Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: December 21st On St Thomas the Apostle

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by
✠Challoner Meditation 21st December



Consider first, that in celebrating the festivals of the saints, we must principally have in view the glorifying of the God of the saints, and the giving him thanks for the wonders of his grace in them; and all that glory to which he has exalted them, and with which he has crowned them to all eternity. Now, God is wonderful indeed in all his saints, but in none more than in the meanest condition in life, as it were from the earth, and from the dunghill, to make them the princes of his people; the pillars and foundations of his church; prodigies of his grace; full of his divine Spirit; dispensers of all his treasures, and workers of all kind of wonders here upon earth; and now has exalted to sit with him on his throne in heaven, to come one day with him to be the judges both of men and angels. See, then, Christians, what subjects we have to meditate upon, on the festivals of the apostles; what motives we have to praise and glorify God for all he has done for them, and through them for us all; what encouragements we here have, however mean and poor we may be in all that is good, to rely on the power, goodness, and mercy of our God, who loves to work his greatest wonders in favour of such as are little and humble; and what lessons we have for our instruction and our imitation, in the ready correspondence of the apostles with divine grace, and their diligent co-operation with it unto the end.

Consider 2ndly, from the epistle read on this day, (Eph. iii. 19,) the great advantages we have received, through the ministry of the apostles, in our being called to the Christian religion, of which they were the first preachers and teachers. ‘For now,’ says St. Paul, speaking to all Christians, ‘you are no more strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God; built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building framed together groweth up into a holy temple in the Lord,’ &c. Yes, Christians, it was by the ministry of the apostles we were originally brought to all this good; and as the same apostle adds, Heb. xii. 21, by our admission into the church of God, ‘we are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, and to the church of the firstborn, who are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all; and to the spirits of the just made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Testament, and to the sprinkling of blood, which speaketh better than that of Abel:’ viz., by crying to heaven for mercy, and not for justice. O happy communion of saints! A communion in all that is good, with all that are good; to which we have been introduced by the apostles of Christ. O glory for evermore be to their Lord, the author of all their good and our good!

Consider 3rdly, the particular lessons which St. Thomas teaches us by his example. When the other disciples opposed our Saviour’s going back to Jerusalem where the Jews had lately sought his death, St. Thomas alone generously said: ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him,’ John xi. 16. Such was his love for his master, and such his courage in his cause. Are we in the like dispositions? Are we willing to die with Christ, or for Christ, when we are frightened with every little difficulty or danger, and ever ready to turn our backs upon him, rather that to risk anything for him, or part with our own humour or satisfaction for the love of him? St. Thomas was slow of belief with regard to the resurrection of our Lord, till he was favoured both with the sight of him and the handling of his wounds; but then he yielded himself up immediately, and cries out with the most lively faith and ardent love ‘My Lord and my God!’ This lively faith and ardent love continued with him, ever growing and increasing, and carried him through all his apostolic labours amongst so many barbarous nations (to which he is said to have preached the gospel) and through all his sufferings, till by glorious martyrdom it brought him to his Lord, and eternally united him to him. O that we had but some little share in this lively faith and ardent love! It would make all our labours and suffering easy to us, and bring us also to our Lord.

Conclude so to glorify God in this saint, as to encourage thyself also to walk in his footsteps by an imitation of his virtures, in hopes of sharing in his happiness. And for this end ever beg his prayers and intercession.

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