Tuesday, 15 March 2011

"A hand was lifted up against the Face of Christ."

Fr Z's Lenten podcast this morning [here] reminded us of that homily of the Venerable Bede which relates the parable of the fig tree to the fruit of holiness owed to God by his priests and ministers.

This is a meditation by Bl John Henry Newman, again something worth relflecting upon as Lent unfolds....
particularly perhaps those of us who dangle our toes in the sometimes uncharitable waters of the blosphere, and who sometimes contribute ourselves to its lack of charity.

"A hand was lifted up against the Face of Christ. Whose hand was that?
My conscience tells me: “thou art the man”. I trust it is not so with me now.
But, O my soul, contemplate the awful fact. Fancy Christ before thee, and fancy thyself lifting up thy hand and striking Him!
Thou wilt say, “It is impossible: I could not do so”. Yes, thou hast done so. When thou didst sin wilfully, then thou hast done so.
He is beyond pain now: still thou hast struck Him, and had it been in the days of His flesh, He would have felt pain.
Turn back in memory, and recollect the time, the day, the hour, when by wilful mortal sin, by scoffing at sacred things, or by profaneness, or by dark hatred of this thy Brother, or by acts of impurity, or by deliberate rejection of God’s voice, or in any other devilish way known to thee, thou hast struck the All-holy One.
...O my God, how can I look Thee in the face when I think of my ingratitude, so deeply seated, so habitual, so immovable — or rather so awfully increasing!
Thou loadest me day by day with Thy favours, and feedest me with Thyself, as Thou didst Judas, yet I not only do not profit thereby, but I do not even make any acknowledgment at the time.
... It is the same day after day. When wilt Thou give me a still greater grace than Thou hast given, the grace to profit by the graces which Thou givest?
When wilt Thou give me Thy effectual grace which alone can give life and vigour to this effete, miserable, dying soul of mine?
My God, I know not in what sense I can pain Thee in Thy glorified state; but I know that every fresh sin, every fresh ingratitude I now commit, was among the blows and stripes which once fell on Thee in Thy passion.
O let me have as little share in those Thy past sufferings as possible. Day by day goes, and I find I have been more and more, by the new sins of each day, the cause of them.
...Let others wound Thee — let not me. Let not me have to think that Thou wouldest have had this or that pang of soul or body the less, except for me.
O my God, I am so fast in prison that I cannot get out. O Mary, pray for me. O Philip, pray for me, though I do not deserve Thy pity."

Bl John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Meditations on Christian Doctrine, 3,2,1.

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