All Day (Thursday)
Meditations for Lent By: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet Courtesy of Sophia Institute Press Week 2: Thursday Jeremiah: A Type of Christ Jeremiah’s tears were a continual intercession for his people. “Let my eyes run down with tears
Meditations for Lent
By: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
Courtesy of Sophia Institute Press
Week 2: Thursday
Jeremiah: A Type of Christ
Jeremiah’s tears were a continual intercession for his people. “Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease, for the virgin daughter of my people is smitten with a great wound, with a very grievous blow. If I go out into the field, behold, those slain by the sword! And if I enter the city, behold, the diseases of famine! Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? Does thy soul loathe Zion? Why hast thou smitten us so that there is no healing for us? We looked for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but behold, terror. We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against thee. Do not spurn us, for thy name’s sake; do not dishonor thy glorious throne” (cf. Jer. 14:17-21). “Though our iniquities testify against us,” and set themselves in opposition to the mercy we beg of you, nevertheless “act, O Lord, for thy name’s sake” (cf. Jer. 14:7). “Remember and do not break thy covenant with us” (cf. Jer. 14:21). Alas, O Lord, will we find a God like you among the peoples who surround us in our exile? “Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Art thou not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on thee, for thou doest all these things” (cf. Jer. 14:22).
So did Jeremiah pray day and night, with tears and groaning, for a people that had not ceased to injure him and seek his death. He was a type of Christ, our great high priest, who “in the days of his flesh,” of his weakness, suffering, and mortal life, “offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears” to his Father, and “was heard for his godly fear” (Heb. 5:7), until at last, upon the Cross to which his own people had affixed him, he cried out: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
God enabled Jeremiah to do what Jesus Christ would one day command: “Pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). “Is evil a recompense for good?” (Jer. 18:20), he asked. Why have they “dug a pit for my life”; have I not been tirelessly at work for their good? “Remember, O Lord, how I stood before thee to speak good for them, to turn away thy wrath from them” (Jer. 18:20). In truth, this speech of Jeremiah seems to have been followed by terrible imprecations against the people; but we know that according to the style of the prophets, even this, under the figure of imprecation, is only a manner of predicting the evils to befall these ingrates in the future. This is why we see the same prophet, when he sees the evils that he has predicted come to pass, is far from being joyful — as he would have been had he wished for them to suffer — but is instead brought to tears by the sight of their disaster, and finishes his lamentations with this prayer: “Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; behold, and see our disgrace! Why dost thou forget us forever, why dost thou so long forsake us? Restore us to thyself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old! Or hast thou utterly rejected us? Art thou exceedingly angry with us?” (cf. Lam. 5:1, 20-22).