Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: Fifth Wednesday in Lent

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Fifth Wednesday in Lent



Consider first, how our Saviour, rising up from the ground where he had lain prostrate in prayer, all imbrued in his own blood, which he shed during his anguish and agony, goes for the third time to his disciples, whom he had desired to pray and to watch with him, but alas he finds them still asleep. So little comfort did they afford their Lord in his distress! O my soul, has not this been often thy case, to be unconcernedly sleeping when it behoved thee to be watching and praying with thy Saviour? And what has been the consequence of this? Why thou hast run away and hast abandoned him in the time of trial and temptation. But now by this time, the traitor, who was not asleep, has conducted to the place a multitude, headed by some of the priests and Pharisees, and armed with swords and clubs, to apprehend our Lord. See, my soul, how thy Saviour goes forth to meet them, how ready he is to suffer, how willing to deliver himself up for the love of thee; see in what manner he receives the traitor’s kiss; ‘My friend,’ says he, ‘to what end art thou come hither?’ Reflect what thou art about, and repent whilst thou hast time, and I will show thee mercy: ‘Judas, wilt thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?’ O the meekness and charity of our Redeemer, who is ready to receive with open arms even Judas himself; if his hardened heart had not been proof against all the charms of his mercy! Sinners, see what an encouragement we have to run to him for mercy, since he was desirous to show it even to the traitor himself.

Consider 2ndly, how our Lord was pleased on this occasion to manifest his power, by casting down to the ground all the armed multitude that were come to apprehend him, with only these words, ‘I am he,’ to show the world that no power of man could apprehend him but by his own will and consent, in consequence of his own free love; O blessed be that free love for evermore! On the same occasion, when Malchus, a servant of the high priest, more busy than the rest in apprehending our Saviour, had his ear cut off by the sword of Peter, our Lord not only restrained this Apostle from using any further violence in his defence, but instantly showed both his power and his goodness, in healing the wretch, and restoring his ear upon the spot by his one word, to teach us by his example to overcome evil with good. Then after having meekly expostulated with the priests and the Pharisees, for their coming out in this manner in the night, with an armed mob, to take him, as if he had been some highway robber, he gave them leave to use their pleasure with him; but this upon conditions that they should not meddle with any of his disciples. So solicitous was our dear Redeemer that none of his little ones should suffer any thing upon this occasion, whilst he was going to offer up himself in sacrifice for the love of them.

Consider 3rdly, that our Lord had no sooner delivered himself up with these words, ‘This is your hour and the power of darkness,’ but they immediately rush in upon him, and, as we may presume from the rest of their carriage, and from their hatred to him, load him with injuries and blasphemies. Then they bind him fast, as if he were some notorious criminal, and drag him violently along with them in the dark into the city. See, my soul, and contemplate the meekness, patience, and silence of the Lamb of God under all these outrages; accompany him in spirit upon this occasion, for his Apostles have all left him (in the hands of his enemies), and strive to enter into his interior, and to learn from the secret conversation he has all the while with his Father, from the prayer he is there making for his enemies, and from the charity with which he offers up both his present and future sufferings for thy sins, and for the sins of the whole world, what ought to be thy dispositions under all the sufferings thou meetest with – what thy interior exercises of devotion – and what thy spirit of charity for them that afflict thee and persecute thee?

Conclude to follow thy Saviour in spirit, through all the different stages of his passion, with a sincere desire to study and learn the great lessons he teaches thee in his sufferings, and withal to make the best return of love thou art able, for the infinite love he has shown thee, in suffering so much for the love of thee.

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