All Day (Tuesday)
Meditations for Lent By: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet Courtesy of Sophia Institute Press Week 4: Tuesday A Life Hidden in God (III) My Lord, where shall you take me? What new light shall you shine upon me?
Meditations for Lent
By: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Courtesy of Sophia Institute Press
Week 4: Tuesday
A Life Hidden in God (III)
My Lord, where shall you take me? What new light shall you shine upon me? I see the accomplishment of what the holy Simeon said: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted” (Luke 2:34, Douay-Rheims). O my Savior, what do I see in these words? The character of the Christ who was to come, his grandeur and divinity.
It is a form of God’s grandeur that he should be knowable in so many ways and yet so little known, to shine forth in his works and yet be ignored by his creatures. From his goodness he spoke to mankind and did not leave them without revelation; but from his justice and grandeur he hides himself from the proud, who do not deign to open their eyes to see him. What need has he for their recognition? He needs only himself. Our knowing him is not a gift we give to him, but a grace he gives to us. We are amply punished if we refuse to see him. His essential glory is entirely in himself, and the glory he receives from men is a good for them, not for him.
Conversely, it is an evil for them, and the greatest of all evils, not to glorify him. Even a refusal to glorify him glorifies him in another way, because men make themselves unhappy by not knowing him. What does it matter to the sun whether we see it? Woe to the blind to whom its light is hidden; woe to the weak who cannot stand it! The blind man will eventually be exposed to the burning sun and will ask, “What is it that burns me?” He will be told, “It is the sun.”
“What? This sun that I hear lauded and admired every day: this is what torments me? May it be accursed!” And he detests this beautiful star because he does not see it, and not to see it will be his punishment. For if he were to see it, the sun itself would, with its kindly light, show him where he might seek cover from its burning rays. All of his misery, then, lies in not seeing it. But why should we speak of the sun, when after all it is nothing but a great lifeless body that we see only with our eyes? Let us speak of another light, always ready to shine in the depths of our soul and fill it with light. What happens to the willfully blind man who prevents it from shining for him? He is sunk into the shadows and made unhappy.
And you, O eternal light! You remain in your glory and your brilliance, and you manifest your grandeur such that no one loses you but that the loss is his own. Father of lights, you have given a similar character to your Christ, so as to make manifest that he is God as you are, the brilliance of your glory, the radiance of your light, the imprint of your substance. He is the downfall of some and the resurrection of others, and by his great brilliance he is a sign of contradiction, for whoever lacks the strength or the courage to see him, will necessarily blaspheme him.
O my God, what has happened to the head and the master will also happen to the members and the disciples. This proud world is not worthy to see the disciples and imitators of Jesus Christ, nor to know them. They must be disdained and contradicted, placed in the ranks of the mad, the outmoded, the feeble-minded, who put on a good show, but inside nourish themselves with glory and vanity like everyone else. What has the world not invented to throw against your humble servants? This is the way that you have desired to give them part of your character and of your Son’s. Therefore, I wish to be hidden in you with Jesus Christ, until truth appears in triumph.
And you, whoever you may be, to whom Divine Providence should bring this book, be you great or small, poor or rich, wise or ignorant, priest or layman, monk or nun: go now to the foot of the altar and contemplate Jesus there, in the sacrament where he hides. Remain there in silence. Say nothing to him. Look upon him and wait for him to speak to you in the depths of your heart. You will see him. I have died, he says, and my life is hidden in God until I appear in my glory to judge the world. Hide yourself in God with me, and do not think of appearing until I appear. If you are alone, I will be your companion. If you are weak, I will be your strength. If you are poor, I will be your treasure. If you are hungry, I will be your food. If you are afflicted, I will be your consolation and your joy. If you are bored, I will be your delight. If you are falling, I will hold you up. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). I do not wish for a third: none other but you and me.
And I will give you “to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God,” and the “hidden manna,” the taste of which no one knows except him to whom it is given (Rev. 2:7, 17). “Let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price” (Rev. 22:17). So may it be, O Lord, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.