Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday of the Second Week in Lent

Jesus Is Taken By His Enemies.


Jesus, addressing the soldiers, said: "Whom seek you?" They replied, "Jesus of Nazareth!" There are some who, like the Jews, only seek Jesus to take him, outrage, and crucify him. There are others who seek him only to love and serve him, but the number is small. Whom do you seek in your designs, your devotions, and prayers? Is it Jesus or yourself? Is it his honor and glory or your own? If you seek God with a pure heart your happiness and contentment will abound until the measure of your joy is filled to overflowing! All of your troubles, anxieties, and doubts arise from your seeking yourself instead of the will and glory of your heavenly Father.

I have sought him, but I have not found him. Why is this? It is because you do not seek him at the proper time or place. You seek him in the garden of delights, and he is only to be found in the field of conflicts and sorrows where he sweats great drops of blood and water. You seek him in palaces, and he is only to be found in a stable, in the temple, or on the cross. You seek him after he has stood knocking for a long time at the door of your heart, but it is too late; he grew weary of waiting; his locks were heavy with the dews of night, and he has gone away. You seek him coldly and with indifference. He is strong and swift. It is necessary to run that you may overtake him.


Jesus said to the soldiers, "‘I am he,’ and they went backwards and fell to the ground." What a Captain who makes his enemies fall to the earth by a single word! What will be his power when he comes to judge them, if he is so powerful when they come to judge him? Oh, how terrible it will be to the wicked at the hour of death, to hear him say "I am he" whom you have betrayed, outraged, and crucified! But how full of sweetness and consolation he will be to the just, who, having lived piously, are received by him after death with these welcome words: Fear not, "I am he" who redeemed you. "I am he" whom you have served, honored, and obeyed! Fear not, he will say to you in your temptations, ‘I am he" who has proved you, visited you, and sent this or that affliction to try you, and I will deliver you.


The just fall as well as the wicked, but in a different manner. The just fall into venial sins, the wicked into mortal sins. The just fall through surprise and frailty, and the wicked through premeditation and malice. The just fall forward on their faces as the Apostles did on Mount Thabor, the wicked fall backwards like the Jews in Gethsemani. The just know wherein they fall and quickly raise themselves, but the wicked know not when they fall and fear to rise or think it too difficult and troublesome a task to do so.

Oh, my soul, what do you seek? Is it Jesus of Nazareth? Behold your divine Master in the hands of the soldiers, who bind him with thongs, buffet him, and treat him with violence! Do not abandon him in his desolation as the other disciples did, but remain with him even unto the end. They said, at the Last Supper, that they would never abandon him, but go with him, to prison and to death, notwithstanding which, they basely forsook him when he was seized by his enemies. Do you not often act thus? What pious and tender protestations have you not made to him in holy communion, and yet how frequently have you not betrayed and abandoned him in the hour of temptation!

Resolution: I will seek Jesus where I know he is to be found today and thus I will give of myself to someone who is poor, sick, or suffering, knowing that I am giving of myself to Jesus who said, "As often as you do it for the least of these my brethren, you do it for me."

Prayer: When you were delivered into the hands of thine enemies, O Jesus, thou didst not seek to escape but went willingly, a lamb led to the slaughter. The soldiers sought thee and found thee and, though it was for evil ends, they kept thy company. I too have sought thee and found thee, but unlike those who sought to destroy thee, I have abandoned thee. Let me seek thee always and only thee. Let me seek thee in this transitory life and find thee lest I shall lose thee in the next. Thou alone art worthy of all my love. I give it all the thee and without reserve. Only open my eyes to thy sacred countenance that I may recognize thee in the poor and suffering. For if thou dost not, I shall not recognize thee in thy glory when thou shalt call me out of this life and I shall be eternally lost. O Mary, obtain for me this grace from thy Son, for he refuses nothing if thou shouldst ask it of him.

By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

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