATION. The efforts that Pilate made to rescue Jesus from His enemies only incensed them the more against Him, because they thought He would escape from them. Of the three classes who were concerned in bringing about His death, Pilate, the people, and the priests, the priests had the greater guilt. Yielding to a base jealousy, they invented and sustained the accusations, they excited and seduced the people, they overpowered the judge by the cries of rage and fury which they put into the mouth of the crowd: their sin was very terrible; for the sanctity of their office, and the greater light and grace they had received, ought to have made them models to their people instead of a scandal.

APPLICATION. Here is another melancholy proof of the truth of the old saying, Optimi pessima corruptio — The best when corrupted become the worst; and this we unhappily see too often in our own days, when priests or religious become infidels or apostates; they seem as if they wanted to deaden their own consciences, or entirely to efface the seal of their sacerdotal consecration or religious profession.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath He done?”

CONSIDERATION. This question ought to have opened the eyes of the Jewish people. It reminded them of the public life of Jesus, every step of which had brought down blessings on them. Even among this very multitude there might have been found many whom He had miraculously cured — to whom He had given sight, hearing, or the use of their limbs — and a still greater number whom He had delivered from the possession or temptations of the devil.

APPLICATION. During the whole of our lives, and especially since we entered religion, we can remember nothing but wonderful graces and blessings; they constantly flash across our minds, and the memory of them ought to increase our love and devotion to Jesus, our Divine Lord. How is it, then, that we correspond so little with these graces, that we are so lukewarm in His service? Let us search into the causes of this, fight against it, and overcome it if possible.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “And he said to them the third time: I find no cause of death in Him. I will chastise Him, therefore, and let Him go.”

CONSIDERATION. Pilate was guilty of the grossest injustice. Three times he had declared that the prisoner brought before him was innocent, and yet he condemned Him to a cruel and shameful punishment. His aim was to save Him at least from death, by exciting compassion for His sufferings, under the punishment to which He was sentenced. He did not see that he was actually clearing the way for the death by crucifixion, which the Jews were aiming at, for it was often the custom to precede crucifixion by scourging.

APPLICATION. How often have our passions made us act like fools! Have we not, from pride or sensuality, tried to escape the humiliations and mortifications which we ought to seek after, especially in religious life? Or have we not sought for pleasures and distinctions which we knew would do us harm? Are we, then, on our guard against our passions, and do we fight manfully against them?

COLLOQUY with our Divine Master.

Barabbas preferred to Jesus – Lenten Meditation

THIRD WEEK OF LENT: FRIDAY
Barabbas compared with and preferred to Jesus

1st Prelude. Behold our Divine Lord before all the people compared with an infamous robber.

2nd Prelude. Beg for grace never to hesitate between the Creator and the creature.

POINT I. “They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: You have a custom that I should release one unto you at the Pasch. Whom will you that I release unto you: Barabbas, or Jesus, that is called Christ?”

CONSIDERATION. Pilate knew and had acknowledged the innocence of our Lord; it was against his conscience to condemn Him; but his self-interest bade him gratify the Jews, or he would lose favour in the eyes of Caesar. Conscience being on the one hand, and interest on the other, he tried to get out of the difficulty. He sent Him to Herod, not being able to find out what He was guilty of; then he offered the people their choice between an odious criminal and the Saviour, whom till lately they had reverenced so much. But his plans proved futile, and after some further attempts which were all useless, always shrinking back from doing his duty, he completed his evil work by condemning the innocent, and thus lost his own soul.

APPLICATION. How true are those words of our Lord’s “No man can serve two masters”! It is impossible to steer a middle course between God and the world; we cannot hover between virtue and vice, though the transgression may be a slight one. A friendship which is inordinate, though it may be based on motives of zeal, may cause us perplexity and trouble of conscience. Our own good sense and our confessor tell us to decide at once to give it entirely up. But we answer “No, you expect too much; but I will be more careful for the future. My case is an especial one.” This is a delusion of self-love which leads to nothing. What does our experience tell us on this head?

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas, and make Jesus away. The whole multitude cried out together: Away with this Man! and release unto us Barabbas.”

CONSIDERATION. Let us try to understand as far as we can the extent to which the insults of Jesus were carried. He is placed on a level, or, as we say, weighed in the balance with Barabbas, the greatest criminal which the prisons then held, by the chief magistrate, before all the people; and to the astonishment even of Pilate, Barabbas was preferred to Jesus by unanimous consent. All, says Holy Writ, with one voice cried “Not this Man, but Barabbas.”

APPLICATION. Who among us, then, can dare to complain that he is not treated as he deserves; that others are preferred before him; that he is put last of all? If we remember how often in past life we have imitated the Jews by allowing sin to reign in our hearts, rather than God our Saviour, we shall count ourselves unworthy of a place in God’s house, and still more unworthy of the meanest office therein.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “And as he was sitting in the place of judgement, his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that Just Man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.”

CONSIDERATION. Most interpreters believe that the uneasiness of Pilate’s wife was caused by an inspiration of grace, and that it obtained her salvation. The Greeks even honour her as a saint, under the name of Claudia Procula. Be this as it may, the warning thus sent to Pilate was an extraordinary grace vouchsafed to him at the critical moment, when he was hesitating between doing a great act of justice, which would have won his salvation, and an atrocious crime, which brought fearful misery on him both in this world and the next; for we know that he fell into disgrace and was banished, and finally destroyed himself.

APPLICATION. How many times and in how many ways have our guardian angels and our directors warned us and tried to strengthen us, when our passions had obtained such a mastery over us that our judgement was darkened, and we were hesitating between good and evil! All these warnings were extraordinary graces. How have we corresponded with them? How have we profited by them?

COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lord.

Jesus insulted at the Court of Herod – Lenten Meditation

THIRD WEEK OF LENT: THURSDAY
Jesus insulted at the Court of Herod

1st Prelude. Let us picture to ourselves Jesus reviled and insulted, and treated as a fool at Herod’s court.

2nd Prelude. Beg for grace to understand the indignities which Jesus bore for love of us.

POINT I. “And when he understood that He was of Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem; and Herod, seeing Jesus, was very glad for he hoped to see some miracle wrought by Him.”

CONSIDERATION. Herod was a vain and degraded man; he had put St. John Baptist to death; and he wanted the Saviour of the world, of whom he had heard so much, to work a miracle before him, not that he might be touched and converted, but simply to gratify his vanity and curiosity. But God does not grant extraordinary graces to such men as these. He reserves them for the humble, who deem themselves unworthy of them. He delights to pour them on those who are emptied of self, dead to self-love, seeking only His greater glory. These souls ask for extraordinary graces or miracles only that they may serve Him better, or gain others to His service.

APPLICATION. The reason why we receive so few extraordinary graces is that we either lack these dispositions altogether, or have made little progress in them; and after having perhaps passed many years in our holy vocation, we are very unlike those who, powerful in word and work, had the same vocation, and of whom wonderful things are recorded.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “And he questioned Him in many words; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood by, earnestly accusing Him.”

CONSIDERATION. Wonderful indeed was the silence and passiveness of our Divine Lord before the tribunal of Herod, to which His cause was referred. He was accused of greater crimes still, but His accusers so outwitted themselves, that He could in a few words have confounded them, and turned the tide in His favour. Yet He held His peace. He went there to receive a sentence for life or death, and if He had chosen to work a miracle at Herod’s desire, He would have found protection; but He would work none. It is in reality a greater miracle to triumph thus completely over every human feeling than to raise the dead; but the world cannot understand this. The calm silence of our Lord was looked upon by Herod and his court as helplessness and stupidity, and they treated it as such.

APPLICATION. Our Lord kept silence to punish Herod’s pride and to teach us to mortify ours. Our pride is our greatest trial; in spite of ourselves it makes us desire esteem, notice, praise, and applause from men, especially from the great ones of the Earth. Have we fought steadfastly and victoriously against this unruly passion of pride?

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “And Herod with his army set Him at naught, and mocked Him, putting on Him a white garment, and sent Him back to Pilate.”

CONSIDERATION. Let us contemplate Jesus, the King of glory, the eternal Wisdom, standing before Herod, insulted by the coarse and stupid mob; let us follow Him in spirit, wearing the fool’s robe, through the streets of Jerusalem, amidst the jeerings of the populace and the immense crowd of strangers which the Paschal feast had brought into the city, and we shall see that the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled to the very letter: “I am made a derision to all My people.”

APPLICATION. This meditation ought to produce great fruit in us. When we contemplate Jesus Christ as the true way, which leads us unto life, as the living model of perfection, it should kindle in our hearts an ardent desire to become like unto Him, to serve Him willingly, to be ready, in imitation of Him and for His love, to be despised, insulted, reviled, and even looked upon as a fool, although we have done nothing to deserve this treatment: this is the foolishness of the Cross. Many of God’s servants have travelled by this road; why should not we follow in their footsteps?

COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lady.

Silence of Jesus before Pilate’s Judgement Seat – Lenten Meditation

THIRD WEEK OF LENT: WEDNESDAY
The wonderful Silence of Jesus before Pilate’s Judgement Seat

1st Prelude. Behold Jesus standing calm and silent in the midst of the clamour and accusations of the people who were stirred up against Him.

2nd Prelude. Beg for grace faithfully to imitate the great example our Lord then gave us.

POINT I. “And when He was accused by the chief priests and ancients, He answered nothing.”

CONSIDERATION. The first accusations which the Jews brought were so vague and untruthful that Pilate rejected them, and declared our Lord’s innocence. It was beneath our Lord’s dignity to reply to some of the points; and besides, the sanctity of His life answered for Him, confounding His calumniators, but proving His divinity. He did indeed try to hide it under His humanity, but it was revealed by His answers to the judge.

APPLICATION. Happy is the man whose conduct is an unanswerable defence against the false accusations of the wicked and envious! Happier still if his conscience bears witness to his constant endeavour to be spotless before God. Are we amongst this happy number?

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “And Pilate again asked Him, saying: Answerest Thou nothing? Behold in how many things they accuse Thee. But He answerest him never a word; so that the governor wondered exceedingly.”

CONSIDERATION. The astonishment of Pilate was not surprising. What would seem more natural for an accused man standing before a tribunal from which there was no appeal, and whose death was eagerly sought after, than to defend himself, and exert every effort to declare his innocence, especially when called upon to do so by a judge favourable to his cause? But Jesus was silent. He, who often by a single word had confounded His enemies and turned the anger of the people against them, now would not utter one. Pilate could not understand the calm dignity of our Lord’s silence, seeing clearly that it did not proceed from pride or resentment.

APPLICATION. We are better off than Pilate, for we know why our Blessed Lord kept that heroic silence. He was determined to die for us; and having manifested the truth, He would not say a single word to save His own life. And also, He chose by this painful silence to expiate our sins of the tongue, and to teach us to control our desire of answering our superiors haughtily when they reprove us, or our wish to give a sharp and angry retort to those who wound our feelings, or injure us in any ways.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “But they were the more earnest, saying: He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”

CONSIDERATION. When Pilate had seen and acknowledged that the accused was innocent, his duty was to silence the accusers, and dismiss them with the contempt they deserved. But this he dared not do. The Jews, perceiving his weakness, tried to take advantage of it. They began to clamour and importune him to grant the request which was against his conscience; and they succeeded only too well.

APPLICATION. Our great enemy the devil acts in the same way towards us; as soon as he sees us hesitating between God and creatures, or conscience and our passions, he takes advantage of our weakness, and grows bolder than ever. He pours his arguments into our ears, terrifies us with the slight of imaginary difficulties, and lets us have no peace until we consent to sin. Let us, then, taught by Pilate’s example, be on our guard against our own weakness, and without indulging any unreasonable fear of the tempter, never give in an inch to him; let us firmly resist his first suggestion, arming ourselves, as the Apostle says, with the shield of faith and prayer.

COLLOQUY with Jesus Christ.

Interrogation of Jesus – Lenten Meditation

THIRD WEEK OF LENT: TUESDAY
Interrogation of Jesus at Pilate’s Judgement Seat

1st Prelude. Behold Jesus Christ, firm yet submissive, before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.

2nd Prelude. Beg for grace to make this meditation well.

POINT I. “Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to Him: Art Thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered thus to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from hence.”

CONSIDERATION. Jesus Christ was not King of the Jews, nor of this world, in the ordinary sense of the word; this was not His will. His kingdom is the Church, the assembly of all those who willingly follow His teaching and observe His laws. The Church is in the world, but not of it. She came down from Heaven, and Earth is but the place of Her pilgrimage and of Her trials. She will return to Heaven, and there the glorious and everlasting kingdom of Jesus and His disciples shall last for ever. This was the kingdom He meant when He said to Pilate “My kingdom is not of this world”; and again, when He says to His disciples “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”

APPLICATION. How great is our happiness in being made, by holy Baptism, children of the Church and subjects of Jesus Christ, and, by professing the Christian Faith, to be among the number of the elect! If we choose, the kingdom of Heaven is ours. What assurance of this do we need? That we should be full of the spirit of our Holy Mother the Church; and though in the world, we be not of the world; that our life should be more celestial than terrestrial; that we should live in spirit in Heaven, as the Apostle says “Our conversation is in Heaven.”

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “Pilate therefore said to Him: Art Thou a king, then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.”

CONSIDERATION. Pilate’s conduct gives us a striking example of human instability. He was really desirous to know the truth concerning the wonderful Being whom the world thought of in such different ways, and who was now before him; and this desire increased after he had heard Him say “For this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth.” Naturally he asked “What is truth?” and apparently he eagerly awaited the reply. Yet, when it was given, it had no effect on him; he took no further heed, and went out quickly from the judgement hall.

APPLICATION. We fully condemn the weakness and vacillation of Pilate; but let us examine if there be not some similarity with him in our conduct. Before beginning some of our actions, or deciding in difficult circumstances, we are accustomed to invoke the Holy Ghost: “Come, Holy Ghost,” thus entreating to know His will; but do we not often decide hastily without recollecting ourselves sufficiently to hear His reply? And do we not often hear the voice of God in our souls, and pay no attention to it? Do we not thus imitate the vacillation of the Roman judge?

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “He went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in Him.”

CONSIDERATION. Pilate, a wise and experienced man, at the first sight of the case felt sure the crimes alleged could not be proved. However, in his position as judge, he questioned the accused upon the nature of the kingdom that He claimed. The answers of Jesus showed him clearly that His kingdom was not in opposition to the rulers of this world; and he therefore pronounced Him to be innocent, saying “I find no cause in Him.”

APPLICATION. Pilate, though vacillating, was just, and a lover of truth. If he had been as firm as he was just, he would never have condemned Jesus to death. But he feared to get into trouble, and he grew weak and timid. The Jews craftily worked upon his fears, and extorted the unjust sentence from him. This is the devil’s way with us: he studies our weak points, and takes advantage of them; and if we are off our guard, he entraps us with subtle snares.

COLLOQUY with Jesus our Master.

Jesus accused by His People before Pilate – Lenten Meditation

THIRD WEEK OF LENT: SUNDAY
Jesus accused by His People before Pilate

1st Prelude. Behold the crowd of people assembled before Pilate’s palace, vociferating against Jesus.

2nd Prelude. Ask for grace to enable you to support false imputations in a Christian spirit.

POINT I. “Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said to him: If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”

CONSIDERATION. We cannot but feel great indignation when we see the rulers of the Jews instigating the crowd to accuse Jesus, their Messiah, of a crime, and to hate Him; He who had never harmed anyone, but who had shed blessings around Him at every step. They were indeed filling up the measure of their ingratitude and unbelief.

APPLICATION. This frightful picture is daily reproduced before our eyes. Our Lord and His holy Faith are still hated, still calumniated, and often by those upon whom His best gifts have been poured; those whose rank and talents have raised them above their fellow creatures, but who only use their superiority to mislead their inferiors, and stir them up against our Lord, and against His Church. We should not, however, have bitter feelings towards them, but rather pity them; for the longer their punishment is delayed, the greater it will be.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “Pilate therefore said to them: Take you Him, and judge Him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”

CONSIDERATION. The Scribes and Pharisees were the accusers of our Lord, but they would not pass sentence on Him, even when Pilate authorized them. They wanted to make Him appear more guilty in the eyes of the people by receiving His condemnation from the chief magistrate; they wanted to avert the odium of His death from themselves, and they wanted Him to be crucified, the most shameful and most cruel mode of death, and commonly used by the Romans, but seldom by the Jews, not being decreed by any of their laws, and so, under a pretense of justice, they hypocritically hid their wickedness. Without knowing or intending it, they were fulfilling prophecy, and bringing the designs of our merciful Lord to pass. He had foretold the manner of His death, and for love of us was willing to drink the cup of suffering and humiliation to the very dregs. Thus by their crimes the intentions of God were carried out.

APPLICATION. Such are and always will be the dealings of Divine Providence. Let us never give way to distrust or waver in our faith when we see the wicked obtain a momentary triumph, and succeed in their evil designs. God, who in His infinite wisdom orders the whole course of circumstances, will turn all things to His own glory and the good of His Church.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “And they began to accuse Him, saying: We have found this Man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that He is Christ the King.”

CONSIDERATION. Three special accusations were brought against Jesus; they accused Him of perverting the people, of refusing to pay tribute, and of assuming the name of Christ the King. The first two were notoriously false, for He had preached and practiced the exact contrary; the third was false also in the sense in which they meant it — in the sense of an earthly kingdom, in opposition to that of Caesar. It was the height of shameless insolence to utter such calumnies against the innocent in the presence of the chief judge, and before the whole nation.

APPLICATION. If our Lord was willing to become the victim of wicked calumny without defending Himself, or even being disturbed by it, should we not make little account of men’s judgment, when our own conscience tells us we have acted rightly? Have we profited by the lessons of our Divine Master? In what particular should we correct ourselves?

COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lady.