Jesus Christ leaves the Supper-room.
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 leaves the Supper-room.
“And a hymn being said, they went out unto Mount Olivet.”—St. Matthew xxvi. 30.
THE darkness of night had already enveloped the earth, and Judas had gone to the chief priests and ancients of the people to instruct them how they might capture his Divine Master. Far from wishing to avoid death, Jesus desired rather to hasten the hour of its approach, and, arising from the table, He resolved to leave the supper-room, and also the city, to prepare Himself in some solitary place for the great sacrifice of Calvary.
He, therefore, thanked the owner of the house for the courteous hospitality which had been tendered to Himself and His disciples, and, having sung a hymn of thanksgiving to the Eternal Father, Jesus, accompanied by the eleven, departed from the city. They passed out through the gate of Mount Sion, and descending the hill, proceeded to Mount Olivet. On the side of this mount was the Garden of Gethsemani, into which Jesus, when visiting Jerusalem, was accustomed to retire frequently to pray. To this garden He now repaired: “And a hymn being said, they went out unto Mount Olivet.”
The reason why our Lord left the supper-room was, perhaps, this: He was desirous of saving His charitable host from the molestations to which the soldiery would certainly subject that person whom they should find entertaining the very one whose capture they desired to effect. As to the Redeemer’s reason for departing from Jerusalem, Theophylactus tells us that it was to prevent a tumult which would certainly arise among the people should they be permitted to witness the infamous method adopted to accomplish our Lord’s capture. Several reasons are assigned for His repairing to Mount Olivet, and to that very spot where lay the Garden of Gethsemani. St. Jerome says that as Jesus was to ascend into heaven from the summit of this mountain, so He wished to watch, pray, and be captured on this mountain; thus clearly intimating that prayers, vigils, and humiliations are so many rungs of the mystic ladder of perfection, by which alone man can hope to ascend above the stars and reach his heavenly home. Venerable Bede tells us that the garden was the place where Jesus frequently retired at night to pray; and as this fact was well known to the Jews, and especially to Judas, who had often been His companion during those holy vigils, our Lord deemed that by seeking again the shades of Gethsemani He was choosing a spot most favorable to the success of His enemies’ attempts to find and capture Him. Jesus wished all to perceive that He had no fears, and that, far from trying to avoid death, He went willingly forth to meet it. Others maintain that as the fall of the human race began in a garden, so Jesus wished that His sacred passion, which was destined to repair that fatal fall, should also begin in a garden.
For these and similar reasons Jesus joyfully advanced towards Mount Olivet, not as one going to meet death, but as one hastening to a banquet. But the more joyful Jesus was, the more sorrowful His apostles were. Convinced at last that this was, indeed, their Master’s last night on earth, they walked along with bowed heads, painfully brooding over the irreparable loss which they were about to sustain. Methinks, too, that on that lonely journey the apostles must have been vying with one another in the desire of drawing near to our Lord, and of offering Him words of sympathy and consolation. But such was their sorrow that no one dared to speak, and they pursued their way in silence. Jesus, however, did not remain silent, but availed Himself of these last moments to speak to His disciples words of most heavenly wisdom. These will furnish abundant matter for meditation under the second point of this consideration.
For the present let us pause a moment and bring up before our minds a vivid picture of our Lord and His apostles pursuing their lonely journey to Mount Olivet. Let us reflect that the apostles are not accompanying their Master now as they often accompanied Him in days past to some great city or castle, there to witness Him performing some wonderful miracle, or to hear Him preaching the word of eternal life. They are going with Him to the place of sacrifice. Let us in spirit join this holy company as they journey to Olivet. In this pious state of mind we shall experience abundant spiritual consolations, for Jesus will not fail to inspire us with holy affections and good resolutions.
The apostles, then, closing in lovingly around our Lord, were beginning to descend the hill of Sion, when Jesus thus addressed them: “My dear disciples, you are the tender branches of a rich vine; I am the rich vine to which you are united as branches. Now as the branch that is lopped from the vine soon withers and dies, so you, if you separate yourselves from Me, shall be able to perform no work worthy of eternal life. On the other hand, as long as you shall observe My commands and remain united to Me in the bonds of faith and charity, so long shall My Father have you in His holy keeping and bestow on you all the treasures of His grace. But if you abandon Me, then also shall My Father abandon you. Remain steadfast, therefore, in the faith, and love one another as I have loved you.
“Behold, I now no longer call you servants, but friends; and I treat you as friends—intimate friends; for a servant knows not the affairs of his master, while I have admitted you to a knowledge of all those things which I have heard from My Father.
“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and commissioned you to go forth and produce much fruit, and your fruit shall remain. The world, indeed, may persecute you; but let not your souls be sad on this account, but rejoice rather at seeing yourselves treated as I have been. As I have already told you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor the ambassador greater than the king that sends him. If I, then, who am the Lord of heaven and earth, and your Master, have been insulted, calumniated, spit upon; if I, your Master, shall soon be loaded with chains, led as a malefactor from court to court, there to be insulted, spit upon, derided, scourged, and finally nailed to a cross,—if I am so treated during My mortal life, you, who are My disciples, cannot expect better treatment.
“If you were of the world, the world would love you; but because you are My disciples it will hate and persecute you. But do not let your courage fail; fight on bravely with the arms of faith and patience, confiding in the strength of My grace and omnipotence. Remember that, though crucified, dead, and buried, I shall not cease to be what I am, the omnipotent God to whom all things are subject and nothing is impossible. You, indeed, shall lament and weep because of these persecutions for My name’s sake, while the world shall rejoice; but rest assured, My dear disciples, that your sorrows shall be turned into joy, and the world’s joy shall be turned into sorrow.
“Lo, I have foretold you all things, that, when they shall happen, they may not surprise you nor make you waver in your faith. And I have yet many things to say to you, but your minds are not prepared to hear them. But when the Holy Spirit is come, He will teach you all truth, illuminating your minds and fully fitting you to discharge all the high duties of your sacred ministry. Do ye, meanwhile, prepare yourselves by “fervent prayer and rigorous fasting for the reception of this Holy Spirit; and when you shall have received Him, you shall find yourselves changed, as it were, into other men. Such shall be the grace with which your souls shall abound, that you shall be able to do and suffer all things for the honor and glory of God.”
Thus ended the discourse which Jesus delivered to His apostles as they moved on to Olivet. If we would profit by its sacred teachings, we should consider its every word as addressed to ourselves. Let us ever remember, then, that as long as we remain in union with God, so long He remains in union with us; “and if God be with us, who shall be against us?” If the world persecutes us, let us remember that it persecuted Christ also. Let us remember that if the world hates us, it is a sign that we are not of the world; and that not to be of the world is to be of the number of the elect. Finally, let us remember that if we only have a little patience our tears shall cease and our sorrow shall be turned into joy, according to the promise of Him whose words are eternal truth.
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.
Ask of God much suffering; in giving it to you, He will do you a great favor, for in this single gift are countless blessings. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Bartoli, Book iv.
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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