Judas sells his Divine Master for Thirty Pieces of Silver.
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.
Judas sells his Divine Master for Thirty Pieces of Silver.
“Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests: and he said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver.”—St. Matt. xxvi. 14, 15.
THE chief priests and the ancients were, meantime, assembled in council in the palace of Caiphas, when Judas Iscariot, the traitor, came among them; and, boldly and openly divulging his perfidious designs, exclaimed, “What will you give me, and I will deliver Him unto you?” (St. Matt. xxvi. 15.) A pious author, explaining this evangelical passage, observes that its every word deserves the most serious consideration, each one being replete with the gravest meaning. He then proceeds to examine the rank which Judas held, and he finds it so eminent that it seems impossible for a person occupying such a position to form in his heart so perfidious a design against his gracious and amiable benefactor. “Judas Iscariot,” the same author says, “was one of the twelve; that is, he was not a stranger; he was not confounded amid the crowds that daily followed Jesus; nay, he was not simply one of the seventy-two disciples: he was one of the twelve, called to the apostolate by Jesus Christ Himself; one who had heard from the divine lips of Incarnate Wisdom the sublime and supernatural doctrine of heaven; one who had received the power of healing the sick and of casting out devils. Finally, he was one who had been distinguished among his companions by his appointment to the office, which he then held, of treasurer and dispenser of the alms offered by generous benefactors for distribution among the poor, as well as for the corporal maintenance of Jesus and His followers.
Now, this ingrate presented himself to the chief priests, his Divine Master’s bitterest enemies, who had assembled on former occasions and deliberated as to how they could put Him to death, and were now only awaiting a favorable opportunity to execute their heinous designs. Judas enacted this treachery without cause. He was not instigated nor even advised to do so by any one; he acted through mere malice. When did this ingrate enter upon the execution of his diabolical project and set out on his journey to the palace of Caiphas? He did not go there when the enemies of Jesus were apart, but when they were gathered together, deliberating how they might be enabled to apprehend Him and put Him to death. Then it was that Judas appeared and stood ready to carry out their nefarious plans. “What will you give me,” he eagerly exclaimed, “and I will deliver Him unto you?” This is equivalent to saying, “I have something to sell, but something so despicable that I do not dare to affix a price to it; do you yourselves name the amount you are willing to advance.” They then offered him thirty pieces of silver. “They appointed him thirty pieces of silver.” Judas was well satisfied with this sum of money; and, from that hour forth he exerted himself to find the earliest opportunity of carrying his infamous project into execution.
But the malice of the fallen apostle does not stop here Dionysius Carthusianus, commenting upon the above quoted text of the Gospel, says that the traitor left Bethania after having heard his Divine Master foretell that He would be crucified within two days. The same author further observes that Judas, when presenting himself to the chief priests and ancients of the people, was fully convinced of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and knew, or, at least, had reason to believe, that the enemies of his Divine Master were already assembled in order to compass His arrest and execution. Hence the ingrate unceremoniously inquires, “What are you willing to give me?” He might as well have said, “I know what motive has brought you together; I know the object of your discussions; I know what causes your uneasiness: behold, I am here, able and ready to extricate you from your perplexity. Only tell how much you will pay me for my services, and I will deliver Him unto you in the secret manner which you desire.”
Unhappy Judas! foolish and infamous merchant! How have you become so blind as to commit a crime so atrocious, so horrible, so heinous? Do you, then, value your Divine Master at so low a rate as to be willing to sell Him for thirty pieces of silver? And you would, perhaps, have sold Him for less, had less been offered? O Judas! how has your Master offended you? Ingrate, so soon, then, you forget the many favors you have received from Him! Do you not remember His numerous miracles? or do you think that Jesus cannot evade your snares as, on many previous occasions, He evaded those of His other enemies? Unhappy Judas! You have sold the gem of Paradise, the joy of heaven, the beloved of God. For thirty pieces of silver you have bartered the Lamb, a drop of whose blood is infinitely more valuable than all the silver and gold in the world.
The betrayal of Judas is of such a nature that the more we consider it, the more it excites our anger and fills us with horror. But our indignation against the evil deeds of that treacherous apostle will avail nothing unless we detest our faults from the bottom of our hearts. It is true that our faults may not exhibit the deep malice which we perceive in the betrayal of Judas; yet we must ever remember that they offend the majesty of God.
Having excited in our hearts an intense detestation of Judas’s terrible crime, let us pass to a consideration of the causes which induced him to betray his Divine Master.
Dionysius Carthusianus says that the treachery of Judas should not surprise us, for he was avaricious; and the avaricious man is capable of any crime. Indeed, we can easily see from the context of the Gospel that avarice, and avarice alone, dragged Judas to the abyss of iniquity into which he fell.
St. Matthew speaks of a banquet which a certain Simon, surnamed the leper, gave to our Divine Lord and His disciples some time during the brief sojourn of Jesus in Bethania, previous to the celebration of the Jewish Pasch. The Evangelist relates that while Jesus was seated at table, a woman—probably Mary Magdalene—entered the room, carrying an alabaster box of precious ointment, and that, having come near to Him, she poured the ointment on His sacred head. This action was witnessed by the apostles, who began to murmur, saying, “To what purpose is this waste? For this might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Our Lord heard those murmurings and gently reproved His disciples for them. He admonished them against blaming the conduct of the woman, for she had wrought a good work upon Him; and, refuting their reasoning concerning the needs of the poor, He said, “For the poor you have always with you: but Me you have not always. For she in pouring this ointment upon My body, hath done it for My burial” (Matt. xxvi. 11, 12).
The apostles at once acquiesced, submissively accepting this amiable reprimand, Judas excepted. He, because he was a thief—“et latro erat”—would not submit. Being treasurer and procurator of what may be called the household of our Lord, he thought that if the precious ointment were intrusted to him, he could sell it and retain part of the price for himself. Because his miserly desire was not gratified, he became furiously enraged. He left the house, went directly to Jerusalem, presented himself to the chief priests and ancients of the people, and betrayed his Divine Master, selling Him for the paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver to indemnify himself, as it were, for the money he deemed he had lost by not being able to obtain and sell the precious ointment. Having accomplished his execrable design. Judas returned to Bethania. Our Blessed Lord knew the heinous crime which His wretched apostle had perpetrated; the traitor’s guilt glared from his countenance: yet Jesus did not reproach him, nor show any resentment towards him. On the contrary, He went to meet him, as some pious authors say, and tenderly embraced and kissed him. Our Divine Lord acted thus in order to move the heart of Judas to repentance and induce him to detest his grievous sin. But the traitor, far from casting himself at the feet of his Merciful Master and imploring pardon, remained obstinate.
Behold to what a miserable state avarice, the love of gold and silver, has reduced an apostle! Those in whom this dangerous and baleful passion predominates, seldom correct themselves. They fear that they may be deprived of the necessaries of life, and they reckon among such necessaries goods which are entirely superfluous. The avaricious have no mercy, no sense of humanity; they have no compassion for the needy, and often they do not sufficiently provide even for themselves. Nothing can move them, soften them, deter them. Neither death, nor judgment, nor heaven, nor hell, nor eternity can affect their sordid hearts. Judas had often seen his Divine Master render Himself invisible to His enemies and pass through their very midst; he had seen Jesus perform many miracles; he had had countless proofs of His omnipotence and divinity. But Judas was no longer subject to reason: ruled by avarice, he could only think of gold and silver. Gold and silver absorbed all his thoughts, and their acquisition constituted his desires. Let the soul be lost, let Christ be sold as a slave—it matters not, so riches be acquired! O Judas, what a terrible example your life affords of the miseries to which avarice surely leads! Terrible warning for all. Alas, that for many it is given in vain! Let us endeavor to profit by it, and never regard as lost what we give for the glory of God and the support of the poor.
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.
The infernal enemy never has more power against you than when he acts secretly. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises.
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.
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