St. Thomas Aquinas: Meditations for Each Day of Lent
#11
Saturday After First Sunday
The Love of God Shown in the Passion of Christ

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God commendeth His charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us.--Rom. v. 8, 9

1. Christ died for the ungodly (ibid. 6). This is a great thing if we consider who it is that died, a great thing also if we consider on whose behalf he died. For scarce for a just man, will one die (ibid. 6), that is to say, that you will hardly find anyone who will die even to set free a man who is innocent, nay even it is said, The just perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart (Isaias lvii).

Rightly therefore does St. Paul say scarce will one die. There might perhaps be found one, some one rare person who out of superabundance of courage would be so bold as to die for a good man. But this is rare, for the simple reason that so to act is the greatest of all things. Greater love than this no man hath, says Our Lord himself, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John xv. 13).

But the like of what Christ did himself, to die for evildoers and the wicked, has never been seen. Wherefore rightly do we ask in wonderment why Christ did it.

2. If in fact it be asked why Christ died for the wicked, the answer is that God in this way commendeth His charity towards us. He shows us in this way that He loves us with a love that knows no limits, for while we were as yet sinners Christ died for us.

The very death of Christ for us shows the love of God, for it was His son whom He gave to die that satisfaction might be made for us. God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son (John iii. 16). And thus as the love of God the Father for us is shown in his giving us His Holy Spirit, so also is it shown in this way, by his gift of his only Son.

The Apostle says God commendeth signifying thereby that the love of God is a thing which cannot be measured. This is shown by the very fact of the matter, namely the fact that He gave His Son to die for us, and it is shown also by reason of the kind of people we are for whom He died. Christ was not stirred up to die for us by any merits of ours, when as yet we were sinners. God (who is rich in mercy) for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (Eph. ii. 4).

3. All these things are almost too much to be believed. A work is done in your days, which no man will believe when it shall be told (Habac. i. 5). This truth that Christ died for us is so hard a truth that scarcely can our intelligence take hold of it. Nay it is a truth that our intelligence could in no way discover. And St. Paul, preaching, makes echo to Habacuc, I work a work in your days, a work which you will not believe, if any man shall tell it to you (Acts xiii 14).

So great is God's love for us and His grace towards us, that He does more for us than we can believe or understand.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#12
Second Sunday in Lent
God the Father Delivered Christ to His Passion

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God spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.--Rom. viii. 32.

Christ suffered willingly, moved by obedience to His Father. Wherefore, God the Father delivered Christ to His Passion, and this in three ways:
1. Because the Father, of His eternal will, preordained the Passion of Christ as the means whereby to free the human race. So it is said in Isaias, The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. liii. 6), and again, The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity (ibid. liii. 10).
2. Because He inspired Our Lord with the willingness to suffer for us, pouring into His soul the love which produced the will to suffer. Whence the prophet goes on to say, He was offered because it was His own will (Isa. liii. 7).
3. Because He did not protect Our Lord from the Passion, but exposed him to his persecutors. Whence we read in St. Matthew's Gospel, that as He hung on the cross Christ said, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken met (Matt, xxvii. 46). For God the Father, that is to say, had left him at the mercy of His torturers.
To hand over an innocent man to suffering and to death, against His will, compelling him to die as it were, would indeed be cruel and wicked. But it was not in this way that God the Father handed over Christ. He handed over Christ by inspiring Him with the will to suffer for us. By so doing the severity of God is made clear to us, that no sin is forgiven without punishment undergone, which St. Paul again teaches when he says, God spared not his own Son. At the same time God's goodheartedness is shown in the fact that whereas man could not, no matter what his punishment, sufficiently make satisfaction, God has given man someone who can make that satisfaction for him. Which is what St. Paul means by, He delivered Him up for us all, and again when he says, God hath proposed Christ to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood (Rom. iii. 25). The same activity in a good man and in a bad man is differently judged inasmuch as the root from which it proceeds is different. The Father, for example, delivered over Christ and Christ delivered himself, and this from love, and therefore They are praised. Judas delivered Him from love of gain, the Jews from hatred, Pilate from the worldly fear with which he feared Caesar, and these are rightly regarded with horror. Christ therefore did not owe to death the debt of necessity, but of charity--the charity to men by which He willed their salvation, and the charity to God by which He willed to fulfil God's will, as it says in the gospel, Not as I will but as Thou wilt (Matt, xx vi. 39).
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#13
Monday After the Second Sunday
It was fitting that our Lord should suffer at the hands of the Gentiles

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They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked., and scourged and crucified.--Matt. xx. 19.

In the very manner of the Passion of Our Lord its effects are foreshadowed. In the first place, the Passion of Our Lord had for its effect the salvation of Jews, many of whom were baptised in His death.

Secondly, by the preaching of these Jews, the effects of the Passion passed to the Gentiles also. There was thus a certain fitness in Our Lord's Passion beginning with the Jews and then, the Jews handing Him on, that it should be completed at the hands of the Gentiles.

To show the abundance of the love which moved Him to suffer, Christ, on the very cross, asked mercy for His tormentors. And since He wished that Jew and Gentile alike should realise this truth about His love, so He wished that both should have a share in making Him suffer.

It was the Jews and not the Gentiles who offered the figurative sacrifices of the Old Law. The Passion of Christ was an offering through sacrifice, inasmuch as Christ underwent death by His own will moved by charity. But in so far as those who put him to death were concerned, they were not offering a sacrifice but committing a sin.

When the Jews declared, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death (John xix. 31), they may have had many things in mind. It was not lawful for them to put anyone to death on account of the holiness of the feast they had begun to keep. Perhaps they wished Christ to be killed not as a transgressor of their own law but as an enemy of the state, because He had made Himself a king, a charge concerning which they had no jurisdiction. Or again, they may have meant that they had no power to crucify which was what they longed for but only to stone, as they later stoned St. Stephen. Or, the most likely thing of all, that their Roman conquerors had taken away their power of life and death.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#14
Tuesday After the Second Sunday
The Passion of Christ brought about our salvation because it was a meritorious act

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They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged and crucified.--Matt. xx. 19.

Grace was given to Christ not only as to a particular person, but also as far as He is the head of the Church, in order that the grace might pass over from Him to His members. And the good works Christ performed, therefore, stand in this same way in relation to Him and to His members, as the good works of any other man in a state of grace stand to himself.

Now it is evident that any man who, in a state of grace, suffers for justice sake, merits for himself, by this very fact alone, salvation. As is said in the gospel, Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake (Matt. v. 10). Whence Christ by His Passion merited salvation not only for Himself but for all His members.

Christ, indeed, from the very instant of His conception, merited eternal salvation for us. But there still remained certain obstacles on our part, obstacles which kept us from possessing ourselves of the effect of what Christ had merited. Wherefore, in order to remove these obstacles, it behoved Christ to suffer (Luke xxiv. 46).

Now although the love of Christ for us was not increased in the Passion, and was not greater in the Passion than before it, the Passion of Christ had a certain effect which His previous meritorious activity did not have. The Passion produced this effect not on account of any greater love shown thereby, but because it was a kind of action fitted to produce that effect, as is evident from what has been said already on the fitness of the Passion of Christ.

Head and members belong to one and the same person. Now Christ is our head, according to His divinity and to the fullness of Hhis grace which overflows upon others also. We are His members. What Christ then meritoriously acquires is not something external and foreign to us, but, by virtue of the unity of the mystical body, it over flows upon us too (3 Dist. xviii. 6).

We should know, too, that although Christ by His death acquired merit sufficient for the whole human race, there are special things needed for the particular salvation of each individual soul, and these each soul must itself seek out. The death of Christ is, as it were, the cause of all salvation, as the sin of the first man was the cause of all condemnation. But if each individual man is to share in the effect of a universal cause, the universal cause needs to be specially applied to each individual man.

Now the effect of the sin of the first parents is transmitted to each individual through his bodily origin (i.e., through his being a bodily descendant of the first man). The effect of the death of Christ is transmitted to each man through a spiritual rebirth, a re-birth in which man is, as it were, conjoined with Christ and incorporated with Him.

Therefore it is that each individual must seek to be born again through Christ, and to receive those other things in which works the power of the death of Christ.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#15
Wednesday After the Second Sunday
The Passion of Christ brought about our salvation because it was an act of satisfaction

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He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.--I John ii. 2.

Satisfaction for offences committed is truly made when there is offered to the person offended a thing which he loves as much as, or more than, he hates the offences committed.

Christ, however, by suffering out of love and out of obedience, offered to God something greater by far than the satisfaction called for by all the sins of all mankind, and this for three reasons. In the first place, there was the greatness of the love which moved Him to suffer. Then there was the worth of the life which He laid down in satisfaction, the life of God and man. Finally, on account of the way in which His Passion involved every part of His being, and of the greatness of the suffering he undertook.

So it is that the Passion of Christ was not merely sufficient but superabundant as a satisfaction for men's sins. It would seem indeed to be the case that satisfaction should be made by the person who committed the offence. But head and members are as it were one mystical person, and therefore the satisfaction made by Christ avails all the faithful as they are the members of Christ. One man can always make satisfaction for another, so long as the two are one in charity.

2. Although Christ, by His death, made sufficient satisfaction for original sin, it is not unfitting that the penal consequences of original sin should still remain even in those who are made sharers in Christ's redemption. This has been done fittingly and usefully, so that the penalties remain even though the guilt has been removed.

(i) It has been done so that there might be conformity between the faithful and Christ, as there is conformity between members and head. Just as Christ first of all suffered many pains and came in this way to His glory, so it is only right that His faithful should also first be subjected to sufferings and thence enter into immortality, themselves bearing as it were the livery of the Passion of Christ so as to enjoy a glory somewhat like to His.

(ii) A second reason is that if men coming to Christ were straightway freed from suffering and the necessity of death, only too many would come to Him attracted rather by these temporal advantages than by spiritual things. And this would be altogether contrary to the intention of Christ, who came into this world that He might convert men from a love of temporal advantages and win them to spiritual things.

(iii) Finally, if those who came to Christ were straightway rendered immortal and impassible, this would in a kind of way compel men to receive the faith of Christ, and so the merit of believing would be lessened.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#16
Thursday After the Second Sunday
That the Passion of Christ brought about its effect because it was a Sacrifice

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A sacrifice properly so called is something done to render God the honour specially due to Him, in order to appease Him. St. Augustine teaches this, saying, "Every work done in order that we may, in a holy union, cleave to God is a true sacrifice every work, that is to say, related to that final good whose possession alone can make us truly happy." Christ in the Passion offered Himself for us, and it was just this circumstance that He offered Himself willingly which was to God the most precious thing of all, since the willingness came from the greatest possible love. Whence it is evident that the Passion of Christ was a real sacrifice.

And as He Himself adds later. The former sacrifices of the saints were so many signs, of different kinds, of this one true sacrifice. This one thing was signified through many things, as one thing is said through many words, so that it may be repeated often without beginning to weary people.

St. Augustine speaks of four things being found in every sacrifice, namely a person to whom the offering is made, one by whom it is made, the thing offered and those on whose behalf it is offered. These are all found in the Passion of Our Lord. It is the same person, the only, true mediator Himself, who through the sacrifice of peace reconciles us to God, yet remains one with Him to whom He offers, who makes one with Him those for whom He offers, and is Himself one who both offers and is offered.

It is true that in those sacrifices of the old law which were types of Christ, human flesh was never offered, but it does not follow from this that the Passion of Christ was not a sacrifice. For although the reality and the thing that typifies it must coincide in one point, it is not necessary that they coincide in every point, for the reality must go beyond the thing that typifies it. It was then very fitting that the sacrifice in which the flesh of Christ is offered for us was typified by a sacrifice not of the flesh of man but of other animals, to foreshadow the flesh of Christ which is the most perfect sacrifice of all. It is the most perfect sacrifice of all.

(i) Because since it is the flesh of human nature that is offered, it is a thing fittingly offered for men and fittingly received by men in a sacrament.

(ii) Because, since the flesh of Christ was able to suffer and to die it was suitable for immolation. (iii) Because since that flesh was itself without sin, it had a power to cleanse from sin.

(iv) Because being the flesh of the very offerer, it was acceptable to God by reason of the unspeakable love of the one who was offering his own flesh.

Whence St. Augustine says, "What is there more suitably received by men, of offerings made on their behalf, than human flesh, and what is so suitable for immolation as mortal flesh? And what is so clean for cleansing mortal viciousness as that flesh born, without stain of carnal desire, in the womb and of the womb of a virgin? And what can be so graciously offered and received as the flesh of our sacrifice, the body so produced of our priest?"
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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