Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday after Ash Wednesday


GOSPEL. ST. MARK vi, 47-56.

(Jesus on the Sea. His Prayer in the Garden of Olives.)
At that time: when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and Jesus alone on the land. And seeing them laboring in rowing (for the wind was against them) and about the fourth watch of the night He cometh to them walking upon the sea, and He would have passed by them. But they seeing Him walking upon the sea, thought he was an apparition, and they cried out. For they all saw Him, and were troubled. And immediately he spoke with them, and said to them: Have a good heart, it is I, fear ye not. And he went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased: and they were far more astonished within themselves; for they understood not concerning the loaves: for their hearts were blinded. And when they had past over, they came into the land of Genesareth, and set to the shore. And when they were gone out of the ship, immediately they knew him: and running through that whole country, they began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard He was. And whithersoever He entered, into towns or into villages, or cities, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him they might touch but the hem of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole.

Christian Soul! The holy gospel teaches you that God chastises those whom He loves, as He allowed His disciples to suffer on the sea. As gold is refined by fire, so God purifies His Friends by spiritual and corporal suffering; and by this process they are made to resemble their Savior. If they resemble Him in sufferings, they will also resemble Him in His glory; for "No one will be crowned who has not fought lawfully." But as the disciples appealed to their Lord, so you in all your sufferings and afflictions must beg your Savior for grace and help, and thus imitate Him in His glorious example of prayer. Contemplate the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Olives. "He withdrew from His disciples a stone s cast away, kneeling down He fell upon His face, praying and saying: My Father, if it be possible let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." What reverence and humility in the prayer of Jesus! What touching pity combined with wonderful submission to the will of God! And He cometh to His disciples, and findeth them asleep, and He saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Again the second time, He went and prayed, saying: "My Father, if this chalice may not pass away but I must drink it, Thy will be done." And He cometh again, and findeth them sleeping. And leaving them He went again: and He prayed the third time, saying the self-same word.

O Lord, look graciously upon our prayer, and grant that we may perform with pious fidelity this solemn fast which was instituted for the wholesome purpose of bringing health to our soul and body.

Divine Savior, Jesus Christ, Who didst show so much patience with the frailty of Thy disciples on the sea and on Mount Olivet, have patience also with us poor sinners on the sea of dangers, sufferings and afflictions of this life. Give strength to our weak prayer; give courage and perseverance to our inconstant will that we may fulfill the divine will in fortune and misfortune, and especially in our last agony and in the grievous dereliction of the hour of death, Amen.

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