THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY Lenten Meditation
Entrance of Jesus into the Garden of Olives
1st Prelude. Look at Jesus walking resolutely in the midst of His Apostles towards the Garden of Olives, to begin His dolorous Passion.
2nd Prelude. Beg the grace of meeting with firmness the difficulties which we encounter in the service of God and the practice of perfection.
POINT I. “When Jesus had said these things, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which He entered.”
CONSIDERATION. Fix, O my soul, thy eyes on thy Saviour, whom thou hast so often chosen for thy model; see how resolutely He goes forth to the combat, and draws after Him by His words and example His faithful disciples. “But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father have given Me commandment, so do I. Arise, let us go hence.” Go where? To the battle, to death. How full these words are of love, obedience and courage!
APPLICATION. You see in this the generosity, the great heart of Jesus. How different are you, who, far from resolutely meeting occasions of conquest and suffering, fly from them continually, with so much care and ingenuity! How shameful in you, who have made profession of imitating Jesus Christ more perfectly than ordinary men, who have the glory of bearing His name, fighting under His standard, and sharing with Him labours, privations, and sufferings! Examine yourself, with a sincere desire of knowing how far you merit these reproaches.
AFFECTATIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples: Sit you here, while I go yonder and pray.”
CONSIDERATION. Remark how Jesus prepares for prayer. He retires into a solitary place, and separates Himself from the company of men, even of His intimate friends. He only invites them to watch and pray with Him. Sustinete hic et vigilate mecum (Matthew 26:38).
APPLICATION. O Jesus, how well dost Thou teach me how I ought to pray and meditate profitably on Thy holy law! After Thy example, when I enter the place where I am about to pray, I will say to all distracting thoughts “Stay you here, while I go yonder and pray”; and then afterwards I will vigilantly shut them out from my mind and heart, or at least prevent them from fixing themselves there.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “And He taketh Peter and James and John with Him, and He began to fear”.
CONSIDERATION. Why did the Saviour give such a glorious preference to these three disciples, and choose them to be near His person at the time of the great mysteries of His strife and His agony? The Gospel does not tell us; but we may believe that as they witnessed His glory and happiness on Mount Thabor, it was His will that they should witness also His humiliation and agony on the Mount of Olives.
APPLICATION. How inconsistent we are! We appreciate and envy the privilege of the three beloved disciples, whom Jesus allowed to be with Him in His agony, and we do not understand that it is a favour given to us when He sends us an occasion of suffering with Him. Far from being grateful for it, we complain, we give way to discouragement or distrust. Is this acting reasonably and with faith? Let us acknowledge our inconsistency, and humbly beg our loving Saviour to give us grace so to meditate on His sorrowful Passion that we may draw from it a love of the cross, sorrow for our sins, compassion and resignation.
COLLOQUY with Our Blessed Lord in suffering.