Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: Fourth Sunday in Lent

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by



Consider first, that our Saviour’s passion began the night before his death; when, after having eaten the paschal lamb with his disciples, humbly washed their feet, instituted the great Passover of the new covenant, and given them, in an admirable sacrament of love, his own most precious body and blood, he went out with them unto Mount Olivet – the place to which he was accustomed to resort after the preaching and labours of the day, to spend the evening, if not the whole night, in prayer. Hither he went on this his last night, to prepare himself for his passion by prayer; not for any need he had of it for himself, but to give us an example, and for our instruction. O learn, my soul, by this great example, how thou art to arm thyself against all trials and temptations! Learn from whence all thy strength is to come, in the time of battle. Give ear to what our Lord said to his disciples upon this occasion, Matt. xxvi. 41, ‘Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ O take heed, lest if thou sleep as Peter did, when thou shouldst pray, thou deny thy Lord when thou comest to the trial.

Consider 2ndly, how our Saviour began to disclose to his disciples the mortal anguish, fear, and sadness which he then suffered in his soul. ‘My soul’ (saith he) ‘is sorrowful, even unto death;’ that is to say with a sadness which is capable of even now taking away my life, if I did not, by miracle, support myself for enduring the other torments of my passion. Sweet Jesus, what can be the meaning of this? Didst thou not from the first instant of life accept of and embrace, in the midst of thy heart, all that thou art now going to suffer – forasmuch as it would be for the glory of thy Father, and the redemption of man? Hast thou not even a longing desire of accomplishing this great sacrifice of our redemption? And how comes it that thou art now thus oppressed with sadness and anguish? Where is that courage and fortitude which thou hast imparted to thy martyrs, which has made even tender maids despise the worst of torments, when they endured them for the love of thee? And shalt thou, who art the strengths of the martyrs, shrink at the fear of death? But O! very well understand that it is at thy own choice thou hast condescended to all this sadness, fear, and anguish; to the end that thou mightest suffer the more for me, and engage me to love thee the more; it is that thou mightest teach me how to behave under all my interior anguishes and afflictions, and how to endure them for the love of thee.

Consider 3rdly, the prayer our Saviour made on this occasion, that if it were agreeable to the will of his Father, the bitter cup might pass away from him. But O with what fervour did he pray? ‘With a strong cry and tears.’ – Heb. v. 7. With what reverence and humility? – lying prostrate upon the ground, Matt. xxvi. 39. With what earnestness and perseverance? – continuing a long time in prayer, and repeating again and again the same supplication. Learn, my soul, to imitate him under all thy distresses and betake thyself to prayer; but see thou pray, as the Lord did, with fervour, humility, and perseverance; see thou pray with the like resignation! ‘Not my will but thine be done.’ Remember that in thy prayers thou art not to seek thy own pleasure or comfort, but the holy will of God: O make this holy will thy pleasure and comfort, and thy prayer will be always acceptable. ‘Stay thou here and watch with me,’ saith our Lord to His disciples; but at every time that he came to them, he found them still asleep; and no help or comfort had he from their company, in this his desolate condition. O my soul, do thou at least pity thy Saviour under all this anguish and desolation; do thou stay and watch with him, by a frequent meditation on his sufferings.

Conclude never to forget what thy Saviour suffered for thee in his soul, during his prayer in the garden. No sufferings can be greater than such as immediately affect the soul. St. Teresa did not let a night pass, from her very childhood, without reflecting, before she fell asleep, on our Saviour’s sufferings in that part of his passion; and, by this means, she gradually arrived at the perfection of mental prayer, and of all holiness. Do thou likewise.

Leave a Reply