Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: March 26th On the sufferings of Our Saviour, before His Passion

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

SATURDAY, THIRD WEEK IN LENT

ON THE SUFFERINGS OF OUR SAVIOUR, BEFORE HIS PASSION

Consider first, how truly did the devout author of the ‘Following of Christ,’ say:- ‘The whole life of Christ was a Cross and a Martyrdom. He came into this world to be a victim for our sins; and from the first instant of his conception in his mother’s womb, he offered himself for all the sufferings he was to undergo in life and death.’ Hear how he then addresses himself to his Father, Ps. xxxiv. 7, ‘sacrifice and oblation thou didst not desire, but thou hast pierced ears for me. Burnt-offering and sin-offering thou didst not require: then said I, behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of me, that I should do thy will. O my God, I have desired it, and thy name is in the midst of my heart.’ And what was this will and this law, which from his first conception he embraced in the midst of his heart; but that instead of all other sacrifices he should become himself both our priest and victim, and through his sufferings should mediate our peace, and reconcile us to his Father? Thus he accepted beforehand all that he was afterwards to endure; and by the clear and distinct foresight, which he had all along of his whole passion, suffered in some measure all his lifetime, what afterwards he endured at his death. O how early did my Jesus embrace his cross for the love of me! O how early did I prefer my pleasures before his love!

Consider 2ndly, divers other sufferings which our Lord went through in the course of his mortal life. His nine months confinement in his mother’s womb, most sensible to him, who from his first conception had the perfect use of reason, and who by a violence which he offered to his zeal and love, was kept so long from action. The hardships he endured at his birth, from the rigour of the season and the poverty of his accommodations; his circumcision; his flight into Egypt; the sense that he had of the murder of the Innocents; the austerity of his life; his frequent hunger, thirst, and want of necessaries; his labours and fatigues. But all this was nothing to what his boundless charity and his zeal for the honour of his Father and the salvation of souls, made him continually suffer, from the sight and knowledge of the sins of men. He had all the sins of the world always before his eyes, for the whole time of his life, with all their enormity and opposition to the infinite majesty and sanctity of God, and his divine honour and glory, and the dreadful havoc they did, and would make in the souls of men, with all the dismal consequences of them both in time and eternity; and this sight which was always present to him, was infinitely more grievous to his soul than the very pangs of death. For if St. Paul had such a sense of the evil of sin, as to be quite on fire when he saw any one fall into sin, 2 Cor. xi. 29, how much more did this fire devour our Saviour?

Consider 3rdly, how much our Lord suffered from being obliged to live and converse amongst men, whose manners were so widely different from and so infinitely opposite to his; how sensibly he was touched with the crying disorders of the people of the Jews, amongst whom he lived; with their malice, their violences, their injustices, their deceits, their blasphemies, and the licentiousness of their lives; the pride, ambition, covetousness, and hypocrisy of their priests, scribes, and Pharisees; their oppressions of the poor; their contempt of virtue and of truth; and their general forgetfulness of God and their salvation. Add to this, how sensibly he must have been afflicted with the hardness of their hearts, with which they resisted his graces; their obstinacy in their evil ways; their ingratitude; the opposition they made to his heavenly Gospel; their blasphemous judgments of his person and miracles; their slanders and murmurings against him; and their continually laying snares for him, and persecuting him even unto death. O, who can sufficiently apprehend how much our Saviour’s soul was affected by all these evils; with this reception and treatment he met with from his chosen people, and with those dreadful judgments they were thereby drawing down upon their own heads, instead of that mercy, which he came to purchase for them by his blood! Death itself was not so sensible to him. 

Conclude, if thou would’st be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, to conform thyself to a life of crosses and sufferings: thus shalt thou wear his livery, and shalt be entitled to a share in his heavenly kingdom.

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