ON THE PROMISE OUR LORD MADE AFTER HIS RESURRECTION THAT HE WOULD EVER ABIDE AMONGST THOSE WHO BELIEVED IN HIM.
The time when our Lord was to return to His Father drew nearer and nearer. Endeavor to realize the anxious, mournful state of the disciples’ feelings; in losing Jesus they lost their consolation, their strength, in fact all that they valued on earth. However, the risen Saviour comforts them in their tribulation with the promise: “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (St. Matt. xxviii. 20.)
1st. Consider the purpose of this promise. Our Lord after His resurrection intends to strengthen His faithful servants that they may not grow wavering and pusillanimous in the season of suffering, when the cross presses upon them. He would have them remember what a mighty Protector and Helper they have at their side; He desires them furthermore to be diligent in the practice of virtue and good works, not forgetful that He is ever near them, that He sees all that they do and rejoices in their acts of virtue. Finally He designs to warn them against sin and wrongdoing, since the thought of His ever-abiding presence must surely prove a powerful deterrent, nay, the most powerful of all deterrents from thoughts and deeds of a reprehensible nature. 0 most consoling, most invigorating consciousness of the presence of my Saviour! Here we may well quote the beautiful words of the great ascetic: When Jesus is with us all is well and nothing seems difficult. If Jesus be with thee no enemy can harm thee. Whosoever finds Jesus finds a good treasure, yea, a good above all good.” (Imit. B. ii. ch. 8.) If, my soul, mindful of this promise of your risen Lord, you were continually to walk in the presence of your God and Saviour, how patient you would be in suffering, how strong in temptation, how full of courage and confidence in danger! Why do you think so seldom of His presence? Is it perhaps because you have reason to dread rather than to desire it?
2d. Consider the greatness of this promise. Our Lord does not say that He will send an angel to replace Him, as He once promised Moses that He would do; no, on the contrary He expressly says: “I will Myself be with you, I, your omnipotent, infinite God, under whose protection you will be well defended; I, your victorious Saviour, who triumphed over death, over hell and the devil; I, your Master, of whose boundless power, charity, and bounty you have so often had proof. I will be with you with My grace, My assistance, My consolation. I will be with you not only unseen but visible under the appearance of bread, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.” Ponder this truth, my soul, especially the last point. God is really and actually with you; He is in your house, in your immediate neighborhood, in your heart. Have you so acted, so lived hitherto, have you so spent each day and night as becomes one who can say: Jesus is with me really and actually under the form of bread?
3d. Consider the extent of this promise. “I am with you,” thus our risen Lord declares, “all days, even to the consummation of the world.” Thus Jesus is perpetually with us. He does not consent to abide with us merely for twenty, thirty years, no, not for a hundred, a thousand years, but for an unlimited period, as long as the world lasts. And as He is with us at all times, so He is with us in all places. Go where we will, our Lord is ever near us. If there is no one near and dear to you, if all have forsaken you, friends and relatives, you are not alone, for Jesus is with you. He is with you in life, and He is with you in death. He never, never abandons you, unless indeed you first abandon Him. Alas! this too often is the case. Our Lord does not deem it too long to abide with us until the consummation of the world, and is it too much for you to continue faithful to Him during the few years of your life in the cloister? He is with you everywhere, yet you are inclined to forsake Him when obedience calls you to go whither your inclination does not lead you. No, let it not be so, for wheresoever you go, you do not go alone; Jesus is with you; He is always with you, and where He is, as Thomas a Kempis says, there is paradise.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ