Another Meditation on the Mount of Olives.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
Another Meditation on the Mount of Olives.
Again to-day, my soul, prepare to make your meditation by betaking yourself to the Mount of Olives. Pass in review our Lord’s grand and glorious life on earth, which was begun at Bethlehem when by His birth He brought grace and blessings to the world, and was ended on the Mount of Olives by His triumphant ascension into Heaven. Let your eyes wander in imagination over the surrounding landscape seen from Mount Olivet, and observe particularly three objects of interest.
1st. The city of Jerusalem is visible from the Mount of Olives, and by it the heavenly country, the abode of eternal peace, is signified. For the apostle beheld the heavenly Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, adorned as a bride for her nuptials; her walls were formed out of all manner of precious stones, each several gate was one resplendent pearl, and the streets of the city were of pure gold. (Ap. ch. xxi.) By this imagery the inspired Evangelist intends to convey the idea how infinitely the heavenly Jerusalem surpasses in beauty and brilliance anything that is seen on earth. You, Christian, can behold that Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, and from the Mount of Olives you can also reach it; that is, you can reach it by the path of suffering and tribulation. This is a truth which you cannot sufficiently impress upon your memory; almost daily you need to remember it, and almost daily you fail to act in accordance with it.
2d. Consider that the Dead Sea, the symbol of the sinful world, is visible from the mountains around Jerusalem. Yes, my soul, if you desire to attain to the heavenly Jerusalem, ascend frequently upon the Mount of Olives, stand upon the hill of contemplation, since from that height you will obtain a freer, wider, more unbroken view than from the plains of everyday life. Hence survey the world and you will discern that in contrast to the heavenly life our earthly life is only a dead sea; that all its pleasures and sensual delights are in reality bitter and nauseous, and that the beauty, the fair and attractive forms of the material body are nothing better or more durable than the city of Sodom, for a time lovely and blooming, then changing to corruption and decay. After meditating on these salutary truths you will surely exclaim in the words of the Apostle: “I count all things but dung that I may gain Christ” (Phil. iii. 8); that I may win that glory which is not the superficial gleam of the Dead Sea, but the light of an ocean of living water, the ocean of never-ending felicity.
3d. Observe that the valley of Josaphat is also visible from Mount Olivet, the place where the final judgment will be held. My soul, if you desire to enjoy the happiness of Heaven in all its fulness, see that when you stand upon the mount of meditation you often contemplate the valley of Josaphat, you often fix your thoughts upon that tribunal before which you will be required to give account of all your thoughts, words, and works. Nothing is better calculated to speed us onwards on the way to Heaven than to turn our eyes to the valley of Josaphat. “In all things,” the author of the Imitation warns us, “look to the end, and see how thou wilt be able to stand before the strict Judge from whom nothing is hidden; who is not appeased by bribes, who admits no excuses, but will judge that which is just.” (Imit. B. i. ch. 24.) In view of this judgment also ask yourself what use you have made of the hours that up to this time you have devoted to meditation, those daily gifts of divine grace, this salt of the sacerdotal state, of the life of the cloister. Has the life of our Lord, which has been the subject of your meditations, left blessed and salutary traces in your soul, as the Saviour on His ascension into Heaven left the mark of His footprints in the stone on the summit of Mount Olivet? If not, then bewail your carelessness, and make the resolution to do better during the season of Pentecost which is now approaching; delay not to remove this very day the obstacles that have hitherto been a hindrance to your meditations and rendered them comparatively fruitless.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
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