Our Divine Redeemer tries by every Means to convert Judas.

Our Divine Redeemer tries by every Means to convert Judas.

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.

Our Divine Redeemer tries by every Means to convert Judas.

“And Judas that betrayed Him, answering said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it.”—St. Matt. xxvi. 25.

First Point.

THE perfidious Judas heard the other apostles questioning their Master as to who among them was the traitor, and, for fear of being discovered by his colleagues, he also asked, “Is it I, Rabbi?”

Commenting on this effrontery of Judas, an impassioned author thus apostrophizes him and inveighs against him: “O wretch! O thief! O hypocrite! O traitor! O monster of iniquity! What? You have already been before the chief priests and ancients of the people; of your own free will you have offered to deliver your Divine Master into the hands of His enemies! You have already received the thirty pieces of silver, and for the past two days you have been seeking an opportunity to execute your diabolical plot! You are endeavoring, even now, to leave the supper-room to inform His enemies that He may now be easily arrested,—and yet you dare to ask Him, ‘Is it I, Rabbi?’ You know that He is the Man-God who can penetrate the inmost secrets of our hearts, and you have the audacity to ask Him, ‘Is it I, Rabbi?’ You have this very moment heard Him say with all certainty that one of His apostles is about to betray Him, and you know too well that He forbore mentioning your name because, in His divine charity, He did not wish to disgrace you before your colleagues and the public. You perceive clearly that He knows your infamous project,—and yet you ask, ‘Is it I, Rabbi?’ O unheard-of insolence! O unparalleled temerity! But hearken, O Judas! to the answer which your Divine Master, though shamefully betrayed by you, deigns to give; and from that answer, Judas, learn whether Jesus deserves to be so insultingly treated.”

Our Divine Lord understood the full import of the Iscariot’s question, all its insolence and temerity; but as He desired the conversion of the traitor, He patiently bore the effrontery and refrained from revealing his name. Considering, however, that further silence might render the fallen disciple more audacious, and impress him with the idea that his secret thoughts were unknown—an idea which would cause him to hurry on to the consummation of his crime—Jesus made known to Judas that He was aware of all by answering, “Thou hast said it,” which was equivalent to saying, “Yes; you are the very one that has determined to betray Me, to sell Me to My bitter enemies.”

The interpreters of Holy Scripture are of the opinion that Jesus spoke these words to Judas in secret. The Evangelist does not say whether the answer given by Jesus was heard by the other apostles. St. Peter, who had a great desire to know who the traitor was, requested St. John, the beloved disciple, to question the Master. John, therefore, who was “leaning on the breast of Jesus, saith to Him: Lord, who is it? Jesus answered: He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And when He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him: That which thou dost, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew to what purpose He said this unto him” (St. John xiii. 25-28). It is evident, therefore, that the apostles, John only excepted, knew nothing of Judas’ treason. But not even this sublimely charitable reticence of Christ was sufficient to soften the traitor’s heart.

We should pause here and meditate on the great tenderness which Jesus manifested towards His faithless apostle, and also on the obduracy shown by the latter. The one should encourage, the other affright us. Let us, therefore, resolve to govern our conduct by these two principles, confidence in God, diffidence in self. Observing these, we shall infallibly arrive at the kingdom of God.

Second Point.

Our Holy Redeemer whispered only two words into the ear of His faithless disciple, “Tu dixisti”—“Thou hast said it.” But how many words of holy inspiration, how many gentle words of invitation to repentance, did He not secretly address to the heart of the traitor? The spoken words of Jesus can be found in the holy Gospel; and some knowledge of the import of His secret addresses may be obtained from the Fathers of the Church, and from devout contemplators on the sufferings of Jesus. These holy writers ascribe to our Saviour words of most tender and loving appeal, such as only a consideration of the immensity of God’s love can render credible. Thus does one writer make Jesus speak:

“My beloved disciple, tell Me what crime have I committed which causes you to deliver Me into the hands of My bitter enemies? What have I done to you, or in what have I displeased you? I have chosen you in preference to many others to be one of My apostles; I have conferred on you the power of working miracles; I have distinguished you among the twelve by appointing you treasurer and administrator of the alms given us by the faithful for our support and the needs of the poor; I have never asked you to render an account of your administration of the affairs of that office, for I have always placed confidence in you,—and now do you betray Me in return for all these benefits? O Judas! Judas, My beloved disciple, pause and consider whether I deserve to be treated so ungratefully. Remember, Judas, that I have loved you well and tenderly; and I still love you with all My heart. I ask nothing of you but that you love Me in return. I desire only your eternal salvation. For your salvation I came down from heaven and became man, and for you I am soon to shed the last drop of My blood. I wish you to share in the fruits of My bitter passion. I am still your dear Master, though you have forgotten to be My disciple. Be converted, and I promise that I will forget all. I will remember nothing but your docility to My call. Your fault shall meet with My tenderest compassion. Remember that I do not wish the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live.

“O Judas! Judas, it is not your Judge that now speaks to you, but your Redeemer; it is not the God of vengeance, but the Father of Mercies who calls you. Hearken to His loving voice; withdraw from the path of iniquity upon which you have entered, and in which, if you continue, you must surely perish. Do not turn a deaf ear to My merciful call. Do not harden your heart, nor despise My holy grace. Quit your blind rage, and return to the path of virtue: it is divine clemency itself that calls you, that knocks at the door of your heart, to invite you to a new life.”

Leo I., surnamed the Great, penetrated by a deep sense of the goodness manifested by our Divine Lord in His relations with Judas, thus apostrophizes the traitor, and explains at the same time the reason of his obduracy: “Why, unhappy Judas, do you not avail yourself of the goodness of your merciful Redeemer? Why do you not give, at least, a sign of interior repentance? Alas! the reason is only too plain,” continues St. Leo; “ Judas, who had ever been tardy in corresponding to divine grace, has now become deaf and dumb to the heavenly call. It is not the first time that Jesus speaks to his heart: Judas has habitually rejected divine grace, and now he is insensible to the mercies of heaven.”

For strong reasons, then, have the holy Fathers of the Church occupied themselves in showing the great solicitude of our Saviour for the conversion of Judas. Their purpose was to encourage sinners to rely on the mercy of God, and never despair, no matter how grievous or numerous their sins might be; for if the divine mercy was great towards Judas, it is equally great towards us.

Encouraged, therefore, by the infinite goodness of our most amiable Redeemer, let us prostrate ourselves at His feet; and, detesting all our past sins from the bottom of our hearts, let us make a firm resolution nevermore to offend Him.

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.

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IF God could not be with us on our altars to expand more and more freely, day after day, the sources of His mercy, Jesus Christ, His only Son, would not exhort us to undertake what His powerful arm alone can aid us to accomplish, when He tells us: “Be ye perfect as My heavenly Father is perfect.”St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 50.

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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).

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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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