Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: Fourth Tuesday in Lent

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✠Challoner Meditation: March 26th



Consider first, how sensible an affliction it was to our Lord, to be betrayed and sold by one of his own Apostles into the hands of those that sought his life. Inasmuch that he, who bore in silence all the insolences of the Jewish rabble and the pagan soldiers; he who suffered the whips, thorns, and nails without complaint: could not but complain of this treachery, ingratitude, and perfidiousness of a false friend, both in his words to his disciples the night before his passion, and to the traitor himself when he offered him the treacherous kiss; and long before by the Royal Prophet. Hear how he expresses himself in the Psalms. ‘Even the man of my peace,’ (the friend whom I had taken into my bosom,) ‘in whom I trusted, who eat my bread,’  (even the bread of life,) ‘hath greatly supplanted me,’ xl. 10. And again, ‘If my enemy hath reviled me, I would willingly have borne with it; and if he that hated me hath spoken great things against me, I would perhaps have hid myself from him. But thou a man of one mind, my guide and my familiar, who did’st take sweet meats together with me,’ (even the sacred body and blood of thy Redeemer,) ‘in the house of God we walked with consent,’ Ps. liv. 13, 14. Yes, I had associated thee to the communion of all my goods and graces in my church; I had admitted thee to be one of my individual companions, a witness of all my doctrine and miracles, and even one of my twelve Apostles. And that thou, so highly favoured without any merit of thine, should be thus ungrateful, thus false and perfidious, as without any injury or provocation, for a petty trifling interest, to betray me into the hands of my enemies, and to join thyself with them to persecute me unto death – O, this it is that afflicts my soul; and the more insupportably because in betraying and selling me thou betrayest and sellest thy own soul (which is so dear to me) to be an eternal prey to devils. O take care, my soul, thou never imitate the traitor! O dear Jesus, be thou my keeper, or else I shall also betray both myself and thee! Alas, how often have I betrayed thee already by wilful sin! O never suffer me to be so miserable any more.

Consider 2ndly, what an aggravation it was to the injury which the traitor offered to our Redeemer, that he should set no greater value on him, but sell him at so low a rate as thirty pieces of silver, the price it is likely of the meanest slave; and that he should prefer such a trifling consideration before his Lord and his God, who made both him and all things, and who set such a value upon his soul, as to employ his whole life, and give his most precious blood to redeem it. My soul, dost thou not loudly condemn and detest this monstrous treason? But hast thou never been guilty of the like or worse? Hast thou never sold for a more trifling consideration that grace and friendship of thy Redeemer? hast thou never preferred before him a petty interest, a filthy pleasure, a punctilio of honour, or the gratifying of some unreasonable passion? And what was all this, but selling both thy God and thy own soul for something of less value than the traitor’s thirty pieces of silver? Alas it is what thou hast been guilty of as often as thou hast committed mortal sin. Be confounded, repent, and amend.

Consider 3rdly, and see in this example of Judas that no state of life or calling, how holy soever, can secure us from danger, since an Apostle, called by Christ and trained up in his school, so well instructed by his heavenly doctrine and great example, and empowered by him to cast out devils and work wonderful miracles, is fallen, nevertheless, and fallen so as to rise no more, even into the bottomless pit. O! let him that stands be sensible upon what slippery ground he stands, and by whose grace he is supported and kept from falling; that so, by entirely distrusting himself and placing his whole confidence in God, he may work out his salvation with fear and trembling. But what was it that brought Judas to this enormity? It was the love of money. This was his predominant passion. This he indulged at first in lesser injustices, by the opportunity of carrying the common purse and thus, whilst he took no care to mortify his evil inclinations, by degrees they gained ground upon him, till they introduced Satan into the full possession of his soul, and so prevailed upon him to betray and to sell his Master, and then to hang himself in despair. Christians, beware of your passions, stifle them betimes, lest they grow headstrong by being neglected in the beginning; especially take care of that cheating vice of the love of money, the source of innumerable evils; and yet the poison works so insensibly, that few or none are willing to think themselves infected by it. Alas! how many pretexts and pretences are made use of to cover the evil; how many ways of palliating even frauds, injustices, usuries, and what not! And how ingenious are men, where their interest is concerned, to persuade themselves that their way is right, the latter end of which (as they will find to their cost, when it is too late,) leads to the second death.

Conclude to mistrust thyself and thy own judgment, in all cases where thy worldly honour, interest, or pleasure is concerned because it is natural on these occasions to be biassed to that side of the question that is most agreeable to self-love. O how hard it is to be an impartial judge in one’s own case! But O, how happy then are they who in simplicity of heart seek God and his holy will and law on all occasions, and do not desire to bend down the law of God to their will, but their will to the law of God.

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