april, 2019

fri12apralldayalldayDaily Lenten Reflection April 12(All Day: friday) Event Type :Liturgical Calendar

Event Time

All Day (Friday)

Event Details

Meditations for Lent

By: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Courtesy of Sophia Institute Press

Week 5: Friday

The True Messiah

“These know that thou hast sent me” (John 17:25, Douay-Rheims). They “know in truth that I came from thee” (John 17:8, Douay-Rheims). Happy are they whose faith is acknowledged by Jesus! Let us examine ourselves with respect to this important disposition of the heart. Let us listen to St. Paul: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5). See how he presses us, how he inculcates this duty: “Examine yourselves. Test yourselves.” Do you believe with perfect certitude that Jesus Christ was truly sent by God? What reason could you have not to believe? Have you not seen in him all of the marks that the prophets and patriarchs ascribed to the Messiah? Did he not work all the miracles he needed to work and in every circumstance in which they were necessary, as sure testimony that he was the one who was to come, the one truly sent from God?

Has anyone else ever taught a doctrine so holy, so pure, so perfect that he has been able to say, like Jesus, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)? Where will you find more charity toward men, more holy deeds, a more beautiful model of perfection, a milder authority, greater condescension toward us poor sinners, even to the extent of making himself our advocate, intercessor, and victim? This is what he explains in these words we so love: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Man needs to have a yoke, a law, an authority, a commandment; otherwise, carried away by his passions, he will lose his self-control. Everything that we could wish for is here: to find a master like Jesus, who knows how to make constraint mild and burdens light. Where shall we find consolation, encouragement, and the words of eternal life if we do not find them in him? Do you believe all this? This is the first part of our examination of conscience.

When we have said, “Yes, I believe it, I recognize it with that ‘full assurance of faith’ of which St. Paul speaks [Heb. 10:22], with ‘full conviction’ [1 Thess. 1:5],” then St. John will say to us: “By this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He who says ‘I know him’ but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” And, a little while later, “He who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:3-4, 6) and follow his example. Most certainly — for St. Paul said it — there are those who “profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds” (Titus 1:16). And St. John said, “Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Are we or are we not one of those who thus love? What account shall we have to give of our deeds? This is the second and more essential part of our examination of conscience.

The third part is the most important of all. “Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21). If we labor to live in such a way that we are sons and daughters of the truth, and we can persuade our heart of this in the presence of God, then we ought to believe that this is a gift of God, in conformity with the apostle’s wish: “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 6:23). Should we enjoy this peace, we must take no glory for ourselves, but instead humble ourselves exceedingly, for all that we have brought to this our slipshod beginning of good works is wretchedness, poverty, and corruption. If we are lost when we stray from the path of virtue, how much more lost should we be were we to presume to climb it by our own strength?

After this, all that remains is to confess our sins, not with discouragement and despair, but with sweet hope, because the same St. John said, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Note it well: faithful and just. Not because he owes us anything, but because he has promised us everything in Jesus Christ. We can hope for pardon and his grace if we believe that he has sent Jesus Christ, who by his blood is “the expiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2).