Part I

CHAPTER I

mi Of the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross, His triumph over death, and His most joyful Resurrection from the grave

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, 0 Lord Jesus Christ, for Thy victory and triumph upon the Cross over death, and for Thy glorious and joyful Resurrection from the Tomb, in which, after being buried amid many tears, Thou didst, for our sakes, lie for three days and nights, actually a corpse, hidden from every human eye, and closed up with a great stone, so that Thou couldst neither be touched nor seen by Thy disciples or Thy friends. Thou wast, moreover, watched by a strong guard of heathen soldiers as a precaution against Thy rising from the dead, and making Thy escape; and to prevent Thy disciples from carrying Thee away, secretly taking Thee to some other place, worshipping Thee as God, and saying to the people: "The Crucified is risen from the dead."

But in this case surely the wickedness of evil men recoiled upon themselves; and all the craftiness of the devil, all the might of Pilate, all the wrong-headedness of the people, all the knavery of the priests, all the wisdom of the Scribes, all the counsel of the Pharisees and of the Elders— anxious to wipe out Thy Holy Name from among men—were brought to nought. Of a truth counsel Bgainst the Lord there can be none; no earthly power can withstand the Most High; against the Wisdom of God man's cunning exalteth itself in vain; the All-knowing God cannot be deceived by tricks, no matter how crafty they may be. Thou Who didst lay the foundations of the earth, and didst set to the sea its bounds; Thou Who didst make all things in their weight, in their number, and in their extent; Thou to Whom were known the time of Thy Birth, and the hour of Thy Death; Thou knewest also the time appointed for Thy Resurrection, and its hour.

When therefore, O most merciful Lord Jesus, midnight was past, and dawn was at hand, Thou didst in a glorious Body, in an atmosphere of joy and unspeakable light, rise happily again to life from the sealed Tomb, even as at Thy Birth Thou didst come forth from the womb of Thy most holy Mother the Virgin Mary, without breaking the seal of her perpetual Virginity—a stupendous mystery, an unheard-of miracle, possible only to Thee as God, working concurrently with God the Holy Ghost.

And this is why Thou didst establish the Festival of Thy Resurrection to be for ever kept most holy, as brighter than the sun and more glorious than all the festivals of the year; and didst provide that by the faithful throughout the world it should be celebrated with joyful hearts and voices, in Hymns and Psalms, and with frequent Alleluias, and be most conspicuously honoured by joyous remembrance and thanksgiving.

At last, then, O Christ, my King, on this night, with Angels looking on, and rejoicing with Thee in Thy glorious triumph over death, and at the confounding of Hell, Thou didst mercifully open to us men an entrance into everlasting life, even as Thou hadst foretold to Thy disciples; and while they knew nothing about it, Thou didst joyfully clothe Thyself in Thy glorious Body. Then indeed did all the Powers of Darkness groan and gnash their teeth at beholding the brightness of Thy countenance in our human nature. There was a great earthquake also, and fear fell upon the armed guard of soldiers which was on watch at the Sepulchre; and they became as dead men when they felt the earth quake and saw the wondrous vision of Angels. For the Angel of the Lord, shining in whiteness like to snow, came down from Heaven and took away the great stone from the Tomb; so making ready a direct and safe path for the holy women, who were on their way to it, bearing precious spices to anoint once more their Jesus in the Sepulchre, that so they might safely draw near, and see that the Tomb was empty, and that their Lord was not there, but had risen.

I praise and magnify Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Almighty King of Kings, Lord of Heaven and earth, Maker of all things, for Thy hard-won victory over Hell, and for the strong fetters with which Thou didst bind proud Lucifer, whom Thou didst cast into a burning lake of fire, of stinking sulphur and of pitch.

I praise and glorify Thee for the might with which Thou didst subdue the Devil's power for evil against the race of men, and didst prevent the demons from harming us as they please, which was what they were wont to do before Thy Incarnation and Passion. By a just judgement the wicked devices of the Jews in procuring Thy Crucifixion between two thieves, which they had instigated in the hope of destroying Thee, recoiled upon their own heads.

And now behold Thou art risen; Thou hast been victorious over the Kingdom of Hell; and by the sign of the holy Cross Thou hast broken in pieces all the power of the demons. Thou hast brought down their pride, and put it under the feet of the lowliest of Thy servants whom Thou hast chosen out of the world; for now all Christians, no matter what their rank may be, be they nobles or only common folk, rejoice in being signed with the sign of the Holy Cross, and bear it boldly on their foreheads in honour of Thy Name, as a defence against the fear of the old serpent, and against the scoffs of unbelieving Jews and heathens, who to this day hate the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who was crucified for the salvation of the world.

I praise and honour Thee, O most gracious Jesus, for mercifully visiting in Limbo the Saints of the Old Dispensation, and for releasing all the faithful souls which were resting in Abraham's bosom. They indeed had long time anxiously looked for Thy descent into Hell, and with eyes full of tears were lovingly exclaiming, as we do now in this day's processional: "Thou art come, O loved One, Whom we have long waited for in our darkness; Thou art this night come to bring forth from the prison house those who were bound."l

1 [The words quoted are from an ancient Responsory formerly sung in many churches on Holy Saturday (cf. Thomasi Opera, edition Vezzozi, v. 86).]

Lead thou, then, the chorus of joy, O Adam, our first parent, founder, so far as man can be said so to be, of the human race; rejoice thou, together with Eve thy wife of high renown, formed from thy side in Paradise! Rejoice; for Christ, a descendant of thy own, Virgin-born, and sacrificed upon the Cross, has come to deliver thee and all thy fellow-captive descendants, who have died trusting in Him, and in the hope of heavenly grace! Christ has come to deliver thee from the power of the grave, out of the house of bondage, out of the shadow of death, out of the den of lions, from the fear of the evil demons; and to bring thee and all the Saints of whom thou wert the progenitor, attended by the angels who were your dear companions when on earth, amid songs of sweet rejoicing, into a Paradise of delight and of everlasting bliss.

Do thou too rejoice, O holy patriarch Abraham, father of many nations; rejoice thou with Sara, thy faithful wife, over the Incarnation of Christ, foretold to thee, and crowned with this Festival! This is the day which thou hast long expected, and wished to see. Firmly didst thou believe and therefore hast thou been found worthy to be made glad by beholding with thine own eyes Christ, born of thy seed, the Giver of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Do thou too rejoice, most ancient father Isaac, at the bright vision of Christ, and at His descent into Hell, concerning which, before thy death, thou didst prophecy; and when blessing thy son Jacob, didst in mysterious words beautifully point to Christ as of holy ones the most blessed, and didst speak His praises in these words: "Behold the smell of my son is as the smell of a plentiful field, which the Lord hath blessed. Cursed be he that curseth thee; and let him that blesseth thee be filled with blessings.'"

Wherefore I too, on hearing and reading these things, give thanks to Thee, my God, and above the names of all the Saints, bless Thy sweet Name, O most sweet Jesus Christ, hoping that I may be found meet to be numbered by Thee among Thy chosen ones, to be filled with heavenly blessings, and to come at last to that Kingdom of joy in which the holy Angels dwell with Thee for ever.

Do thou too rejoice over this day, O mighty wrestler Jacob, chiefly for the heavenly glory and the benign glance of Jesus Christ, concerning which in days long past thou didst, when blessing thy sons, prophetically speak in these words of faith and prayer: "I will look for Thy salvation, O Lord.'" O word truly sweet to the ear, and full of joy to the godly! O wholesome word, which in its inner meaning speaks of Jesus, long desired by Patriarchs and Prophets, patiently expected, and now at length shown forth before their eyes; for there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved, except this most sweet name of Jesus, which is blessed for ever above all things, from everlasting to everlasting! Yes, in very truth, Jesus Himself, the Salvation of God promised in the law, Who was born of a Virgin, Who suffered on the Cross, has risen again on the third day, and has fulfilled all things which the holy Patriarchs and all the Prophets had spoken concerning Him. Speak then now quite plainly, O holy Jacob, in the joy of thy heart; say of Christ appearing in the glory of His Father in the sight of the angels of God: "I have seen my Lord face to face, and my soul has been saved.'" What wouldst thou have more than this; and what greater happiness couldst thou desire? If on seeing one of God's angels, thy joy was so great, what ought now thy joy to be when thou hast been found worthy to behold the Lord of Angels? If, when it was said to thee: "Joseph, thy son, is living, and he is ruler in all the land of Egypt," thy spirit revived, how much greater now must be thy joy at Christ's rising from the grave, never any more to die, but to reign for ever over all who dwell in Heaven and in earth?

O all ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets, O ye kings and rulers of the people, O young men and old, O virgins and faithful widows, O Priests and Levites, O Doctors and Scribes, O ye spirits and souls of the just, O ye holy and humble men of heart, rejoice ye all this day and be glad in Jesus Christ our Lord, Who has become our Salvation! Praise Him and magnify Him for ever; for He has Himself come to visit you, and to bring joy to the hearts of all who were waiting for the redemption of His people Israel!

And now, O most loving Lord Jesus Christ, true Refuge of my soul, in Whom now is, and throughout this uncertain life from youth to old age has been, all my trust, forsake me not, I pray Thee, poor and feeble as I am, in the trials and temptations which in so many ways beset me! Strengthen me, O my God, in every distress of my heart, through the merits of Thy most Holy Passion, and through the cruel sorrows and the abundant tears which were shed by Thy most blessed Mother, in her bitter grief as she stood beneath Thy Cross, and beheld Thy Wounds! Make me glad also, I pray Thee, on account of the merits of all Thy Saints who are so dear to Thee, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and all the other Saints who are already in bliss with Thee in the Kingdom of Heaven!

Remember, O Lord, those Holy Words of Thine: "Many shall come from the East and the West, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.'"—O Lord, Who on this day didst rise in Thy glorious Body from the Tomb, and hast steadfastly promised to all who love Thee the bliss of everlasting life with the Angels in Heaven, grant, I beseech Thee, that I may be admitted into that holy company, and may be allowed to sit at Thy heavenly Table— Who livest, etc.

CHAPTER II

0g Of thejievout visitation of the Holy Sepulchre of our Lord Jesus Christ

LORD JESUS CHRIST, Comforter of all who are sad and sorrowful, I bless Thee, and give thanks to Thee, for the pious visit to Thy Sepulchre of the holy women who came there early in the morning as soon as the sun was up, that they might make certain of what had been done there on that most holy night, blessed above all other holy nights.

I praise and heartily commend the pious zeal of those holy women, those noble ladies, who sought once more to anoint Thy most sacred Body, for hasting to rise so early, while it was yet dark; and for going in a body, with all possible privacy and decorum, to Thy Sepulchre, bearing the spices which they had prepared for anointing Thee. How great must have been their sorrow of heart, what floods of tears must they have shed, as they passed the Hill of Calvary, and beheld Thy Cross, as they contemplated the scene of Thy Passion, as they thought of all Thy Wounds! How great must have been the anxiety which oppressed them, and brought tears again to their eyes, when they caught sight of the Tomb and said one to another: "Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the Sepulchre i" What wonder if they wept; for they must have felt sure that of themselves they could not move so heavy a stone. Fear would have made them retrace their steps, but love urged them on, and bade them not be alarmed at the guard of soldiers.—" Oh, had but Peter and John been here," they will have said, "we might have depended on their ready help."—The stone was indeed very great, so heavy that ten strong men could scarce have moved it. But, holy women, it was better that the Apostles should stay at home unnoticed, and pray for you that God would protect you and fulfil all your desire, than that they should court danger by coming with you, and perhaps be killed by the soldiers. It would have added to your grief, and made your burden all the heavier to bear, if besides our Lord, His disciples had also been put to death.

What then will ye do, and whither go? Stop, I pray you, awhile and pray; fear not, but go bravely on your way; trust in the Lord that help may soon be sent you from above, and that good news may be brought you by an Angel, who knows what has come to pass as regards your Lord, laid yesterday in the Tomb. God knows your hearts, who ye are, and whence ye come: He knows Whom ye seek, what ye are carrying in your hands, and what ye are hiding under your mantles; for from the spices which you bear a sweet smell is going up before God into the Courts of Heaven, and the holy Angels are rejoicing in the sweetness of your holy prayers, and in that burning love ye have for Jesus, and are now showing forth in the work ye are doing for Him. Of a truth love knows no obstacles; it fears no one. Love presses ever onwards till it is in sight of the loved one. Make haste, then, go forward in silence, mark carefully the Tomb, and if it should be open, go boldly into it. If ye shrink from going in, bide awhile and pray, raise your eyes to Heaven, and besiege its gate, with your moans and tears, till the Angel of the Lord shall descend from Heaven, and shall say to you: "Fear ye not; for I know that ye seek Jesus Who was crucified; come and see the place where the Lord was laid. He is not here, as ye may see, He is risen, as He foretold you." If ye have remembered well His words, ye ought to have no doubt about His resurrection. It was love for Jesus which drew you out of the world; it was love for Jesus which has now led you to His Tomb. It was love for Jesus which made you mourn at His Passion; it is love for Jesus which will make you rejoice at His Resurrection. Wait but a little while and you shall see Him, and doubt shall be no longer possible. Look not for Him any more as lying in the grave; but seek Him as living with the Angels in Heaven: no more at the table of Martha in Bethany, but as sitting at the Right Hand of the Father in His Glory; no more as sailing in a small ship with Peter, but as reigning over all the choirs of Angels; no more as preaching on a mountain side, but as ruling over every creature in Heaven and on earth. Remember how He told you beforehand that the Son of Man must be crucified, and rise again the third day.

Depart now therefore consoled and comforted by the Angel. Go quickly and take the good news to the Lord's friends, tell the glad tidings to His mourning disciples; bid them not despair because they all forsook Jesus and fled. Bid them hope for pardon; specially tell Peter, who thrice denied his Lord, and has since never ceased to weep bitterly, that he should not be fearful, but should trust to the great and never-failing love of Jesus, of which he has had so many proofs; tell him that this very day he shall see his Lord, and shall be full of joy. Tell him all the things which ye have seen and heard; for in very truth our Lord Jesus Christ has this night risen again.

O holy Peter, cease now to weep; rise up quickly and come, run with holy John, go boldly into the Tomb, and see lying there the linen clothes and the napkin of Jesus. Believe the word of the Angels, who say that Jesus is risen and is alive, and will go into Galilee, and will show Himself to His disciples. Be glad and rejoice with Christ, O holy Peter, chief shepherd of the Church, for He has risen again, Who is the Good Shepherd, Who vouchsafed to die upon the Cross for thee, and for the sheep of His flock. O sweet answer from the mouth of the Angel, so full of comfort for the hearts of those who mourn; so full of hope of pardon for poor sinners, from the example of blessed Peter, and of many other Saints, who after having fallen rose up again stronger than before. Blessed be God, Who never turns away His Face from those who are troubled in heart, but saves those who are of a humble spirit, and makes strong in faith those who look only to Him, and desire no other Comforter.

O holy women, ye who have heard all this good news concerning Jesus; should He meet you in the way and say to you, "Hail, my sisters!" clasp His Feet, and let Him not go till He has blessed you! Fall low upon your knees, adore Him, and greet Him with friendly words of peace, and that not for yourselves only, but for me too, a sinner humbly asking to be forgiven. Oh that the grace of shedding tears and of showing devotion such as yours when He appeared to you, might also be mine! I am full of hope that He will readily grant your prayers for me, because of the holiness of your merits, and of your diligence in the services which you have so often rendered to Him.

I praise and honour Thee, O most gracious Jesus, for Thy exceeding gentleness, and for the loving and comforting words with which Thou didst greet the holy women when they met Thee in the way, allowing them to clasp Thy most sacred Feet—those Feet Which were nailed to the Cross, Which are brighter than the sun, whiter than snow, lovelier than a carbuncle, more precious than gold, sweeter smelling than any balm or chrism.

O Almighty Lord Jesus, I give Thee most hearty thanks for sending from Heaven Thy holy Angel to roll away the great stone from the Sepulchre; to drive away the heathen guard from that holy place where Thou didst safely rest, as a strong lion in his den; to prepare for the men and for the women who loved Thee free access to Thy Tomb; to comfort those who were bewailing Thee as dead and buried; to confirm and strengthen the halting faith of those who were doubting Thy Resurrection; and to rejoice with Thee at Thy happy return from Thy descent into Hell, and at the setting open of the gate of Heaven. Grief at Thy Crucifixion had taken such full possession of the hearts of those holy women, that they had quite given up hoping for Thy Resurrection, in spite of Thy having so often foretold it. Nowhere could they have found comfort, had they not visited Thy Sepulchre that morning; had they not heard from the mouth of the Angel that in very truth Thou hadst risen; had they not in confirmation of the truth seen Thee with their own eyes, and clasped with their own hands Thy glorious Feet. But when all these things had been done, Thou didst add to the comfort Thou hadst given them by Thy loving greeting of them, and by laying upon them a joyful duty—a duty worthy of all acceptation and honour—lovingly consoling and encouraging them with the words: "Fear not; go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see Me."

How delightful are those words to the ear, how sweet are they to the mind, how profitable are they for meditation, and for taking the place of gossip about the things of this world! How bright must have been the eyes that had seen the Lord, how pure the hands that had touched Jesus, how holy the lips that had printed on Him a kiss. How swift in walking and how quick in running must have been made the feet; how prompt in obedience must have been made the hearts; how joyful must have been made the lips of those who were bidden to tell the disciples that the Lord was risen. Great as was that Good Friday burden of sorrows when the ignominious Cross of Jesus was seen upon the Hill of Calvary, out of all proportion greater far must have been the joys of that first Easter Day, when the glorious tidings

r of His Resurrection were made known. The reproach of the Jews is turned into the exceeding great joy of the Apostles; the offence of the Cross has become the means of everlasting salvation; the tears of the Saints have given place to the songs of Angels; and the wounds made by the scourging and the nails have won for us the remission of our sins.

O most sweet Jesus Christ, kindle also in my heart, I pray Thee, the love of Thy Holy Name, more precious than that of all the Saints in Heaven and in earth; that so, with Mary Magdalene and her companions, I may remember it every morning at the break of day, and may seek Thee in the sepulchre of my heart; may be utterly dead to the things of this world, and may cling devoutly to Thee in the silence and the solitude of prayer. Keep my heart from being hard, my body from being slothful, my eyes from being drowsy. Give me the grace of true contrition, fill me with the joy of true devotion, that so I may worthily celebrate, at this sacred Feast, the glory of Thy Holy Name. Receive, at the hands of the holy Angels, who full of reverence and awe keep guard over Thy Sepulchre, the first-fruits of my lips as a sacrifice of never-ending praise; and may those same Angels faithfully defend me by day and by night from every danger, whether of body or of soul.

And be Thou, O Lord, ever at my side, and chiefly at the hour of prayer, that wandering eyes and vain fancies may not lead me astray during the Divine Office, and cause me to forget Thee in Thy holy Place. Of a truth it is there especially that I ought, as a prayerful suppliant, caught up to Heaven, and forgetful for Thy sake of the things of earth—it is there especially that, as far as may be, made one in a pure heart with Thee, I ought with the utmost awe and recollectedness to approach Thy glorious Presence. For what are the things of this world but vanity of vanities? Truly, as compared with the joys of Heaven, earthly gladness is in Thy sight a thing of nought. Therefore, O my God, Thou Who art the Crown and the Glory of the Angelic host, grant, I beseech Thee, that I may ponder the words of the psalms, and of the other hymns and canticles, as they are said or sung in Church, and may take in their meaning, so far as in my human frailty I am able to grasp and understand it: and so be Thou with me till it is given me to stand before Thee, Who art the true Light, Who wilt then make light all that now within me is dark, and wilt make glad with perfect joy all the citizens of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Receive, I pray Thee, at my hands on the holy day of this great festival, in place of sweet-smelling ointment made of myrrh and frankincense, the many and bitter inward groanings of my heart for all my sins and negligences of thought, of word and of deed; that so as a new man, born again of the Spirit, clothed in white, and humbly confessing my sins, I may be found meet to appear with joy and gladness among Thy Saints. Hereupon, then, I offer to Thee, instead of costly spices confected of balsam and honey, all the loving desires of my heart and all the pious exercises of all Religious in praise of the Holy Trinity, and in honour of Thy joyful Resurrection, in union with the song of angels and the rejoicing of all the Saints who stand before Thee in Heaven. Amen. A Prayer to the holy Angels, who watch over us in our life on earth O holy Angels and Archangels, ministers of the Heavenly King, ye who are clothed in white raiment, ye who are fulfilled with those good gifts which last for ever, take pity, I pray you, upon me a poor weak sinner; and obtain for me, both now and always, God's help in my pilgrimage and exile upon earth; succour and defend one who is poor and destitute; and to one who is weak bring power to withstand the wiles of the devil and his own sinful lusts. Put upon me white robes, build me up in holy ways, in faith, and in hope and in the love of God; strengthen me in the inward man that I may grow in grace, weeping with those who weep, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and giving thanks always for all good works done anywhere for the honour of God; that so God, Who is all in all, may be blessed, praised and exalted for ever. Amen.

CHAPTER III

ite Of the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene in the form of a gardener

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, to Whom all hearts are open, and from Whom no secrets are hid, for Thy kindly appearance to Thy ardent lover Mary Magdalene, as she stood weeping by Thy Tomb, what time Thou didst vouchsafe to show Thyself to her in the form of a gardener, to reveal to her, of Thy special grace, many secret things of Thy Godhead and mysteries of Thy Manhood, making known to her first of all Thy creatures the certainty of Thy glorious Resurrection, and in place of her tearful lamentings and many questionings, bestowing upon her abundant joy and gladness.

I praise and magnify Thee for Thy loving appearance, and for the gentle words which Thou didst speak, to the disconsolate Mary Magdalene, when Thou didst question her and say: "Why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?"

O good Jesus, O most sweet Master, Who knowest all things before they come to pass, why dost Thou ask of her that which Thou knowest full well? Thou knowest that what she is seeking and longing for is that which indeed beyond all else she loves, Thyself alone. It is because in the Tomb she found Thee not, because she has lost that which in all the world was most precious to her, that she weeps, and is sad. As often as she thinks of Thee, as often as she hears Thee spoken of, as often as she sees Thy Tomb, or calls to mind Thy Cross, or anything else that has had to do with Thee, that moment her heart sinks within her, and she weeps; for love knows no rest till it finds what it has been seeking, possesses what it loves, and holds fast what it has been longing for.

Be not angry then, O Lord, if even on so high a festival as this holy Easter Day, she sheds tears in Thy presence. It is her love for Thee; it is her great devotion to Thee, which has given her no sleep nor rest, which has driven her from her couch before the break of day that she might come and anoint Thee—it is these things which have made her as Thou seest. It is because she has not found Thee that she weeps, and that her grief on Thy account is so intense. With so great love does she burn, with such intense longing is she on fire, that had she but an Angel's wings she would fly to Thee over mountains and hills and above the stars of heaven. Higher than the Cherubim and the Seraphim in Heaven would she mount in search of Thee, if only she might find Thee in Thy Kingdom, if only she might see Thee sitting on Thy Throne at the Right Hand of the Father. But to-day this happy lot may not be hers; nor indeed to all is it given to be caught up with Paul into the third Heaven, but only to those for whom it is prepared by Thy Father, and at the proper time, that namely which has been foreordained of God.

O loving Jesus, Comforter of those who mourn, have pity on Mary in her grief, come to the help of her who mourns, speak to her who loves Thee. Speak but one word, and her sorrow will have an end. Tell her but Thy name, let but Thy voice sound in her ears, and straightway her grief will be assuaged. Show her the Light of Thy Countenance, most beauteous Lord Jesus, and most sweetly will her soul rejoice in Thee. Call her by her name, and on the instant her tears will cease to flow.

Why, I ask, O Lord, why hidest Thou Thy Face from her who loves Thee, from her who seeks Thee so anxiously, from her who laments Thee so bitterly? When in very deed Thou art her beloved Lord, and her Master, her Lord in Thy authority over her, her Master in teaching her, why dost Thou pretend to be other than Thou art, why dost Thou feign to be the gardener? Say to her, then, I pray Thee: "I am Jesus Whom thou seekest; be still and weep no more; go in peace!"

Nay, good Jesus, what is Thy purpose in all

this, why dost Thou not satisfy the longing of her

soul? I know that Thou doest and orderest all

things well. I know that Thou neither deceivest nor canst be deceived; for Thou art a just God, loving and true in all Thy ways. Surely it was in order that Thou mightest stir up yet more her longing after Thee, in order that Thou mightest make trial of the strength of her patience, and in order that by affliction and delay Thou mightest purify her soul, and mightest after long-protracted grief and many tears lead her to yet greater joy. Surely it was for all this that Thou didst hide from sorrowing Mary the brightness of Thy Countenance, and didst keep her from knowing Thee.

And in all this, surely, Thou didst intend the example of holy Mary's patience and repentance to be to all Thy faithful servants in distress a source of great comfort. Mary was very dear to Thee, and she was adorned with many excellent gifts, but for all that she was in this life often in trouble and distress, often heavy-laden, often forsaken for a season. But this was in order that her merits might become greater, and that other Christians might profit by her example: never was she altogether forsaken, never forgotten.

How wisely, O Lord, and how tenderly, dost Thou deal with Thy loved ones, whether Thou sendest them trials, or givest them consolation— both of which Thou dost in order to lead them to Thyself, and to the everlasting rest of the heavenly Paradise. They must needs be tried by manifold temptations, and be purified like gold in the fire of tribulation: and if they would be made fit for the Kingdom of God, and worthy of the beatific vision, they must take everything that comes from Thy Hand as a priceless boon, and as a pledge of that everlasting life which Thou hast promised to every faithful soul that does not cease to weep and to pray, as did Mary Magdalene on this day before Thee.

How good art Thou, O God of Israel, to those who are of a right spirit, to those who seek Thee humbly and truly, with sorrow and with tears, as Mary sought Thee and found Thee. The more laboriously a thing has been sought after, the greater the difficulty in finding it, the more will it be cherished, the more carefully will it be guarded. The longer a man has gone without food the more will he relish it: a bitter draught makes any water taste sweet. We love daylight because night has gone before it; it is when we have been cold that we most love a fire. Joyous music gives us the greatest pleasure when sadness has gone before it: hard work gives us the most refreshing rest and sleep. The fiercer the war, the more welcome is peace. Stars are at their brightest when a misty sky becomes clear; birds sing their merriest as the sun rises. Even so, when Christ with His peace is at hand the soul which has been in trouble is renewed like the eagle. All this is well seen in the case of the beloved Mary Magdalene, who having wept much was abundantly comforted of the Lord. "0 how great is Thy goodness, O Lord, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee."

"Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself," as saith Isaias, and besides Thee there is none other like Thee, knowing how to order all things so wisely for Thy loved ones. O good Jesus, eternal Wisdom of the Father, in what humility and in what love didst Thou live Thy life among men, teaching them what was wholesome and profitable for them; to despise earthly things, to love heavenly things, and to endure adversity!

How sweet was Mary's discourse with Jesus, the Saviour of the world, the King of Angels, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the citizens of Heaven, the Ruler of the ages. Of a truth, Lord, had Mary known Thee fully, she would never have thought Thee to be the gardener; she would never have addressed Thee as a stranger, asking what Thou wert doing there, or of what Thou wert in search. "Sir," she said, " if thou hast taken Him hence, tell me." O Mary, how canst thou so speak to Him, the greatness of Whose power Thou knowest not. Whence dost thou take courage to say boldly: "/ will take Him away." How canst thou venture to think that of thyself thou canst lift such and so great a man? Tell me whither dost thou wish to take Him? Who gave thee leave to take away that which thou hadst not put there? Thou knowest not what thou sayest. Call thy companions and see whether, as thou sayest, ye could, all of you together, carry Him Whom ye seek. Ye will scarce be able, for ye are tired with your long walk, and weak from your two days' fast, and with weeping for Christ, Whose sacred Body ye cannot find. O Mary, if the others have gone away, and thou art alone, what wilt thou do? Ask that Gardener to help thee in thy search for Him Who is so dear to thee, and in carrying Him Whom thou lovest, and art seeking with so many sighs and tears. No one can help thee better, or comfort thee more fully than that Gardener; no one, if He would only say so, knows better than He whither thy Lord has been taken, or where He is hidden. I suspect that it was pity for thee that brought Him to thee, in order that He might Himself tell thee where He Whom thou seekest is to be found, and Who it was that during the night removed Him from the Tomb.

How intense was the longing of this holy woman, who never stopped searching and weeping! Speak, Lord, I pray Thee, but one short word to her, so that Thy dove on hearing Thy Voice, may know Thee, and for joy at finding her Spouse may raise her voice in song and dry her tears. Thou art He Whom she is seeking: Thou art He Whom she longs for; Angels, creatures, and human comfort of what kind soever, satisfy her not. Speak, Lord, and how willingly will Thy handmaid, Thy faithful attendant, hear Thee. Say to her, as Thou wert often wont to say to Thy beloved hostess: "Mary!" That is her name; and so she would rather be called by Thee than by any one else, for Thou art her only Hope. More she does not want; Thou art her all in all.

O Mary, know Jesus, by Whom thou art known; love Him Who first loved thee. Make answer, loved one, to thy beloved Master, to the Gardener after thine own heart: "Rabboni, my Lord, I thank Thee for appearing to me. Now I possess what I sought, now I behold Him Whom I bewailed, and better far is my lot than I could ever have hoped it would be."

How happy was the day, how blessed was the hour in which, O Mary, after Angels had been seen by thee and had spoken to thee, thou wast found worthy to behold the Lord of Angels, and to hear His sweet voice saying to thee: "Go to My brethren and say to them: I ascend to My Father, and to your Father, to My God and your God."

Mary therefore did as Jesus had commanded her, and full of joy, went forthwith, without a moment's delay, without a murmur, to tell the disciples the good news that after her prolonged sorrow and her many tears, she had seen her Lord.

How pleasing and acceptable were those tears coming from a heart that was pure, from a love that was fervent, sweeter surely far than the precious spices in their alabaster box got ready for the anointing.

And now, O most merciful Christ Jesus, Who didst vouchsafe to visit and to comfort holy Mary Magdalene when she was overwhelmed with sorrow and distress, I entreat Thee by the bowels of Thy mercy, that when my soul is weary and sad; or is heavy laden by reason of some bodily trouble, or of sorrow of heart, due either to my having given way to temptation, or to the unnoticed withdrawal from me of the sweetness of Thy grace, or to some fault which I have committed, better known to Thee than to myself; or when an evil conscience oppresses me with the thought of judgement to come, and fills me with alarm on account of my daily negligences and coldness of heart, in respect of many duties left undone, or made worthless by being mixed up with idle vanities —when any of these things come upon me, show to me also, I beseech Thee, mercy like to that which Thou showedst to holy Mary Magdalene. Withdraw not, I pray Thee, O Lord, Thy Hand from me when I am in trouble; and suffer me not to doubt of the pardon of my sins. Of Thy unspeakable bounty, take me, I pray Thee, to the Bosom of Thy mercies;, for they endure from everlasting to everlasting upon all such as with their whole heart seek Thee, and desire to love Thee. Of Thy wonted lovingkindness extend to me once more the grace of Thy holy comfort, for which I long with my whole heart; and moved by the prayers and by the tears of holy Magdalene, show to me when my soul departs from my body, the saving joy of the light of Thy Countenance. Amen.

CHAPTER IV

at Of the great merits, and privileges of grace, of blessed Mary Magdalenel

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, heavenly Physician, Who for the Salvation of our souls, didst come into this world to redeem sinners, and to draw them with the cords of Thy love, by the path of repentance, to Thy heavenly Kingdom. Thou Who didst vouchsafe to be born of Mary, the Virgin, didst think no scorn of being touched, of being washed, of being wiped, of being anointed, and of being kissed by Mary, a sinner, when she wept and repented. O loving Jesus, Son of the living God, merciful Saviour of mankind, Thou didst in this life mercifully bestow great privileges of grace upon most blessed Mary Magdalene: when she had turned her back upon the vain things of the world, and had been converted to Thee, Thou didst graciously accept her penitence; Thou didst fully pardon all her sins; and while she bewailed them with tears, Thou didst freely remit their punishment. Thou didst breathe into her heart that great contrition which she felt; Thou didst save her from losing hope of forgiveness

1 [Saint Mary Magdalene was much venerated at the Agnetenberg monastery. The altar in its first chapel (consecrated 23 June, 1395) was dedicated to Saint Agnes and most Blessed Mary Magdalene; and one of the four other altars, subsequently consecrated (12 April, 1412) when the church was finished, was dedicated to most Blessed Mary Magdalene, Saint Catherine, Saint Cecilia, and the eleven thousand Holy Virgins {i.e., Saint Ursula and her Companions).]

by filling her sorrowing heart with the comfort of Thy grace. Thou didsf set her soul on fire with Thy Holy Spirit, and didst inwardly refresh it with the sweetness of Thy love. Thou didst bid her go in peace in full trust in Thy mercy; Thou didst warn her against going back to her former way of life, and didst bid her be steadfast in all manner of holy conversation, and in fervent prayer. Not one harsh word didst Thou ever speak to her, never didst Thou taunt her with her sin, never didst Thou tell any one what she had done; nay, rather Thou didst make excuses for her, and didst put forward her good deeds as an example of holy life. When Thou wast the guest of Simon the leper, Thou didst take more pleasure in Mary's tears than in all the dainty food set before Thee by the Pharisee. Thou didst not shrink from her touch; nor didst Thou spurn her when she anointed Thee. Thou didst put forward Thy Feet, and didst bow down Thy Head for her; Thou didst not disdain her kisses. With Thy Lips Thou didst bless her, with Thy Hand Thou didst sanctify her; by Thy touch Thou didst cleanse her, by a few short words Thou didst make her whole, saying to her: "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." O what sweet words are these! They come from the mouth of God; they are full of grace and mercy; they are ever to be gratefully remembered.

Thou didst accept the hospitality of Mary and Martha as that of friends dear to Thee; Thou didst lodge and take Thy rest in their house, and they ever made Thee welcome. There didst Thou eat and drink whatever was set before Thee and Thy disciples, though it was only such as was fit for poor and needy men who had but little money in their common purse: in that house there was no disorder, no noise, no silly jesting, no loud laughter, no unprofitable talk to be heard. Humble as Thou hadst made Thyself, yet as Master, in demeanour sober and decorous, Thou didst preside at table; having made Thyself poor, Thou didst share the meals of poor folk: Thou wast their Refection-Reader and Theologian; and instead of wine Thou didst set before the friends who were so dear to Thee the words of Eternal Life. Martha, busy as she was with household affairs, Thou didst discreetly instruct; and for Mary who took less part in such things, but sat peacefully at Thy Feet, drinking in the words which fell from Thy Lips, Thou didst make loving excuse. When her sister complained of being left alone to serve, Thou didst praise Mary's higher life of contemplation: and when the traitor Judas found fault about the ointment which she had poured out upon Thee, Thou didst declare her free from blame. She modestly held her peace; but Thou at once madest answer on her behalf, reciting her good deed, and being silent as to what she had done wrong. When Mary wept over her brother Lazarus lying dead in his tomb, Thou didst weep with her, and Thou didst so join his friends in their grief that many of them said: "Behold how He loved him .'" Of what good report must that Lazarus have been, and how pure must have been his life, for Jesus to have loved him when he was alive, to have raised him when he was dead, to have supped with him after he was restored to life!

O loving Jesus, Who art both the Author and

the Rewarder of every good deed, Thou didst not

forget the faithful service so often done to Thee

in the house of Mary and Martha; small kindnesses Thou didst repay by great; for good deeds done to Thee in the body Thou didst return spiritual blessings; things earthly Thou didst reward with things eternal. What shall I say more? Words cannot express, the mind cannot realize, all Thy good gifts to men, all the miracles and signs wrought by Thee in Galilee, in Nazareth, in Bethany, in Jerusalem, in Judaea, and throughout the Holy Land, before the eyes of Thy disciples and of all men, in witness of the truth; that so by reason of all Thy divine and wondrous words and deeds they might believe that Thou art indeed the Christ, the Son of God, Who eamest into the world to be the Saviour of mankind. How highly exalted in Heaven art Thou, Who upon earth wert so lowly! How humble and how loving wert Thou amongst men when Thou didst heal them: how stern, and how terrible wert Thou to the demons when Thou didst cast them out! How full of mercy wert Thou to the penitent, how strict wert Thou with evil-doers, how compassionate wert Thou to the afflicted, how kind to those in want, how consoling to those who were in grief! Where among men can be found a friend so faithful, where so powerful a helper in every time of need as Thou, our God? How great was the joy which Thou didst give to those sisters when Thou criedst with a loud voice: "Lazarus, come forth .'" And presently he that had been dead came forth, obedient to the word spoken by Thee, the Lord of life and death. And then Thou saidst to Thy disciples, as having in Thy stead the cure of souls: "Loose him and let him go."

O my Lord, vouchsafe, I pray Thee, to loose me also from the chains of all my sins, that so I may meet death without fear, may come to Thee with joy, may join the holy Angels and Mary and Martha in praising Thee for ever, and may never more fall into sin. Amen.

CHAPTER V

mi Of holy Mary Magdalene's great sorrow of heart at the Passion of the Lord

LL praise and glory be to Thee, O most sweet Jesus Christ, for the exceeding holiness of Mary Magdalene, and for her devout lamentation at Thy most sacred and most bitter Passion. For her it was not enough to have attended Thee in Thy life on earth, and to have followed Thee through towns and villages witnessing the signs and miracles, worthy of all praise and honour, which Thou didst work by Thy Divine power; but in Thy Passion she never left Thee, but followed Thee weeping to the Cross's foot, and was with holy Mary Thy Mother, and the many other devout and holy women, who with bitter tears compassionated Thee as Thou wentest on Thy way to Calvary, sorrowing for the burden of the Cross which Thou hadst to bear, and for the cruel death to which, all-innocent as Thou wert, Thou hadst been condemned. So long therefore as Thou wert in sight, she followed Thy Cross weeping, sobbing, and lamenting; she marked Thy every step, and passed along wringing her hands, beating her breast, and wiping her eyes, while copious floods of tears poured down her cheeks; for she felt that in no better way could she show her love, no otherwise could she be] of any use, than

by showing the deepest sorrow of heart, by weeping bitterly all day and all night, and by never forgetting the pain and the anguish which Thou hadst to endure. She felt every Wound of Thine as if it had been her own, and the more she loved Thee the more vehement was her grief, the more copious were her tears. When she saw Thee stripped naked and nailed to the Cross, she stood with Thy Mother at its foot, as close to it as she dared; and in spite of the intense anguish of her grief, for nothing in the world would she leave Thy Cross; to Thee and to Thy Mother she clung most faithfully until Thy death. When she heard Thy loud cry, and saw Thee die upon the Cross, so overwhelmed was she with grief that her soul fainted within her. Nourishment she could not take; sleep forsook her eyes. Tears were her only meat; to live longer deprived of Thee seemed to her a lot too hard to bear. Had she not been in all things submissive to Thy Will, she could after Thy death have endured life no longer. Her constant lamentations show that without Thee this life had no joy for her.

But, Mary, for the sake of thy loved One as He hangs upon the Cross, refrain thyself this once, I pray thee, for a while, and support the Mother of Jesus and her sisters in their hour of grievous need. Think not of forsaking the Mother; think not of leaving the side of the most sorrowful Virgin Mother of Jesus, as if thou couldst no longer bear to look upon grief so intense, or to hear moans so piteous. Grieve with those who grieve, weep with those that weep, that so in the glory of the Resurrection thou mayest rejoice with them that rejoice.

O good and most loving Jesus, Mary did as Thou hadst bidden her. As Thou saidst to her, and commandedst her before Thy Death, she kept what was left of the ointment in order that she might therewith anoint Thy Body for Its burial. She did not sell it, as Judas would have had her, for she did not forget Thy words; but she kept it in the alabaster box, and bought yet more of it, so making preparation for Thy needs. Of a truth a friend is proved in distress; true love is shown in the action which it prompts. And so it was that this holy and most faithful Mary proved how she loved Thee in life by the depth of her grief, and by the loving care for Thee which she showed in all that she did for Thee after death in the matter of Thy burial. Not a single thing did she leave undone of all that was needed for the reverent burial of Thy sacred Body. She swathed It, she anointed It, she covered It up, she bound It round, she sewed up the linen cloths, she reverently placed upon Thy sacred Head a napkin as Its fitting covering. All the while that she was doing this she wept unceasingly: her only comfort was the thought that she was found meet to join Thy other followers in attending upon Thee and upon Thy Mother, and that she was able to see all things about Thee rightly done. When at length Thy most sacred Body had been laid in the Tomb, and the entrance to it had been firmly closed and sealed, there was a fresh outburst of grief and lamentation; for she thought that never again in this life would she see Thee, with Whom she had but a short while since enjoyed such fellowship of spiritual life and joy. Nor, even when the Tomb had been closed, could she at once leave the place where her earthly Treasure lay hid: till sundown she sat there mourning in company with many other faithful women, till at length tears failed them; and even then they poured forth from the recesses of their hearts sighs of love, even as it is written of them: "The women sitting over against the Tomb wept and sorrowed for the Lord."1

Oh that to me also it might be given in such wise to compassionate Thee, O my Lord Jesus Christ, when I meditate on Thy Passion, as did devout Mary Magdalene on that Good Friday when she saw Thee crucified, dead, and buried, and of all men, as it were, set at nought, mocked, and blasphemed. But, thanks be to Thee, O most patient Jesus, this untrue report concerning Thee was but short-lived; for after three days Thou didst conquer, and didst confound Thy enemies by rising again victorious over death. Of a truth, Lord, those words of Thine were fulfilled which Thou spakest beforehand concerning Mary Magdalene, in the presence of Thy disciples, in praise of her good deeds, saying: "Amen, I say to you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done shall be told for a memory of her." Of a truth Thy whole house is filled with the odour of the ointment; that is to say the whole Church of the faithful, spread abroad throughout the world, is instructed by the teaching of the Apostles, and is animated by Divine truth. For the renown of Mary's great sanctity is set forth in the writings of apostles and evangelists, and is consequently proclaimed far and wide by Doctors and preachers; and year by year her glorious festival is celebrated and honoured in Holy Church with special devotion

1 [These words form the Antiphon at the Benedictus on Holy Saturday. ]

by all the Clergy and by the people of either sex, upon the day on which her most blessed soul passed from this world to dwell with Thee, our Lord Jesus Christ, in Thy everlasting tabernacles. Amen.

CHAPTER VI

*€ Of the joyful and loving appearance of Christ to His Mother when she had withdrawn to her secret chamber

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son of God, Incarnate and Born for our Salvation of Mary the Virgin, for Thy glorious and most true Resurrection, made as on this day, and chiefly for that most joyful and secret appearance which Thou didst vouchsafe to make to Thy holy Mother Mary, as she was praying in the secret chamber of her house, and with intense longing and firm faith was looking for Thy coming. To her first of all, before appearing to any of Thy holy friends, or to any of the holy women who ministered to Thee and were so beloved by Thee, didst Thou graciously appear. Thou didst reverently greet her; Thou didst most sweetly console and comfort her, and Thou didst abundantly rejoice her heart by Thy bodily presence clad in the shining and glorious robe of Thy immortality. From what we know of Thy tender love it is right and just that we should think that this was so, and that we should believe it for the honour of Thy most Holy Mother; for Thou art loving and full of mercy in all Thy works, andThou didst command us to honour our parents, and to comfort mourners.

This then is to be piously believed by all the faithful, that before any one else Thou didst first of all visit Thy most holy Mother, who was sorrowing deeply at Thy Passion; and by Thy presence didst dispel all her grief and sorrow, and didst fill her heart with joy.

And although she did not go with the other devout women to visit Thy Sepulchre, it was not from want of love, nor from fear, nor from excessive grief that she failed in this duty; but it was because she knew for certain that Thou wouldst rise again. She stayed at home in the sure hope that on the third day Thou wouldst come to her; and so, engaged meanwhile in holy prayers, she longingly awaited Thy coming. She deserved therefore to be the first to see Thee, Whom she loved and longed for more than all the world besides, in Whom she believed with a faith which knew no doubt at all. For if, because she believed the Angel Gabriel's message, when he announced to her the sacred mystery of the Incarnation, Mary was called blessed, and was so highly commended, how supremely blessed and to be commended was she for believing in Thee, her Son, Flesh of her flesh, in all Thy works; and for wavering not one whit, but standing firm when others were doubting.

How unspeakable was the joy with which holy Mary, Thy Mother, was filled in that hour when she saw Thee, her Son, adorned with dazzling splendour, and in a Body more glorious than the brightness of the sun, and exceeding in beauty all the stars of Heaven. How intensely and how heartily did her spirit rejoice in Thee, O Jesus, her Lord and her Salvation, on that day above every other day of her life in this world. How eagerly did she gaze at Thy glorious Body, that Body which a short while ago she had wept at seeing cruelly scourged and nailed to the Cross, which she had seen pierced in Its right side by Longinus' lance, and had afterwards laid in the Sepulchre as a Corpse. Deservedly, then, is Mary, whose heart at Thy Passion was rent with a keener grief than those of others, whose tears had been more copious than those of others, and whose grief had moved many others to weep with her— deservedly then is Mary to-day made happy above her wont by seeing Thee in glory; deservedly is she filled with new comfort. This, O Lord, was the moment when Thou didst bring to pass that word of Thine, which at the Supper Thou didst speak for the comfort of Thy Apostles (and didst assuredly make known to Thy afflicted Mother), saying : "/ will not leave you orphans: I will come to you, and will see you again; and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you."

Thou hast indeed done well, O most kind Jesus, in visiting as a Son Thy dearly loved Mother, in greeting her reverently, in speaking to her sweetly, in comforting her heartily, in showing to her the joy of Thy countenance, in driving away from her all sadness, and in wiping away all tears of sorrow from her eyes. For no sooner had she seen Thee than all sorrow and sighing fled away, and when Thou spakest to her heart, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, abode more intimately with her than even with the Apostles, making, so to say, her soul drunk with joy. Thou Who formerly, at her request, didst at the Marriage Feast turn water into the best wine, now on Thy return from Hell, and by Thy victory over Thy enemies, didst with yet greater power, and by a greater miracle, change death into life, the cross into glory, Thy Mother's tears into gladness, and Thy disciples' fear into everlasting joy.

Thou didst not send an Angel, nor even an Archangel; not Michael, nor Gabriel, nor Raphael, Thy glorious messengers; nor any noble earthly knights, gorgeous to behold, clad in gold and silver and in precious stones, to wait upon our dear Lady, Thy Mother, the Queen of Heaven; but, Thou, O King of Glory, Jesus Christ, Thou camest Thyself in person, early in the morning before the break of day, unseen of men, without a messenger to announce Thee, to visit Thy most blessed Mother, as she knelt instant in prayer, and awaited full of faith Thy return in Thy glorious Body from the Tomb. For she knew that all things must be fulfilled even as Thou hadst Thyself foretold, and as the holy prophets had long ago spoken of Thy Passion and Thy Resurrection. Of a truth this is the day which Thou hast made a Day of Gladness; a day rightly and deservedly to be esteemed more holy, more illustrious, more celebrated and more joyful than all other days in the year.

With all Thy holy ones in Heaven, and with all Thy devout and faithful ones upon earth, I praise and honour Thee for the sweet converse and the secret conference, which Thou hadst with Thy holy and dearly loved Mother Mary in her chamber, into which no noise of the world could come; where Thou didst discuss with her Divine mysteries concerning the Kingdom of God, the joys of Paradise, the choirs of Angels, and the holy souls redeemed from Hell and given a share in the joys of Paradise along with Enoch and Elias.

Oh that I had been there, and had heard Thy sweet words; that I had secretly stood near the window, and had listened attentively, unseen by the eye of man, to every word which fell from the lips of my Lord Jesus Christ as He talked with His Mother about the joys of the citizens of heaven. With what intense gladness would my heart have rejoiced in the Lord, could I, for my comfort in my earthly pilgrimage, so full of dangers as it is, have remembered even one or two words of that sacred converse! But perchance what passed was what man may not utter, which ought to be kept secret, which ought to be meditated on in the joyous music of the heart alone. Blessed is he who knows that music, who by meditation rises above all earthly things, who is busy all day with Jesus and Mary, and neither cares, nor thinks, about what is going on in the world.

It seems to me that no mortal man was worthy of being present at this converse, but only the holy Angels, and the souls of the just who follow their Lord with reverence and with joy whithersoever He goes. Perchance too that conference was so exalted and so heavenly, and that visit to the Mother's humble dwelling was so surpassingly sweet, that neither were the Apostles allowed at that time to enter it, nor could they have taken in the wondrous mysteries which Jesus, glorified of the Father, then discussed with His Mother, blessed Mary full of grace. Rather therefore, O Lord Jesus, would I leave all those things to Thee and to Thy holy Angels, humbly asking forgiveness of all my sins and shortcomings from Thee, Who makest known to babes Thy hidden treasures, and feedest starvelings with the bread of Heaven.

O most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, Who after Thy bitter Passion and joyful Resurrection didst appear calm and joyous, in all the brightness of Thy glorified Body, to Thy most holy Mother Mary, and in place of her trouble and distress didst fill her heart with new and unspeakable gladness, have mercy, I pray Thee, upon me, Thy poor weak suppliant, who am so often sorely troubled in my earthly pilgrimage.

Lo, I fall low before Thee this day; full of affection I keep on knocking at the door of Thy loving Mother, and I pray that in the time of my affliction Thou wouldst vouchsafe to come into the secret place of my heart, to console and comfort me, and to preserve me, on the one hand from undue sadness, and on the other from unbecoming joyousness.

Kindle in my heart, I beseech Thee, and keep alive in it renewed fervour and greater devotion and thankfulness to Thee, that so I may learn to turn my back upon all the vanities of this world, to seek the things which are above, to choose like Mary the things which are eternal, to meditate on the things of God, and to rejoice in Thee alone. Oh that to me, poor and of no account as I am, it might be given to ponder these things more earnestly than ever before, and to tarry longer with Jesus my Lord; that so the whole world and those who love it may become distasteful to me, and I may be able to shut them out of my sight.

0 most sweet Jesus, mayest Thou, together with Thy most sweet Mother Mary, and Thy holy Angels, be more pleasing and delightful to me than all else besides; kindle, I pray Thee, in my inmost heart the fire of Thy love; come oftener to visit me, and bless me more and more abundantly; keep me devoted to Thee; and when the trials and troubles of this life are over, bring me safely to that heavenly Kingdom, where Thou livest and reignest, etc.

CHAPTER VII

mi Of the appearance of Christ to St. Peter in secret; and of St. Peter's running with St. John to the Sepulchre

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Chief Shepherd of Holy Church, and faithful High Priest to God for us, for the surpassing love and unspeakable mercy which in so many different ways Thou didst manifest to Thy most blessed Apostle Peter; for the Divine words which Thou spakest to him; and for the secret visions, which Thou didst so often show forth to him. Thou didst choose him rather than any of the other Apostles to be the Prince and Shepherd of the souls of the faithful; Thou didst make him their head; and after Thy departure from this world to Thy heavenly Father, Thou didst leave him as Thy Vicar, and keeper of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.

O Fountain of mercies, and inexhaustible Source, whence heavenly gifts flow down upon penitents, and upon those who weep over sins committed; O most loving Bestower of pardon, and Giver of heavenly grace; O Lord Jesus Christ, Who to all Thy Saints, and to Thy friends whom Thou didst choose before the foundation of the world, art sweet and beloved; O Thou Who never ceasest to bless, and to shed Thy favours upon,

those who run after Thee, who are truly contrite, and who humbly ask forgiveness; O most gracious Lord, in spite of his thrice-repeated denial of Thee Thou didst not withdraw from Peter Thy love, but straightway by Thy gracious look Thou didst bring back to himself, and cause him to weep bitterly; Thou didst mercifully and fully pardon all his sin against Thee; and in spite of his grievous fall, Thou didst restore him to his former rank and to his pontifical dignity.

I praise and highly exalt Thee for that surpassing love of Thine which caused Thee to appear this day, in some secret place better known to Thee than to me, to holy Peter, Thy muchloved Apostle, for his special comfort, at that time so greatly needed by him; for he who had most offended most needed help and comfort; and no better Comforter, no more powerful Guardian of the soul can be than Thou art, O Jesus, our Maker and Redeemer.

I render thanks, therefore, to Thee, most gracious Lord Jesus Christ, Who art both the Judge and the Restorer of the fallen and the distressed, for having given timely help to Thy straying sheep Peter, and for having thus kept him from giving way to excessive grief and despair of forgiveness, and from doubting of Thy Resurrection because he did not find Thy sacred Body in the Tomb.

As a loving and discreet Physician of afflicted souls, Thou didst send Thy holy angel to comfort Peter, and to give him hope of pardon: and so it was that Thy Angel, speaking kindly to the women, bade them take the news to Peter. "Go quickly," he said to them, "and tell His disciples and Peter that Jesus is risen."

O good, O holy Angel, how well and how fitly didst thou specially call Peter by his accustomed name, the name first given him by the Lord on calling him to be an Apostle; so doing doubtless that he might not despair because of his thricerepeated denial of his dear Lord and Master! On hearing himself so named by the Angel, and finding himself greeted as a friend by the holy women, Peter took courage, and with confidence renewed, and his trouble and sorrow forgotten, ran quickly with John to the place of burial. On seeing that all things had been so done by the Lord even as had been reported by the women and the holy Angel—who did not lie, but as a true witness and faithful messenger had pronounced the accomplishment of the Resurrection —his spirit at once revived within him, and a sure hope of everlasting salvation sprang up again in him.

Wondering, therefore, greatly in himself, and rejoicing in the Lord, Peter longed much to see his Lord, and wished that He would show Himself to him also, even as He had appeared first to Mary Magdalene. "Let her be the first among the women, but may I be the second or the third among the men, or even the last among the Apostles and His disciples! Nay, let Him do what seemeth Him right; be it unto me according to His good pleasure, so only that it be for the Salvation of my soul! I long for a sight of my Lord; I long to be comforted by His Own words, and to be perfectly reconciled to Him. Let Thy mercies come unto me, O Lord, that I may live, and may never more trust in my own strength! Remember, I pray Thee, all Thy former loving-kindness and that holy prayer of Thine which Thou didst pray to the Father for me, and that prayer which Thou didst pray upon the Cross for sinners. Come, O good Jesus; tarry not: Thou art my only hope, to Thee alone do I look for the salvation of my soul! Show Thyself to me: if I can but see Thee I shall be safe, and shall rejoice and be glad on this holy Easter Day!"

It was done as he had said; for Jesus granted the devout prayer of His beloved Apostle Peter. Jesus in His love was presently by the side of Peter who had sought Him, and had run quickly after Him. He took the weeping penitent back into His favour, graciously blotting out the sin against his Lord into which he had been led by fear on that sad night; and bidding him be more prudent, He kindled in Peter's heart strength of will to confess His Holy Name, and to love Him with a never-ending love.

O inexhaustible love of Christ, worthy of praise from every creature, full of heavenly sweetness, worthy of being proclaimed by all the faithful throughout the world, to the end that no sinner should ever despair of pardon, and that no one who has been made whole should ever rashly presume on the grace given him from above!

How great was the miracle of mercy shown forth on this day by the Lord upon holy Peter! Angels glory in it, Archangels rejoice at it, the lost breathe again, the sluggish are roused, all faithful people with one mouth praise God for the exceeding mercy of the Lord, and for His forgiveness of most blessed Peter, whose faith in Christ could thereafter never be shaken.

How loving and how friendly was the discourse which Jesus at that time had with Peter after He had given him the kiss of peace; and how full of peace and joy was Peter's heart as he beheld and talked with the risen Christ, his most loving Lord!

O beloved Saint Peter, venerated Apostle and elect patron of the Holy Roman Church, forget not, I pray thee, this day, and that great Eastertide when thou wast reconciled to thy Lord, and wast absolved from all thy sins by the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And remember now, I pray thee, before the Throne of our gracious Jesus, me, a poor unworthy sinner, in the time of my trouble and distress; and when the hours of my weary pilgrimage on earth are numbered, and I am about to quit this body, lend me, I pray thee, thy faithful help, and bring me safe to Heaven. For the merits' sake of the Death and Passion of Christ, admit me, I pray thee, to Paradise, an entrance to which has been promised to all penitents even to the end of time. Keep me from the snares of the old enemy, deliver thy suppliant from the pains and the darkness of Hell; for God has given to thee all the Kingdoms of the world and the Keys of Heaven, that thou mayest open the gate of life to those who knock, if when the end came they were truly penitent, and turned to God in full assurance of faith. Graciously hear me, O most blessed Peter, loving shepherd of the Church, and glorious Prince of the whole world, and pray for me that I may have grace worthily to bewail my sins, and that I may obtain forgiveness from Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHAPTER VIII

m€ A prayer for obtaining from God the grace of tears

URN, O my soul, to the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, in weeping and in mourning, and pray for the remission of all thy sins, and for forgiveness of thy neglect of the opportunities of doing good which God has given thee from the first day and hour of thy life up to the present moment; for with humble prayer, contrition of heart, tears and sighs for our daily shortcomings, and with intercession for all who are troubled, tempted, or heavy laden, God is well-pleased. It is a holy and a pious duty to pray to God for oneself and for one's neighbours; for in this world there is no one without sin, no one who is not in danger. True peace and everlasting rest are to be found in Heaven alone; in our pilgrimage on earth we all have sorrow and trouble; in Hell the fire is never quenched, and its pains are never-ending. To Thee, then, O Lord my God, do I and will I pray from my heart, with my mouth, and by my work, for all the sins which I have committed, whether by doing those things which I ought not to have done, or by leaving undone those things which I ought to have done. Accept my sorrow, which I offer to Thee with full purpose and desire of amendment; I resign myself and all that I have into Thy Hands, praying only for Thy grace, and that Thou wilt forgive me all the sins which I have committed in the course of this my pilgrimage, for the merits, and through the intercession, of Thy most holy Mother Mary and of all Thy Saints, who in this vale of tears, very often shed for themselves, and of their charity for others, tears which were fruitful and profitable. Oh that it might be given to me to follow the example of those Saints, in avoiding idle talk and worldly gossip, and the taking part in foolish and silly chatter.

Jesus prayed upon a mountain, watchedall night, wept often, never laughed frivolously, never spoke a light word. When He was accused before the Governor He held His peace; when He spoke He spoke modestly; when He made answer even to ungodly men He made it gently.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, also prayed very often; she wept most bitterly at the Passion of her Son; she sorrowed most grievously, and endured most meekly; when she was out of doors she was modest, and when she was at home she was not restless. In the streets she was circumspect, in the house she was not noisy. She visited her holy kinswoman Elizabeth; and having greeted that humble and pious lady, she offered gifts to her, made obeisance to her, blessed her, and bade her farewell. Having finished her errand of mercy, she returned after the birth of John with all speed to Nazareth. When Jesus was preaching the gospel to the multitudes Mary listened attentively, heard the word with joy, was quick in understanding it, kept it fixed in her mind, meditated on it frequently, uttered it sweetly, and gave thanks to God in all things worthily.

Mary Magdalene also wept bitterly in contrition for her sins, sweetly in thankfulness for benefits received, copiously as compassionating Christ's an-guish, eagerly when pondering the joys of Heaven.

Holy Peter also wept, sorrowing deeply whenever, on hearing the cock crow thrice in the night, he called to mind his denial of his Master in days past. That frailty of his lips, into which he had unawares fallen, was the cause to him of a lifelong sorrow for his fault, and of a mighty sympathy with the sorrows of his brethren. O the blessedness of those tearswhich so speedily washed away all the stains of that offence!

Saint Paul also wept bitterly over the error of his early days, in persecuting Holy Church, and over the sins of others, and the falling away from the faith of the Judaizers and the incontinent. He longed to bring all men to the true faith and to repent of their sins: he longed to inspire them with earnestness in a holy life and conversation, and in following to the end the example of Christ.

Saint John the Apostle also wept bitterly at the Passion of Christ: he stood all the while at the foot of the Cross, comforting and supporting Mary the Mother of Jesus. He wept also over the going astray of many, and over the waxing cold of the love of others: he wept too over a certain youth led astray by the pleasures of the table, but won back and reformed through much shedding of tears.

Our holy father Augustine also wept much over his evil-doings in the world, even as he himself humbly confesses in his writings, thus teaching all those who have turned to God that past sins, though pardoned in confession, should be sorrowfully recalled to mind, by way of stimulating humility, and in order that by this means we may with God's help be kept from again committing them, and may daily mourn, weep and pray over them. The same holy and devout father wept copiously when the hymns, psalms, and canticles were being sung in church; and the quicker he was able to turn away his thoughts from things earthly, the brighter burnt the flame of his love for things heavenly. It was his habit to mourn over the troubles of others, to rejoice with them when all was well with them, to cheer the afflicted with the honey of charity, and to succour the needy. or word, or deed! By day and by night, both morning and evening, do I bewail them, O Lord, as often as I call to mind my evil-doings and all the benefits which in Thy mercy Thou hast showered upon me and upon all mankind. Amen.

There are also many other examples of holy men and devout women who have won special grace from God by the shedding of holy tears.

CHAPTER IX

•€ Of the profit and grace of holy tears

[OLY and devout tears give mastery over fleshly lusts, quench the flames of anger, purge away the vice of gluttony, mortify proud looks, curb idle talk, make retirement pleasing, and silence a delight; they make prayer fruitful. They drive away idleness, that bane of the soul; they put an end to lying, to jesting, and to idle laughter. They make us think of the hour of death, of the dreadfulness of judgement, and of the pains of Hell. They shorten purgatory; they add to merits; they break the snares of the devil; they overcome the din of the world; they lead the man who sheds them to the Kingdom of Heaven. They blot out the evil we have done; they make good our shortcomings. They teach us to shun dangers, to remain in our cells, to read our books, to write well, to pray often. They keep the penitent in a state of grace,

they rejoice the holy soul with the thought of everlasting joy.

Oh that I could constantly experience this grace of tears, could cherish it more carefully; and that when it has been lost I could win it back by penitence, and could thus make it speedily my own!

He who would possess and hold fast this gift must be strict in the examination of his conscience, must heartily thank God for all His benefits, and must be profoundly humble. A hard and sorrowful task is this, but eminently fruitful to him who accomplishes it, and a source of joy to a dying man at the last. Blessed, then, are they who in this life often mourn in true contrition; for in the life to come they shall be comforted, and shall rejoice for ever with the holy Angels.

CHAPTER X

m€ Of the tears of Jesus over Lazarus

GRACIOUS and holy Tears of my Lord Jesus Christ, so lovingly and so copiously shed at the death and raising to life of Lazarus, out of sympathy with Mary and Martha and their friends, and with the Jews who were weeping with them, come, I pray You, to my aid when my heart is dry, and break down the stubbornness of my will: do this, I pray You, especially when in prayer and meditation I ought, in true penitence, to weep over my sins, and so get rid of all their filth, whether those stains upon my soul have been contracted openly or secretly, and are of thought,

Of the Tears of Jesus over Jerusalem O sacred and loving Tears of my Lord Jesus Christ so compassionately shed from streaming eyes at the thought of the overthrow and destruction of the faithless city of Jerusalem! The dwellers therein, by reason of their unbelief, could take no profit from You, but to me and to all faithful and devout souls Ye are very pleasing and very dear.

Slow of heart, therefore, and wretched man though I be, I pray You to fall abundantly upon me, and to wash away from the face of my soul the filth with which all the many sins of my whole life have defiled it; that so, being made inwardly pure, I may be found meet to join the company of the holy Angels in Heaven, there with them to behold the Father's beauteous Face. When this sad life is over, may I, through the intercession of all the Saints, find mercy before my just Judge, our Lord Jesus Christ; and at the general resurrection of the dead may I, for the infinite merits of His Sacred Death and Passion, be found worthy of a place among the blest, in the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen.

Of the tears of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she

stood at the Cross's foot O loving, O holy, and most sorrowful tears which, on the first Good Friday, when she beheld the most bitter Cross and Passion of Christ, the blessed and undefined Mary, ever Virgin, shed by reason of her inward fellow-suffering with her Son, how often did ye run down over her cheeks and breast to the skirts of her clothing; how often did ye plentifully moisten the veil which covered her sacred head, and falling upon her sacred feet bedew the dust of the earth. Oh that in following our Lady's footsteps I might secretly gather with my hand into a small vessel the hot tears which fell from her sacred eyes, and might wash with them not only my feet, which I have so often soiled by giving way to evil thoughts and wrong desires, but also my hands and my head, that is my evil words and actions, and so might obtain remission of all the sins which day by day I commit.

O loving Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, be gracious to me, and by thy bitter laments and devout prayers blot out all my sins! O dearest Mary, come in my last hour to the help of my soul; come with the host of angels and of saints to defend me from fear of the enemy and from the pains of hell! Remember the precious Blood which thy beloved Son shed, and the Death which, all innocent as He was, He suffered for me, a sinner: remember His Side pierced with the lance; remember all the tears which thou didst shed throughout thy whole life; have pity on me when I am in my last agony, and lift up my heart to thee; for in thy merits and in the prayers of the saints do I place my trust, O clement, O loving, O most sweet Virgin Mary, Mother of God! Amen.

Of the washing of the soul by the many tears of blessed Mary Magdalene and other Saints

As often as I think of the Tears of Christ, and call to mind the weeping and the mourning of the saints, I cannot help being secretly displeased with myself and feeling utterly put to shame in the sight of God: I feel that I deserve to be beaten with many stripes, and to be overwhelmed with reproaches; I stand aghast at myself, for I am full of sores and I mourn not, I am smitten and I grieve not, I am mangy and I groan not, I am filthy and I wash not, I am poisoned and I seek no antidote; I am weak and feeble, but I seek not the timely help of the Physician of my soul.

Woe is me that the words and the deeds of Jesus move me not so quickly to tears as do the foolish tales of men to laughter. I sin daily, and in almost every moment of my life I go wrong in one way or another, and leave undone what I ought to have done, and yet I wear a cheerful countenance.

Woe is me that I do not fall with Mary Magdalene at Jesus' feet, and do not weep for sorrow of heart, that so with her I may win forgiveness. O Mary, remember me now, and lovingly plead for me to Jesus so long as I live in this frail body, and in so many ways offend.

Woe is me that, whether I am in choir or in my cell, I weep not with Peter when I hear the cock crow, or the birds warning me by their song to rise at once from my bed and pray for pardon of all the sins and negligences of which I have been guilty by day and by night.

Woe is me that with blessed Paul I do not continually mourn and weep for all the evil which, whether wilfully or thoughtlessly, I have committed, for which I ought always to be sorry, to be mourning and praying; bearing patiently and lovingly the while all the trials and burdens laid upon me. proofs and warrants of Holy Scripture, in the Law and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Thee.

Woe is me that I neither have, nor can attain to, the purity of Saint John the Apostle; and yet do not grieve so much for my own vileness as he mourned and wept over the sins of others.

O holy John, beloved Apostle of Christ, and most faithful guardianl of blessed Mary ever Virgin, humbly and with a contrite heart I beseech you to stand by my side in this my weary life on earth; and even as at the foot of the Cross thou didst support the blessed Virgin Mother in her grief and tears, so to support me in the perilous hour of death; that the cruel enemy may not get the better of me in the fight, and that I may be strong in the faith, and may put my trust not in myself but in the Passion of Christ, and in the merits and prayers of the saints. In that hour of my greatest need grant me the support of thy faithful prayers, and above all of those holy and very bitter tears, which during the Passion of Christ thou didst so plenteously shed, out of sympathy with the tears and mournful sighs of the Mother of Jesus, the wailing of Mary Magdalene, and the heartrending lamentations of thy fellowdisciples and of the holy women; for those tears of thine were not shed in God's sight to no purpose, but were in truth most profitable to me and to the whole world; nay, to this day they profit me, and teach me to weep and to mourn with thee, and daily to call to mind the Passion of my 1 [The word used here is custos.]

Lord Jesus Christ, to grieve for my sins, and to pray without ceasing.

O loving Jesus, would that I could gather up all Thy Tears, and the tears of Thy Mother Mary, those of blessed Mary Magdalene, that most faithful bewailer of Thy Passion, those of all the saints whether men or women, and those of all Thy faithful servants whether men or women, into one large and strong vessel; would that I could heat it with the fire of the Holy Spirit; would that I could throw into and bathe in it my soul, and by weeping and mourning earnestly, could wash away the stains of all my sins, whether of my past or of my daily life; would that I could therein, as if in the waters of Baptism, or in those of Jordan's stream, cleanse, purify and make white my soul, and be born again, be renewed, and be created afresh; that so, washed and made pure by the prayers and tears of the saints from all my sins and offences, I might be found worthy in this life present to find grace and mercy with Thee, and at my death to join Thy Saints in glory everlasting. I ask this for Thy Sake, O Lord Jesus Christ, Who with the Father, etc. Amen.

CHAPTER XI

•€ Of the appearance of Christ, in the form of a Stranger, to the two disciples going to Emmaus

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Who art our Saviour and our Redeemer, for Thy gracious appearance in the form of a Stranger

1

to Thy two disciples as they journeyed; what time Thou didst take upon Thyself the semblance of an unknown wayfarer, in order that Thou mightest bring back to the heavenly Jerusalem Thy erring sheep, and by visiting them in Thy love mightest fully instruct them.

How friendly was the manner in which Thou didst join them on the road, as they were mourning over Thy Passion, and were conversing not about wars or the petty affairs of this life, but about Thy good deeds, Thy holy words, and Thy miracles. In spite of this, however, they could not but be very sad until the truth was made known to them, because as yet they doubted of Thy Resurrection, and were not convinced about the vision of angels and what had been told them by their companions.

And who could better teach them, or better put an end to their doubts, than Thou, O Jesus, their good Master, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Who didst manifest Thyself to them, and gavest them in the breaking of bread a token by which they knew Thee well? And so it came to pass; for shortly after Thou hadst joined them, and hadst gone a little way with them, Thou didst ask them, as if Thou hadst been an unknown stranger, what was the reason of the great sadness which oppressed them, saying: "What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad?"

I praise Thee, therefore, and magnify Thy Holy Name for the friendliness of Thy converse with those two disciples as they journeyed. Sad at heart and perplexed were they about Thy Passion and Thy condemnation to death: but Thou didst comfort them, and didst perfectly instruct them by

I praise Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O most gracious Lord Jesus, for Thy handling, expounding, and making clear and plain those passages of Holy Writ which before were obscure, involved with various metaphors, and understood by few. I bless Thee, O Crown of the Saints, most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, Teacher of teachers, and Master of all Laws and Decrees, for opening in the days of old the mouths of the prophets, and for now Thyself vouchsafing to reveal the hidden things of the Scriptures to babes and to men who were unlearned, that so Thou mightest lead them to believe in Thee, in all Thy words, and in all Thy doings. How joyous must have been their countenances as they heard Thee speaking to them, with what love must their cold hearts have been inflamed as Thou didst unfold to them the meaning of the Word of God; for among lawgivers and interpreters of mysteries there was never one like Thee! How light to them didst Thou make each hour, how pleasant didst Thou make to them the whole day until eventide, when Thou wentest in with them, and they set food before Thee! How anxious were they that Thou shouldst stop with them, desiring to listen to Thee all night, and to learn more and more from Thee!

And why? Because never upon earth did man discourse so excellently as did that stranger. No prophet, no king, no Priest, no Levite, no son or disciple of the prophets, who worked miracles, or taught the hidden things of God; no saint; not even all the Angelic Choir, can compare with Thee, O Stranger, as a Teacher. "We pray Thee, therefore, O Lord, to abide with us. It is towards evening, and the day is far spent; it is too late for Thee to go farther; speak yet awhile with us; gladly would we hear more from Thee; we are not tired or drowsy; we long to do as Thou biddest us; for Thy words are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; more precious are they than gold and silver, and nothing that man can wish for is to be compared with them."

Would that I had been there, and could have walked unseen by Jesus' side, or could have followed behind, so as carefully to have noted all the words of my Lord Jesus Christ, to have lovingly treasured in my heart what I heard, so as to have been able to meditate often thereupon to my great profit, and to be put thereby upon my guard against idle talk with men whose company is bad for me.

But, O Lord, what actually in the body is denied me, that I beseech Thee to grant me spiritually to attain, be it in my cell, or be it in the refectory; be it when I am at leisure, or when I am at my work; whether I am alone or in the company of others; namely to have always before my eyes as being truly present with me, seeing all that I do, walking with me in the way, and inspiring me with many good thoughts, Thee, Who livest, etc. Amen.

CHAPTER XII

m€ Of the recognition of Christ in the breaking of bread

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Bread of Life, sweet Guest of the soul, and Giver of heavenly grace, for Thy wondrous condescension in accepting as a friend the hospitality of Thy two disciples. With loving words and entreaties they prayed Thee to enter the house, with their hands they constrained Thee; without Thee they would not enter the house or sit down to meat. Thou, therefore, O loving and gentle Lord, moved by their earnest entreaties didst go in to sup with them, and to speak to them delightful words about the food for souls prepared by the angels in our heavenly home. Not as yet fully known to them, Thou didst sit at table with them, and as Thou wast wont, Thou didst take bread from the table into Thy sacred Hands, and raising Thy right Hand Thou didst bless it with Thy sacred Lips, even as Thou hadst been wont to bless it before the eyes of Thy disciples when they sat at table with Thee. Then, after having first broken off a part which Thou didst Thyself eat, Thou didst stretch forth Thy Hand and offer it to them as to friends beloved of Thee; and forthwith their eyes were opened, and they recognized Thy Divine power in the breaking of the hard bread, without the use of knife or other instrument, and in its exquisite flavour, when, renewing their gladness, Thou didst hand it to them as a token of friendship and of a wonder wrought for them. How joyous must have been that meal at which bread*was eaten which had been blessed by the Lord's own Hand! How blest were the eyes which recognized the Lord in the breaking of the bread which had been blessed by the Mouth of God!

But alas how brief was the duration of that happy moment, of that blessed meal! And He vanished out of their sight. Oh the change of the Right Hand of the Most High God—here a little, there a little! In nothing upon earth is there long stay; only with the Saints in Heaven is lasting and true joy to be found.

"Whither then goest Thou, O Lord; why dost Thou so soon leave those men?"

"Marvel not: take it not amiss: I know what I have done; I know what I am about to do. Other sheep I have to visit, to comfort, and to confirm in the faith. They wait for Me, and long greatly to see Me. To them therefore I go, in order that they may see Me, and may rejoice, and may no more doubt My words. I must show to them My Wounds, in order that when they have seen those evident signs they may firmly believe in Me, may pay no further heed to the reasonings of men, and may no more gainsay My power. Nothing is impossible with Me; the very elements obey My Will."

I praise and magnify Thee, most sweet Jesus, for all Thy doings, for all Thy blessed Words, and for Thy appearances to Thy disciples scattered in various places. Thou wouldst not leave as orphans those who were mourning and bewailing Thee. With a love which knew no bounds they ever longed to behold Thy Face, to speak with Thee, to walk with Thee, to be in the ship with Thee, to lodge with Thee, to eat and drink with Thee, to be with Thee in vigil and in prayer, in sleeping and in uprising, and in promptly obeying every command that fell from Thy Lips. When Thou wentest through the cornfields on the sabbath-days they followed Thee cheerfully barefoot, and because they were fasting and compelled by hunger, they plucked a few of the ears of corn, as the Law permitted. Good is it for me to think over and diligently to mark these things, to my own grief and shame, but to Thy praise and honour, O good Jesus, and to that of Thy disciples. When they were hot and tired by reason of a long journey Thou didst bid them, as St. Mark tells us, to take a little rest: for as the hen gathereth her chickens under her wings to keep them from the cold and the rain and the heat, and to protect them from the kite or the dog, so didst Thou gather Thy little ones, who were humble in heart, and though despised by the world were dear to Thee, saying to them: "Come ye apart into a desert place, where your eyes will not behold the vanities of the world, nor your ears be troubled by any distracting sounds, and rest ye for a while in meditation on the things of God, and in forgetfulness of those things which perish in the using."

And now, O most loving Jesus, Thou Who visitest the sick, and comfortest poor pilgrims shut out from the joys of Paradise, I beseech Thee to visit me in the time of my trouble and distress, whether it come to me in the form of weariness as I sit alone in my cell, or of dryness of soul as I sing in choir, or of taking too great pleasure in dainty food when I am in the refectory—when any of these temptations beset me, call me back, I pray Thee, speedily to myself by the sacred words of Thy mouth, spoken te me as it were from Heaven, and sweeter far than any earthly food.

Give me a clear understanding of difficult passages in Holy Writ; and, where the meaning of Thy Word is plain and spiritual, kindle in my heart the fire of Thy love, as Thou didst in the hearts of the two disciples, which were warmed by Thy appearance to them and by Thy discourse; so that, being refreshed on their journey by the Word of God as well as by the food of which they partook, they gave thanks and said: "Was not our heart burning within us concerning Jesus,whilst He spoke in the way, and opened to us the Scriptures?" These words are very sweet and pious, and are read and sung in choir with devout mind and joyful voice to the praise of God and His Saints by clerks and priests, by Canons and by Monks, by recluses and by nuns, of every habit and order, chiefly at Easter-tide and on the festivals of certain saints.1

1 [In the Offices for Easter week some of the verses and antiphons are taken from the Easter Monday Gospel, in which these words occur; and it is probable that in the diocese of Utrecht in the fifteenth century, upon a feast of "the Disciples of Emmaus," and possibly upon the Feasts of some other Saints, the words quoted were similarly used.]

O all ye Saints of God, pray for me in all my shortcomings during my pilgrimage on earth; for to this day I am often vexed by evil passions warring against me both from within and from without; pray for me that I be not overcome by the devil and his angels, and so fall short of those everlasting joys which are laid up in Heaven for Christ's servants; the remembrance of which ought surely to rouse me to fight bravely, by means of devout prayers and holy meditations upon the Life and Passion of Christ, against the evil thoughts and inclinations of my heart. Daily ought I to reflect upon one at least of the many wounds and sorrows of my Lord Jesus Christ, Who was crucified for me. His Wounds are the medicine of my soul; His Sacred words are shields of gold for me against the fiery darts of the enemy. May God be my refuge and defence everywhere and at all times, and may the grace of the Holy Spirit be ever with me. Amen.

CHAPTER XIII

<Mf Of the appearance of Christ to the disciples in Jerusalem, when it was late, and the doors were shut

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Peace of the godly, Hope of the just, Joy of faithful

people gathered together in Thy Name,

Comforter of the contrite in heart, and Visitor of Monks, for Thy glorious and miraculous appearance to Thy Apostles assembled together, when it was already late. No one knocked and no one opened: the windows and doors of the house had been tightly closed as a precaution for fear of the Jews. And this no doubt happened in order that Thy entrance and appearance might be seen to be truly and certainly due to Divine power alone, and not to any human power or agency, nor to any trick artfully contrived by the devil; for Thou art

1

very God, Who deceivest not, but dost hate and punish deceivers. Thou art Almighty, and therefore whatsoever Thou wiliest, that straightway comes to pass.

But the simple and the devout, such as were the Apostles and the other disciples assembled at that time in the upper room, Thou dost visit and enlighten; and so Thou didst comfort and lovingly greet them with the words, " Peace be unto you: it is I, be not afraid."

I praise and honour Thee for Thy gentle and peaceful greeting of them after their distress which had been so great, and I clap my hands at the thought of a sight which must have been more than ever joyous as following so great trouble and alarm. They did indeed need to be visited, to be comforted, supported, and greeted anew. They had been lying under tribulations and temptations greater than they had ever before passed through; they had all fled like sheep when the shepherd of the flock was seized and put to death; and after having been scattered hither and thither they were so fearful and sad that, even now when it was late, they had only just taken heart to meet together and breathe again, as it were, once more.

I praise and magnify Thy sweet Name, O most loving Jesus, above all in heaven or on earth, for that Thou didst vouchsafe to show Thyself on this day to the terrified fugitives, to Thy unhappy and saddened Apostles, who had lost all heart, and no longer believed what Thou hadst so often told them about Thyself. But now Thou didst unspeakably gladden their hearts by friendly converse with them with Thy Own mouth: Thou didst put an end to all their doubt and fear by at once openly showing to them in Thy Hands and Feet and sacred Side evident signs of Thy Passion: in their sight Thou didst eat some broiled fish and some honey-comb; and in order that they might have the joy of eating with Thee, Thou didst hand to them with Thy own Divine Hand that which was left: during the meal Thou didst cite Holy Scripture, didst solve their doubts and didst make hidden things plain; Thou didst enlighten their understanding, didst kindle their cold affections, and didst teach and explain to themwhatwas needful and wholesome for them. Moreover, twice didst Thou give Thy peace to them with Thy heavenly blessing, so that they rejoiced with exceeding great joy at having seen the Lord their God, just as formerly, the Wise Men on seeing the Star in the heavens had rejoiced, and had at once cast aside all fear and doubt.

And presently, so as to strengthen them against all unbelieving gainsayers, and to blot out their misdeeds, Thou didst breathe upon them the grace of the Holy Spirit, saying to them: "Receive ye (given, as the greatest of all gifts, to you who tor My Name's sake have forsaken the world) —receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."

How great indeed was the grace given to the Apostles by the breathing upon them of the Holy Spirit by the Mouth of Christ rising from the dead by the glory of the Father, so that not only were they themselves made safe and absolved from all their sins, but also full power was given to them of absolving others from their sins, of repelling the unworthy, and of binding the guilty! How glorious was that day, how blessed was that evening hour when Jesus came to the Apostles with such glory and such joy, filling with heavenly gifts men who were living in retirement in obedience to Thy command!

O holy and beloved Apostle Thomas, would that thou hadst been present at this time and hadst been found with thy fellow-Apostles when Jesus came and said," Peace be unto you "! But perhaps some need or other obliged thee to go out. Would that thou hadst come back in good time, and hadst heard and seen with the rest all that Jesus said and did! How good would it have been for thee, and for the assurance of thy faith.

But who has known Thy mind, O Lord? Or who has been Thy counsellor that Thou eamest suddenly at a time when Thomas was not there, or perhaps had gone out and stayed away longer than he meant? Why, O good Jesus, didst Thou act thus; why didst Thou not wait a little for Thomas to come back? Why, O loving Jesus, didst Thou not say: "Where is Thomas; where is he who was so earnest in saying to his fellowdisciples: 'Let us also go, that we may die with Him"!" O holy God, why didst Thou not send for him to come quickly and see Thee? Had I been there, and hadst Thou permitted, how willingly would I have gone to fetch him! Did not Samuel the prophet send to call David from the sheepfolds to come and be anointed King in the presence of his brethren?

But I know of a truth, and I believe, that Thou, O Lord, Who in Thy wisdom didst create the heavens and the earth, didst permit all this for wise and good reasons. Nothing upon earth is done without cause, though many there are who understand not Thy workings. It was not by chance that Thomas was absent, when Thou earnest and appearedst to the Apostles; nay, rather Thou didst act thus in Thy love, and in fulfilment of the dispensations of Thy wise providence, in order that many benefits might follow therefrom. One doubted in order that many might be confirmed in the faith. One erred, was taught better, and saw the error of his ways, in order that countless other souls might, by means of his conversion and preaching, come to a better knowledge of the truth. A man who doubts gains by asking questions, provided only that he does not persist in his doubt, and submits to the teaching of the Saints.

Many things there are which pass man's understanding, and, because of the depth of God's wisdom, men are not able to comprehend. If then a man's faith be tried let him not despair, but rather let him put his trust in the teachings of Holy Writ; for God has given to us, as a sure ground of hope for salvation, the example of many Saints and great Doctors, who were themselves in doubt upon many points, but presently came back to a right mind, turned to Christ in full assurance of faith, and profited others not a little. Gracious is the Lord Jesus; He spurns no one, He sends no one away; and if a man draws near to Him in simplicity of heart, He Himself instructs him in the truth, and never deceives him. Things which are beyond our comprehension should be committed to Him, to Whom all things are known, from Whom nothing is hid, Who orders those things which pass man's understanding both wisely and well. Let not then the unwise man be disturbed by the dealings of Jesus with His disciples, let him not find fault with that holy Apostle who was slow in believing; for what happened to him by the Will of God might well have happened to any other man.

I beseech Thee, then, O most gentle Christ Jesus, Visitor of Monks, Supporter of the fainthearted, Instructor of young and old, that Thou wouldst visit me whether I am sitting alone, or am studying or writing in my cell, or am taking part with my brethren in choir in singing and praying. Open to me the gate of eternal life, enlighten the darkness of my mind, put to flight the evil spirits who tempt me, drive away the many different fancies that crowd in upon me; when the doors of my bodily eyes are shut, come secretly into me; fill my heart with the peace and joy of Thy presence; and for the remission of my sins, make spiritually manifest to me those most sacred Wounds, Which Thou didst endure for me upon the Cross; by Which, when dying and rising again out of pure love for me, Thou didst redeem me from eternal death—Who, with the Father, etc. Amen.

CHAPTER XIV

m€ Of the appearance of Christ, on the octave of Easter, when St. Thomas the Apostle was present

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Author of life, Bestower of pardon, Fountain of grace, Promiser of glory to be enjoyed with the holy angels in everlasting bliss. I thank Thee, O Lord, for Thy gracious second appearance to all Thy Apostles when Thomas Thy Apostle, who till then had doubted, was present. This Thou didst bring about in order that Thou mightest confirm him in the true and perfect faith, by allowing him to see and handle Thy glorious Body, adorned as It was with the sacred prints of Thy five Wounds, memorials of Thy most holy Passion for the Salvation of mankind.

I praise and glorify Thee for Thy joyful greeting, for showing Thyself openly to Thy Apostles, and for that heavenly benediction wherewith Thou didst bless Thy Apostles with Thy own sacred Lips, saying to them with cheerful countenance: "Peace be unto you, both now and in time to come: now indeed by faith and grace, but hereafter face to face, and by open vision: as the Father hath loved Me, even so love I you: abide ye in My love, and continue with Me; so will I abide with you, both now and for ever."

I praise and glorify Thee, O Jesus Christ, adorable Master and Lord, for Thy friendly greeting of peace, and for Thy adorable condescension in standing in the midst of Thy disciples to keep them from fear of the Jews. For, as a good shepherd stands in the midst of his sheep to defend them from the fangs of wolves, so didst Thou deal with Thy Apostles in their evil day, protecting them for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake against those things which were against them: and as a mighty king and noble prince stands armour-clad in the midst of his people, grasping spear and shield to withstand the darts of the enemy, while he encourages his soldiers to fight bravely, and either conquer or die happily, even so, O most brave Jesus, didst Thou stand in the midst of Thy disciples, clad in a robe of gladness and with the breastplate of immortality, as a warrior against evil spirits and perverse men, having on Thee, as proof of Thy identity, the marks of Thy Passion, gaping Wounds in the shield of Thy Body, with which Thou didst vanquish the princes of this world and the rulers of outer darkness; that soThou mightest confirm in faith,hope,and charity Thy soldiers the Apostles, who on seeing Thy Passion, Thy Death on the Cross, and Thy Burial in the tightly-sealed tomb, had grievously lost heart. And who indeed who had witnessed all those evident signs of death in Thee could ever have thought that Thou wouldst rise again to life?

It was in order that Thy beloved disciples, who were not yet fully confirmed in the faith, might not despair, that Thou didst show Thyself to them in visible form, with the Wounds of Thy sacred and glorious Body miraculously preserved on Thee in proof of the reality of Thy Resurrection; and it was in order that they might believe, and might no longer doubt of Thy actual appearance to them, that Thou saidst to them: "Handle Me, and see that I am that very Jesus Christ Who for your sake hung upon the Cross, and by the Power of God rose again the third day, as I so often plainly foretold you, though you did not then clearly understand Me. Behold then now My Hands and My Feet, and My Side, and above all mark well in Me the five Wounds of My Passion: meditate on them day and night, and think how great was the love I bore you, and how great were the sufferings I endured in order that you might have eternal life. Peace be to you, My friends, to you who despise the world, to you for whom, after you shall have overcome the many dangers of this life present, I have prepared everlasting joy in Heaven with the holy Angels. Fear not, be not of little faith: I am your Reward, I am your Crown, I am your abundant Blessing!" Amen.

A Prayer for the obtaining of that peace of heart which Christ gave to His disciples

O Lord Jesus Christ, Fountain of sweetness, King of Heaven and earth, true Peace of hearts, and Comforter of those who mourn, say, I beseech Thee, to my soul, which is troubled and distressed as Thou best knowest: "I am Thy salvation, Thy Peace, Thy Life, Thy Comfort, Thy Hope, Thy Light and Thy Rest. In Me is all thy good, thy soul's true comfort, the only happiness that is real and that knows no end. What more wouldst Thou have?"

"Nothing, Lord; Thee alone would I have; Thee do I seek; Thee do I long for; Thee do I love from the bottom of my heart; Thee in everything, and above everything, everywhere and at all times, do I bless and praise. Thou rulest over all things that are in Heaven and on earth, in the sea and in all deep places, in the mountains and in the woods: to Thee is known every creature whether small or great, from Thine eye nothing is hid. In wisdom hast Thou made all things, and by Thy Providence are all things governed and preserved."

Oh when wilt Thou come to me, thou peace of God that comest from that clear knowledge of my Maker which passes all reason and the understanding both of angels and of men? Oh when wilt thou so fill me, both within and without, that nothing shall be left for me to desire? O Lord God, my heart can find no rest, until it rests in Thee! My mind can have no peace until it is perfectly united to Thee in that life which knows no end. O Peace, how sweet, how precious is thy name in all the

world! How full of joy and gladness is thy voice in our home which is above! O true, O supreme, O everlasting Peace with God, with angels, and with men of good will!

Give me, O Lord, I pray Thee, peace in my heart, that I may love Thee . above all things; give me peace in my mouth, that I may praise Thee with true devotion; give me peace in my hand that I may do all my good works for Thy honour! When I am sad, say to me: "Peace be unto thee; it is I, be not afraid." "Peace be unto thee"—than this what can be more pleasant to me ?" It is I"—than this what possession can be more joyful ?" Be not afraid "—than this what cause of rejoicing can be more secure ?" Behold, J am with you "—than this what enjoyment can be more sweet from everlasting to everlasting; what surer and firmer ground can there be for believing, and for laying hold on life eternal?

Whatever, O Lord, I possess, whatever I see, whatever I long for, all is nothing without Thee. In Thee alone is all my wealth; than Thee there can be nothing better, nothing more perfect, nothing richer, nothing more blessed. In Thee, therefore, O God, my Saviour, is to be found all that I have and all that I hope for; all my safety, all my peace: nowhere else, in no created good, however lovely, however noble, however great, can I find it. I say, therefore, and I pray with holy and humble Francis: "My God, and my All! More I wish not for." And if ever I should be in distress, and be deprived of inward consolation and comfort, still would I say and pray: "My God, and my All!" I want nothing, I wish for nothing, O my God, but for Thee, Who art all in all, Who above all and before all art blessed for ever. Give me grace, O Lord, to meditate intently upon these things, and ever faithfully to fulfil them. Amen.

CHAPTER XV

•* Of the touching of the sacred Wounds of Christ by the hand of St. Thomas the Apostle

LORD JESUS CHRIST, Enlightener of Thy faithful ones amidst the darkness of this world, I bless Thee, and give thanks to Thee, for the surpassing mercy shown to Thy holy Apostle Thomas by Thy special appearance to him, thus strengthening him in believing in Thy Resurrection, which passes all human understanding, and except by faith and Divine revelation is incomprehensible to fallen man. Many are the marvellous works, O Lord God, that Thou hast wrought since the foundation of the world; and even now Thou workest marvels in Heaven and on earth that they may declare the Glory of Thy Name. But although the mind of man cannot comprehend or fathom them, yet to Thee are they no hard task: they are wrought, and are ordained, chiefly for the salvation of the elect.

It was because Thy disciple, who was dear to Thee, did not persist in his opinion, and because he had no evil intent when he said he would not believe except he should see Thee and touch Thee —for this reason doubtless it was that he was found worthy to obtain so great mercy and grace as to be allowed to see Thee openly with his eyes, and reverently to touch Thee with his hand; and this so unmistakably that all his doubt was at an end, and he was able to confirm in the faith those who were faint-hearted. Being convinced then of Thy Manhood, and believing from the heart that the Godhead was hidden therein, full of devotion and faith he exclaimed: "My Lord, and my God. This I firmly believe, this I honestly profess, this I openly declare, this I boldly proclaim, this I make known and long to tell forth to all the world, in order that all men may believe in Thee and be saved,—My Lord and my God, my Creator and my Redeemer! This is the true and established faith which leads to the Kingdom of heaven those who hold it."

How great and how abounding isThy sweetness, O Lord, which Thou hadst laid up for Thy saints, and for Thy chosen ones who are so dear to Thee; and how often, in this life even, dost Thou show it to them in their times of trouble and distress, giving them as it were a foretaste of it, and encouraging them, both by word and by example, to press on and to persevere. Sometimes, indeed, Thou hidest Thyself, in order that by mourning they may be led to seek Thee and long to behold Thee, and that by falling and growing cold they may come to know their own weakness, and may cease to be presumptuous and to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. And then once more Thou showest Thyself, comfortest those who are sorrowful, enlightenest them and teachest them; that so in adversity they may not despair, nor in prosperity be puffed up, but may know themselves to be but men, mortal and sinful, needing the grace and mercy of God, and not Angels already in glory.

I praise and extol Thy gracious tenderness in that, after granting peace and pardon to Thy holy Apostle Thomas, as he knelt humbly and reverently before Thee,earnestly entreating Thy pardon, Thou didst manifest Thy love to him by showing to him Thy all-holy and glorious wound-prints, of more worth than all the treasures of the world, more precious than any jewels, more beauteous than the reddest of roses, sweeter than all spices or the sweetest-scented flowers. Those Wounds are more beauteous than all the stars which bespangle the firmament of Heaven; more than all else besides, those Wounds rejoice the souls of the Saints, inflame the hearts of the faithful, soften the hard hearts of sinners, and draw from them bittertears; they rouse the slothful to more earnest prayers; they lead the devout to kiss them over and over again; they move men of good-will to fervent thankfulness. The frequent remembrance and earnest contemplation of those Wounds of Christ so stirred the inmost soul of the holy and most devout Father Francis, and made his eyes so run with tears, that their all-holy prints could be plainly seen upon his own body. And to this day those five holy Wounds of Jesus, worthy of all love, stir to their inmost depths the hearts of many a devout Religious, and even of many a man and woman living in the world; the sight of those Wounds brings tears to their eyes, as they gaze in church upon a picture of the Crucified, or hear the Passion of Christ preached, or read, or ponder thereon to the praise of God. Amen.

Of the great grace of devotion and the steadfast

faith of St. Thomas the Apostle

O my God, how great was the grace of devotion

which that holy Apostle Thomas received by touching Thy sacred Wounds, grace beyond that vouchsafed to many of the Saints who beheld Thee during Thy life in the flesh, and believed in Thee after Thy Resurrection.

With all the powers of my soul therefore do I bless Thee, and give thanks to Thee, my Lord and my God, Who by Thy Apostles hast taught me to believe rightly, to lead a good life, and boldly and without equivocation to confess the true faith: for Thou hast said, and Thy word is truth: "Every one that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father." Give me, then, O Lord, I beseech Thee, grace always to speak the truth, and to confess the right faith, even as holy Thomas spoke before Thee in the presence of the other Apostles, saying: "My Lord, and My God."

What can be plainer than those words, what more true, what more perfect, what more faithful? And so it is that blessed John writes thus: "Thomas answered and said to Him (that is, to Thee, my Lord and my God), ' My Lord and my God.'" Many faithful souls have addressed Thee and called Thee by divers holy names, as their faith and their devotion moved them; and rightly and fitly was this done in accordance with Thy unspeakable Majesty, Which is far beyond the rank of, and the praise due to, any creature, and far above every name in Heaven and in earth. Some in prayer to Thee have said, "Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me.'" Others have said, "Son of David"; others, "Good Master and Lord"; others, "Rabbi or Rabboni "; others, "Teacher and Saviour of the World." Others have addressed Thee as "Great Prophet and King of Israel"; others (as John the Baptist) have said, >"Behold the Lamb of God," or, as Nathaniel," Thou art the Son of God." Others, as Andrew, have said, " We have found the Messias "; or, as Simon Peter, and the other Apostles (by the revelation of the Heavenly Father), "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." And in order that all the names declaring Thy Godhead, and all the words setting forth Thy holiness might be briefly, though fully and exactly, summed up in one word, and might be firmly believed, Saint Thomas (enlightened and fully instructed by God the Holy Ghost, and made strong in the faith by Thee, O Lord, then present with him) says openly and boldly in a loud voice to Thee, our Lord, " My Lord and my God." In these words he gathers up briefly all that can be truly said and believed regarding Thy Divine and Human Nature in praise of Thee, and for the Salvation of all Christians, who throughout the world believe in Thee.

Grant to me, O Lord my God, that I may steadfastly cling to this holy and catholic faith; that I may adorn and defend it by good works, and may never swerve from the truth. Amen.

CHAPTER XVI

tvt A prayer concerning the five sacred Wounds of Jesus Christ

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee,

O Lord Jesus Christ, most loving Son

of God, crucified for the Salvation of

the world, for all the anguish, and all

the Sacred Wounds, whether great or small, which,

innocent as Thou wert, Thou didst so lovingly endure, and by Thy death in true charity and perfect obedience didst lay before Thy Heavenly Father, as a free and most acceptable offering, in order that Thou mightest wash away and deliver me from my sins.

And chiefly do I now praise and glorify Thee, and will praise and glorify Thee all the days of my life, with the best thanksgiving and blessing of which my lips are capable, with all the love which my inmost heart can contain, and with gratitude which knows no bounds, for Thy supreme and tender condescension in openly showing to Thy disciples the five sacred Wounds, Which Thou hadst preserved in Thy most holy and glorified Body after Thy blessed and glorious Resurrection; in presenting them before Thy disciples' eyes for them to look upon; and in graciously and unmistakably allowing Saint Thomas the doubting Apostle to touch them, thus establishing him in the faith. It was also Thy holy Will that these things should be set forth and proclaimed as a sign of Thy never-failing love for Thy disciples, and for all Thy faithful servants throughout the world, to the intent that their hearts might be full of love for Thee, and that they might never cease to praise Thee.

Right therefore and profitable is it that I should daily meditate upon Thy supreme love for me; so that, as those five most sacred Wounds of Thine remained ever in Thy glorified Body, like fresh and ineffaceable gashes in a shield, shining ever brighter than all the stars of heaven, so (on account of the innumerable benefits conferred by them, both in averting and removing the ills of this life, and in assuring us of eternal happiness to be enjoyed with Thee, O loving Jesus, in realms of bliss hereafter) They may remain for ever fixed in my memory, and in that of all Thy faithful people.

Praise, honour, might, glory, and victory be to Thee, O Lord, for those sacred Wounds of Thine with which Thou hast redeemed me, hast cleansed the world, hast despoiled Hell, hast opened Paradise, hast illumined Heaven, and hast made the Angels to rejoice. In order that Thou mightest draw lost mankind to Thee, mightest reconcile it to the Father, angl mightest turn aside His wrath, Thou didst, on Thy Ascension into Heaven, still preserve those sacred Wound prints: in order that thereby Thou mightest obtain mercy for me, and for all who believe in Thee and repent them of their sins, Thou didst take them with Thee to the Right Hand of the Father; and Thou hast never ceased to show them to all the inhabitants of Heaven, in token of Thy victory over death.

O Thou Wonder and Gladness, Thou Hope unbounded of those who believe in Thee; O Jesus Christ, King of glory, Brightness of the Father, Honour of Thy Mother, the Virgin's Joy, Son of Mary, Flower of the field, Lily of the valley, Comfort of the afflicted, Health of the sick, Joy of the devout, Blessedness of Saints, Delight of Angels, imprint, I pray Thee, with Thy Precious Blood, upon the tablets of my heart These Thy sacred and precious Wounds, that so I may inwardly suffer with Thee, may love Thee supremely and above all else; and may rejoice to bear willingly some slight reproach at any rate for the love of Thy most sweet and holy Name—that Name Which, infinitely above every name of holy Angels and of men, is blessed for ever, world without end.

Painted in scarlet, framed in gold, keep ever before my wandering eyes the picture of Thy sacred Wounds, that I may neither see nor heed the vanities of the world, may be deaf to distracting gossip, and may not listen to those who would speak to me of other things than of Thee, O Jesus, my Lord and my God: for utterly worthless is everything that would keep me from meditating on the bliss of Heaven, and from bedewing with my tears Thy sacred Wounds. sake upon the Cross, covered with wounds, but still praying for Thy enemies.

Pierce my feet with Thy holy Nails as with sharp spurs to make me follow Thy steps along the rough path of adversity, and to keep me from being lifted up when things go well with me, or cast down when troubles come upon me. Cripple both my feet, so that I may not be able to stray far from Thee. Into my left foot drive the nail of fear, that from fear of the pains of Hell I may abstain from fleshly lusts. Into my right foot drive the nail of holy love, that with a soul on fire with a spirit of devotion to Thy service I may by day and by night run in the way of Thy commandments—giving thanks to Thee with eager zeal in hymns and spiritual songs; or if I am busy about earthly labours for the common good, working obediently and with a heart full of love for my brethren. Soon passing and easy to bear are all earthly toil and labour, thirst and bodily pain, for Thy sake, O my God, Who in the Flesh didst suffer and wert wounded; but long, infinitely long, are the everlasting torment and that fire of Hell which never shall be quenched.

Into my hands drive, I pray Thee, two of Thy Nails, so that while time is left me, I may be fruitful in good works, may shun contemptible idleness, that great enemy of the soul, and may with loving arms embrace Thee hanging for my

Draw me therefore to Thee from the flesh to the Cross, from earth to Heaven. I long to depart, to die with Thee upon the Cross, to be washed by Thy Wounds from my sins, and to be rescued from everlasting death.

Thou art my God, and I will confess my sins unto Thee: heal me by Thy sacred Wounds, so cruelly for my sake inflicted upon Thee. Who can cleanse me from all my sins and from all my negligences, but Thou alone, O God my Redeemer, Who for me wast crucified and wounded with many wounds. Among these stand specially forth, shedding sweet perfume, shining as seals reddened with theBlood of the Lamb of God, Thy five precious Wounds, pierced with the nails and the lance. Burnt in are They with the brand of God's love, indelible and most sure proofs of my eternal redemption: full are they of grace and sweetness, displayed for me and all mankind to behold with the eye of faith, and to caress: offered are They to weeping penitents as passports into the inmost recesses of the courts of Heaven.

Enter then, enter boldly, O my soul, through the bowels of the mercy of Thy God as He hangs upon the Cross; enter into the deep clefts of His Wounds, and take refuge there from the serpent who everywhere, both openly and secretly, is laying snares for thee. There lie still in safety, as a turtle-dove cooing in the wilderness, as a cushat lying hid in the cleft of a mighty rock; spurn all earthly joys; meditate on the sacred Wounds of Christ; and hope, relying on Them, to win those heavenly rewards which He Himself has in store for thee.

Speak now, I pray Thee, O most loving Jesus Christ, speak to my soul, those saving words which Thou spakest to holy Thomas Thy Apostle when Thou didst confirm him in the faith, and as a proof of Thy surpassing love didst pardon all his sins: "Put in hither thy finger, and behold My Hands fixed with hard nails to the wood of the Cross for love of thee; reach hither thy hand so as to touch Me with it by faith; put it into My Side laid open in pity for thee, pierced so cruelly with the soldier's lance that thereout came there forth a plenteous stream of blood and water, for the perfect remission of all sins and the grant of mercy to all who believe. Be not faithless, but believing; give way no more to doubts, but stand firm and steadfast; be not over-curious, but simple and devout; be not sluggish and heedless, but warmhearted and full of thankfulness to God for all His benefits to thee."

Give me grace, O good and beloved Jesus, often to think over and to ponder these things; to believe on, and to hold fast to Thee; never to doubt Thy words and Thy unchanging truth: give me grace in every temptation and trial to have recourse at once to Thy Passion, to look to Thy sacred Wounds and Agony for my comfort, and ever to find for my soul peace and rest in Thee— Who with the Father, etc. Amen.

CHAPTER XVII

m€ Of the Armorial bearings of Christ, the Cross, the Nails, the Spear, and the Crown of Thorns

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, King of all kings, for the triumphant insignia of Thy Royalty, to wit, the Cross, the Nails, the Spear, the Crown of Thorns, the Reed, the Cord, the Pillar (to which Thou wast bound, and wast then cruelly scourged after Thou hadst been stripped naked), and for all the other instruments of torture and accessories of Thy sacred Passion. It was for us miserable sinners that Thou didst endure it, to the intent that Thou mightest thereby confound the devil and the lovers of this world with all its pomps and vanities; that Thou mightest show mercy and grant forgiveness of sins to all who truly repent and believe in Thee; and that Thou mightest win for them, after the general Resurrection of the dead (when every one must be judged, both just and unjust), the hope of eternal salvation and the glorious bliss of Heaven with Thy Holy Angels.

Then shall appear great signs in Heaven and on earth, and then shall be displayed the Wounds of Thy sacred Passion, with the Standard of the Cross, and the other achievements of Thy escutcheon; full of joy and comfort shall they be to the saved, but to the lost full of terror and dismay. Then shall all the elect rejoice exceedingly; the lowly, the innocent, the devout, the chaste, the simple, the obedient, the meek; those who have often suffered wrong for Thy Name's sake ; those who in their meditations have often mourned over Thy Passion and sacred Wounds, as if they had themselves endured Them, and have thanked Thee fervently for Them all. Then too shall greatly fear and lament for themselves the proud, the covetous, the envious, the gluttonous; those who give themselves up to fleshly lusts; those whoseldom or never meditate upon Thy. Passion and Thy Wounds; those who never compassionate Them, but prefer thinking about their own gain and advantage to pondering Thy benefits and Thy cruel Wounds.

From such perverse and unthankful men keep me, O Lord; and number me with the pure and innocent sheep of Thy flock, for whom, in Thy love, Thou didst vouchsafe to be crucified, to die, and to be wounded with many Wounds.

O most gentle Jesus, clothe me with the power of Thy might, invest me with the sacred badges of Thy most cruel Passion, that everywhere and at all times I may be sustained against the snares and the temptations of the evil spirit, who assails me on the right hand and on the left in a thousand different ways and manners, all of them bad and wicked. To Thy Passion then, O Lord, do I humbly fly for refuge; and heartily do I pray that of Thee I may be comforted and powerfully assisted. O loving Jesus, our Helper and Defender in all the trials and temptations of this imperfect life, raise high, I pray Thee, before my eyes the royal standard of Thy holy Cross, the sign of eternal salvation, the Sceptre of Thy Godhead, the shield and the bow of Thy Manhood, the impregnable fortress, the most dread thunderbolt, the most sharp javelin against the roaring and the onslaught of the devil; against the din of the world and the incitements of the flesh; against vices of every kind and every evil thought; against that spirit of blasphemy and utter despair, which longs to overwhelm me, and would so often withhold me from invoking Thy most sweet Name, O Jesus, and those of Thy holy Mother Mary and of Thy Saints; that tries to blacken the story of their lives and their good report; and what is yet worse, would entice from the right faith one who is a true believer, and keep him from venerating and from loving Thy holy Cross.

May Thy Cross, O Jesus, Thou mightiest of kings, be to me salvation, peace, and life; a shield, a sword and a spear; a strong tower against the face of the enemy; an impregnable wall against the deceit of the old serpent; a light in the house; a guide in the path; a sure defence within and without, above and below, in all the many stumbling-blocks and dangers which everywhere beset me. May Thy sweet and beloved Cross be to me rest in labour, comfort in sorrow, medicine in sickness, ointment in pain; may it be to me my protection when I am alone, my safeguard when I am with others, my light in darkness, my gladness at mid-day; and at eventide may it be to me praise and honour, power and glory. May Thy lovely and glorious Cross be to me in bitterness sweetness; in sickness health; in my agony steadfast faith; in the hour of my departure my one hope; at the day of judgement my support; from Hell my safeguard; from all its pains my warrant of discharge; into the glories of Heaven my passport with the holy Angels.

Further, in all my troubles thrust into me, I pray Thee, O patient Jesus, those holy Nails, which as Thou hangedst on the Cross were so cruelly driven into Thee. May They be to me as keepers of my heart, of my lips and of all my senses; may They be my defence against the evil spirits, of whom by day and by night I am in fear: on seeing the image of Thy Nails may those spirits flee from me as if they were sharp arrows, and let me rest in Thy peace, or pray, or earnestly meditate on the anguish caused by Them when They were in the Body of Jesus Christ, my Lord; may those spirits not dare to vex me with vile imaginations as I meditate on the sacred Wounds, so cruel and so deep, Which Thou didst endure in Thy Hands and in Thy Feet.

Thrust also, I pray Thee, into my side, whether I am waking or sleeping, that holy and sharp Spear with which after Thy death Thou wast so cruelly pierced; may it keep my heart, so that inwardly compassionating Thee, I may hang with Thee upon the Cross, and may eschew what is earthly, may shut my eyes to all unprofitable things, and may fix my thoughts wholly upon the things of God, and upon Thy sacred Wounds. So wound my heart, I pray Thee, O my God, that nothing that is impure may find a home in it.

O Jesus Christ, supreme object of love, sure Hope of believers, Strength of those who fight, the victors' Crown, Wisdom of the wise, and Light of the ignorant, show, I pray Thee, to me, who am an exile in the prison-house of the flesh, that holy and blessed Crown of Thorns Which in mockery was so cruelly forced and pressed down upon Thy sacred Head, while Thy most holy Blood was trickling down on all sides from the many Wounds which it caused. May the copious stream of Blood caused by this holy but most cruel of crowns be to me a complete washing away of all my sins; may it draw from my eyes a flood of tears; may it soften unawares the hardness of my heart. May the remembrance of this holy and blessed Crown ever present with me, and its picture ever vividly stamped upon my mind; may the contemplation of Thy Wounds and the thought of the terrible pain which they caused Thee, drive out of my mind all evil things, and all unclean thoughts, and chase away and put an end to whatever it is that troubles me. A violent headache suppresses all bodily desires. May then pain such as Thou didst feel when the cruel Crown of Thorns was first pressed down upon Thy Head take possession of me ; may it find a place in the inmost recesses of my heart; may it vibrate through my every limb, may it rack me with pain, and purge away from my soul all the filth which by a long course of foolishness I have allowed to settle there. May it break down and annihilate in me every inordinate desire; may it turn into dust everything that seems to me lovely, and into dirt everything that seems to me precious: may it turn into rottenness all that now seems flourishing; may it turn all that now seems delightful into wormwood of the bitterest, everything joyous into wailing, everything laughable and jocose into derision and contempt.

How beautiful is the world to come, and how splendid will be the crown of heavenly glory that will be given to the chaste and devout soul, which in this world often and sadly meditates upon the Crown of Thorns of Jesus, and ever keeps in mind and mourns over his cruel Wounds. I believe, O Lord, that at the hour of death such a soul will, when quitting this weary life, have great hope of forgiveness and feel sure of obtaining mercy, if it keep ever in remembrance Thy sacred Passion.

For the sake, therefore, O Lord, of each of Thy Wounds, forgive me too, I pray Thee, all my sins, whether they be of my life past or those which I daily commit, even as Thou didst forgive, solely of Thy grace and mercy, those of holy Mary Magdalene, who shed many tears at the thought of her sins, and particularly at the thought of the sacred Wounds endured by Thee at Thy Passion, on account of our sins which are, alas, so many and so grievous. Thy love and Thy mercy, O most merciful Jesus, have far outweighed all our sins whether new or old, by reason of Thy bowels of mercy and the thousand thousand stripes of the Wounds which Thou didst so patiently endure at the hands of wicked men; and all these were seen by Thy holy Mother, and by Thy dearly loved Mary Magdalene, with their own eyes, and were by them bedewed with many tears.

Rend then, O Lord, my heart still further with the thought of Thy scourging, and of Thy tight binding with cords to the stony pillar, before the eyes of the crowd that mocked and derided Thee, that pitied Thee not, that had no sense of shame, but longed to tear Thee with their teeth as if they had been mad dogs worrying a harmless sheep; that piled stripes upon stripes, and added anguish to anguish, while not a murmur passed Thy lips, no, not even a cry "Alas, alas, why do ye scourge me so cruelly?"

O how great, how unspeakable was Thy patience, O Lord Jesus, in enduring such torments, such bleeding wounds; and all in order that Thou mightest pay the penalty of my sins! It was I, O Lord, who had sinned; it was in my stead that Thou wast scourged. It was I who had wrought iniquity; it was I who in so many ways and so often had offended; it was Thou Who hadst done no wrong at all, Who wast unjustly condemned by the ungodly. I often laugh about nothing, and Thou by base men art made a laughing-stock. I like to strut in fine clothes, but Thou hangest naked between thieves. I have good food and drink; but to Thee upon the Altar of the Cross are offered bitter gall and vinegar. I have a soft bed to sleep upon; but Thou art buried as an outlaw in a tomb of hardest rock. Often do I pass Thy Cross without shedding a tear; but Mary Magdalene and the other holy women never ceased to weep till they saw Thee rising from the dead, and could fall low and clasp Thy sacred Feet.

Give me grace, O loving Jesus, to meditate on these things, and with holy Mary Magdalene, who loved Thee so well, and with Thy other disciples so to weep, that at the last day, when the trumpet shall sound, I may be found worthy to rise in glory, and to find a place with Thine elect in the Kingdom of everlasting bliss. Amen.

May Thy most glorious escutcheon, O Lord Jesus Christ, be my sure defence, both within and without, against all the darts of the enemy, and against all the flatteries and frowns of this deceitful world.

CHAPTER XVIII

#* Of the appearance of Christ to the seven disciples as they were fishing in the Sea of Tiberias

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, and Ruler of Heaven and earth, of Angels and of men, of high and low, of rich and poor, of landsmen and of seafarers, for openly showing Thyself to Thy seven disciples who were toiling in fishing on the Sea of Tiberias. They were so employed in order that they might be able to procure the necessaries of life, and might be able to give food to the poor and to strangers. Such toil is pleasing to God and to men; it is in accordance with the law of nature, and is favoured by God on account of the many advantages which come from it, and because it prevents idleness and is a profitable use of time.

I praise and honour Thee, most loving Jesus, Visitor of toilers, and timely Helper of the needy by the gift to them of good counsel, enabling them to earn a livelihood by sea and by land.

I bless Thee for Thy condescension in standing by the seashore watching the toil of Thy disciples, working as they did in loving partnership and helping one another, doing everything in due order, and drawing their fishing-nets to land quietly and without quarrelling. Peter, as I suppose, was sitting at the stern, in charge of the helm, as being captain of the boat, and the most experienced fisherman; and as he gave his orders and beckoned to them, the rest worked hard, while James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, who were skilled fishermen (having been instructed in the art by that experienced old man, their father) sat steadily and cautiously at their oars ready to do what was needed in case of a sudden storm; and holy Thomas, that strong and trusty man, was on the alert to draw in the net, along with holy Nathaniel, well versed in the law of God, who stood with his loins girt ready to help in this holy work, and two other disciples, whose names I know not, but haply they were Simon and Jude, Thy relations and dear friends.

These men, thus wisely placed, had toiled all night, rowing and hauling the net, working hard till morning; but as yet they had taken nothing. Wherefore thinking their toil useless, they were on the point of ceasing to fish unless God's Providence should otherwise direct.

But this fruitless toil in fishing had been so ordained that when Jesus, their Master and Lord, should come to them and tell them- what to do, their joy might be great. It was because Jesus had not been bodily present in the boat during the past night, as formerly He had used to be, that they had caught nothing, or almost nothing, even as He had foretold them: " Without Me ye can do nothing."

But on this occasion be not cast down, O beloved disciples; for, if God so wills it, a dull morning often ushers in a bright noon-day. Wait a little, and call upon your loving Lord Christ; and your toil of last night shall be crowned with success. And so it was when Jesus appeared, and

said to them: "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find much, although before I came to you you could catch nothing at all."

I praise and glorify Thee, O my Jesus, Whose foreknowledge is infinite, for what Thou didst so lovingly say to those poor fishermen, who as yet had no settled means, no Church revenues to depend upon; but in order that they might not be a burden to others by demanding maintenance, and might not by their idleness be a stumblingblock to the weak, were procuring in a lawful manner, by the labours of their hands, the necessaries of life. Thou didst come then, O good Jesus, to the help of Thy poor followers in this their time of need, by asking them if they had anything to eat, naming in a friendly way something besides bread: "Children," Thou saidst, "have ye any meat?" They answered: "No." A brief answer was this; but it was enough for the Almighty Lord Who knew all things from all eternity, to Whom all hearts are open, and from Whom no secret is hid, Who knew both what was in the ship and what was swimming in the sea. Thou hadst pity then, O good Jesus, on their poor estate, just as formerly Thou hadst pity upon the multitude which in the wilderness had nothing to eat; and Thou gavest, without delay, by a single word, to those Who obeyed Thee, advice and help. When, therefore, putting in good faith their hope in God and not in their own skill, they let down the net on the right side of the ship, in accordance with the command of the Lord as He stood on the seashore, without their having to use their oars, He helped them by His words more than all else besides. For lo, when Jesus helped them, their net was filled with such a multitude of fish that they could not drag it to land. So vastly do the gifts of God exceed the power of men.

On seeing this so great miracle, the disciple whom Jesus loved says to his partners, and specially to Peter, "It is the Lord." On hearing this Peter rejoiced with exceeding great joy, and his heart was on fire with such intense love that, leaving the rest in the ship, and thinking of nothing else, he leaped at once into the water, and girding up his coat, hastened to Jesus his Lord, Whom, Blessed for evermore, he loved above every other holy name.

With what reverence and confidence did he draw near and kneel in the water at Thy Feet, O Lord Jesus, adoring and worshipping Thy Face, more brilliant than the sun, ever looked upon by the holy Angels, the sight of Which was now for a brief season granted to him and to his companions for their consolation, but is utterly denied to the great ones of the earth and to the rich in this world's goods, and to those devoted to the pleasures of the table.

O loving and most sweet Jesus, turn not away Thy face from me, no matter where I may be, or in what work engaged. Come and stand by my side when I am singing, or reading, or meditating, or writing, or studying. Remember me for good; and when any trial comes suddenly upon me give me a heart full of patience: give me grace to bless Thee always with my lips, and to bear all things patiently for love of Thee and for Thy honour. Come to me at night when the bell rings for Matins, so that I may rise at once to join my brethren in chanting the psalms, and may help

them, after the pattern of those Apostles who helped one another in fishing, and toiled all the night till the day dawned and Thou camest with Thy blessing; for at Thy coming and blessing their toil, their net was filled with a multitude of large fish.

Vouchsafe, I pray Thee, O Lord, in like manner to fill me, by Thy preventing and following grace, with so great a sweetness of inward devotion, that at the time of prayer many long psalms may be more delightful to me than plenty of great fish would be to a hungry man: * for refreshment of the mind is a greater thing than that of the body. The spirit gives new life to, the flesh weighs down, the man; the spirit purifies and gladdens him; the flesh defiles and saddens him. The spirit submits itself to, and obeys, God; the flesh often resists and is harmful: for the soul is better than the body; the living spirit is more worthy than the flesh that must so soon decay. The world is sweet; but God, Who is the Maker and the Ruler of all things, is sweeter than all else, and more highly exalted.

Everywhere and always blessed be Thou, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, Who alone workest great wonders in the sea and on the land; for with Thy chosen friends Thou dost not disdain to eat and to sit down to meat; Thou preparest for them a sacred and spiritual banquet in hymns and psalms which are sweeter than all earthly food and the most exquisite of wines. Amen.

1 [Cf. Introduction, page xxii. ]

CHAPTER XIX

•* Of the meal taken by Christ with those same disciples of His

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Comforter of those in distress, Pitier of the poor, Giver of food to the hungry, Strengthener ot toilers, for the actual meal which Thou didst take with Thy disciples, and for the abundant draught of a multitude of great fish taken by the hands and by the toil of Thy disciples, before Thy eyes, and by the power of Thy words when Thou saidst to them: "Cast the net on the right side of the ship: and you shall find." Great indeed is God's grace! Thou art the Maker of all things; Thou providest for the little ones and for the poor; for those who have no storehouses full of food, nor money-bags stowed away in chests. Woe to those who put their trust in their coffers, for in one night thieves may empty them and squander their contents.

I praise and glorify Thee, most glorious Jesus, for Thy friendly invitation to Thy disciples to eat with Thee after their long fast and their hard toil in fishing when Thou saidst to them : " Come and dine; for I have got ready for you, who are hungry and tired, bread and broiled fish. If any of you is cold, let him come to the fire and warm himself. If the clothes of any of you are soiled, or his boots are wet, let him wash them and dry them at the fire which has been kindled at My command. Ye know well what I did to you formerly at the Supper before My Passion when I washed your feet and dried them, and what My words to you were about showing humility and charity one towards another, even as I had before so long time preached to you by My example: and now, after My Resurrection, I appear to you in order that I may eat with you, and may admonish you to observe carefully what I have told you.

"I have no need of food, but to prove to you the verity of My glorified Body I now speak to you and eat with you. Break your fast therefore with me in love, soberly and modestly, in silence, abstaining from idle talk, as I have taught you, and ye have seen Me do, and have often heard Me bid you. Never have light words passed My lips, but always such as were pleasing to My Father, and profitable and edifying to those who heard them. Witnesses of this are the four holy Gospels published throughout the world, in which is to be found not a word that is idle, not a word that is unseemly. Be then content with the scanty food which ye see before you, which I made ready for you, my children, who said: 'We have no meat': there is here no roast fowl or spiced chicken—things suited to dainty feeders, not to men and women in Religion—be ye thankful to have plain food, the bread and the fish which is by God's grace lovingly permitted you. Perchance by reason of strangers and poor folk coming to you, whom ye ought not to turn away, but should to the best of your power comfort and cherish, that which is provided may not be enough for you: therefore I say to you, be not down-hearted when ye have but little, but putting your trust in Me bring some of the fish which ye have just caught in such abundance, and with so much gladness of heart."

When Simon Peter heard this, being quick and prompt in obedience, he went up at once, and with the help of his companions drew the net to land full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty and three. And they all wondered, giving thanks to God the Father, and to Thee, His Son Jesus Christ, Whom they saw before them, and knew by the grace of the Holy Ghost. And so none of them dared ask Thee "Who art Thou Who standest here with us and speakest to us, and eatest with us?" For they all knew of a truth that Thou wert Jesus Christ, their Lord, Who had risen from the sealed tomb, alive and never more to die, and had manifested Himself to them.

I praise and thank Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, dear Friend of all the devout, sweet Visitor of the joyful soul, constant Guest of Thy brethren and of Thy friends, for the excellent meal and social feast which Thou didst prepare for Thy disciples who were tired out with their long toil in fishing, when Thou didst bid them to a meal and didst give them with Thy own Hand bread, which Thou hadst Thyself blessed, and in like manner broiled fish, hot with love, inwardly seasoned with spiritual sweetness. O how sweet must have been the flavour of that food of which Jesus Himself was at once the Cook, the Server, and the Refectorian!

What can I say more? Pleasant indeed was that feast of which Jesus then partook with His disciples: much more excellent, however, much grander, and much pleasanter, is that sacred banquet of His precious Body and Blood, which is day by day celebrated in Church, in Which Jesus Himself is received, but is not destroyed; in Which the remembrance of His Passion, undergone for our sakes, is kept alive; in Which the mind, in itself too often dry and cold, is filled with grace by the presence of Jesus making the heart ready to shout for joy. In that sacred Feast moreover a pledge of future glory is given to the devout soul for its comfort, and for its spiritual sustenance in this its pilgrimage, till such time as Christ shall come and take it to Himself, out of all the labour and sorrow of this present life, to its everlasting rest in the company of those holy Apostles of His, in the house of His Father, where shall be neither hunger nor thirst, but joy in His Presence for evermore. Unwillingly do I quit that holy and blessed company of the saints, and that precious feast which Jesus shared with His disciples on the shore of the Lake. From my inmost soul I long and pray to be made now in this life present (by contempt of the world and by the renouncing of all those things which perish and decay) one of the least of those disciples whom Jesus loves; and I hope (not for any merits and labours of my own, but by the grace of God, and the mercy of Christ Jesus my Lord) to be found worthy to be visited by Him in His heavenly Kingdom, to be comforted by Him, to rejoice with all the Saints, and to be made blessed for ever in glory. Amen.

CHAPTER XX

•* Of the sweet converse of Jesus with St. Peter and St. John the Apostle about loving Him

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus, most gracious Lover of men, and most wise Teacher of babes, for Thy sweet converse with holy Peter about love for Thee, and chiefly for Thy thrice repeated question to him, and for Thy courtesy in specially mentioning the name of his father, at which he himself may well have been astonished and rejoiced greatly. When speaking with him Thou didst put to him one question only, namely, about the closeness of his love, saying to him: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these?"

I praise and glorify Thee, O most illustrious Jesus, for Thy unspeakable gentleness and goodness in not reproaching holy Peter for the grievous sin which he had committed against Thee; and in choosing rather to rouse him to greater fervour by asking him about his love for Thee, which all the time Thou knewest full well, but didst wish to make known to his brethren who stood by. Further, Thou didst thus make plain to the whole Church throughout the world in what high esteem, even after his fall, Peter's rank and holiness were to be held, and how unchanged was his place in Thy love. And this Thou didst lest some other fallen one, not remembering his own case, should think slightingly of one, with whom Thou, O Lord, didst not disdain to converse so lovingly, and to sit down to meat.

I praise Thee, and greatly commend holy Peter Thy Apostle, my pattern next after Thee, for his straight and outspoken answer to Thy words. There was no presumption, no carelessness, in what he said; he did not put himself forward as excelling others in his love for Thee; thus teaching me and all men to be humble in our opinion of ourselves, to be cautious in our thoughts, to answer questions discreetly, and boldly and truthfully to confess the Christian faith no matter what men may say against it. Thrice (in honour of the Holy Trinity) did he repeat his answer; and because, moved by fear, he had thrice denied his Lord, so now, believing with his whole heart, and nothing doubting, he three times says: "/ love Thee, I love Thee, I love Thee." What more could he say? "Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee."

"Holy Peter, what sayest thou if men who see not thy heart believe not thy words?" "I speak to my Lord, and cry out so that all may hear me, and with heart and lips boldly profess: 'Lord, Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee. Lord, Thou hast proved me, and known me: Thou hast known my downsitting, in my denial of Thee; and Thou hast known my uprising, in my bitter tears and true penitence. Thou hast pardoned, O Lord, Thou hast pardoned, my sin against Thee. For Thy Holy Name's sake Thou hast forgiven all my sins; sweet is Thy mercy, and manifold are Thy loving-kindnesses over all Thy works from everlasting to everlasting, world without end.'"

I praise and glorify Thee, O most sweet Jesus, for Thy faithful and loving commendation of Thy lambs and of Thy sheep to the care and pastoral charge of holy Peter, Thy Apostle, who loved Thee so well, and was so dear to Thee, whom Thou didst call from the catching of fish to the cure of souls, and to the government of all the Churches; from a boat to a Bishop's throne; from the use of miserable nets to a royal priesthood; from a poverty-stricken home to the office of Roman Pontiff, an office to which Thou didst not prefer any of the Saints before him. For of Thy great mercy, and of the bounty of Thy grace alone, Thou didst make choice of him to be, in Thy Own holy stead, Thy faithful and true Vicar, with full delegation of Thy power over all churches and realms, not for the ill-treatment or injury of any young lamb or poor weak sheep committed to his care, but for the protection and comfort, for the edification and the safe-keeping of all the faithful, young and old, throughout the world.

Therefore with Thy own Mouth Thou didst carefully instruct Peter himself, and didst lay the same command upon all other Bishops, saying: "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep, both great and small, both rich and poor; for I have redeemed them with My Own Blood. Remember, Peter, what thou wast before I called thee from the ship to the dignity of an Apostle, and to what still greater honour and dignity by my special grace and mercy thou hast now been advanced in spite of thy threefold denial. Thou hast been made chief pastor and ruler of all the Churches, not for thy own praise and honour, but in order that thou mayest ever seek my glory and that of My Heavenly Father and of the Holy Ghost, and mayest keep in peace those entrusted to thee."

I praise Thee, O most loving Jesus, for the gracious friendliness of Thy discourse with holy Peter and holy John, who were endeared to Thee by ties of special love. By Thy own example Thou didst give to Peter (already well-instructed) strength to die upon his cross; but of John, the youth so dear to Thee, Thou didst postpone the departure, in order that he might teach and might commit to writing the deeper and more essential mysteries of Holy Church; and with provident kindness Thou didst long time preserve his life for the consolation of many of the faithful. When therefore Peter asked of Thee what John's end would be, Thou didst briefly answer: "I mean him to tarry thus in the body, in order that he may teach the whole Church, and may devote himself to the care of My Mother, whom from My Cross I commended to him. It is My Will that he live long, and commit to writing certain very deep things concerning My Divinity, My Incarnation, My Passion, and My Resurrection, things which he has seen with his own eyes, and heard often from My lips; and I will that he do this till such time as I shall come in person to him, and shall take him rejoicing to Myself. What is this to thee, Peter? Follow thou me: follow Me in bearing thy cross for My sake; for great indeed is the honour that awaits thee, that, namely, of suffering for My sake upon the cross a death like My Own."

When all these things had been said and quietly ordered, the bodily repast came to an end; but so need not the spiritual, which is better enjoyed by the way of devout meditation and prayer than by way of a lengthy recital.

I beseech Thee, therefore, O most loving Lord Jesus Christ, best of all Physicians of the fainting soul, that in all the changes and chances of this weary life on earth Thou wouldst guide my steps aright upon the path which will bring me in the end to the kingdom of Thy Glory in Heaven. Suffer me not to be puffed up with pride as I read or sing in Choir in the presence of my brethren, who are better men than I: as I study, or copy holy books for our convent, suffer me not to think much of myself, or to compare myself with men who are more learned than myself, or have been endowed by Thee with keener mental gifts: suffer me not in this way to lose, here upon earth the fruit of good works, and in the world to come my eternal reward with Thee in Heaven.

Keep me also, O Lord, when the blast of temptation is strong upon me, from losing my temper and being angry with my brethren: give me grace lovingly to bear with the peculiarities and the failings of others, and to make excuses for them as I should for myself, if those failings were my own; even as Thou, Lord, by long and often bearing with them, and by gently admonishing them to strive after greater perfection, didst so excellently instruct Thy disciples.

Give me'grace to follow Thee and holy Peter along the way of the Cross, by patiently bearing toil of body and sorrow of heart, even unto death.

Of Thy great mercy grant to me, an unworthy sinner, in company with holy Thomas, that outspoken and faithful Apostle, mentally to touch and handle Thy most sacred Wounds, and to meditate thereon daily at Mass, in my cell, at table, at all times and wherever I may be, by way of thanksgiving for Thy benefits, for the love of Thy Holy Name, and for the honour of Thy Holy Cross.

Grant to me also that, with holy John the Apostle, I may love Thee with a pure heart and a pure body; that I may specially venerate holy Mary thy Mother who was entrusted to his care; that I may gladly hear and read his holy Gospel; that I may keep it ever in my heart; and that I may rest, as it were, upon Thy Breast, caring nought for the things of this world, and gazing upon the secret things of Heaven, even as he did in the Apocalypse.

Be merciful to me, O Lord, and keep me, under the protection of blessed James the Apostle, from all the sins which beset me. Strengthen me in all virtuous and godly living, that I may be able to resist the snares of the devil whether they come to me by way of things pleasant, or of things disgusting; for to Thee and to Thy holy Angels they are all most hateful and displeasing. Grant me also grace to root out all pride of intellect; to curb my longings for dainty food; to be watchful over the door of my heart, of my lips, and of my other senses. Give me grace, O Son of God, to drink with the sons of Zebedee the chalice of Thy Passsion, for the remission of all my sins, and with them and with all Thy Saints to sup with Thee in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

CHAPTER XXI

m€ Of the appearance of Christ to the eleven disciples on Mount Thabor in Galilee

BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, 0 Lord Jesus Christ, King of Heaven and earth, Who weighest the mountains in a balance, and holdest the earth in the hollow of Thy Hand, Who sittest above the Cherubim and the Seraphim, looking down upon the depths beneath, Who walkest above the stars of Heaven, Who observest the ends of the earth, Who knowest all things before they have their being.

I bless, I praise, I glorify Thee for that joyful,

glorious, and sublime appearance of Thine on

Mount Thabor to Thy eleven disciples, even as

before Thy Passion Thou didst openly and distinctly promise them, saying- unto them: "/ will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed. But after I shall be risen again, I will go before you into Galilee."

First, then, Thou didst forewarn them of two things, painful to the friends who were dear to Thee, and sad for them to hear, namely, the striking of the Shepherd, meaning thereby what Thou wert to suffer at the hands of the Jews, and the dispersion of the flock which would follow shortly after, namely, their own misery and flight in fear of punishment and death. But lest, sinking under the burden of their troubles, they should give way to despair, Thou didst straightway go on to speak of two very gladsome and consoling joys of good things to come, assuring them that on the third day Thou wouldst rise again in glory, and wouldst comfort them by appearing to them in a certain place which was well-known to them, that is to say on Mount Thabor in Galilee, the land in which Thou hadst formerly wrought many signs and wonders in the presence of Thy disciples and of all the people.

0 Galilee, hallowed soil, fatherland of Christ, wherein lies Nazareth, the flowery City; that city which sheltered, and was made illustrious by the presence of Holy Mary the Virgin, of whom came forth to us those everlasting joys of our Salvation, which are recorded in the Holy Gospels.

1 praise and glorify Thee, O Jesus, for Thy great goodness in having summoned Thy disciples to this holy and private spot, shut off from the noise of the world, a place fit to be chosen for the delivery of Thy Divine commands. On that spot Thou hadst already been transfigured—the other Apostles being absent—in the presence of three chosen witnesses, Peter, James and John; and as a voice from the Father came from Heaven, Thou wast clothed and adorned with an excellent brightness; and by a revelation, of which they alone were witnesses, Thy Majesty was, before Thy Passion, made known to Thy disciples for the confirmation of their faith.

In this more public appearance, however, after Thy most glorious Resurrection, Thou didst manifest Thyself to a larger number of Thy disciples, in order thereby to confirm the faith of those who believed; to convince the doubting ones; lovingly to instruct and rejoice the hearts of all by Thy Presence, and by manifesting to them the power over everything in Heaven and on earth given Thee by the Father. When, therefore, Thou hadst with Thy own Lips declared these things to them, those who were then present with Thee adored Thee as was meet, and glorified Thy Holy Name. Prostrating themselves at Thy feet, they rejoiced in singing with the deepest devotion a new hymn to Thee, our God; for mysteries concerning the Holy Trinity so deep and wondrous were then made known to them, that no one can fully give expression to them. How glorious and entrancing was that vision; how unfathomable and Divine that revelation; how great and unspeakable was the joy that filled the hearts of the holy Apostles!

I praise and glorify Thee, O most sweet and most gentle Jesus, for having conversed so graciously with Thy disciples on the Mount; for Thy revelation to them of the true faith of the Holy Trinity; and for Thy delivery to them of the right form of words for the baptism of the faithful, in water, for the remission of sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. In these words, as I believe, was I myself baptized by a faithful priest; and thereafter I was in the bosom of Holy Church, by faithful parents, educated and instructed in the right and Catholic faith.

For this I give thanks to Thee, O Christ; for it is from Thee that every good gift comes, and the hope of life eternal—to which hope, O Lord, when the hour of my departure shall come, mayest Thou vouchsafe to bring me, assisting me by the merits of the saints, and delivering me from the most grievous pains of purgatory. It is for me to pray; it is for Thee to help. I am weak and unstable, Thou art full of loving-kindness and mercy; Thou canst deliver me from distress of every kind; Thou canst bring me to the Mount of Thy Glory. O Jesus, saving health of my countenance, and my God, to Thee do I cry; for Thee do I long; to Thee do I pray by day and by night, till such time as, by the help of Thy grace alone, I shall be brought in safety to Thee, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest, etc. Amen.