Thomas à Kempis: A Meditation on the Incarnation of Christ
#21
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XVII. OF FOLLOWING THE POVERTY OF JESUS, AND CASTING ASIDE CARE FOR TEMPORAL THINGS


THE foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests: but the Son of man bath not where to lay His head. This word of Jesus is frequently to be pondered by thee, and carefully set in thy heart: who dost affect to lead a religious life. Jesus commends to thee the nobility of His holy poverty, whereby is gained the kingdom of Heaven: which also He Himself poor in the world chose and most strictly observed. Yea, He desires thee to seek no earthly comfort: for neither did He have any temporal repose here: nor built Himself on earth a material home to shelter Him. The animals have their dens to retire, and the birds their nests or crevices to rest: but Jesus set up for Himself no tents at all: nor secured for Himself, by means of another, lodging or board. But He lived as a poor beggar: He passed the way of the world as a pilgrim in haste: He departed as a stranger from a foreign land. The eternal Wisdom built not itself a house made of hands in the towns or cities, nor rented in the fertile places outside the city; but content with the common lodging of His friends, He followed the simplicity of the poor in all things: and nowhere took pleasure in the lofty tents of sinners. But what was given Him for His sustenance; this He placed in the common fund: and entrusted to the keeping of another. He desired to have nothing of His own for Himself: and used sparingly those things that natural need required. If perchance aught remained over of gifts or food: this He had distributed to the poor. Likewise He forbade superfluous care for things to His perfect followers: but to weaker brethren with considerate gentleness He allowed the necessaries of life.

Peter once urged Him to build three tabernacles, when, beside himself, he enjoyed the heavenly vision on the mount, delighted with the resplendent presence of Christ and the company of holy Moses and Elias: but because he begged what was less befitting, in this petition he was not heard; for the dwelling of Christ and the blessed is not in earthly tabernacles, nor in corporeal images: but in the happy mansion of the heavenly kingdom, which surpasses all sense and thought of mortal men. And indeed the Maker of Heaven and earth, Jesus, called the carpenter’s son, could easily build a house or temple to His name even without ax or adze: but the heavenly master and artificer of all the virtues did not come down to the depths for the sake of reforming material things; for He took thought, not of stocks and stones, nor of oxen and sheep, nor of farms and rents: but of healing, instructing, and redeeming souls. However, He declared His power by more mighty works, accomplishing cures by a light touch or a single word; He also taught wisdom by good deed and discourse: speaking of the kingdom of God, warning against the perishing joys of the world: He gathered the simple and lowly, and the proud rich He sent empty away.

Do thou also therefore lay aside all useless anxiety for temporal things, nor occupy thyself excessively with resources for the future: but cast thy thought upon the Lord and think on heavenly things. Neither toil eagerly for the necessaries of life: that later thou may mayest have abundance. Leave others also to work for themselves: that they may have whereby to live. Labour rather for thy soul and for acquiring grace: than that the flesh be well nourished, which is to be devoured by worms. See that thou sweat not too much for temporalities: and neglect thyself in spiritual exercises. It is well to seek the common good: but the spiritual rather than the earthly. It is well to eat bread in the sweat of the brow: but be not unmindful of the heavenly bread. “Make use of thy own labour in the days of thy vanity,” saith the Wise One: “lest perchance thou leavest all to an idle and ungrateful man.” Thou canst not alone enrich all posterity: nor guard against all losses. Endeavour rather to leave after thee an example of virtue: than a sufficiency of worldly income. How knowest whether it is expedient for thee and others to have more? Do not desire what is unsafe. For the desire will never be sated: nor is cupidity ended by the value of things. Do thou follow the poverty of Christ; and be content with the moderation of nature: for the love of Him, Who would not have either farms, or rents, or coffers, or houses. Alack, many waste their days in useless anxiety; little or seldom turn themselves to interior things: and become utterly insensible within. Lift up thy heart: cleave not with the brute beasts to things of the earth. Thou art to be fed with the food of angels: the word of God is the nourishment of souls. This is the bread of life which the Lord Jesus shall give thee: lest thou faint in the wilderness. The good and loving Master Who has promised things eternal: will not deny the temporal. Do thou seek the heavenly things: and He doubtless will add what is necessary, whilst thou art in this life.
"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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#22
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XVIII. OF THE WEARINESS OF JESUS AND HIS SAVING DOCTRINE


JESUS, being wearied with His journey: sat on the well. The most patient Jesus deigned to be wearied for us. He did not use a carriage or a chariot or a horse, when He walked the earth: but in the name of the Lord He went on foot. Once we read He mounted an ass, and for a short space rode on an ass: rather as a pattern of humility than for the enjoyment of ease: not to gain honour: but to fulfil the word of the prophet. He showed therefore a good example to holy preachers and religious persons, that they travel not with pomp on horseback; nor incur heavy expenses on their journey: lest they scandalize seculars, and give rise to complaints in their monasteries. Give heed here, religious brother, to Jesus wearied with His journey: not passing along to walk about for recreation. And if it is necessary to take recreation, go not out into the public places nor a long distance: lest by thy wandering thou give offence to others. But turn aside into the portion of the lot of the saints, where thou mayest hear the word of God: or behold examples of holiness. He spends an evil recreation: who loses joy of conscience. He is very empty within and possessed of little devotion: who is found willingly ready to wander abroad. Esau, a man skilled in hunting, while he tarries outside in the field: is deprived of his hereditary rights. But Jacob, a simple man and abiding in the tent, while he humbly obeys his mother, and restrains his feet from wandering: with wondrous readiness receives his father’s blessing. The skilful one is deceived in his ways, placing his hope in bow and quiver: the simple man, intent on God, the man without plaint, was aided in his need. They are wont to be slow for excursions and worldly business: who have a more diligent care for their interior. But slothful minds are dissipated daily: and are brought to loss of mastery over themselves by frequency of cares, or the violence of troubles. He, who wishes to be cured of this wandering, and to recover the light of the heart: let him be earnestly on the watch: ponder the end of his days, and the hour of the severe judgement.

Learn also in this act of Jesus: that virtue is to be exercised with discretion. For to be wearied in the community toil, at the call of charity, or the mandate of obedience: is a sign of virtue and of no little merit. But to pause at a befitting time, and refresh the body with food, or instruct the soul by sacred reading: is the discreet ruling of both inner and outer man. Weariness then for the Saviour’s name should be bearable, and not shunned by the devout: since multitudes almost beyond number weary themselves for the world. But let the toil be discreet, lest it break down our weakness: or render us unfit for things divine. For what is moderate: endures better. It is right well lawful at times to go and sit a while for the renewal of one’s strength: and to be mindful of one’s own weakness. For Jesus Himself after the weariness of the journey sat on the well: awaiting food, and humbly asking for a drink of water.

In this place of the well we should also consider the doctrine of Jesus, profitable for the moral life. It teaches thee what thou shouldst do when thou givest over toiling: and what kind of recreation is to be sought. For, even if thou canst not labour longer, it is not becoming to give ear to idle stories, or take pleasure in sleep: or wander about through the offices. What then? Thou shouldst sit on the well; seek the comfort of the spirit: and with the Samaritan woman eagerly beg the gifts of saving wisdom. Look into the streams of holy Writ, and turn over what thou hast read; that thou mayest renew thy soul, cast off sloth: avoid idleness, and acquire fresh compunction. Let the tongue be silent without: that the mind may be nourished within. Weary not of praying often: and meditating on the loving Jesus. Learn to pass from material to interior things: and to rise from creatures to the praise of the Creator. For thus also did Jesus Himself, For taking occasion of this earthly well, and the question of the woman, who happened to come: He began to preach the word of salvation, and to pour out a stream of heavenly grace. She sought the water of the well: but carried away rejoicing the doctrine of life from the heavenly torrent. So refreshed and delighted was she with the discourse of the most sweet Jesus: that, forgetting her pitcher, she ran to tell her townspeople the wonderful works of God. And this is a sign of a great grace gained; when a man, reading, praying and meditating, is so touched: that unmindful of present ease, he burns wholly in the love of the fountain of life. Of which holy David with thirsting breast thus sings, “My soul hath thirsted after God, the living spring.”

Again, when the disciples, coming from the city, urged Jesus to eat: He showed that the bread of obedience, which most agreeably nourishes the soul subject to God, is to be preferred to all bodily food. There is indeed no drink sweeter than heavenly grace; which cleanses the defiled, waters the parched: and refreshes the tempted. Nor is any more delicious food tasted, or richer banquet placed before the eyes of the lover, than the fulfilment of the will of Heaven: as the most obedient Jesus Himself saith, “My meat is: to do the will of Him that sent Me.” For to seek the good pleasure of God in what is to be done, is sweet above all else to the lover: and nourishes the obedient disciple well and refreshes with spiritual joy because of the merit of obedience. Thus Elias penetrating the vast wilderness, and willingly remaining by himself, instructed by the angel arose and eat: and while he fulfilled the command of the angel: he walked in the strength of that food unto the mount of God. For true obedience leads with little toil to the summit of perfection, to the mount of eternal rest: where there is full refreshment from all heat and toil, and possession of entire blessedness in the presence of the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, with the enjoyment of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
"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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#23
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XIX. OF THE WRITING OF JESUS AND HIS MERCY TOWARDS THE SINFUL WOMAN


BUT Jesus bowing Himself down: wrote with His finger on the ground. The lovable Jesus, gentle teacher, true master, just judge, and compassionate Saviour, is narrated to be a writer: Who wrote not with ink, but with His finger on the ground. A good writer, Who wrote out mercy for the poor: and granted pardon to the sinner. Nor did He act contrary to the law: when He tempered the severity of the law. For the miserable need mercy: and justly is forgiveness granted to the truly penitent. O how beautiful a writing, and how skilled is this finger of God: when it soothed with words of clemency the sinner steeped in sorrow: and wisely silenced the malicious conspirators, eager for vengeance, unyielding to mercy: and by His words showed them to be worthy of confusion, saying, “He that is without sin among you: let him first cast a stone at her.” This against the accusers: and for the deliverance of the penitent from the mouth of the wolves. And now, good Jesus, what sayest Thou to the woman? Guilty of sin she awaits a good word, pronounce Thy sentence; she submits herself to Thy judgement: give a comforting answer. As Thou hast ever been wont to have compassion: so also now. “Neither will I,” He saith, “condemn thee.” What could be more gentle and more liberal unto the granting of forgiveness? Be consoled, guilty conscience: listen to the word of such loving compassion. If God be for thee, who shall stand against thee? Christ Jesus it is, Who justifies: who is he that shall condemn? And what wilt thou do further; what wilt thou offer in compensation for thy sin? Thou repentest of the crime committed: but a greater care is to be taken against future sins, before thou departest. “Go,” saith the most gentle Jesus: “and now sin no more.” What could be shorter, and more full unto remission: and to the satisfaction of perfect penance? Who knows hearts: He knew how much sorrow the sinful woman had. Jesus therefore used more abundant clemency, lest she should be overwhelmed by too grievous a sadness: who, having been publicly accused, suffered great shame for her fault.

Thou hast heard the clemency of the Saviour with its great consolation for sinners: strive thou also to acknowledge thy faults, and worthily to bewail them before, seized by the most wicked spirits, thou be forced in the future judgement to render an account of all. Say with the publican, “O God be merciful to me a sinner.” Nor distrust the mercy of the Redeemer: if only for the future thou desirest with all thy strength to guard against thy past sins: and perfectly to amend thy life.

Consider also in this act of Jesus, what He did by writing. Nor wonder that He knew how to write: nor ask with the Jews, whence He learnt to read and write: since He learnt not letters from man. Such questioning is foolish; and a lying, fictitious insinuation concerning the school of Jesus: for the Wisdom of God needed not the teaching of man, Who was born into this world to enlighten all the sons of men. And it was not merely easy to Him to read and write of Himself: but also of a sudden without any noise of words to render unlettered men, the Apostles namely, most skilled in all knowledge of tongues. And what wonder, if the Author of life fully knew the characters invented by mortals: Who most clearly beholds the secretest things of hearts and mysteries hidden from the ages. However it is pleasant to hear that Jesus knew how to read, and wrote: that the art of writing and the love of reading holy books may give greater delight. Which art many of the saints learnt; and with mouth and hand most diligently exercised, during their life in the flesh: and they very greatly enlightened holy Church by their writings. Jesus therefore was a splendid teacher, an excellent preacher; author and lover of the Scriptures: exemplary in conduct, edifying in words, and wondrous in signs. Let it please thee therefore to imitate Jesus reading, writing, and fulfilling the other observances of holy religion; so that thou mayest edify others by living worthily to God: who art not suited for preaching. A VERY GOOD WORK it is to write books which Jesus loves: in which He is studied, read, and preached. And there is no doubt that thou shalt be loved by Him and richly rewarded: if thou diligently write books for the Church to the honour of God, and the profit of the neighbour. If he lose not his reward, who offers a cup of cold water to the thirsty man; what great reward shall he receive, who, by writing, provides the water of saving wisdom for the soul, which is to live for ever? For as many letters as thou dost duly form: so many victims of praise dost thou offer to God. It is meritorious therefore and devout to labour at writing books, and to keep them in great reverence and careful custody; by means of which the Divine Office is daily celebrated: and whereby the seed of manifold instruction is sown.

For sacred books are the weapons of clerics, the ornament of churches: the wealth and treasure of doctors, the bugle of priests; the comfort of religious, the banquet of the devout, the legacy of the saints: the light of the faithful, the nursery of virtues, the organ of the Holy Ghost. To write books then is a labour pleasing to God, to read them is profitable, to teach them praiseworthy: to preach them wholesome. But who would read, or preach unless he first knew the writings of the saints: and unless a writer had first written them? Blessed then the hand of the writer: and blessed the fingers engaged in such toil. By His example Jesus teaches thee, writing on the ground: that thou also mayest willingly write the words of God; which while one reads, and another preaches: thou shalt gain a very great reward from the manifold fruit of the labours of thy hands. By the gift of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Rewarder of all the good; with Whom all the hairs of our head are numbered: and not a single letter written can be lost. Ah, happily, amen.
"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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#24
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XX. OF KEEPING HUMILITY FROM THE CONSIDERATION OF OUR OWN WEAKNESS


WHEN you have done all the things that are commanded you: say, “We are unprofitable servants.” The present word of Our Lord Jesus Christ instructs us much to the guarding of humility: and to the shutting out of all vain glory and swelling. It especially warns the desirous of high places, to be mindful of their own weakness and negligence; and not to boast of their deeds, although well done according to the judgement of men; but, fearful of the judgement of God above them, rather humbly to implore His mercy: than presume on their own merits. For thus the holy and humble David, tremblingly calls to God: “Enter not into judgement with Thy servant: for in Thy sight no man living shall be justified.” See how base should be thy esteem of thyself: how seriously thou shouldst fear the judgement of Heaven: who art far from the holiness of David, the great King and prophet. Neither king, nor prophet, nor holy, nor chosen according to God’s heart: hast thou ever merited to be called as was he. He, however, fulfilled the word of Our Lord, acknowledging himself an unprofitable servant: even calling himself an insect, a dog and a worm: having no high thought of himself after his mighty deeds. Bring back to memory the evils thou hast perpetrated: the vices of the present, the dangers of the future: and thou shalt not be by any means high-minded: but shalt rather fear, and declare thyself base and useless. God has no need of thy service, even if thou dost well; nor wilt thou worthily please Him: unless thou know thyself unworthy and unprofitable. “When,” He says, “you have done all the things that are commanded you: say, ‘We are unprofitable servants.’ ” If when thou hast done all the things that are commanded, thou must say this, and hast no right to glory in aught; how vile and unworthy must thou think thyself, when thou failest and fallest short in so many things daily: and scarcely bringest anything to perfection. When hast thou been able for one day or hour, to live so uprightly and guardedly in the sight of God and men: as to overlook nothing of those things that it behoved thee and became thee to do? So great is human weakness: that these things do not escape defilement even that are praised in the judgement of men as just. Put aside therefore all vain complacency and pride: and take heed of the abundance of thy own unprofitableness. Be mindful of the depravity and inconstancy of thy thoughts; and thou shalt find that thou art not only useless unto good: but liable to much evil, and worthy of reproach and punishment. But this is the only remedy and comfort for the troubled spirit: that for such numberless negligences and sinful stains, a man humble himself in truth, and esteem himself inferior to all and useless; carefully redeeming his past sins and daily negligences with the coin of confession and the shield of a good will: and often being instant in devout prayer. Set thyself then manfully against inrushing vice: for so much does a man make progress in virtue: as he the more sternly detests and vanquishes his vices. And although thou oft be tempted and fall: nevertheless thou shouldst endeavour to rise again, and take up thy good resolve with greater watchfulness: and with the prophet say, “I have sworn and determined, to keep the judgements of Thy justice.” As often therefore as thou fallest short of thy conceived purpose, and hast no strength to march forward; by no means lose heart, or be downcast: but trusting in the Lord, with all humility and great insistence cry and pray, “Help me and I shall be saved: and I will meditate always on Thy justifications.”
"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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#25
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XXI. PASSION SUNDAY. OF LAMENTING OVER OUR LORD’S PASSION


O ALL ye that pass by the way: attend and see if there be any sorrow like to My sorrow. Now the memory of Our Lord’s Passion is celebrated in holy Church: and it is befitting that the children of the Church compassionate their Lord: Who for them deigned to die in the body: that they might live in both body and soul for all eternity. Let them then not be ungrateful, or regard themselves as strangers; but lovingly remember that they themselves are the Church and Spouse of Christ, who are called her children: if however they have cleaved to Christ with filial love and the single devotion of faith. O how great a charity of the sovereign Father; how great a love of the only-begotten Son of God: how great a benignity of the Holy Ghost hath overflowed on the whole human race. What shalt thou say to this, my soul? Wilt thou be ungrateful; or canst thou be unmindful of so great a love? How canst thou neglect Him; by Whom thou wast so diligently sought out? How couldst thou not love Him in turn; Who has so ardently loved thee? Love Him Who loves thee and loves thee so strongly; that He chose to endure death: rather than thou shouldst be lost. This is the love greater than which no man has had: and so He fully satisfied for all.

But what shalt thou do; and what shalt thou render to the Lord for His death? It behoves thee to do something: although thou canst not repay Him a worthy recompense. For every creature and all the saints suffice not to thank God worthily for His death: which He willingly underwent for thee. Recall to mind then His holy Passion, and according to thy measure strive to imitate it; for this is to render Him great thanks: cheerfully to desire to suffer tribulations for Him. Draw then thy mind away from outward things: and turn thy whole thought to the image of thy crucified Lord. For by this thou wilt be able the easier to shut out other images from thy mind: and also, by the impression of this holy image, the more patiently to endure all bodily pains. And since now according to the season it beseems the Church to think of the Lord’s Passion: therefore to it thou shouldst more intently direct thy exercises. If the preceding days of fast have passed heedlessly: at least now, in this fortnight, let fresh devotion inflame thee, because of the Passion of Christ. And if thou rememberest that thou hast done anything well: add still better to what is passed. Be now more earnest and fervent; for so the memory of Our Lord’s Passion demands: and the compassion taken up by the whole Church for the death of her Saviour. Let it not be burdensome or wearisome to think over the bitter Passion of Christ: which He was ready to endure for thee. Each of these days gather and carry away a bunch of myrrh from the vine of the Lord of Sabaoth, which place between thy breasts for the custody of thy heart: for thence breathes the odour of life: and if thou chew it well, thou shalt receive wondrous strength amidst trials and reproaches. Indeed it has been proved by many and experienced, that, exercising themselves oft in the Passion of the Saviour, His holy stripes and blessed wounds have savoured so sweetly to them, that they have overflowed with tears from vehement sorrow: and by an exceeding great affection of love and compassion, they have been strongly inflamed to endure even insults and sufferings for the love of Christ. What shall I say, that some led beyond themselves, and wholly changed from self-love, longed to enter the interior of Jesus, to experience His utter emptying-out, even to the death of the Cross; heartily desiring to be humbled and despised by all creatures: that Christ alone might be glorified in their hearts, and they themselves only contemned. So burning is it, the blood of Christ poured out through love; that it mightily inflames him that deeply meditates thereon, and makes him so forgetful of self, as to deem contempt joy: and to regard as nothing the things that are painful to the body. For thus the ardent lover commences to be made like his dear beloved through sufferings: while he wholly and freely abandons himself to Him: Who for his redemption spared Himself in nought. Hence springs a very strong love, most grateful comfort is received, a singular devotion grows; carnal affection dies, the spirit is raised in God: the understanding is enlightened: and the word of the prophet is realized, saying: “And my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly is it.” But because this is very great and difficult, nor attainable to any man of himself: therefore, my soul, beg, seek, and knock; that the most kind Jesus, full of the Holy Ghost and power, rich unto all that call upon Him, may mercifully open unto thee this excellent treasure, which He hath hidden in Himself: and make the most precious unction of devotion flow from His sacred wounds to thee; so that thou also mayest learn to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the hardest stone: which is concealed from the proud, but shown to humble and devout hearts; veiled from the carnal and them that savour earthly things: but oft granted to be tasted by the pure and simple. This is the wondrous disposition of God; that the meek and humble take: what the elated and curious cannot take. Thou seest how many read much, examine the sublime, and seek the subtle; but have little or almost no devotion to the Passion of Christ; because they pour themselves out on exterior things, and seek to be comforted in things of earth; therefore is their heart within made dry and tasteless: and they cannot experience the things that are Jesus Christ’s. They are engaged in many things: and edified in few. They overlook the profitable, omit the necessary: love the subtle, despise the simple; are carried away to divers matters, and examine everything that is new: and not even thus find rest, or are satiated with what they hear; for as long as they seek not Jesus by His Passion and Cross: they will assuredly not attain true interior sweetness and the knowledge of His Godhead. For Jesus alone opens the way to His Divinity, by His most sacred humanity. Which blessed Paul knew well when he said: that in Him are hid all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. And therefore, leaving aside words of earthly wisdom: he exercised himself in the life and Passion of Christ. “For I judged not myself to know anything among you: but Jesus and Him crucified.”

Take heed to this, my soul; and, leaving aside curious things and all vanities: direct the interior eye of the heart to Jesus crucified. For the present watch diligently, and with Jesus on Mount Olivet pray to the Father; that as He was given the chalice of His blessed Passion to drink: so to thee also be granted an ardent affection to compassionate Him lovingly. For thou shalt find more in the wounds of Jesus Christ: than in the possession of the whole world. And the Passion of Christ alone will bring thee greater wonder of mind: than the contemplation of all created things. This I say then, that thou mayest have greater fervour towards the Passion of Christ; meditate thereon more intently: yea, pass not a single hour or day without the memory thereof. For whatever thou dost read or hear in other words or deeds of the saints, this thou shalt find much more fully and deliciously in the life and Passion of Christ. Indeed the venerable Passion of Christ surpasses the sufferings of all the saints in many ways: since all the sufferings of all the saints are sanctified by the Passion of Christ alone: and are made acceptable to God and meritorious by His death. For He is the Saint of Saints, Who has power to forgive men their sins; Who renders all their works pleasing: and delivered Himself as a holy sacrifice to God, unto the remission of all sins.

But three ways in particular the Passion of Christ far surpasses the sufferings of His elect, namely in dignity, and bitterness: and fruit or profit. In dignity excels the person of the sufferer: since He was the Son of God. In bitterness is considered the dreadful rending of His body: for it was of a most exquisite and tender complexion. And in the fruit is seen the redemption of the human race; since by His death, which He underwent without guilt, He freed us from eternal death: and merited for us the entry to heavenly blessedness and glory. And so by the prophet He thus invites all the faithful to consider the greatness of His suffering, saying, “O all ye that pass by the way: attend and see if there be any sorrow like to My sorrow.”

Alas, alas, O Lord, how many pass before Thee heedlessly; with dry eyes and unmoved heart they pass by Thy image: barely do they look on the cross from afar; without reverence or genuflexion they hurry through the churches: they haste rather to go out than to come in; it gives them more pleasure to chatter than to pray: the world draws more agreeably to the market-place, than the divine and heavenly chanting to the choir; scarcely can they bide a short while in Thy praise: although Thou didst hang upon the cross, filled with many sorrows and reproaches, a long space of hours for their salvation. Where are our eyes, O Lord; and whither have we sent away our ears, that we give no heed to Thee? Convert us to Thee: for very soon are we turned away from Thee. Speedily we forget Thy great love: which Thou hast shown us in Thy blessed Passion. Thou hast suffered so much, things so grievous and shameful, and without any guilt, for men, from men, whom Thou Thyself didst create; from Thy own race and people, on whom of old and in the present time Thou hast bestowed so many benefits: and still we remain hard and ungrateful. The insensible elements indeed were in commotion at Thy death: and the hearts of the children of men are unmoved. Alas for me, wretched and unhappy, for the sterility and insensibility of my heart; that I am so soon moved by a slight injury: and am nowise touched by such insults of my Lord Jesus Christ. I feel a small hurt of my body: and I ponder not the most terrible pains of my Lord. How little a love is made manifest: since the Head is grievously wounded, and the heart feels no grief thereat. If we are members one of another; why have I no compassion, and why is not my heart broken with sorrow? O my Lord, what shall I say to this; and what shall I do, wretch that I am? Why am I sometimes more speedily moved for a mortal man; than for Thee, my Creator and immortal Spouse? Why does the curiosity of vain things excite me more; than Thy hanging for me on the cross? For this I deeply grieve, that these things pass not more to my heart: nor wholly wound me, as they justly should. For shame, that I am so easily ready to laughter; so sensible to my own loss: and so slow and dry to weep the most bitter Passion of my Lord. And if sometimes I put on compunction: too speedily again I drop it: therefore I do not progress, and do not perfectly attain interior savour. Ah my God, that I should hear such good things of Thee, and do nothing worthy: I read that Thou didst endure such heavy torments: and still I find myself rather hard than softened. This is not a sign of perfect love: nor a token of loving compassion. How long shall I be insensible; and without sympathy with the Sufferer?

O now, most beloved and faithful Jesus, pallid and hanging on the cross: only hope of the desolate soul; grant me at this sacred season, worthily to celebrate the memory of Thy holy Passion: and by loving compassion to pass into Thy open wounds; where forgetful of myself, and mindful only of Thy sorrow, I may no longer faint in any tribulation: but freely resign myself to Thy will. How can I know or think that I love Thee; except by the suffering of afflictions for Thy name? For willingly to suffer from love, and to be able to bear every burden without complaint: is the sweetest recompense that a man can offer Thee. For herein are known THE TRUE LOVERS of the cross: namely in the WILLING endurance of every grief. And although Thou art now impassible, and open to no suffering, but crowned with glory and honour, and raised above all the heavens: to me however it is profitable and a great help, to be mindful in my sufferings of Thy blessed Passion: to look on Thee, as if still passible in the flesh: namely, taken prisoner and bound, stripped of Thy garments, derided, spat upon, struck, whipped with scourges, crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross; given to drink of vinegar and gall, pierced with the lance, condemned with robbers, insulted, blasphemed, despised, abandoned, reprobate of all: and finally dead upon the cross, and tearfully buried. I must not pass over even one point: but from the grove of the gospel I will faithfully gather all Thy words and actions; and not only will I consider Thy wonderful works, but much more fondly will I embrace in meditation Thy sufferings and reproaches: for these are more needful to me unto salvation. Thy signs, glorious Jesus, instruct me in the faith and veneration of Thy holy name: but Thy reproaches and hard blows, received for me, incite and inflame me more to loving endurance, to humility and perfect charity. But he, who reverences only Thy signs, and considers solely Thy greatness, must be very careful: lest he be scandalized by the contemplation of Thy shameful death. Thou art to be admired indeed in the works wrought by divine power, and for these to be praised above all; but nevertheless Thou hast not disdained patiently to bear insults and curses: and so much the more Thou shouldst be loved.

Note this therefore, faithful soul: AND BE GRATEFUL TO GOD FOR ALL THESE THINGS. The poor and HUMBLE JESUS ought to comfort thee in every strait and tribulation: Who in His greatest need was forsaken of GOD and men. Thou art not greater than thy Master, slothful and unprofitable servant: nor more innocent than Christ, O Christian. If He bore so much for thee; what shalt thou do for thyself, and what shalt thou worthily render Him? If also He was thus forsaken and given over to contempt, Who was the dearly beloved Son: why art thou saddened, if sometimes thou art abandoned and despised, who art so unworthy a servant? Look upon thy heavenly pattern, thy constant memorial. O beautiful and most dear Jesus, Son of God; which shall I the more admire in Thee, the sublime or the lowly? And which shall I remark rather; the worthy or the unworthy? But better and with greater truth both together. I see Thee beauteous and noble in the divine nature: but disfigured and despised in the form of man. The former Thou remainest for ever: the latter Thou didst suffer for a time. Moreover to my spirit also within Thou art beautiful and lovable, pure and inviolable: because a stranger to all sin: although outwardly Thou appearest defaced and wounded. Because of my sins Thou wast begrimed, and stricken, and crucified. Perchance the bodily eyes of the foolish and the proud are scandalized: not however of the loving and pious; but rather they compassionate and weep: who love Thee in truth. With such I desire to live: who, loving Thee with their whole heart, follow even to the shame of the cross. Thou art not a stumbling-block to me: but the greatest honour and joy. For Thy disfigurement is my comeliness; Thy stripes and every wound, the healing of my soul: and Thy death, my life. In these I live and in such the life of my spirit; Thou shalt reprove me, if I be not mindful of Thee: if I set not THY PASSION AS THE COMMENCEMENT OF MY JOY. For I know that Thou art the Holy One of God, Who hast willed to suffer these things: and I believe that for my sins Thou hast cheerfully borne them.

Weeping therefore, I will weep day and night; and my tears shall be on my cheeks: for the sorrow and bitter Passion of my Lord. David lamented with great lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan; and shall I not lament the death of my Lord, my King? Jacob, seeing the coat of Joseph his son, rent his garment with weeping: and can I cease weeping, contemplating the dolorous death of my Lord? Joseph also seeing Benjamin, his brother by the same mother, standing before him: immediately his heart was moved, and he made haste and wept, and could not refrain himself from tears; and shall I, hearing of the cruel death of my Lord, be without tears? Let no man urge me to this; let no man forbid me grief and mourning: otherwise he will but torment me more. My Lord shed for me His precious blood; and shall I not shed for Him a little weeping? Would that I could so lament: as to be able to move all men also together with me. It is not given to all to weep: but it is a gift of the devout mind to mourn from inner compassion for her Lord; not for the sake of her own satisfaction: but to merit His greater favour.

O most dearly beloved Jesus, brightness of eternal glory; how dost Thou thus set, Sun of Justice? may my soul compassionate Thee; and from great affection of pity may the hardness of my heart be broken: and may it be intimately occupied to-day with the memory of Thy Passion. In the spirit of humility and in a contrite soul, may it faithfully stand before thee: and in every place of Thy Passion go with Thee, and sorrowfully give heed to all that Thou dost suffer; ardently long also to suffer and to die with Thee: considering what David said of his son Absalom, “Who would grant me,” he said, “to die for thee my son Absalom, Absalom my son?” Loving affection at the death of his son, in arms against him, was strong in David: so that he vehemently lamented his death, and desired to die for him, who attempted to take his life: how much stronger should the grief of deep compassion be in me: over Thy guiltless death, consummated for me upon the cross. It ought to touch me more that Thou wast crucified and didst die for me: than if the whole world had been given me and spent for me. MAY MY SOUL THEREFORE DIE A BLESSED DEATH: and may my last end be like that of my Lord. Grant, O Lord, a happy hour of death: and to find blissful repose in Thee. It will be better for me to die now with Thee: than to live one hour longer without Thee. If this be denied: I will do what devout affection is wont to do. I will seek privacy: and chiefly for this end that I may lament the more freely. I will be mindful, O Lord, of Thy death: and with the inner lips of the heart I will kiss again and again the scars of all Thy wounds. Let no man speak to me this day: let no man trouble me with any solace, nor suggest any relaxation; for I will not receive comfort from any creature: lest I be hindered from mourning the most bitter Passion of my Lord. Depart, depart, friends and strangers; leave me to sit desolate and alone: that I may lament a while my Beloved, crucified for me. Let tears in my head fail for sorrow: and let there be none to wipe them, or to console me, save Him, Whom I mourn. Weep with me, sun and moon, and lament with me, all ye creatures: for our Lord is slain this day. And it is befitting that all things should be plunged in grief, while the Author of nature suffers: and that all should put on sadness: while the Son of God endures such anguish. I can speak no more, but I find relief only in weeping: for my God, crying out with a loud voice, gives up the ghost. Go forth, go forth, most abundant tears: and gush out even to exhaustion. Fall upon the slain body of my beloved Lord: and merit for me the inner sight of the heart: that I may sometime deserve to see Him in joy: Whom now with loving lament I mourn crucified. Let His tomb be to me a place of peace and repose: so that His glorious resurrection may be the end of all sorrow and sadness. Amen.
"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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#26
XXII. OF THE CROSS OF JESUS, WHICH HE BORE FOR US


AND they took Jesus and led Him forth: and bearing His own cross. He went forth into that place which is called Calvary. It is well to ponder this sorrowful journey of our Lord: and with the pious eye of the mind to look upon this so tearful a sight. Behold the innocent Jesus, weighed down beneath the burden of the cross, is led forth between two thieves: and, alas, is dragged with shouting to the public gallows. He embraces the wood of shame with the arms of His love; He sets to it His back torn with scourges, and His holy shoulder: and all the enfeebled members of His body. He bears the unmerited load, He takes up the unaccustomed yoke: He carries it to the place appointed Him: that He may gain the fruit of our salvation, to cure the poison of eternal death.

A great laughing-stock to the wicked: but a sacred mystery to all the faithful. To the evil a witness of perdition: because they crucify the Innocent; but to the good a symbol of salvation: because they compassionate Him and mourn. Their laughter shall be turned to weeping: but the groaning of these shall be changed into joy. The meek Lord proceeds on the way of shame with wondrous gentleness; willingly He passes out through the gate of Jerusalem, over which He wept on the day of palms: He bears with patience the derision of His hanging, inflicted on Him by His own nation. He protests not of the injuries done Him: He resists not, goaded on violently from behind. He summons not the angels to His aid: nor begs the assistance of His friends; but He goes on without delay, readily He obeys the evil-minded. Alone He bears His most heavy burden: alone He suffers the reproach of shame; but He does not desire alone the joy of honour: because He wishes to bestow on all that believe in Him the merit of His Passion. He is not withdrawn from the way of the cross by affection for His Mother, nor hindered by the tears of His friends: He is not disturbed by the clamours of them that accompany Him, nor moved by the shouts of them that hate Him: He is not retarded by weariness of body from the task He has begun: nor overwhelmed by the storms of scandals. Alone and that most constantly He perseveres: free and with peaceful heart He stretches forward to the agony of His punishment: as esteeming little the glory of the world, so also bearing its shame with equanimity: persisting ever in the praise of the eternal Father: shutting out no man from His love: but with eager desire longing to fulfil the precept of the Father, ordained from eternity: and to consummate the work of man’s reparation laid upon Him by His Passion and cross.

In this noble example He now shows: what before He wholesomely taught in word: “Who wishes to come after Me,” He said, “let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” Lo, thou hast thy guide on the rough way, Jesus the Son of God: the captain and teacher to the nations to deliver them. Follow then, faithful servant, thy Lord: disciple, follow thy Master; imitate, frail member, thy glorious Head: that by His guidance thou mayest attain the kingdom of eternal bliss. If thou desirest prosperity and peace: fear not adversity. Follow, sinner, the Just; man, thy God, creature, thy Creator: exile, thy Redeemer. Cast away earthly fear, put on strength: strive as a good soldier, overcoming nature. The cross is the way to salvation: suffering is the road to the crown. Be not ashamed of the shame of Christ: if thou wilt contemplate the glorious countenance of Christ. For thee He bears this cross: for thee He undergoes also the death of the cross. He gives thee an example of endurance: He smoothes by His feet the way of roughness: He shows that the shame of the cross is not to be shunned, but embraced. The humble Jesus bears His cross for the wicked, that He may sanctify the wicked: He suffers torments for vile slaves: that He may make them co-heirs of His kingdom. Who would not now desire to bear the reproaches and contempt of men: when the innocent Christ endured from men things so grievous and shameful, without fault? For the soldier bears more easily: what he sees his king bear. And so the noble King, the King of kings, and Lord of all, goes up to fight against the prince of the world: not protected by a shield, nor armed with steel; but by the cross defended and entrenched, to be fastened to the cross: on the cross finally to die for His friends. Coming therefore to the place of Calvary, with the standard of the cross, He chose there to set up the title of His name, and to work the mystery of our salvation; foreknowing that the spot given up to shame was to be made glorious by wondrous signs: and the gallows of His cross to be changed into honour: in short time also to be preached throughout the world: and to be worshipped by the kings and princes of the earth. The venerable symbol of the cross is indeed a glorious ensign in the Christian host; and a singular protection above all manner of weapons: and an impregnable shield against the ferocity and terror of the devil. There then Jesus, the standard-bearer of the cross, prince and patron of all cross-bearers, stood in the place of awful shame: which, because of the bodies of the slain, was exceedingly despised and unclean. There He is speedily stripped of His garments; and naked He ascended the naked cross: and prayed for them that crucified Him. There the Almighty, as though He had no power, allowed Himself to be stretched out into the form of a cross: to be fastened by nails, to be pierced by a lance: and to be derided by wicked men. There deprived of all human comfort: He left an example of perfect self-denial, and a pattern of utter poverty. There by the touch of His sacred flesh, He consecrated the wood of life: and by the shedding of His precious blood dedicated the altar of the cross. There He fulfilled all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, figurative of His Passion: and offered Himself a victim to the Father in the odour of sweetness, for the salvation of the world. There He ended His life by a happy agony through obedience on the cross: dying, He conquered death, opened the gate of Paradise: and led the late repenting thief with Him to the promised joys.

Since therefore Jesus carried His cross on His own shoulders, Who was without sin; bear thou also thy cross, for thou hast grievously and often sinned: and justly deserved eternal punishment. To weak minds the way of the cross seems bitter and burdensome: but its end is joyous and fruitful, and sweet and wholesome to them that love. Is it not better now to lead a sad and laborious life for Christ and to suffer with the Crucified; than after the brief pleasure of a corruptible life, to be tormented for ever with the devil in hell? For so much the more agreeable to God shalt thou be, and worthy of fuller glory in the heavenly kingdom; the more grievous pains and labours thou now bearest for the name of Jesus, not looking to temporal consolations: but to the Passion of Christ, and the hard life of the saints, who passed through many tribulations. Speedily, all temporal pain and injury inflicted, pass like a shadow; but the glory of everlasting recompense remains in Heaven: which in the end will be given as reward to thee for thy good patience, at the word of Christ. Strive therefore to keep the way of the holy cross; and to carry the sorrowful image of the crucified Jesus in thy heart: and manfully to imitate Him in thy frail body according to thy strength. Freely resign thyself, and trustfully commend all thy affairs to the will of God; Who did and endured for thy salvation so much, that thou wilt never be able to return Him worthy thanks for the least point of His Passion: even if thou couldst suffer all the trials and toils of all the holy martyrs. But, alas, that thou dost follow the Lord’s cross so lukewarmly: that thou dost not compassionate the sorrows of Christ more intensely: that thou dost not serve Him more fervently, and render thanks unceasingly; Who deemed thee so dear, and so loved thee above other creatures, as not to refuse to die for thee: but by His innocent death, delivered thee from death eternal. For thou wouldst have been condemned for ever: if Christ had not been crucified and had not died for thee. For who could have satisfied for all the sins of men; save Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb without stain?
"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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#27
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XXIII. OF THE MERIT OF OUR LORD’S PASSION, AND THE DIGNITY OF THE HOLY CROSS


BUT us it behoves to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection. These words concerning the sacred cross are read and chanted in holy Church; and therein is praised the merit of Our Lord’s Passion, which is most deservedly placed before all the sacrifices of the Law, and all the toils and virtues of the saints. For in the Passion and cross of Christ is our true salvation, and the redemption of the whole human race is most fully found: whereby Christ redeemed us and satisfied unto God the Father for our sins: and conquering death, unlocked Paradise again for us. This is exemplified in the thief hanging on the cross: to whom it was said: “This day thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.” O wondrous clemency of God: O most sweet answer: O saving blessing of the cross: which absolved the thief from all guilt: and brought him into Paradise, the first among Christians. Let therefore all the faithful render thanks to Christ, signed with the sign of the holy cross; washed and cleansed in the blood of Christ, redeemed by the Passion of Christ; quickened by the death of Christ, healed by the wounds of Christ: soothed by the pains of Christ, honoured by the shame of Christ. Let them one and all say with devout heart and harmonious mouth to the honour of the Crucified, to the confusion of the devil, to the exaltation of the holy cross: to the attaining of hope of eternal salvation, to the having of a strong trust in the hour of death; let them say, read, chant, recite, ponder, and ruminate the words most sweet, and truly most holy: and most agreeable to God above all perfumes. “But us it behoves to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Happy the soul whose HEART IS PIERCED BY THE MOST BITTER PASSION OF CHRIST: and who DAILY EXERCISES HERSELF THEREIN, meditating, reading, praying. Blessed the soul, which takes up her cross, renouncing all earthly things: and whatever trouble befalls her WITHIN OR WITHOUT: bears it ALL PATIENTLY for Christ and HOLDS HER PEACE. For this is TO GLORY IN THE CROSS, TO REJOICE IN TRIBULATION FOR CHRIST’S SAKE; TO ABSTAIN FROM DELIGHTS OF THE FLESH, TO FLEE HONOURS, TO FORSAKE ONE’S OWN WILL: AND HUMBLY TO OBEY EVEN UNTO DEATH. To do this is to imitate Christ by the cross: and truly TO LOVE Him. For herein Christ knows who belongs to Him, and who loves Him more: if a man strives to conform himself to His Passion not only in thought, but in daily mortification.

And for this who is fit? Thinkest thou, any man will be found ready to take up his cross? A great and deep mystery is the word of the cross, which all do not receive: yea very many dread and flee the cross: and yet it leads to life eternal. O truly blessed cross, what great sweetness thou hast within: and what great strength thou affordest against all malady of vice and grief of heart. O precious wood of life, comely, saving: and blessed above all the trees of Paradise; to be honoured by angels, worshipped by men: to be kissed with devout lips, and embraced with outstretched arms. Because of thee we have been delivered, and reconciled to God: who were by nature children of wrath, and lost slaves. Because of thee joy came into the world: sadness and lamenting into hell. Thou art the salvation of believers, the glory of apostles, the shield of martyrs; the praise of confessors, the crown of virgins, the solace of widows, the strength of the aged, the discipline of youth: the mirror of religious, the refuge of the distressed.

O cross, brighter than the stars, more beautiful than the moon, more resplendent than the sun; lighting up Heaven, penetrating hell, chasing the demons, defending men, terrifying the wicked, rejoicing the good: humbling the proud, raising the lowly. O glorious cross, wondrous sign: invincible standard, impregnable buckler. O sweet wood, worthy of all honour; thou didst bear the King of the heavens: and didst support in thine arms the dying Son of God. Because of thee all images of the cross of whatsoever material made, and in whatsoever place set: are held in honour and veneration. Before thee bow down kings and princes, lord and lady, slave and handmaiden, rich and poor, monk and cleric, master and pupil; every age, and each sex of the faithful worship thee, praise and bless: for Christ’s sake, Who hung on thee, and redeemed all.

O cross blessed, for with thee are the sacraments of the Church blessed; priests consecrated, the sick anointed, the dead defended; images sculptured, walls painted: altars decorated.

O most lovely cross, dedicated in the body of Christ, and adorned with His members as with jewels; reddened with rose-red blood, pierced by nails, fixed in the depths of the earth: thou stretchest thy points to the four quarters of the world, drawing all things to thee, and embracing all things that are in Heaven and upon earth.

O most noble cross, most strong above all kinds of armour; conquering the world and the devil, fearing no punishment of death: in every anguish and need, both in life and in death, thou art a most secure aid, and singular solace.

O most beloved cross, chosen by Christ: and on His shoulders borne to the place of Calvary, nor parted from Him until death: near which stood Mary, the Mother of Jesus, full of sorrow, with the beloved disciple John and the devout Magdalene: I beseech thee, help me and defend me ever here and everywhere, day and night; that the malignant enemy, the ensnarer of souls, prevail not against me: but by the sacred sign of thy power protect and strengthen me; that I may continue in a right faith, firm hope, and perfect charity: for His sake, Who died on thee for me.

O cross, most full of virtue, and most worthy of all honour: lo, before thee tremble the wicked powers of hell; under thy sway also empires bow: to thee the things of heaven and earth bend the knee. For in thy power are wrought signs and wonders in many regions; lightning and thunder yield to thee: in wars also and darksome places, in perils of the sea and the air, thou art an excellent defence, and most secure refuge.

O cross, most holy, most highly to be reverenced, worthily to be worshipped, intimately to be loved, to be written on the heart, impressed on the brow and breast, devoutly I pray, earnestly I beseech, be nigh to me in all my distress: save, deliver, bless, sanctify all my members: rule my senses, all my words and works as long as I am in this life: THAT BY THEE HE MAY ACCEPT ME, WHO BY THEE REDEEMED ME: Jesus Christ, my Lord, crucified for me.

O cross, saving tree, exalted above all trees; thou art higher than the cedar, more redolent than the cypress: lovelier than the palm, more precious than the balsam, richer than the olive, more fruitful than the vine, sweeter than the fig, more verdant than the box, redder than the rose; more wholesome than all herbs and simples: more efficacious than all medicines and salves. Thou healest bodies and souls: thou soothest pains, and comfortest tears: thou givest hope to the wretched: and promisest rewards to the just. Thou affordest pardon to the penitent: and bestowest grace and mercy on all them that flee to thee. Thou pourest abundant blessing on the devout: showest light to them that wander, givest compunction to hearts: and ceasest not to bring the oil of consolation to all the faithful throughout the world: and shalt not cease to bud the fruit of eternal life even to the end of time: by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified for the salvation of the world.

O cross most sweet, most broad of foliage, most fresh of flower, most fertile of fruit: thou boldest the primacy and dignity, above all images representing the sacred Passion of Christ: wherever the name of Christ be heard, or preached. Therefore, because of the veneration of the divine virtue concealed in thee: thou art rightly adored, worshipped, and honoured by all. Thou on churches and chapels, on cloisters and castles, on cities and towns, on gates and doors, on walls and windows, on towers and roofs, on pavements and tombs, on altars and panels, on chasubles and stoles, on copes and coverings, on bridles and banners, on books and documents, on tables and stools, on halls and cells, on divers buildings and paintings: thou dost impress and inscribe the symbol of thy power. Thou art also fittingly set with gold and silver, jewels and precious stones; thou art reverently embroidered and adorned with purple and fine linen, satin and silk, flowers and roses: because of the noble image of our Saviour, triumphant and hanging on thee. All these devout honours are rightly paid thee by the faithful: because thou didst endure great shame and derision from the perfidious Jews in the Passion of Christ. It is just therefore, O good and holy Cross, that thou shouldst be associated in honour and exaltation: who didst share the shame and grief. No mortal man, however, shall ever be able to offer thy worth sufficient praise and honour; even if he were resplendent with the virtues of all the angels: or were glorious with the miracles of the saints. All praise and honour is too little and falls far short in words of what thy worth demands: for from the benefits of Christ abundantly bestowed on us, and from thy constant cleaving to Christ in the hour of death, still fuller homage of praise is justly due to thee. In this especially is fidelity of friendship known: when a man stands by his friend in his last need, and compassionates, and ministers, and continues his close comrade even to the yielding up of the ghost. Thus certainly didst thou act, O most faithful Cross, with the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ: Who first patiently bore thee on His shoulders: and thou in turn didst worthily receive thy Creator in thine arms. But also thou didst not forsake Him, thy lover, even to the end: by Whom thou was gently embraced, and long carried. Whence likewise thou hast become to all true Christians and Cross bearers a mirror of endurance in the chastisement of the flesh: yea also, lovers of the cross praise thee as the victor of every toil, and the giver of eternal rewards; as is most clearly shown in blessed Peter the Apostle, and St. Andrew: who both went to Christ by means of the cross.

O cross, most happy, and to be loved above all devout comforts: ever to be held in mind, ever to be kept in sight: thou art the couch of the Saint of saints: Who, when He had not where to lay His aching and ailing head: thou didst become His pillow. Thou art the bed of the wounded back of Our Saviour, not soft or flower-strewn: but unyielding, rough, and narrow exceedingly. Thou hast suffered none to tarry, or rest, or repose within thine arms: but the sacred, divine body of Jesus, virgin-born: by which in divers places thou didst deserve to be touched, sprinkled and consecrated with His precious blood. Thou art the stool of the holy feet of the Son of God in His agony: thou the altar of the High Priest: on which Christ offered Himself for our sins, a victim to God unto the odour of sweetness. Thou art the ark of the covenant of the Lord, containing the Author of both Testaments: thou, the golden vase holding the hidden manna, the true body of Christ, sacrificed for us. Thou art the treasury of the most high King, full of heavenly riches; in which are contained the holiest relics of all the world: namely, the Lord’s body, the bloody nails, the thorny crown, and all the precious wounds.

O truly holy cross: how grandly hast thou merited to be beautified, enriched, and honoured by God. For thou art adorned with such great, good, and holy relics: that no shrine, no casket, no royal palace, no house of ivory, no marble pillar is to be compared with thy worth. Duly then and justly let the whole earth with all devotion worship thee and sing to thee: let it utter a psalm to thy name for ever and ever to the honour of the Crucified. Let every faithful soul therefore read and often meditate the words written of the sacred cross: and say, with blessed Paul, the Apostle, and all the holy Church, “But us it behoves to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, life and resurrection.” Amen.
"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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#28
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XXIV. OF THE MANIFOLD FRUIT FROM REMEMBRANCE OF THE LORD’S PASSION,
AND OF THANKFULNESS THEREFORE



THINK diligently upon the Lord Jesus Christ, that endured such opposition from sinners against Himself: that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. The Passion of Christ, brought back to memory, bestows many benefits on a man: and the more often and earnestly it is pondered: the more sweetly it savours, and the more deeply it moves. FOR IT IS AN INCENTIVE TO DIVINE LOVE: it is the teaching of patience: it is comfort in tribulation. It is the foe of dissipation: it is the subject of holy compunction: it is the exercise of interior devotion. It is the banishing of despair: it is the most certain hope of the pardon of sins: it is the profitable redemption of past evil days. It is a source of surpassing confidence in the hour of death, that a man despair not of himself: it is the appeasing of the severity of God in the judgement to come. It is the soothing of anxious trouble: it is the endurance of harsh reproach. It is the expulsion of evil thought: it is the restraint of temptation of the flesh. It is instruction in humble submission: it is ease in bodily sickness. It is the belying of worldly honour: it is the reproach of temporal abundance. It is the counsel of voluntary poverty: it is the renunciation of self-will: it is the cutting-off of superfluous want. It is the arousing of lukewarm life: it is the inflaming of fervent amendment. It is the gaining of fuller grace: it is the bringing of heavenly consolation: it is the proof of fraternal compassion. It is the preparation of divine contemplation: it is the increase of future blessedness. It is the easing of present pain: it is the purging of future fire: it is great satisfaction for daily sins. With these and very many other goods abounds and flourishes the Passion of Christ devoutly pondered; often read, carefully digested. This is very well known and savoured of the soul given to God, a stranger to the world, a friend of solitude: a warden of her own mouth, humble of heart, and at rest from cares. This holy remembrance is highly pleasing to God: it rejoices the angels, edifies men: purifies the conscience, drives away weariness, soothes pains, sweetens bitternesses: represses anger, curbs concupiscence. Truly the Passion of Christ is the hidden treasure of God, the fullness of every virtue, the perfection of the religious state; the summary of all holiness.

But, alas, how great is the ingratitude of man, how great the sloth of the human heart: how great its carelessness in remembering the benefits of God: which are such, so boundless and precious: that they cannot be computed, nor fully unfolded by any man. Return then to thy heart, O servant of Christ: and leaving aside vain and perishable things, recall the benefits of God, and chiefly meditate often and earnestly on the Passion of Christ: so that thereby THOU MAYEST BE MORE FERVENTLY INFLAMED UNTO HIS LOVE. Then thou shalt be acceptable to God, and in thy own heart very joyous and peaceful; if thou art mindful of the benefits of God, and devoutly render thanks to Him; from Whom thou hast received every good. THEN DOST THOU PROFITABLY SPEND THY TIME, WHEN THOU GRIEVEST FOR THY EVIL DEEDS: AND GIVEST THANKS FOR THE FAVOURS OF GOD. But for this thou shouldst grieve much, that never hast thou offered worthy thanks to God for His so immense blessings; nor yet art able to thank Him sufficiently: even if thou shouldst attend to nothing else. Thou shouldst, however, strive to raise thy heart to God: and, as much as thou canst, ponder God’s gifts with great attention. O how much He loved thee, Who hast shown such wonders in the beauty of creation: that thou mightest have ready matter in the sensible creatures of the world of constant thankfulness to God, Who created thee and those good things. Wherefore strive TO SERVE HIM WITH SOVEREIGN REVERENCE IN JOY OF HEART, as the holy angels in Heaven: as far as is possible in the frail body and in the state of the present life: which, compared with the blessedness to come, is rather to be called a prison of the soul. For God deigned to be made man, to suffer, be crucified, and die for this purpose; that by His Passion, cross and death, He might show thee, how much He loved thee: for whom He toiled and endured so much. Be not then ungrateful, nor unmindful of all those things, which the Lord Jesus did on earth: but carefully consider the mighty works of God, liberally wrought in favour of the whole human race. Who yet has promised much greater goods, and most certainly will bestow them in Heaven on thee: if only thou art grateful for present gifts, and remainest faithful in little even until death.

A great vice is ingratitude, and exceedingly blamable before God and man. For he is unworthy of a divine favour: who does not give thanks to God with a devout heart. Nor does he deserve to receive more, who praises himself in anything; or works carelessly, were it only one talent granted to him. It is certainly a great thing: that God should deign to give man anything. NOR SHOULD IT BE DEEMED LITTLE, WHICH THE LORD, SO GREAT AND HIGH ABOVE ALL, BESTOWS ON A MAN POOR AND A SINNER: who has nothing worthy to render in return. Let God then be loved much; let His praise be ever in thy mouth: and let a small thing be taken for great. Let all be rendered back to Him; let all be attributed to Him: Who certainly has given all, and has favoured one unworthy. Nor does God seek aught, save to be purely loved, and duly praised for all; so that by loving, praising, honouring, and returning thanks to Him above all: man may be for ever beatified in Him. Amen.
"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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#29
SERMONS OF THE LIFE AND PASSION OF OUR LORD, TO WIT, FROM THE ADVENT OF OUR LORD

XXV. OF PROFITABLE EXERCISE IN THE PASSION OF CHRIST


I TO my beloved: and His turning is towards me. Between friends mutual discourse gives delight, and private counsel is held dear: such as also often takes place between the devout soul and Jesus crucified. She therefore says: “I to my Beloved am what I am: and beside Him I heed no other.” On Him alone I long to gaze: to Him wholly I commend myself; for He has care of me: and His turning doubtless is towards me. I will not then that my eyes be turned aside elsewhere; but that my whole heart be turned unto my Beloved: Who suffered and died for me: yea, through love was wholly torn and pierced with wounds. Formerly, I sought Him an infant wailing in the crib: but now I desire to behold Him hanging on the gibbet. For as then I turned me to worship the new-born child: so now also I turn me to Him to mourn Him, delivered to death for me. In all these my Beloved is to me, Who was given wholly to me: for me was truly born, for me truly afflicted and sacrificed. Once He shed tears of pity: but now He gives His precious blood. Lo, how He loved me: Who delivered Himself to death, to deliver me from death. Should I not justly turn myself to seek, hold and embrace this Beloved to the neglect of all else; Whose unspeakable love unceasingly looks to me? But His turning is towards me in a special manner: when He arouses me with the interior goads of love to renew the memory of His Passion, and demands that I thank Him, and be conformed to Him within: for in nothing did He toil so much for me. There He unveils to me the mystery of redemption: and more fully instructs me to savour of the things of God. For this wisdom, which comes from above, is beyond man: teaching and urging not to glory save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is my whole salvation and redemption. By Whom also the world is crucified to me and I to the world; that I may delight to say to Him with confidence: ‘I to my Beloved and His turning is towards me.’ Much sweetness seems to me hidden in this word; and if I do not take all: still I do not give up hope of receiving some, if only a very little. Let but the Beloved be turned towards me, and say whatever He please: I know, that He will not speak in vain.

“Tell me, beloved Jesus, the word of Thy mystery: the word of Thy Passion and cross, which Thou hast openly borne in the flesh. For all do not take the word of the cross; which to some indeed seems a scandal, and to others is foolishness: but to me is the power and wisdom of God, the salvation also of the world and life eternal. If any man think otherwise, he is an infidel and foolish: and the judgement of God will go against him.”

“My Passion,” saith the beloved, “is as some precious aromatic herb of most excellent perfume and sweetest taste; which carefully pondered in the heart, as if well crushed in a mortar, diffuses a most powerful odour: healing every disease and sickness of vice. Herein truly thou shalt find the medicine of the soul; and full comfort of every grief. But it behoves that thou OFT exercise thyself THEREIN: and WITH ALL THY HEART STRIVE TO CONFORM THYSELF THERETO. For then thou shalt begin to live religiously, and shalt truly progress in virtue, and die in peace: if in life and death thou dost imitate Me by the Passion and cross. But, alack, I am an abject in My own house: and one cast aside. For I seem truly a stranger and shut out from the hearts of many, for whom My life has no savour; whom My Passion does not touch, or attract, or reach their heart as it should: but, they are entangled in things vain and superfluous. They anxiously consider their own daily misery and want; and study to avoid temporal evils: yet how much I suffered for them, they think but seldom or little. Wretched they are and pitiable, full of cares and complaints: who can suffer little for Me; but are eager to do much for their own will: yea even, for the fulfilment of their own desire, are sensible almost of no toil. Alas, such do not draw saving fruit from My Passion; but because of their excessive softness which they bear towards themselves: they risk great harm to their soul. For if they would be perfectly cured, and freed from passions: with all humility they should take refuge in the true remedies of the soul concealed in My Passion; and by the merit and power of My Passion they would become more strong: and would learn to bear all adversities with patience. My Passion hath no taste, save for them that long and seriously meditate it: and fervently desire to imitate the same. It is the tree of life to them that grasp it: and who follows it well, he shall be blessed in his deed. For he shall gain in the present greater grace: and in the time to come fuller glory.”

“Collect therefore thy senses, and abide with thyself: shutting out all tumult. Then take up a little portion of My Passion, and diligently think it over according to the time and season. For this, brought back to memory each day: will more and more savour, strengthen and inflame him that meditates. For all spiritual progress and perfection will be found therein: but these good things are not tasted, save by them that love and desire to imitate it. To the carnal and worldly it seems bitter and hard: but to the pious and devout sweet and comforting. For who aim at honours, or at gaining earthly possessions, everywhere seeking their own interests; these are not in agreement with My Passion: nor can they attain its internal sweetness. But who seeks to despise the world, and to crucify his flesh with its vices and concupiscences: he discovers the greatest consolation: and he shall experience singular devotion in My Passion. For to such a soul I speak: ‘My dove in the clefts of the rock: in the hollow places of the wall.’ To her also I frequently address those words: which I said to a certain beloved disciple: ‘Bring thy hand hither, and see the place of My nails; and be not cowardly and fearful: but strong and great-souled in imitating My sufferings.’ He also shall have his singular refuge in the open wound of My right side: whosoever strives to deny himself: and to strip himself of all affection for creatures. He shall also become the more free to visit Me in the deep wound of love: the less now he troubles himself of any created comfort. For I draw all his interior to Myself: so that he feels not himself, who feels My wounded heart. Make thyself then a stranger to every earthly occupation: put aside empty anxieties, retire from friends and acquaintance; keep thyself pure and free from all things: that thou mayest enter to thy Beloved through the door of the wounded side. Steep thyself in affection such as the holy women had, who looked upon Me hanging on the cross: and most bitterly mourned Me as their only-begotten child. For then shalt thou truly be able to realize and taste how powerful My Passion is in the heart of the lover, if thou puttest on the bowels of My beloved mother: if thou resolvest with thy whole heart that there is nothing to be loved as I: because from greatness of love, is drawn greatness of compassion.”

“Well and very well Thy words please me, Lord Jesus Christ. Whence I beg Thee, that although I be not able perfectly to imitate Thee in all things: Thou grant me at least a little to compassionate Thee. I will uplift therefore the eyes of my heart to my Lord hanging naked on the cross; I will attentively consider each wound and piercing of Thy body: and with special devotion I will embrace and kiss the wounded hands and the transpierced feet with their nails. Then also I will enter into the open wound of Thy side, as into the chamber of my Beloved sleeping; where I will live in secret, and shall be guarded from all harm: and will rest with happy repose. I will not fear whatever evils are inflicted upon me; nor whatever things can be said or felt in contempt of me, if only Thou art with me and abidest with me. I will put all trust in Thee: and in Thy side day and night will I tarry. Thou art a more faithful friend than all this world: Thou art a wall stronger for defence, than all the host of the angels. And therefore never should I be forgetful of Thee: but as much as my faculty and frailty permit: sorrowing I will be mindful of Thy most bitter Passion. Of which nevertheless no creature is fully and fitly able to think, speak or write enough, even if all should give their time to nothing else; for it is beyond all the comprehension of a creature, that Thou, God, the Creator of all, didst deign to become man and to die for men.”

“I therefore suppliantly pray Thee, Lord, mercifully to look upon me a sinner; and by Thy grace inwardly to enlighten, frequently to visit: to water with tears, to crush and cleanse with compunction; so that whom Thou hast redeemed by Thy precious blood: Thou mayest renew and enkindle by the earnest meditation of Thy Passion. Grant me devoutly to progress therein: and ever to gather thence wholesome remedies for all my passions. Would that it more and more deeply touched my heart than it has hitherto: and affected and instructed me in such manner, as it has often enkindled and touched many holy men and women; so that in my life also the likeness of Thy death might result by the working of the spirit and the mortification of the flesh: and that I might be able to say that memorable word of the Apostle, ‘With Christ I am nailed to the cross.’ And to proclaim also that most loving word against all the carnal and vain-speaking wiseacres of the world: ‘From henceforth let no man be troublesome to me: for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body.’ The blessed Apostle Paul bore Thy glorious and precious scars in his body: when, besides the daily memory of Thy Passion, with all the affection of his heart, he rejoiced to be afflicted externally, and to be esteemed of no account for Thy name; and whatever he felt grievous in the body, or troublesome in the soul: all this he deemed light and easily bearable from the loving contemplation of Thy wounds. And therefore he exhorted all Thy faithful lovers saying: ‘Let us always bear about in our body the mortification of Jesus: that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.’ Strive thou also, my soul, now to do this same, especially these days, wherein the venerable memory of the Passion of the Lord is celebrated in the Church; and with mournful mind and devout attention direct thither the eye of contemplation: where thou knowest Jesus suffered for thee in more grievous pains. Say lovingly with the spouse, mindful ever of thy Spouse crucified from love: ‘I to my Beloved: and His turning is towards me.’ ”
"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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