Jesus Christ predicts His Passion to His Apostles..
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.
Jesus Christ predicts His Passion to His Apostles.
“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death.”—St. Matt. xx. 17, 18.
THE time determined from all eternity for the Redemption of mankind was fast approaching, and Jesus, taking a last leave of the plains of Galilee, went to Jericho, the city of palms, where He remained for some time. He was followed by a great multitude of people of every condition, who were attracted no less by His sanctity than by His divine doctrine. Among them were His Virgin Mother, His apostles, a great number of disciples, and the holy women who accompanied Him to Calvary. As the feast of the Pasch drew near, Jesus passed on to Jerusalem, there to celebrate that solemnity with the people. His joy on this occasion was so great, and beamed so resplendently from His countenance, that the mother of James and John believed that the time had come for His temporal kingdom, and besought Him to let her two children sit one on the right and the other on the left of His throne.
Far different indeed was the cause of the joy which filled His Sacred Heart: He was about to immolate Himself upon the cross to appease His Eternal Father for our sins, and for this reason He was happy. But fearing that His passion might be an occasion of scandal to His apostles, He called them apart and told them of it thus: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death.” This was equivalent to saying: “Behold, my dear disciples, we go up to Jerusalem, but I shall not return with you to Galilee. My enemies who have long been trying to apprehend Me will now accomplish their designs, and I shall be delivered as a malefactor into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, who will condemn Me to a most disgraceful death. I shall then be given over to the gentiles, who will mock Me, scourge Me, crown Me with thorns, and finally crucify Me between two thieves. Be not scandalized at seeing Me subjected to such indignities; for as I have power to foresee them, so have I also power to avoid them: but I know that they are necessary to the eternal salvation of mankind, and also to My glory; therefore I go joyfully to meet them. You have now been forewarned of My ignominious death, and you know of My glorious resurrection; and when these things come to pass they should confirm your faith in Me, because I had predicted them to you.”
Our Divine Redeemer had often before spoken of His future passion, always in terms which betrayed the yearnings of His loving heart for its accomplishment. On several occasions He had mentioned it to His holy Virgin Mother, and it had frequently been the subject of His conversation with His apostles and disciples; and the Gospel tells us that during His glorious transfiguration on Mount Thabor in the presence of Peter, James, and John, Moses and Elias were talking with Him, “and they spoke of His decease that He should accomplish in Jerusalem” (St. Luke ix. 31). There seemed to be nothing dearer to Him than His much-desired passion. Speaking to His disciples He said, “I have a baptism, wherewith I am to be baptized: and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!” On the night of His last supper, unable longer to conceal His joy at the approach of His bitter passion, He manifested it to His apostles, saying: “With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer” (St. Luke xxii. 15). Again He displayed this ardent desire when, turning to Judas who had already betrayed Him, He said, “Since thou hast determined to deliver Me into the hands of My enemies, delay no longer; do it quickly.”
Oh, when we consider how the Eternal Son of God longed to die upon the cross for our redemption, how great appears our ingratitude in refusing to suffer any thing for His love! Jesus went to meet His ignominious death with pleasure; we bear with murmuring and impatience even those little adversities which are unavoidable in our life. Ah! ought we not to be ashamed of our ingratitude towards our loving and merciful Redeemer? Let us resolve from this very moment to bear with patience and resignation all the crosses and humiliations which it may please God to send us.
The Evangelist remarks the eagerness with which our Lord undertook His last journey to Jerusalem: “And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem: and Jesus went before them, and they were astonished: and following were afraid” (St. Mark x. 32). An observer would have said that Jesus was going up to the holy city, not to be crucified as a malefactor, but to be crowned king. “Let those be ashamed,” says Venerable Bede, “who think that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ feared death. He foresaw all the snares which His enemies laid against Him, yet He did not avoid them. He foresaw all the horrors of His bitter passion, yet He did not become terrified, neither did He flee, but went spontaneously to encounter death, though all dissuaded Him.” This internal and external joy of our Saviour proceeded from His divinity more than from His humanity: His divine love for man was so intense, and His merciful desire of redeeming him so great, that they fortified His humanity against all fear of the torments, tortures, and slaughter to which it would soon be subjected. Still His Sacred Heart must have been immersed in the profoundest affliction; for, though His humanity, strengthened by His divinity, shrank not from the approaching passion, yet it keenly anticipated all the horrors which accompanied that passion. In fact, we read that in the Garden of Olives our Lord was assailed by such agonizing grief that He sweat blood. In this case His divinity, instead of relieving His anguish, increased it, by displaying before His mind in all their hideous enormity the ignominies to which He would be subjected.
In order to form an idea of our Saviour’s emotions on leaving Galilee, let us imagine Him to be a person like ourselves, feeling such pangs as we suffer in quitting country, riches, honors, parents, and relatives.
With what tender affection does not a man take a last farewell of his native land, his parents, and his friends, when about to enter upon a long and dangerous journey from which he fears he may not return! The place which he is about to abandon never appeared so beautiful, the loved ones with whom he parts never seemed so dear; all the diversions of his childhood, all the pleasures of his youth, all the hopes of his past life are fondly and sadly recollected.
Let us refer these same emotions to the loving and sensitive heart of Jesus. How affectionately did He not bid farewell to Nazareth where He had passed His youth; to Capharnaum which He had chosen as the centre of His heavenly mission; to Cana of Galilee where He had performed His first miracle; to Lake Tiberias across which He had often sailed with His disciples; to Mount Thabor where He had been transfigured; to the river Jordan where He had been baptized by His precursor; to Naim where He had wrought many wonders,—in a word, to all those places which had witnessed His childhood, His youth, His preaching, His prodigies, His prayers, His penances, and His fasts! We know from the Gospel that after His resurrection He returned to visit them again: “And behold He will go before you into Galilee: there you shall see Him” (St. Matt, xxviii. 7).
Let us imagine that our Lord as He journeyed along gazed affectionately on the mountains, streams, and other familiar objects by the way, and considering that it was the last time that He should pass as a mortal man through that beautiful region which awakened in Him the fondest memories, He sought, as it were, to divide His grief with His beloved apostles, saying: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death.”
If Jesus was so grieved at leaving those delightful places what must have been His feelings at parting from His apostles and disciples, and above all from His most loving Mother! Oh! it is impossible to give expression to such grief. Let us meditate upon this first step of our Saviour’s passion; and if we are not able to repay Him for His love, let us at least pity Him in His affliction.
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.
Behold how the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, the Eternal Wisdom, are rejected, His deeds forgotten, and the price of His precious Blood lost, in a measure, considering how few there are who seek their salvation.
– St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 50.
February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice: Humility
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).
Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.
V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.