Tag Archives: Easter

Prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Olives – Lenten Meditation

lent

SATURDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
Prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Olives

1st Prelude. See Jesus prostrate with His face on the earth.

2nd Prelude. Beg constant fidelity to all the rules for praying well.

POINT I. “And going a little farther, kneeling down He prayed, and He fell upon His face.”

CONSIDERATION. Remark the extraordinary signs of respect and humility which Jesus Christ showed in His prayer to His Heavenly Father. He knelt down, He fell upon His face on the earth, and He remained thus prostrate as if He was unworthy to raise His eyes to Heaven. He was penetrated with the thought of the infinite majesty of Him to whom He spoke as man, and as a sinful man, bearing the weight of our iniquities. Remark also the deep feelings of filial piety expressed by the words “My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me.”

APPLICATION. Why is our manner so often wanting in respect and propriety when we pray or meditate? Is it not because we think too little of the infinite majesty of God, and of our infinite unworthiness? Happy is the man who before he prays is accustomed to ask himself “Before whom am I going to appear, and wherefore?” His manner will be always respectful; and as the body has a powerful influence over the soul, so a humble and pious exterior will tend very much to produce respect in the mind, the imagination, and all the powers of the soul. Have we not all often had the experience of this?

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

CONSIDERATION. Jesus gives us the example of a wonderful and heroic resignation. Like unto us in all things in His human nature, He experienced a vivid horror at the sight of death, and at the thought of the horrible sufferings and fearful humiliations which were to precede it. He supplicated and implored His Heavenly Father, with groaning and tears, to spare Him these agonizing sacrifices. And nevertheless He declared that He was ready to endure them if it were His will; and He did finally submit to them with the most entire and perfect resignation.

APPLICATION. Behold, how we ought to pray when we ask God to exempt us or deliver us from something which is repugnant to our taste or natural inclination. We are not forbidden to supplicate earnestly that the bitter cup, the sufferings, the contradictions, which are so distasteful to nature, may depart from us, but we should always declare that, after all, we desire that His holy will may be done in us in everything, and this we ask for every day when we say “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “He prayed the third time, saying the selfsame words.”

CONSIDERATION. Jesus interrupted His prayer three times to go to the assistance of His disciples, who were wrapped in a false security at the moment of the greatest danger; but immediately afterwards He went back to pray, and repeated with great earnestness the same petition: “My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done.”

APPLICATION. Two things are taught us by this. First, that we ought not to apply ourselves so long to prayer as to neglect works of charity or zeal; neither ought we to devote ourselves to these works to the neglect of prayer; but that we should sanctify zeal by prayer, and enrich prayer by zealous and charitable labours. Secondly, that we ought not to make prayer consist of a variety of forms and expressions, nor be weary of repeating the same petition.

COLLOQUY with God the Father.

Affliction of the Soul of Jesus – Lenten Meditation

lent

FRIDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
Affliction of the Soul of Jesus

1st Prelude. See Jesus Christ saying to His disciples: “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death.”

2nd Prelude. Beg for Christian resignation in intense sufferings.

POINT I. “He began to grow sorrowful, and to be sad; to fear, and to be heavy.”

CONSIDERATION. Man had sinned by misusing the faculties of his soul, before he misused his senses and the members of his body. Therefore, by the suffering of His soul, Jesus chose to begin His Passion. These sufferings were immense, above all created strength. He experienced them under every form, and no part of His soul was exempted, because He willed to give His Heavenly Father an entire and superabundant satisfaction, and to us a proof of infinite love.

APPLICATION. From the first step in His sorrowful Passion, Jesus unveiled the love for men, for each of us, which fills His Heart; for we were all present before Him, and we can say with the Apostle “He loved me, and delivered Himself for me.” The murderers could not touch His soul, but Jesus did what they had no power to do — He suspended by miracle the ineffable joy with which the beatific vision filled His soul, and left it a prey to the terrible agony which the thought of death, and especially a cruel and violent one, naturally causes.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT II. “Then He saith to them: My soul is sorrowful, even unto death.”

CONSIDERATION. “My soul is sorrowful unto death” means that He was overwhelmed with the sufferings and agony of one who dies by a violent death, and who is pressed down by terrible trouble of mind. What was the cause of this load of sorrow? First, the repulsive sight of the sins of men which His Father had laid on Him because He had offered Himself as the Victim of universal expiation. Posuit Dominus in eo iniquitates omnium nostrum — “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Secondly, the vivid and detailed representation of all the torments, all the insults, that He had to undergo. Finally, the terrible thought of the uselessness of His death to a vast number of men who would harden themselves in sin. Quae utilitas in sanguine meo.

APPLICATION. Behold, then, O my soul, the cause of thy Saviour’s immense sufferings. Dwell on them one by one, and see how far thou hast contributed to them during thy life, and particularly since thou hast made a profession of loving and serving Him more perfectly.

AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.

POINT III. “Stay you here and watch with Me, while I go yonder and pray.”

CONSIDERATION. How did Jesus feel in the extreme desolation of His soul? First, He speaks to His three chosen disciples, and asks them to share His sorrow, and watch with Him; then He has recourse to prayer. He acted thus as Man, to serve as our model.

APPLICATION. We thus learn what in our interior troubles we may do and what we ought to do: we may seek alleviation in communicating them to a pious and discreet friend; but, as men, after all, cannot give us the supernatural strength that we need, we ought to have recourse to prayer, and wait upon God. Have you acted thus? Have you imitated those who obstinately shut themselves up when in trouble and temptation, at the risk of falling into dejection and melancholy? Or have you gone to the other extreme of those who communicate their interior suffering to everybody, and forget one thing only — that of resorting to God in prayer, and to those whom He has given as guides in the spiritual life, so that they may receive counsel and consolation?

COLLOQUY with Jesus suffering.

Entrance of Jesus into the Garden of Olives – Lenten Meditation

lent

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.

Ash Wednesday – Lenten Meditation

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ASH WEDNESDAY Lenten Meditation
On the requisite Dispositions for the Holy Time of Lent
 
1st Prelude. Represent to yourself Adam at the moment when, after his condemnation, he hears the humiliating words “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
 
2nd Prelude. Beg of God that He will deign to penetrate you with the feelings the Church desires us to be inspired with today.
 
POINT I. First disposition requisite: Humility.
 
CONSIDERATION. “Remember, O man, that dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Who uttered these bitter words? God Himself, nearly six thousand years ago. To whom did He address them? To Adam, our first parent, as soon as, in punishment for his sin, the sentence of death had been pronounced on him and his posterity: “Because thou hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work,” said the Lord. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the earth of which thou wast taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” But why did God add these last words, which do not increase in any way the punishment already given? It was doubtless to subdue and annihilate the pride of Adam, and inspire him with such deep humility as would dispose his heart to salutary penance. Thus we see that Adam, who had begun to excuse himself, answered not, but accepted the penance imposed, and persevered in it, humble, penitent, and resigned for the long space of nine hundred years. God was pleased with this penance, and our first parent was saved by it through the merits of the future Redeemer.
 
APPLICATION. We have sinned in Adam, we have sinned ourselves, we are very guilty, we have great need of doing penance, of imploring pardon; God is ready to give it to us. But we have seen that the first feeling He seeks in the heart of a sinner is humility, and a conviction of his own unworthiness. The first disposition then into which we ought to try to enter and in which to persevere during Lent — that time of universal penance — is a profound humility, springing from the knowledge of our nothingness and our sins. It is this which should form the principal merit of our works of penance.
 
Here make AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
 
POINT II. Second disposition requisite: Compunction.
 
CONSIDERATION. “Remember, O man, that thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Who is it that utters again, every year on this day, the same words that God pronounced in the terrestrial paradise. Our holy Mother Church by the mouth of her ministers. And to whom does She address them? To each of us, to all the faithful who assemble in the house of God. And at what moment? At the same moment when She places ashes on our foreheads — the emblem of death and penance. It is as if She said “O man, be thou who thou mayest, remember thou must die and become like unto this dust, because of sin; remember, that if thou dost not penance for thy sins, thou wilt only rise again from the dust of the tomb to pass in body and soul into a place of eternal torments.”
 
APPLICATION. The Church obliges us to listen to those grave and terrific truths only to inspire us, from the first day of Lent, with holy and deep compunction. Compunction of heart is the second essential disposition for whomever desires to attain one of the principal ends of Lent — salutary penance. If our works of mortification and penance are accompanied by sentiments of true contrition and humility, they will be pleasing before God, for, says the royal Prophet “a contrite and humbled heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Cor humiliatum Deus non despicies. If we are wanting in these dispositions, ought we not to fear that all the practices of Lent, even the most painful ones, will be of little use to us?
 
COLLOQUY with Our Lord.

Shrove Tuesday – The Holy Face of Jesus

MAY the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

holy-face-of-jesus

The Stations of the Cross

Lent is just around the corner. Get your handy pocket-size Stations of the Cross prayer booklet direct from The Saint George Educational Trust for £5.00 including p&p. Please order by post to SGET, 225 Andover House, George Yard, Andover, Hampshire, SP10 1PB. Cheques payable to The Saint George Educational Trust.

stations-od-the-cross

 

Also available from SGET at £5.00 including p&p

A Simple Prayer Book

New Mass or Traditional Mass: A question of faith