Author Topic: Daily Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas  (Read 3382 times)

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Daily Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas
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    Monday After First Sunday of Lent


    Christ had to be tempted in the desert

    He was in the desert forty days and forty nights: and was tempted by Satan. Mark i. 13.

    1. It was by Christ's own will that He was exposed to the temptation by the devil, as it was also by His own will that He was exposed to be slain by the limbs of the devil. Had He not so willed, the devil would never have dared to approach Him.

    The devil is always more disposed to attack those who are alone, because, as is said in Sacred Scripture, If a man shall prevail against one, two shall with stand him easily (Eccles. iv. 12). That is why Christ went out into the desert, as one going out to a battle-ground, that there He might be tempted by the devil. Whereupon St. Ambrose says that Christ went into the desert for the express purpose of provoking the devil. For unless the devil had fought, Christ would never have overcome him for me.

    St. Ambrose gives other reasons too. He says that Christ chose the desert as the place to be tempted for a hidden reason, namely that he might free from His exile Adam who, from Paradise, was driven into the desert; and again that He did it for a reason in which there is no mystery, namely to show us that the devil envies those who are tending towards a better life.

    2. We say with St. Chrysostom that Christ exposed Himself to the temptation because the devil most of all tempts those whom he sees alone. So in the very beginning of things he tempted the woman, when he found her away from her husband. It does not however follow from this that a man ought to throw himself into any occasion of temptation that presents itself.

    Occasions of temptation are of two kinds. One kind arises from man's own action, when, for example, man himself goes near to sin, not avoiding the occasion of sin. That such occasions are to be avoided we know, and Holy Scripture reminds us of it. Stay not in any part of the country round about Sodom (Gen. xix. 17). The second kind of occasion arises from the devil's constant envy of those who are tending to better things, as St. Ambrose says, and this occasion of temptation is not one we must avoid. So, according to St. John Chrysostom, not only Christ was led into the desert by the Holy Ghost, but all the children of God who possess the Holy Ghost are led in like manner. For God's children are never content to sit down with idle hands, but the Holy Ghost ever urges them to undertake for God some great work. And this, as far as the devil is concerned, is to go into the desert, for in the desert there is none of that wickedness which is the devil's delight. Every good work is as it were a desert to the eye of the world and of our flesh, for good works are contrary to the desire of the world and of our flesh.

    To give the devil such an opportunity of temptation as this is not dangerous, for it is much more the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, who is the promoter of every perfect work, that prompts us than the working of the devil who hates them all.

    Offline Binechi

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    Daily Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas
    « Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 08:22:16 PM »
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  • Tuesday After First Sunday of Lent

    Christ underwent every kind of suffering

    "Every kind of suffering." The things men suffer may be understood in two ways. By "kind" we may mean a particular, individual suffering, and in this sense there was no reason why Christ should suffer every kind of suffering, for many kinds of suffering are contrary the one to the other, as for example, to be burnt and to be drowned. We are of course speaking of Our Lord as suffering from causes outside himself, for to suffer the suffering effected by internal causes, such as bodily sickness, would not have become him. But if by "kind" we mean the class, then Our Lord did suffer by every kind of suffering, as we can show in three ways:

    1. By considering the men through whom He suffered. For He suffered something at the hands of Gentiles and of Jews, of men and even of women as the story of the servant girl who accused St. Peter goes to show. He suffered, again, at the hands of rulers, of their ministers, and of the people, as was prophesied, Why have the Gentiles raged; and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together against the Lord and against his Christ (Ps. ii. i, 2).

    He suffered, too, from His friends, the men He knew best, for Peter denied Him and Judas betrayed Him.

    2. If we consider the things through which suffering is possible. Christ suffered in the friends who deserted Him, and in His good name through the blasphemies uttered against Him. He suffered in the respect, in the glory, due to Him through the derision and contempt bestowed upon Him. He suffered in things, for He was stripped even of His clothing; in His soul, through sadness, through weariness and through fear; in His body through wounds and the scourging.

    3. If we consider what He underwent in His various parts. His head suffered through the crown of piercing thorns, His hands and feet through the nails driven through them, His face from the blows and the defiling spittle, and His whole body through the scourging.

    He suffered in every sense of His body. Touch was afflicted by the scourging and the nailing, taste by the vinegar and gall, smell by the stench of corpses as He hung on the cross in that place of the dead which is called Calvary. His hearing was torn with the voices of mockers and blasphemers, and He saw the tears of His mother and of the disciple whom He loved. If we only consider the amount of suffering required, it is true that one suffering alone, the least indeed of all, would have sufficed to redeem the human race from all its sins. But if we look at the fitness of the matter, it had to be that Christ should suffer in all the kinds of sufferings.


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    « Reply #2 on: March 07, 2017, 08:02:26 PM »
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    Wednesday After First Sunday of Lent


    How Great was the Sorrow of Our Lord in His Passion?

    Attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow. Lam. i. 12.

    Our Lord as He suffered felt really, and in His senses, that pain which is caused by some harmful bodily thing. He also felt that interior pain which is caused by the fear of something harmful and which we call sadness. In both these respects the pain suffered by Our Lord was the greatest pain possible in this present life. There are four reasons why this was so.


    1. The causes of the pain.

    The cause of the pain in the senses was the breaking up of the body, a pain whose bitterness derived partly from the fact that the sufferings attacked every part of His body, and partly from the fact that of all species of torture death by crucifixion is undoubtedly the most bitter. The nails are driven through the most sensitive of all places, the hands and the feet, the weight of the body itself increases the pain every moment. Add to this the long drawn-out agony, for the crucified do not die immediately as do those who are beheaded.


    The cause of the internal pain was:

    (i) All the sins of all mankind for which, by suffering, He was making satisfaction, so that, in a sense, He took them to Him as though they were His own. The words of my sins, it says in the Psalms (Ps. xxi. 2).

    (ii) The special case of the Jews and the others who had had a share in the sin of His death, and especially the case of His disciples for whom His death had been a thing to be ashamed of.

    (iii) The loss of his bodily life, which, by the nature of things, is something from which human nature turns away in horror.


    2. We may consider the greatness of the pain according to the capacity, bodily and spiritual, for suffering of Him who suffered. In His body He was most admirably formed, for it was formed by the miraculous operation of the Holy Ghost, and therefore its sense of touch that sense through which we experience pain was of the keenest. His soul likewise, from its interior powers, had a knowledge as from experience of all the causes of sorrow.

    3. The greatness of Our Lord's suffering can be considered in regard to this that the pain and sadness were without any alleviation. For in the case of no matter what other sufferer the sadness of mind, and even the bodily pain, is lessened through a certain kind of reasoning, by means of which there is brought about a distraction of the sorrow from the higher powers to the lower. But when Our Lord suffered this did not happen, for He allowed each of His powers to act and suffer to the fullness of its special capacity.

    4. We may consider the greatness of the suffering of Christ in the Passion in relation to this fact that the Passion and the pain it brought with it were deliberately undertaken by Christ with the object of freeing man from sin. And therefore He undertook to suffer an amount of pain proportionately equal to the extent of the fruit that was to follow from the Passion.

    From all these causes, if we consider them together, it will be evident that the pain suffered by Christ was the greatest pain ever suffered.

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    « Reply #3 on: March 09, 2017, 06:33:59 AM »
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  • Thursday After First Sunday

    It was fitting that Christ should be Crucified with the Thieves


    Christ was crucified between the thieves because such was the will of the Jews, and also because this was part of God's design. But the reasons why this was appointed were not the same in each of these cases.

    1. As far as the Jews were concerned Our Lord was crucified with the thieves on either side to encourage the suspicion that he too was a criminal. But it fell out otherwise. The thieves themselves have left not a trace in the remembrance of man, while His cross is everywhere held in honour. Kings laying aside their crowns have broidered the cross on their royal robes. They have placed it on their crowns; on their arms. It has its place on the very altars. Everywhere, throughout the world, we behold the splendour of the cross.

    In God's plan Christ was crucified with the thieves in order that, as for our sakes he became accursed of the cross, so, for our salvation, He is crucified like an evil thing among evil things.

    2. The Pope, St. Leo the Great, says that the thieves were crucified, one on either side of Him, so that in the very appearance of the scene of His suffering there might be set forth that distinction which should be made in the judgment of each one of us. St. Augustine has the same thought. "The cross itself," he says, " was a tribunal. In the centre was the judge. To the one side a man who believed and was set free, to the other side a scoffer and he was condemned." Already there was made clear the final fate of the living and the dead, the one class placed at His right, the other on His left.

    3. According to St. Hilary the two thieves, placed to right and to left, typify that the whole of mankind is called to the mystery of Our Lord's Passion. And since division of things according to right and left is made with reference to believers and those who will not believe, one of the two, placed on the right, is saved by justifying faith.

    4. As St. Bede says, the thieves who were crucified with Our Lord, represent those who for the faith and to confess Christ undergo the agony of martyrdom or the severe discipline of a more perfect life. Those who do this for the sake of eternal glory are typified by the thief on the right hand. Those whose motive is the admiration of whoever beholds them imitate the spirit and the act of the thief on the left-hand side.

    As Christ owed no debt in payment for which a man must die, but submitted to death of His own will, in order to overcome death, so also He had not done anything on account of which He deserved to be put with the thieves. But of His own will He chose to be reckoned among the wicked, that by His power He might destroy wickedness itself. Which is why St. John Chrysostom says that to convert the thief on the cross and to turn him to Paradise was as great a miracle as the earthquake.

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    « Reply #4 on: March 10, 2017, 01:09:59 AM »
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    « Reply #5 on: March 10, 2017, 07:16:24 AM »
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    Friday After First Sunday

    The Feast of the Holy Lance and the Nails of Our Lord

    One of the soldiers with a spear opened His side, and immediately there came out blood and water.--John xix. 34.

    1. The gospel deliberately says opened and not wounded, because through Our Lord's side there was opened to us the gate of eternal life. After these things I looked, and behold a gate was opened in heaven (Apoc. iv. i). This is the door opened in the ark, through which enter the animals who will not perish in the flood.

    2. But this door is the cause of our salvation. Immediately there came forth blood and water a thing truly miraculous, that, from a dead body, in which the blood congeals, blood should come forth.

    This was done to show that by the Passion of Christ we receive a full absolution, an absolution from every sin and every stain. We receive this absolution from sin through that blood which is the price of our redemption. You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation with the tradition of your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (i Pet. i. 18).

    We were absolved from every stain by the water, which is the laver of our redemption. In the prophet Ezechiel it is said, I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleaned from all your filthiness (Ezech. xxxvi. 28), and in Zacharias, There shall be a fountain open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for the washing of the sinner and the unclean woman (Zach. xiii. i).

    And so these two things may be thought of in relation to two of the sacraments, the water to baptism and the blood to the Holy Eucharist. Or both may be referred to the Holy Eucharist since, in the Mass, water is mixed with the wine. Although the water is not of the substance of the sacrament.

    Again, as from the side of Christ asleep in death on the cross there flowed that blood and water in which the Church is consecrated, so from the side of the sleeping Adam was formed the first woman, who herself foreshadowed the Church.

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    Daily Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas
    « Reply #6 on: March 11, 2017, 06:44:47 AM »
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    Saturday After First Sunday

    The Love of God Shown in the Passion of Christ

    God commendeth His charity towards us: because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us.--Rom. v. 8, 9

    1. Christ died for the ungodly (ibid. 6). This is a great thing if we consider who it is that died, a great thing also if we consider on whose behalf he died. For scarce for a just man, will one die (ibid. 6), that is to say, that you will hardly find anyone who will die even to set free a man who is innocent, nay even it is said, The just perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart (Isaias lvii).

    Rightly therefore does St. Paul say scarce will one die. There might perhaps be found one, some one rare person who out of superabundance of courage would be so bold as to die for a good man. But this is rare, for the simple reason that so to act is the greatest of all things. Greater love than this no man hath, says Our Lord himself, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John xv. 13).

    But the like of what Christ did himself, to die for evildoers and the wicked, has never been seen. Wherefore rightly do we ask in wonderment why Christ did it.

    2. If in fact it be asked why Christ died for the wicked, the answer is that God in this way commendeth His charity towards us. He shows us in this way that He loves us with a love that knows no limits, for while we were as yet sinners Christ died for us.

    The very death of Christ for us shows the love of God, for it was His son whom He gave to die that satisfaction might be made for us. God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son (John iii. 16). And thus as the love of God the Father for us is shown in his giving us His Holy Spirit, so also is it shown in this way, by his gift of his only Son.

    The Apostle says God commendeth signifying thereby that the love of God is a thing which cannot be measured. This is shown by the very fact of the matter, namely the fact that He gave His Son to die for us, and it is shown also by reason of the kind of people we are for whom He died. Christ was not stirred up to die for us by any merits of ours, when as yet we were sinners. God (who is rich in mercy) for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ (Eph. ii. 4).

    3. All these things are almost too much to be believed. A work is done in your days, which no man will believe when it shall be told (Habac. i. 5). This truth that Christ died for us is so hard a truth that scarcely can our intelligence take hold of it. Nay it is a truth that our intelligence could in no way discover. And St. Paul, preaching, makes echo to Habacuc, I work a work in your days, a work which you will not believe, if any man shall tell it to you (Acts xiii 14).

    So great is God's love for us and His grace towards us, that He does more for us than we can believe or understand.

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    « Reply #7 on: March 12, 2017, 06:02:03 AM »
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  • Second Sunday

    God the Father Delivered Christ to His Passion

    God spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.--Rom. viii. 32.

    Christ suffered willingly, moved by obedience to His Father. Wherefore, God the Father delivered Christ to His Passion, and this in three ways:

    1. Because the Father, of His eternal will, preordained the Passion of Christ as the means whereby to free the human race. So it is said in Isaias, The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. liii. 6), and again, The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity (ibid. liii. 10).

    2. Because He inspired Our Lord with the willingness to suffer for us, pouring into His soul the love which produced the will to suffer. Whence the prophet goes on to say, He was offered because it was His own will (Isa. liii. 7).

    3. Because He did not protect Our Lord from the Passion, but exposed him to his persecutors. Whence we read in St. Matthew's Gospel, that as He hung on the cross Christ said, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken met (Matt, xxvii. 46). For God the Father, that is to say, had left him at the mercy of His torturers.

    To hand over an innocent man to suffering and to death, against His will, compelling him to die as it were, would indeed be cruel and wicked. But it was not in this way that God the Father handed over Christ. He handed over Christ by inspiring Him with the will to suffer for us. By so doing the severity of God is made clear to us, that no sin is forgiven without punishment undergone, which St. Paul again teaches when he says, God spared not his own Son. At the same time God's goodheartedness is shown in the fact that whereas man could not, no matter what his punishment, sufficiently make satisfaction, God has given man someone who can make that satisfaction for him. Which is what St. Paul means by, He delivered Him up for us all, and again when he says, God hath proposed Christ to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood (Rom. iii. 25). The same activity in a good man and in a bad man is differently judged inasmuch as the root from which it proceeds is different. The Father, for example, delivered over Christ and Christ delivered himself, and this from love, and therefore They are praised. Judas delivered Him from love of gain, the Jews from hatred, Pilate from the worldly fear with which he feared Caesar, and these are rightly regarded with horror. Christ therefore did not owe to death the debt of necessity, but of charity--the charity to men by which He willed their salvation, and the charity to God by which He willed to fulfil God's will, as it says in the gospel, Not as I will but as Thou wilt (Matt, xx vi. 39).



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    « Reply #8 on: March 13, 2017, 07:07:48 AM »
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    Monday After the Second Sunday


    It was fitting that our Lord should suffer at the hands of the Gentiles


    They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked., and scourged and crucified.--Matt. xx. 19.

    In the very manner of the Passion of Our Lord its effects are foreshadowed. In the first place, the Passion of Our Lord had for its effect the salvation of Jews, many of whom were baptised in His death.

    Secondly, by the preaching of these Jews, the effects of the Passion passed to the Gentiles also. There was thus a certain fitness in Our Lord's Passion beginning with the Jews and then, the Jews handing Him on, that it should be completed at the hands of the Gentiles.

    To show the abundance of the love which moved Him to suffer, Christ, on the very cross, asked mercy for His tormentors. And since He wished that Jew and Gentile alike should realise this truth about His love, so He wished that both should have a share in making Him suffer.

    It was the Jews and not the Gentiles who offered the figurative sacrifices of the Old Law. The Passion of Christ was an offering through sacrifice, inasmuch as Christ underwent death by His own will moved by charity. But in so far as those who put him to death were concerned, they were not offering a sacrifice but committing a sin.

    When the Jews declared, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death (John xix. 31), they may have had many things in mind. It was not lawful for them to put anyone to death on account of the holiness of the feast they had begun to keep. Perhaps they wished Christ to be killed not as a transgressor of their own law but as an enemy of the state, because He had made Himself a king, a charge concerning which they had no jurisdiction. Or again, they may have meant that they had no power to crucify which was what they longed for but only to stone, as they later stoned St. Stephen. Or, the most likely thing of all, that their Roman conquerors had taken away their power of life and death.

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    « Reply #9 on: March 14, 2017, 09:36:18 AM »
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    Tuesday After the Second Sunday

    The Passion of Christ brought about our salvation
    because it was a meritorious act

    They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged and crucified.--Matt. xx. 19.

    Grace was given to Christ not only as to a particular person, but also as far as He is the head of the Church, in order that the grace might pass over from Him to His members. And the good works Christ performed, therefore, stand in this same way in relation to Him and to His members, as the good works of any other man in a state of grace stand to himself.

    Now it is evident that any man who, in a state of grace, suffers for justice sake, merits for himself, by this very fact alone, salvation. As is said in the gospel, Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake (Matt. v. 10). Whence Christ by His Passion merited salvation not only for Himself but for all His members.

    Christ, indeed, from the very instant of His conception, merited eternal salvation for us. But there still remained certain obstacles on our part, obstacles which kept us from possessing ourselves of the effect of what Christ had merited. Wherefore, in order to remove these obstacles, it behoved Christ to suffer (Luke xxiv. 46).

    Now although the love of Christ for us was not increased in the Passion, and was not greater in the Passion than before it, the Passion of Christ had a certain effect which His previous meritorious activity did not have. The Passion produced this effect not on account of any greater love shown thereby, but because it was a kind of action fitted to produce that effect, as is evident from what has been said already on the fitness of the Passion of Christ.

    Head and members belong to one and the same person. Now Christ is our head, according to His divinity and to the fullness of Hhis grace which overflows upon others also. We are His members. What Christ then meritoriously acquires is not something external and foreign to us, but, by virtue of the unity of the mystical body, it over flows upon us too (3 Dist. xviii. 6).

    We should know, too, that although Christ by His death acquired merit sufficient for the whole human race, there are special things needed for the particular salvation of each individual soul, and these each soul must itself seek out. The death of Christ is, as it were, the cause of all salvation, as the sin of the first man was the cause of all condemnation. But if each individual man is to share in the effect of a universal cause, the universal cause needs to be specially applied to each individual man.

    Now the effect of the sin of the first parents is transmitted to each individual through his bodily origin (i.e., through his being a bodily descendant of the first man). The effect of the death of Christ is transmitted to each man through a spiritual rebirth, a re-birth in which man is, as it were, conjoined with Christ and incorporated with Him.

    Therefore it is that each individual must seek to be born again through Christ, and to receive those other things in which works the power of the death of Christ.

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    « Reply #10 on: March 15, 2017, 09:11:52 AM »
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    Wednesday After the Second Sunday

    The Passion of Christ brought about our salvation
    because it was an act of satisfaction

    He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.--I John ii. 2.

    Satisfaction for offences committed is truly made when there is offered to the person offended a thing which he loves as much as, or more than, he hates the offences committed.

    Christ, however, by suffering out of love and out of obedience, offered to God something greater by far than the satisfaction called for by all the sins of all mankind, and this for three reasons. In the first place, there was the greatness of the love which moved Him to suffer. Then there was the worth of the life which He laid down in satisfaction, the life of God and man. Finally, on account of the way in which His Passion involved every part of His being, and of the greatness of the suffering he undertook.

    So it is that the Passion of Christ was not merely sufficient but superabundant as a satisfaction for men's sins. It would seem indeed to be the case that satisfaction should be made by the person who committed the offence. But head and members are as it were one mystical person, and therefore the satisfaction made by Christ avails all the faithful as they are the members of Christ. One man can always make satisfaction for another, so long as the two are one in charity.

    2. Although Christ, by His death, made sufficient satisfaction for original sin, it is not unfitting that the penal consequences of original sin should still remain even in those who are made sharers in Christ's redemption. This has been done fittingly and usefully, so that the penalties remain even though the guilt has been removed.

    (i) It has been done so that there might be conformity between the faithful and Christ, as there is conformity between members and head. Just as Christ first of all suffered many pains and came in this way to His glory, so it is only right that His faithful should also first be subjected to sufferings and thence enter into immortality, themselves bearing as it were the livery of the Passion of Christ so as to enjoy a glory somewhat like to His.

    (ii) A second reason is that if men coming to Christ were straightway freed from suffering and the necessity of death, only too many would come to Him attracted rather by these temporal advantages than by spiritual things. And this would be altogether contrary to the intention of Christ, who came into this world that He might convert men from a love of temporal advantages and win them to spiritual things.

    (iii) Finally, if those who came to Christ were straightway rendered immortal and impassible, this would in a kind of way compel men to receive the faith of Christ, and so the merit of believing would be lessened.



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    Thursday After the Second Sunday

    That the Passion of Christ brought about its effect
    because it was a Sacrifice

    A sacrifice properly so called is something done to render God the honour specially due to Him, in order to appease Him. St. Augustine teaches this, saying, "Every work done in order that we may, in a holy union, cleave to God is a true sacrifice every work, that is to say, related to that final good whose possession alone can make us truly happy." Christ in the Passion offered Himself for us, and it was just this circumstance that He offered Himself willingly which was to God the most precious thing of all, since the willingness came from the greatest possible love. Whence it is evident that the Passion of Christ was a real sacrifice.

    And as He Himself adds later. The former sacrifices of the saints were so many signs, of different kinds, of this one true sacrifice. This one thing was signified through many things, as one thing is said through many words, so that it may be repeated often without beginning to weary people.

    St. Augustine speaks of four things being found in every sacrifice, namely a person to whom the offering is made, one by whom it is made, the thing offered and those on whose behalf it is offered. These are all found in the Passion of Our Lord. It is the same person, the only, true mediator Himself, who through the sacrifice of peace reconciles us to God, yet remains one with Him to whom He offers, who makes one with Him those for whom He offers, and is Himself one who both offers and is offered.

    It is true that in those sacrifices of the old law which were types of Christ, human flesh was never offered, but it does not follow from this that the Passion of Christ was not a sacrifice. For although the reality and the thing that typifies it must coincide in one point, it is not necessary that they coincide in every point, for the reality must go beyond the thing that typifies it. It was then very fitting that the sacrifice in which the flesh of Christ is offered for us was typified by a sacrifice not of the flesh of man but of other animals, to foreshadow the flesh of Christ which is the most perfect sacrifice of all. It is the most perfect sacrifice of all.


    (i) Because since it is the flesh of human nature that is offered, it is a thing fittingly offered for men and fittingly received by men in a sacrament.

    (ii) Because, since the flesh of Christ was able to suffer and to die it was suitable for immolation. (iii) Because since that flesh was itself without sin, it had a power to cleanse from sin.

    (iv) Because being the flesh of the very offerer, it was acceptable to God by reason of the unspeakable love of the one who was offering his own flesh.


    Whence St. Augustine says, "What is there more suitably received by men, of offerings made on their behalf, than human flesh, and what is so suitable for immolation as mortal flesh? And what is so clean for cleansing mortal viciousness as that flesh born, without stain of carnal desire, in the womb and of the womb of a virgin? And what can be so graciously offered and received as the flesh of our sacrifice, the body so produced of our priest?"


    Offline Binechi

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    Daily Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas
    « Reply #12 on: March 17, 2017, 03:53:15 PM »
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    Feast of the Holy Winding Sheet

    Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new monument.-- Matt, xxvii. 59.

    By this clean linen cloth three things are signified in a hidden way, namely:

    (i) The pure body of Christ. For the cloth was made of linen which by much pressing is made white and in like manner it was after much pressure that the body of Christ came to the brightness of the resurrection. Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day (Luke xxiv. 46).

    (ii) The Church, which without spot or wrinkle (Eph. v. 27), is signified by this linen woven out of many threads.

    (iii) A clear conscience, where Christ reposes.

    And laid him in his own new monument. It was Joseph's own grave and certainly it was some how appropriate that he who had died for the sins of others should be buried in another man's grave.

    Notice that it was a new grave. Had other bodies already been laid in it, there might have been a doubt which had arisen. There is another fitness in this circumstance, namely that he who was buried in this new grave, was He who was born of a virgin mother.

    As Mary's womb knew no child before Him nor after Him, so was it with this grave. Again we may understand that it is in a soul renewed that Christ is buried by faith, that Christ may dwell by faith in our hearts (Eph. iii. 17).

    St. John's Gospel adds, Now there was in the place where He was crucified, a garden ; and in the garden a new sepulchre (John xix. 41). Which recalls to us that as Christ was taken in a garden and suffered His agony in a garden, so in a garden was He buried, and thereby we are reminded that it was from the sin committed by Adam in the garden of delightfulness that, by the power of His Passion, Christ set us free, and also that through the Passion the Church was consecrated, the Church which again is as a garden closed.


    Offline Binechi

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    Daily Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas
    « Reply #13 on: March 18, 2017, 08:50:34 AM »
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    Saturday After the Second Sunday

    The Passion of Christ wrought our salvation by redeeming us

    St. Peter says, You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (I Pet. 1. 18).

    St. Paul says, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Gal. iii. 13). He is said to be accursed in our place inasmuch as it was for us that He suffered on the cross. Therefore by His Passion He redeemed us.

    Sin, in fact, had bound man with a double obligation.

    (i) An obligation that made him sin's slave. For Jesus said, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin (John viii. 34). A man is enslaved to whoever overcomes him. Therefore since the devil, in inducing man to sin, had overcome man, man was bound in servitude to the devil.

    (ii) A further obligation existed, namely between man and the penalty due for the sin committed, and man was bound in this way in accord with the justice of God. This too was a kind of servitude, for to servitude or slavery it belongs that a man must suffer otherwise than he chooses, since the free man is the man who uses himself as he wills.

    Since then the Passion of Christ made sufficient, and more than sufficient, satisfaction for the sins of all mankind and for the penalty due to them, the Passion was a kind of price through which we were free from both these obligations. For the satisfaction itself that by means of which one makes satisfaction, whether for oneself or for another is spoken of as a kind of price by which one redeems or buys back oneself or another from sin and from merited penalties. So in Holy Scripture it is said, Redeem thou thy sins with alms (Dan. iv. 24).

    Christ made satisfaction not indeed by a gift of money or anything of that sort, but by a gift that was the greatest of all, by giving for us Himself. And thus it is that the Passion of Christ is called our redemption.

    By sinning man bound himself not to God but to the devil. As far as concerns the guilt of what he did, he had offended God and had made himself subject to the devil, assenting to his will.

    Hence he did not, by reason of the sin committed, bind himself to God, but rather, deserting God's service, he had fallen under the yoke of the devil. And God, with justice if we remember the offence committed against Him, had not prevented this.

    But, if we consider the matter of the punishment earned, it was chiefly and in the first place to God that man was bound, as to the supreme judge. Man was, in respect of punishment, bound to the devil only in a lesser sense, as to the torturer, as it says in the gospel, Lest the adversary deliver thee to the judge and the judge deliver thee to the officer (Matt. v. 25), that is, to the cruel minister of punishments.

    Therefore, although the devil unjustly, as far as was in his power, held man whom by his lies he had deceived bound in slavery, held him bound both on account of the guilt and of the punishment due for it, it was nevertheless just that man should suffer in this way. The slavery which he suffered on account of the thing done God did not prevent, and the slavery he suffered as punishment God decreed.

    Therefore it was in regard to God's claims that justice called for man to be redeemed, and not in regard to the devil's hold on us. And it was to God the price was paid and not to the devil.

    Offline Binechi

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    Re: Daily Meditations for Lent by St. Thomas Aquinas
    « Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 04:42:36 PM »
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    Third Week in Lent Sunday

    It is the Passion of Christ that has freed us from sin

    He hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.--Apoc. 1. 5.

    The Passion of Christ is the proper cause of the remission of our sins, and that in three ways

     1.Because it provokes us to love God. St. Paul says, God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners Christ died for us (Rom. v. 8).

    Through charity we obtain forgiveness for sin, as it says in the gospel, Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much (Luke vii. 47).

     2.The Passion of Christ is the cause of the forgiveness of sins because it is an act of redemption. Since Christ is Himself our head, He has, by His own Passion undertaken from love and obedience delivered us His members from our sins, as it were at the price of His Passion. Just as a man might by some act of goodness done with his hands buy himself off for a wrong thing he had done with his feet. For as man's natural body is a unity, made up of different limbs, so the whole Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, is reckoned as a single person with its own head, and this head is Christ.

     3.The Passion of Christ was a thing equal to its task. For the human nature through which Christ suffered His Passion is the instrument of His divine nature. Whence all the actions and all the sufferings of that human nature wrought to drive out sin, are wrought by a power that is divine.

    Christ, in His Passion, delivered us from our sins in a causal way, that is to say, He set up for us a thing which would be a cause of our emancipation, a thing whereby any sin might at any time be remitted, whether committed now, or in times gone by, or in time to come: much as a physician might make a medicine from which all who are sick may be healed, even those sick in the years yet to come.

    But since what gives the Passion of Christ its excellence is the fact that it is the universal cause of the forgiveness of sins, it is necessary that we each of us ourselves make use of it for the forgiveness of our own particular sins. This is done through Baptism, Penance and the other sacraments, whose power derives from the Passion of Christ.

    By faith also we make use of the Passion of Christ, in order to receive its fruits, as St. Paul says, Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood (Rom. iii 25). But the faith by which we are cleansed from sin is not that faith which can exist side by side with sin--the faith called formless--but faith formed, that is to say, faith made alive by charity. So that the Passion of Christ is not through faith applied merely to our understanding but also to our will. Again, it is from the power of the Passion of Christ that the sins are forgiven which are forgiven by faith in this way. 


     

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