On the Casting of the Sellers out of the Temple.
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.
On the Casting of the Sellers out of the Temple.
You have already, my soul, in the course of your meditations stood beside the crib of our Lord at Bethlehem and beneath His cross on Calvary; you have witnessed His glorious resurrection, His ascension into Heaven, the mission of the Holy Ghost; finally you have dwelt in thought on the memorial that after He had gone up on high He left behind for us, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Now let the public ministry of Christ, His teaching and miracles form the subject of your meditations. Accompany Him during the three years in which He journeyed throughout Palestine preaching the Gospel; and to-day first of all betake yourself to the temple at Jerusalem and witness what passes there.
1st. Consider our Lord’s zeal for the house of God. Jesus enters the house of His Father, the temple of God, the sanctuary of Israel. What meets His eye there? The forecourt is turned into a market-place; oxen and sheep, doves and lambs desecrate by their presence a spot consecrated to the service of God; the money-changers gold, chinking on their tables, disturbs the devotion of the worshippers; the shrill cries of buyers and sellers break the solemn silence that ought to prevail when God Himself is near. But now He is coming who declares: “The zeal of Thy house hath eaten Me up,” the Man, Christ Jesus. Behold Him, my soul, standing there in more than human majesty and authority; in His hand He wields a scourge; His voice, uplifted in stern rebuke, is heard above the clamor of the bargaining; He overthrows the tables of the covetous money-changers and before long His Father’s house is cleared and cleansed. Thus Jesus manifests Himself at the very outset of His public career as Master in the house that is His own and His Father’s. His noble anger terrifies the cowardly traders; they give way before Him; no one dares to withstand Him. Pause, my soul, and admire on the one hand the mysterious, supernatural power our Lord exercised when He one against many stood forth to reprimand and chastise; and on the other hand His zeal for the house of God; ask yourself whether you are actuated by a like zeal for God’s glory, and whether it may not be that your demeanor in the temple of God, your inattention, the worldly thoughts and material interests that occupy your mind in choir, in the church, nay, that you even allow to accompany you when you go up to the altar, have not long since provoked the wrath of the Most High, called for His just chastisements.
2d. Consider that the punishment of those who profaned the temple was in reality a reproof to the high priests and guardians of the temple, whose duty it was to see that the house of God was kept holy; they felt it to be a reflection upon them, and that is why they asked: “What sign dost Thou show unto us, seeing Thou dost these things?” (St. John ii. 18.) Let this teach you two things, my soul. First that the administrator of a church, a house, the president of an association, has more duties and consequently greater responsibilities than his subordinates. If therefore you occupy a position of authority, see to it lest, while in your private life there is nothing displeasing to God, or even much that is pleasing in His sight, at the same time you may err in your public capacity through negligence, indifference, human respect, or the desire to make yourself popular, and thus incur the divine anger and provoke His retributive justice. But if you are a subject, thank God for it, congratulate yourself on being exempt from such responsibility, and do not in your ambitious heart envy your Superior the position he fills. The second lesson we may learn is this: consider that although our Lord’s censure fell indirectly upon the chief priests, yet He did not leave the cleansing of the temple to be effected by the instrumentality of His disciples, but accomplished it Himself. By this He intends to teach us that the administration of punishment belongs to God as their actual Judge or to their Superior as His representative, but not to those who are in a subordinate position. Beware then how you sit in judgment on your superiors, how you criticise and condemn their words and actions. You would do better far to leave all in humility and patience to God, who is the supreme Judge; then you will not only be at peace yourself, but you will leave others in peace.
3d. Consider what became of all the crowd of sacrificial victims, of the sheep, the doves, and of the piles of gold on the money-changers tables after our Lord had purified the temple of their presence. Nothing was left, save the little cords which He had formed into a scourge. Here, my soul, you see the end of all that is wrongfully possessed, of all sinful pleasures. They are all evanescent; their ultimate lot is to be destroyed and swept away, and nothing remains but the punitive scourge, the scourge fashioned out of the cords of our own sins, whereby the soul was held captive in life. By it she will be chastised after death to all eternity. Wherefore, my soul, do not wait until the Lord comes in judgment to take vengeance in His wrath and purify you who are a temple of the Holy Ghost; undertake that cleansing yourself, begin this very day; drive out the brute beasts, your unruly passions; chase away the doves, those idle, vain thoughts and desires; overthrow the tables of the money-changers, covetousness and attachment to earthly goods. For unless you yourself purify that temple, the Lord will come as a thief in the night, “whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor.” (St. Matt. iii. 12.)
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)
PRAYER WHICH ST. GERTRUDE RECITED DAILY.
I salute thee, O Heart of Jesus my Saviour, vivifying and immutable source of joy and eternal life, infinite treasure of divinity, furnace of pure love; thou art my refuge and shelter, Thou art all to me. O loving Heart, fill my heart with the same fervor which inflames Thine. Bestow on me those abundant graces of which Thou art the source. Let my soul be always united to Thine, and let my will be continually subject to Thee. I have but one desire, that is that the rule of my actions, the object of my thoughts and sentiments, be Thine holy and infallible will. Amen.
Jesus, who art meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thy heart. (300 days indulgence.)
Sweet Heart of Jesus, enkindle me with Thy love. (300 days indulgence.)
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us. (100 days indulgence.)
Be loved everywhere O Sacred Heart of Jesus!(100 days indulgence.)
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