UNION OF THE SOUL WITH HER GOD, WHICH IS PERFECTED IN PRAYER – St. Francis De Sales

HOW LOVE EFFECTS THE UNION OF THE SOUL WITH GOD IN PRAYER.

WE speak not here of the general union of the heart with its God, but of certain particular acts and movements which the soul, recollected in God, makes by way of prayer, to be more and more united and joined to his divine goodness: for there is truly a difference between joining or uniting one thing to another, and clasping or pressing one thing against or upon another; because to join or unite there is only required an application of one thing to the other, so that they may touch, and be together, as we join vines to elms, and jessamine to the trellis-work of the arbours which are made in gardens.

But to squeeze and press together, a strong application must be made, which increases and augments the union; so that to clasp together is to join strongly and closely, as we see ivy joined to trees, which is not united only, but pressed and clasped so hard to them that it even penetrates and enters into their bark. We must not drop the comparison of the love of little children towards their mothers, because of its innocence and purity.

Regard, then, that sweet little child, to whom the seated mother presents  her breast. It casts itself into her arms, gathering and folding its little body in this bosom and on this beloved breast. And see the mother, reciprocally, how, receiving it she clasps it, and as it were glues it to her bosom, and joining her mouth to its mouth kisses it. But see again this little babe, allured with its mother’s caresses, how for its part it concurs in this union between its mother and itself: for it also, as much as it possibly can, squeezes and presses itself to its mother’s breast and face, as though it would wholly dive into, and hide itself in that beloved being from whom it came.

Now, Theotimus, in this moment union is perfect; which being but one, proceeds notwithstanding from the mother and the child, yet so, that it has its whole dependence upon the mother. For she drew the child to her, she first locked it in her arms, and pressed it to her breast; nor had the babe strength enough to clasp and keep itself so tight to its mother.

Yet the poor little one does for its part what it can, and joins itself with all its strength to its mother’s bosom, not consenting only to the delightful union which its mother makes, but contributing, with all its heart, its feeble endeavours: and I say its feeble endeavours, because they are so weak that they rather resemble efforts after union than actual union.

Thus then, Theotimus, our Saviour, showing the most delightful breast of his divine love to the devout soul, draws her wholly to himself, gathers her up, and as it were folds all her powers in the bosom of his more than motherly sweetness, and then burning with love, he clasps the soul, joins, presses and glues her on his lips of sweetness, and to his delicious breast, kissing her with the sacred  kiss of his mouth, and making her relish his breasts more sweet than wine.

Then the soul, allured with the delights of these favours, not only consents, and yields herself to the union which God makes, but with all her power co-operates, forcing herself to join and clasp herself closer and closer to the divine goodness; yet in such a way that she fully acknowledges her union and attachment to this sovereign sweetness to be wholly dependent upon God’s operation, without which she could not make the least effort in the world to be united unto him.

When we see an exquisite beauty beheld with great ardour, or an excellent melody heard with great attention, or a rare discourse listened to with great satisfaction, we are wont to say that this beauty rivets the eyes of the spectators, this music takes the ears, and this discourse captivates the hearts, of the auditors. What does this mean—to rivet the eyes and ears, or to captivate the heart—save to unite and most closely join these senses and powers to their objects?

The soul then closely joins herself to, and presses herself upon, her object, when she exercises her affection towards it with great intensity; for pressure is nothing more than the progress and advancement of the union and conjunction. We make use of this word, according to our language, even in moral matters: he presses me to do this, or he presses me to stay, that is, he does not merely use his persuasion and prayer, but does it with earnestness and entreaty, as did the pilgrims in Emmaus, who not only petitioned our Saviour, but even pressed and forcibly urged him, and compelled him by a loving violence to remain in their lodging with them.

Now in prayer this union is often made by manner of little yet frequent flights and advancings of the soul towards God: and if you take notice of little children united and joined to their mothers’ breasts, you will see that ever and anon they press and clasp closer, with little movements which the pleasure they take in sucking makes them give: so the heart united to God in prayer often makes certain renewals of union, by movements which press and join it more closely to the divine sweetness.

As for example, the soul having long dwelt in the feeling of the union whereby she sweetly tastes how happy she is to belong to God, in fine, augmenting this union by an amorous pressing and moving forwards: Yea, Lord, will she say, I am thine, all, all, all, without reserve; or: Ah Lord! I am so indeed, and will be daily ever more; or, by way of prayer: O sweet Jesus! Ah! draw me still more deeply into thy heart, that thy love may devour me, and that I may be swallowed up in its sweetness.

But at other times the union is made not by repeated movements, but by way of a continued insensible pressing and advancing of the heart in the divine goodness. For as we see a great and heavy mass of lead, brass or stone, though not forced down, so work itself, sink down, and press itself, into the earth where it lies, that at length it is found buried, by reason of the effect of its weight, which makes it incessantly tend to the centre;—so our heart, being once joined to God, if without being drawn away it remain in this union, sinks still deeper by an insensible progress of union, till it is wholly in God, by reason of the sacred inclination given it by love to unite itself ever more and more to the sovereign goodness.

For as the great apostle of France says: “Love is a unitive virtue:” that is, it carries us to perfect union with the sovereign good. And since it is an undoubted truth that divine love, while we are in this life, is a movement, or at least a habit active and tending to movement; even after it has attained simple union, it ceases not to act, though imperceptibly, in order more and more to increase and perfect it.

So trees that require transplanting, as soon as they are moved spread their roots and lodge them deeply in the bosom of the earth, which is their element and their aliment, nor do any perceive it while it is doing, but only after it is done. And man’s heart, transplanted out of the world into God by celestial love, if it earnestly practise prayer, will certainly ever extend itself, and will fasten itself to the Divinity, uniting itself more and more to his goodness, but by imperceptible advances, whose progress one can hardly see while it is doing, but only when it is done.

If you drink any exquisite water, for instance, imperial water, the simple union of it with you is instantly made upon your receiving it; for the receiving and union is all one in this case; but afterwards by little and little this union is increased, by a progress imperceptibly sensible: for the virtue of this water penetrating to all parts, will strengthen the brain, invigorate the heart, and extend its influence through all your humours.

In like manner, a feeling of love—as for example: How good God is!—having got entrance into the heart, at first causes union with this goodness; but being entertained for some fairly long time, as a precious perfume it penetrates every part of the soul, pours out and dilates itself in our will, and as it were, incorporates itself with our spirit, joining and fastening itself on every side more and more closely to us, and uniting us to it.

And this is what the great David teaches us, when he compares the sacred words to honey; for who knows not that the sweetness of honey is united more and more to our sense by a continual increase of savour, when, keeping it a good while in our mouth, or swallowing it slowly, the relish thereof more deeply penetrates our sense of taste. In the same way that sentiment of the divine goodness, expressed in those words of S. Bruno: O Goodness! or those of S. Thomas: My Lord and my God! or those of S. Magdalen: Ah! my Master! or those of S. Francis: My God and my All!—this sentiment, I say, having been kept some while within a loving heart, dilates itself, spreads itself, and sinks into the spirit by an intimate penetration, and more and more steeps it all in its savour.

This is nothing else than to increase union; as does precious ointment or balm, which, falling upon cotton-wool, so sinks into it and unites itself to it more and more, little by little, that in the end one cannot easily say whether the wool is perfumed or perfume, or, whether the perfume is wool, or the wool perfume. Oh! how happy is the soul who in the tranquillity of her heart lovingly preserves the sacred feeling of God’s presence!

For her union with the divine goodness will have continual though imperceptible increase, and will thoroughly steep the spirit of such a one in infinite sweetness. Now when I speak here of the sacred sentiment of the presence of God, I do not mean to speak of a sensible feeling, but of that which resides in the summit and supreme point of the spirit, where heavenly love reigns and conducts its principal exercises.

St. Philomena The Wonder Worker

St. Philomena The Wonder Worker by Father Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.  is an absolutely wonderful book that will greatly aid in furthering a devotion to this saint.

I read this several years ago and our entire family enjoyed it and developed a devotion to this saint.

She was a favorite of St. John Vianney and he promoted her devotion far and wide.

I was looking for this book in an online format so it could be shared on the blog and I was able to find a PDF version of it.

While reading from an actual book is easier, this books is only 90 or so pages and the online version would be free so I thought it worthwhile to put it up here.

If you would like to purchase this book you can find a few copies on Ebay for under $6 here. You can also find newer versions on Amazon here.

And if you would rather read it online or download the pdf  just click here.

Additionally, here is a litany composed by St. John Vianney to help encourage her intercession for us.

Lord have mercy on us.

Christ have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy on us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Queen of Virgins,

St. Philomena, pray for us.

St. Philomena, filled with the most abundant
graces from your very birth, pray for us.

St. Philomena, faithful imitator of Mary, pray for us.

St. Philomena. model of Virgins, pray for us.

St. Philomena, temple of the most perfect humility, pray for us.

St. Philomena, inflamed with zeal for the Glory of God, pray for us.

St. Philomena, victim of the love of Jesus, pray for us.

St. Philomena, example of strength and perseverance, pray for us.

St. Philomena, invincible champion of chastity, pray for us.

St. Philomena, mirror of the most heroic virtues, pray for us.

St. Philomena, firm and intrepid in the face of torments, pray for us.

St. Philomena, scourged like your Divine Spouse, pray for us.

St. Philomena, pierced by a shower of arrows, pray for us.

St. Philomena, consoled by the Mother of God, when in chains, pray for us.

St. Philomena, cured miraculously in prison, pray for us.

St. Philomena, comforted by angels in your torments, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who preferred torments and death to the splendors of a throne, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who converted the witnesses of your martyrdom, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who wore out the fury of your executioners, pray for us.

St. Philomena, protectress of the innocent, pray for us.

St. Philomena, patron of youth, pray for us.

St. Philomena, refuge of the unfortunate, pray for us.

St. Philomena, health of the sick and the weak. pray for us.

St. Philomena, new light of the church militant, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who confounds the impiety of the world, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who stimulates the faith and courage of the faithful, pray for us.

St. Philomena, whose name is glorified in Heaven and feared in Hell, pray for us.

St. Philomena, made illustrious by the most striking miracles, pray for us.

St. Philomena, all powerful with God, pray for us.

St. Philomena, who reigns in glory, pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V.) Pray for us, Great St. Philomena,

R.) That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray

We implore Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, who was ever most pleasing to Thy eyes by reason of her eminent purity and the practice of all the virtues, pardon us our sins and grant us all the graces we need (and name any special grace you may require). Amen.

Sermon for Palm Sunday – St. Vincent Ferrer

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (Mt 12:9).

   This text is taken as the basis of our sermon. It is a short and very devout song composed by the Holy Spirit, and today sung with devotion to Christ, when he solemnly  entered the city of Jerusalem.  We sing it today many times, representing that solemnity,  Christ coming into the city of Jerusalem: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

   The whole solemnity of Palm Sunday today consists of three points:

 — First is about the honor and solemnity today coming to Christ shown by the city of Jerusalem in which he was received honorably [receptus honorabiliter].

 — Second is about the solemnity which we today give, representing him appropriately [repraesentando appropriate].

 — Third is about the way which Christ walks today, coming into the city of Jerusalem virtuously [veniendo virtuose]

   And for each of these in particular and for all of them in general we should sing and say to God, “Blessed is he who comes,” etc.

RECEIVED HONORABLY

   The first point today is about the honor and solemnity which the Jews showed. In the temple they praised and blessed Christ coming into the city of Jerusalem, where he was received honorably with great joy and festivity.  Very remarkable.  I find that Christ came to Jerusalem often and for many reasons, and there was never any celebration nor honor given like today.

Christ first came to Jerusalem for the Presentation,  fifty days after his birth, when the Virgin Mary presented him in the temple.  We do not read that there was a solemn reception then, except that Simeon and Anna adored him, as is clear in Luke 2.  He was tiny, and the procession was tiny.  But his body grew, and his compassion grew, and the time came when he was no longer carried in the arms of the Virgin, but on the back of an ordinary donkey, not to be redeemed with [sacrificed] doves [birds], but he would redeem all men by his blood.

Second, Christ came to the city of Jerusalem for debating, when he was twelve years old. There was no celebration for him at that time.

   Third, he came for prayer.  In accord with the law, he would come to Jerusalem for  every feast day, and would enter the temple.

   Fourth, he came to stamp out sins and notorious vices, because the high priests by their greed had made of the temple a house of business, Jn 2.  Nor was there any celebration for him then.

   Fifth he came to preach, often, because  that city was a metropolis and the capital of the province.

   Sixth, he came to reveal his divinity by working miracles, healing the sick, raising the dead.  Not even then was there a celebration.

   Seventh, he came for sacrificing himself.   Today he wished to enter Jerusalem , [the place] where he should suffer for the redemption of the human race.  Then there was a great festival for him and a solemnity celebrated.

   For this reason, I reply there that although Christ had performed many good things for us, nevertheless we are bound and obliged to him more for the work of his passion and death, that for all the others.  We are bound to praise and bless him for the work of the incarnation which he did out of love of us. Also for the teaching and preaching which he had given, going from village to village. But above all we are bound [to bless] him for the work of  the passion, because the Lord himself wished to die for the servants, the king for his subjects, a just man for the unjust, the innocent one for sinners.  So Bernard: “Above all , good Jesus, the chalice of the passion which you drank, the work of our redemption, renders you beloved to me.”

   See the reason why God put it into the hearts of the people that he be received so solemnly when he came to Jerusalem for sacrificing.

   This solemnity consists in six circumstances or ceremonies which were done for him

   First, because he wished to enter riding.  It is not read anywhere that Christ ever rode an animal.  Only today, when he entered Jerusalem. And then he rode on a colt of an ass, according to the prophecy of Zach 9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold your king will come to you, the just and savior: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass,” (Zach 9:9). Then was fulfilled that prophecy.

   Read how he sent two disciples from Bethphage, according to the Gloss, Peter and Philip, for the donkey and colt, etc.  A tethered ass signifies the Jewish people, the synagogue bound by the chain of the law of Moses, which chain has three links, namely the three kinds of precepts: the ceremonial precepts which order a person toward God; second, the judicial precepts, which order one to the neighbor; third, the moral precepts which order a person regarding himself, how everyone should live.   The colt which had not yet had been tied, nor had ever borne a burden on its back, signifies the Gentiles, who had no chain of law around their neck, nor burden of precepts on their back.  It signifies that Christ not only had come to redeem and save the Jews, abut also the Gentiles and pagans.   Thus he observed this ceremony, because he wished first to ride on the ass, which he had to untie, because at the time of the Messiah-king all prefiguring and ceremonies should cease. Second, he wished to ride on the unbroken colt, not out of necessity, but that the scripture and prefiguring should be fulfilled.  Because the Gentiles also should be converted to Christ.  Thus the Apostle, “and whosoever believes in him shall not be confounded,” (Rom 9:33).

   The second ceremony or circumstance is this.  He wished today to enter Jerusalem in a procession, because a great crowd preceded him and followed him, and he with the apostles went in the middle. Just as we do today in processions in which many precede and many follow, and the bishop or priest who represents Christ, in the middle with the priests. And the gospel says that both the ones preceding and the ones following were looking back saying “Hosanna to the son of David,” (v. 9).  In this is shown that all who preceded, from Abel down to Christ, namely the Patriarchs and Prophets, as well as also those who would follow, down to the end of the world, all look upon Christ through faith, saying, “Hosanna,” etc.  Because no one can be saved, unless through Christ.  Therefore Gen 49: “I will look for thy salvation, O Lord,” (Gen 49:18). And, in Acts 4: “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12).

   The third circumstance is this.  The entire route, from the Mount of Olives up to Jerusalem was covered.  Such was the  devotion of the people, that not with caps [cappis] or other decorations [ornamentis], but with the coats and capes of men and women, they paved the path, the Evangelists says, ” Ad a very great multitude spread their garments in the way,” (v. 8).   Why this?  I reply that this was a figure of future martyrs, as is clear in sacred scripture.  The human body is called the clothing of the soul, which clothing the vast crowd of martyrs, would lay down on the way, dying for their faith in Christ.  So David says, in the person of martyrs: ” Because for thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are counted as sheep for the slaughter,” (Ps 43:22). Also in the Apocalypse 7 it says of martyrs: “These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” i.e. of Christ, (Rev 7:14).

The fourth ceremony consisted of the tree branches.  The Evangelist says that ” others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way,” (v. 8), namely flowers and leaves and branches from trees.  It was a sign. For in sacred scripture men are called trees.  Mark 8: “I see men as it were trees, walking,” (Mk 8:24).  From these trees, flowers, leaves and branches of merit and good works are to be spread out before the way of Christ, namely that they be done for him, because otherwise they are worthless.  Jn 15: “for without me you can do nothing,” (Jn 15:5), of merit.

   The fifth was, because he wished to be praised and blessed both by the great as well as by the small, and Hosannas cried out, according to that of David: “Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings you have perfected praise,” (Ps 8:3).  This was to show that by virtue of his passion not only adults and great ones are saved through penance, but also children through innocence.  Wis 6: “For he made the little and the great, and he has equally care of all,” (Wis 6:8).

   Sixth, because all, both the great as well as the small with one voice were saying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (v. 9). In which it is shown that he was the universal redeemer of all. Authority: “For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave himself a redemption for all,” (1 Tim 2:5f).

   From all this we understand why and how today this solemnity was celebrated for Christ and not otherwise.  About this Zacharias,the father of John the Baptist, had prophesied saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he has visited and wrought the redemption of his people,” (Lk 1:68).

REPRESENTED APPROPRIATELY

   The second point which touches us more, is about the solemnity which we make, representing that solemnity appropriately given today to Christ, because just as Christ today with solemnity and procession came to the place of his passion, so also we today with great solemnity and procession, come to the passion which today is read in the mass.   Someone might ask: “Why is the passion of Christ read today with such solemnity?”    Because the passion of Christ ought to generate sadness and pain in the hearts of the faithful, and not happiness and joy.  Note how the passion and death of Christ can be received and considered in a fourfold way, according to which it is read four times in the church, according to the four gospels.

   First it can be viewed and thought about from the point of view of his personal dignity,  considering the person who suffers, who is Christ, King, father [papa], Lord, innocent and pure.  And according to this consideration the passion of Christ brings sadness, pain, tears and sighs to Christians.  In this respect the passion of Christ is read on Good Friday, on which the bells are not rung, and people prostrate themselves, sad, and bowing their heads.  In this respect the prophet Jeremiah considered the passion of Christ saying, “And I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim,” (Jer 11:19).

   In a second way the passion of Christ can be received and considered according to human necessity, because we are all weak and wounded by the plague of sins, nor can we be cured except by the blood of Christ, who willed to suffer for our sins.  Isa 53: “But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins,” (Isa 53:5).  And according to this point of view the passion of Christ urges us to contrition and sorrow for our sins, for which it was necessary for Christ to suffer and die.  And in this respect  the passion of Christ is read in the church on Wednesday, according to the gospel of Luke.

   A third way it can be considered according to judicial perversity, because the Jews had been honored by God, the sons of the prophets and patriarchs, the people chosen by God and yet so strongly they had rebelled against their God.  In this respect the passion of Christ gives us an occasion for compassion  for that reprobate people, destroyed and damned by the passion of Christ.  And from this point of view the passion of Christ is read in church on Tuesday.  And in this way the prophet Zacharias considered the passion of Christ, saying: “What are these wounds in the midst of your hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them who loved me,” (Zach 13:6).

   Fourth, the passion of Christ can be heard and pondered according to its ultimate usefulness, because from the passion of Christ we have been freed from damnation to hell, from mortal sins, and we have grace in this world and glory in the next.  See the ultimate utility of the passion of Christ. And seen in this way the passion of Christ generates in us joy, happiness, exultation and consolation. This is why the passion of Christ is read today [on Palm Sunday] with such solemnity, joy and happiness, singing, “Glory and praise.”   So Isaiah says: “Rejoice, and give praise together, deserted Jerusalem: for the Lord has comforted his people: he has redeemed Jerusalem,” (Isa 52:9).  Note, the “deserted Jerusalem,” about which the Apostle says in Galatians 4: “But that Jerusalem, which is above, is free,” (Gal 4:26), and from her all men of the world had deserted by her sins.  But now, already, it must be rejoiced, “…for the Lord has comforted his people,” by paying for them the price.  This is the reason why the passion today is read with joy.

   Here note the six differences of today’s joy as opposed to the six sorrows of Good Friday.

   The first sadness, because on Good Friday the holy bells are not rung, they are silenced.    Because in the passion and death of Christ, the bells, i.e. the apostles whose sound of preaching goes out to the whole world, according to the prophecy of David, lose their sound, because none dared to announce Christ, moreover the greater bell, namely Peter was broken by denying Christ, nor did John who was next to the cross dare to say anything in Christ’s behalf.  But today, considering the ultimate benefit of the passion of Christ we make a great solemnity, ringing the bells.

   The second sadness, because then the tables are struck, a sound of sadness and pain, and it symbolizes the sound of derision and blasphemy which they heaped on Christ in the passion.  But today the priests sing with a high and clear voice.  Reason: because of the passion of Christ, the souls of the blessed shall sing with the angels in glory.

   The third sadness is this.  On Good Friday the holy images, crosses and icons are hidden and covered, just as in the passion of Christ, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalen and John and others covered their heads out of grief and sadness.  They could not gaze upon the cruel passion of Christ.  But today the cross is held high, solemnly, in a sign of the benefits of the passion of Christ.

   The fourth sadness is because on Good Friday, the holy passion is commemorated with tears and sorrows, to show the tears and sighs of the Virgin Mary and the others.  But today it is remembered with joy and gladness because of its ultimate usefulenss.

   The fifth sadness is because on Good Friday, people prostrate themselves, shoes off, grieving, and many fast on bread and water.  But today people walk in procession with great joy, well dressed, carrying branches in their hands which signify the victory which we have over our enemies by the passion of Christ.

   The sixth sadness, because then the passion is sung without any procession and order, for the apostles were dispersed, separated and divided.  But today a solemn procession takes place, and we all go, gathered and ordered, because from the passion of Christ we all are united and gathered. John 6 says that Christ was to die “to gather together in one the children of God, who were dispersed,” (Jn 11:52).  So we sing with joy: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” (v. 9).

THE WAY TO JERUSALEM

   The third point is about the way which Christ took coming into Jerusalem, which way is made up of six stages.

   The first stage. Christ, today, in the morning, left Bethany and came to Bethphage.  Second, from Bethphage to the Mount of Olives. Third from the Mount of Olives he descended into the Valley of Josephat.  Fourth from the Valley of Josaphat he came to Jerusalem.  Fifth, from Jerusalem he went into the Temple of God.  Sixth, from the Temple he returned to Bethany with the twelve apostles, as in Mark 11.   So, it seems that he had six stations.

    And this represents our path which we walk by sinning and returning to grace through t the way of penance.

    First, through sin we depart from Bethany which is interpreted “house of obedience,” from which we withdraw whenever we break the precepts of God for the sake of gaining  some earthly prize. In this withdrawal there should be weeping. So when Christ left Bethany, leaving Mary Magdalen, Martha and Lazarus, thanking them, because often they had received him into their home, Mary Magdalen began to weep, saying to Christ, “Lord where do you wish to go? because it is already decided in Jerusalem that they should kill you. So keep the paschal feast here, and your mother will come here.”  The apostles said the same, and Martha and Lazarus. They were afraid. Christ replied to them, “It is necessary to fulfill the will of him who sent me.”  Magdalen and all the others wept, saying, “Perhaps we shall never see you again.”    Tears in the departure from Bethany, in which it is shown that man, when he departs from the house of obedience ought to weep, through contrition, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, 2: “Know you, and see that it is an evil and a bitter thing for you, to have left the Lord your God, and that my fear is not with you,” (Jer 2:19).  So, the first station.

   Second he comes to Bethphage, which is interpreted the “house of the cheek” or “house of the mouth.” This represents oral confession. After you have left Bethany, i.e. the house of obedience, with tears of contrition, it is necessary that you come to Bethphage, i.e. to the house of confessing your sins by mouth.  Bethphage is a village of priests. So confession has to be done to priests, because no one else, no matter how holy, can forgive sins, because only to the priests did Christ say, “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them,” (Jn 20:23).  Note “they are forgiven them,” he does not say they will be forgiven, because that very same hour in which they are forgiven by a confessor, they are forgiven by God.  “and whose sins you shall retain,”  namely by not absolving, because they were unwilling to refrain from sinning, or because they were unwilling to

make restitution, or because they were unwilling to forgive injuries, “they are retained,” (Jn 20:23) by God. Thus, the second station.

   Third, from Bethphage he went up the Mount of Olives. So, the works of satisfaction. The Mount of Olives has three conditions in which are signified the three works of satisfaction. First because the Mount of Olives is difficult. See here the difficulty of fastings, of vigils etc. Second because it is high. This stands for the height of prayer, which according to Damascene is the “elevation of the mind to God.”  Third because there olives grow, which are medicinal.   See, the generous giving of alms. “Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance,” (Mt 3:8).

   Fourth, from the Mount of Olives he descended into the valley of Josaphat, which means “the judgment of the Lord.”  Thus the repayment of debts, because the Lord shall judge irrevocably that everyone repay his debts.  Although you are in the Mount of Olives through satisfactory works, it is also required that you descend into the Valley of Josaphat, by restoring things taken in two ways, either spiritually or temporally. Spiritually a clergyman descends into the valley of Josaphat who obtained his prelacy or dignity or benefice by simony, because he committed theft. John 10: “He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up another way, the same is a thief and a robber,” (Jn 10:1).  The door represents legitimate election, without your assistance, or dealing.  It means a spiritual appointment is pure, because the Pope appointed you without your knowledge or dealing.   If you wish to be saved it is necessary to descend into the Valley of Josaphat by making reparations saying, “Lord I have stolen this, so I restore it to the hands of your vicar.”  In a secular matter, he who stole a castle, a villa, a home, a field or possessions or money, or something else descends into the Valley of Josaphat, when he restores it.  It is necessary to descend from the evil state. Let no one deceive you.  Also if you defame someone, it is necessary to descend to restoring to him his good name if it not true what you said, or if it is hidden or a secret.  If you say that it will be embarrassing or dangerous for you to recant,  I respond, it doesn’t matter, because the sin is not remitted until what was taken is restored.

   Fifth, from the valley of Josaphat he comes to Jerusalem which is interpreted as “peaceful”.  See here the forgiveness of injuries, when a man makes peace for himself with his enemy.  So David: “Pray you for the things that are for the peace of Jerusalem: and abundance for them who love you. Let peace be in your strength: and abundance in your towers,” (Ps 121:6-7). Note: “abundance,” because unless a greater person has peace with lesser and e converso, and the greater among themselves do not “abound” then there will be poor and the earth will be sterile. So the Apostle says: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God,” (Heb 12:14).  Note peace and holiness go together, because some have peace but no holiness, but malice and sin likes robbers among themselves, like procurers with their prostitutes. Thus the buyer, seller and manager have peace but not holiness when they defraud each other.

   Sixth, from Jerusalem he enters the Temple of the Lord.  This means Holy Communion. After you have done the previous stations, you go to the Temple of the Lord for communion, nor do you expect that the Lord would come to you in your weakness, etc. Gen “Come in, you blessed of the Lord: why do you stand without?…And bread was set before him,” (Gen 24:31,34), which is allegorically said to every Christian.   This is the way to paradise which Christ showed to us by entering into Jerusalem. And so: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” Mt 12:9

Meditation – The Imitation Of Christ

THE kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord. Turn, then, to God with all your heart. Forsake this wretched world and your soul shall find rest. Learn to despise external things, to devote yourself to those that are within, and you will see the kingdom of God come unto you, that kingdom which is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, gifts not given to the impious.

Christ will come to you offering His consolation, if you prepare a fit dwelling for Him in your heart, whose beauty and glory, wherein He takes delight, are all from within. His visits with the inward man are frequent, His communion sweet and full of consolation, His peace great, and His intimacy wonderful indeed.

Therefore, faithful soul, prepare your heart for this Bridegroom that He may come and dwell within you; He Himself says: “If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.”

Give place, then, to Christ, but deny entrance to all others, for when you have Christ you are rich and He is sufficient for you. He will provide for you. He will supply your every want, so that you need not trust in frail, changeable men. Christ remains forever, standing firmly with us to the end.

Do not place much confidence in weak and mortal man, helpful and friendly though he be; and do not grieve too much if he sometimes opposes and contradicts you. Those who are with us today may be against us tomorrow, and vice versa, for men change with the wind.

Place all your trust in God; let Him be your fear and your love. He will answer for you; He will do what is best for you. You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be, and you shall have no rest until you are wholly united with Christ.

Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose? Dwell rather upon heaven and give but a passing glance to all earthly things. They all pass away, and you together with them. Take care, then, that you do not cling to them lest you be entrapped and perish.

Fix your mind on the Most High, and pray unceasingly to Christ. If you do not know how to meditate on heavenly things, direct your thoughts to Christ’s passion and willingly behold His sacred wounds. If you turn devoutly to the wounds and precious stigmata of Christ, you will find great comfort in suffering, you will mind but little the scorn of men, and you will easily bear their slanderous talk.

When Christ was in the world, He was despised by men; in the hour of need He was forsaken by acquaintances and left by friends to the depths of scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised; do you dare to complain of anything? He had enemies and defamers; do you want everyone to be your friend, your benefactor? How can your patience be rewarded if no adversity test it? How can you be a friend of Christ if you are not willing to suffer any hardship?

Suffer with Christ and for Christ if you wish to reign with Him. Had you but once entered into perfect communion with Jesus or tasted a little of His ardent love, you would care nothing at all for your own comfort or discomfort but would rejoice in the reproach you suffer; for love of Him makes a man despise himself. A man who is a lover of Jesus and of truth, a truly interior man who is free from uncontrolled affections, can turn to God at will and rise above himself to enjoy spiritual peace.

He who tastes life as it really is, not as men say or think it is, is indeed wise with the wisdom of God rather than of men. He who learns to live the interior life and to take little account of outward things, does not seek special places or times to perform devout exercises. A spiritual man quickly recollects himself because he has never wasted his attention upon externals. No outside work, no business that cannot wait stands in his way.

He adjusts himself to things as they happen. He whose disposition is well ordered cares nothing about the strange, perverse behavior of others, for a man is upset and distracted only in proportion as he engrosses himself in externals. If all were well with you, therefore, and if you were purified from all sin, everything would tend to your good and be to your profit. But because you are as yet neither entirely dead to self nor free from all earthly affection, there is much that often displeases and disturbs you.

Nothing so mars and defiles the heart of man as impure attachment to created things. But if you refuse external consolation, you will be able to contemplate heavenly things and often to experience interior joy.

 

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Lent – St. Vincent Ferrer

   “We…know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world,” (Jn 4:42)  This holy gospel contains a beautiful story which contains three great disputations between Christ and others:

  1.             The first was between Christ and the Samaritan woman,
  2.             The second was the Samaritan woman with Christ,
  3.             The third was with Christ and the disciples.

   And each disputation has an excellent question. The conclusion of the first disputation was, “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet,” (v.19). The conclusion of the second disputation is that Christ is the Messiah. The conclusion of the third disputation is the theme, that [he is] the Savior of the world (v. 42)..

THE FIRST ARGUMENT – WITH THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

   As for the first disputation which was with the Samaritan woman it must be known that it was friendly, because Christ began it. So as Christ was traveling from village to village personally preaching, he came to Samaria, a great city, larger even than Paris. Near that city there was a high fountain — it was called a fountain, because it gushed fresh water — and a deep well. Christ was weary and totally exhausted from the journey. He sat himself on the edge of the well so he might wash his blessed face over the fountain, and so its coolness might refresh him. In the mean time he Apostles and disciples went into the city to buy food and bread.

And when Christ was alone at the fountain –the hour was noon — a woman from the city of Samaria came to draw water. She found Christ there, and she did not greet him, recognizing that he was a Jew by his clothing, for Jews were not talking to Samaritans, just as we Christians do not talk with unbelieving Saracens. Christ began the disputation, saying, “[Woman,] give me a drink,”(v. 7).  She, looked at him with a fierce eye, began to argue with Christ, saying, “How do you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a  drink,? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans,(v. 9) I shall certainly not give you a drink.”

Christ replied saying, “O woman, if you knew the gift of God, and who he is that says to you, ‘Give me to drink;’  perhaps you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water,” (v. 10).  Note the gift of God given to the human race. This gift is the Son of God given in the incarnation, about which Isaiah, 9, “…A son is given to us,” (Isa. 9:6).  Behold the gift given in our redemption.

The woman continued arguing, saying to Christ, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where then do you have living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and himself drank there, and his children, and his cattle?” (vv. 11-12).

Christ responds: “Woman, you do not understand of which water I speak, because this is not it. Whosoever drinks of this water, shall thirst again; but he who shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever: But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting,” (vv. 13-14), and he shall have eternal life.

Such was the power of Christ’s words that the woman bowed to him, and already contrite in heart with humility and reverence said, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor have to come here to draw,” (v. 15). Then Christ responded, “You want some of this water?”  The woman replied, “Yes, lord.”  “Go to the city, and call your husband, and come back here,” (v. 16). She said,” I have no husband,” and Christ said, “Well have you said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands: and he whom you now have, is not your husband. He is a bully and a lecher [ruffianus et ribaldus], and you are his mistress.” And he told her the names of all her husbands, and their characters, and what work they did. This one was called such, and had such a job, and died in this way, and so on with the others. “But this one which you now have is not your husband but a lecher and you too are a lecher.” Then she began to cry out, “O Lord, Lord clearly I see that you are a prophet (v.19) and you know everything that I have done (cf. v.39). Spare me, because I called you a Jew.”  The conclusion of the first disputation. Note she first called him a Jew, and later she calls the Lord a prophet. So much for the literal sense of the first disputation.

    Morally. Now we uncover the moral lessons hidden for us.  In this disputation their are six hidden moral [lessons], which we begin to explore through questions.

First, who is this Samaritan woman and what does she signify?  Response: this Samaritan woman signifies the every Christian sinner in two ways, and the gospel tells us. First, because she comes often, every day, to the water, but she is not satisfied.  Such is the condition of sinners, because they come daily to the water of temporal prosperity, and are not satisfied. Such is  the way of cupidity. For example, if a priest has a simple benefice, he tries to get a larger one, and is never satisfied.  Behold the condition of the water of temporal goods which do not satisfy, because they do not hit the spot where the thirst is. For the thirst is for having worldly goods, such as, lands, possessions, gold, silver etc. These temporal goods do not enter within the heart.  Even if you had a wagon filled with liquid gold, it would not satisfy you.  But just as a starving man is not satisfied by the sight of food on the table, because hunger is in the stomach, and so unless the food goes in, it will not take away the hunger or thirst. So it is with the consumption of temporal goods. Thus however much a man has, he thirsts and desires for more, because such things do not enter into his heart. Authority: “A covetous man shall not be satisfied with money: and he that loves riches shall reap no fruit from them, etc.,” (Eccl  5:9).

  And so  direct pleasures and worldly delights, are like a fever which burns a person with thirst.  He is then given a drop of water on the tongue, with a feather.  The same with the delights of lust, of  avarice, etc.  And so wherever flesh seeks refreshment in temporal things, it discovers only failure.  For the heart of a man is greater than the heavens and can be satisfied only by God, whom the heaven cannot embrace, but nevertheless the heart of man always holds fast to grace, and then man is satisfied, so Christ says, ” Whosoever drinks of this water, shall thirst again; but he who shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever,  But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting,” (vv. 13-14), by the water of grace and his presence.  Thus the conclusion is from theology,  that sanctifying grace [gratia  gratum faciens] brings and has with it the presence of God.  And by this sign it can be known if a person is in grace, when someone does not desire things leading to sin. Note: “springing up into life everlasting.”  What a leap is that which the soul makes, when by mouth it leaps immediately into heaven.  Think if a man would jump from the earth into heaven.  O what kind of a leap would it be, even if it is beyond higher, how much higher yet is it to heaven.

   The second secret: Jesus, fatigued by the journey, was sitting there at the fountain.  It was almost noon. Why was Jesus more exhausted at that hour from the journey than any of the Apostles?  Because he was sustaining the whole world and all creatures.  Reason: you know, good people, that there never was there a man of such a delicate constitution like Christ as man. Why? Because we are conceived and begotten from most vile and corrupt stuff, and so we have a coarser constitution for enduring labors. The body of Christ formed by the Holy Spirit, was not of most vile matter but from the purest drops of the blood of the Virgin Mary, and so it was more delicate; or because he was fasting every day, and “passed the whole night in prayer,” (Luke 6:12), and he labored preaching every day

And about this sensitivity [delicatura] it is said in Isa 53: ” …To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him: Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he has born our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray, every one has turned aside into his own way: and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all,” (Isa 53:1-6).  The arm of the Lord through which God the Father has worked all things, is Christ as God. “All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.” (John 1:3).  And speaking of his humanity he says, ” And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground,” (v. 2 ).  A tender plant is a little shoot and delicate, which grows up at the base of other large trees, or which sprouts in dry ground where there is not any water.  It is very delicate and fragile.  So it is clear the reason why Christ was more exhausted than the Apostles.

  If it is said “Could he not care for himself?” I reply: Always, but he would not have given us an example of laboring for good works, so that we might have patience when we are tired and exhausted, as Christ was, and when from preaching of fasting or other reasons we are worn out, we take comfort from the example of Christ and we acquire patience.  Thus the Apostle, “But in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses,  in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God,” (2 Cor 6:4-7).

   The third secret is: Why did the Apostles leave him alone?  because no one remained with him. The text says: ” For his disciples had gone into the city to buy meats,” (v. 8), and they left him alone in the desert, because that well was a considerable way from the city of Samaria. Response: why they left him alone, because it was at the command of Christ that all should go, so that he might save that woman. For if some disciple had been there, the woman would have been deterred, nor would she have spoken with him, and so he ordered that they all should go to the city to buy what was needed.

In this we are morally instructed. And we have an example, that just as Christ in the incarnation has dismissed the company of  thousands of thousands of angels, Job 25: ” Is there any numbering of his soldiers?” (Job 25:3). For our salvation he dismissed them.  The same way, as he dismissed the company of apostles for the salvation of that Samaritan woman.  So likewise we [should dismiss] the company of friends, children, wife, etc.  Also he says,” And every one that has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting,” (Mt 19:29). Note “for my name’s sake” which is Jesus, translated as Savior. “For my name’s sake,” i.e. for the salvation of a soul, that the religious leaves his homeland for the purpose of preaching.  The same for the priest or  layman, who leaving the world “shall receive a hundredfold, etc.”  Or wife, or children.

  The question is: Is a man able to dismiss his wife for Christ, and the salvation of a soul, either his or of others?  Response: that a man cannot dismiss a wife which he already has, unless they both agree upon entering religious life, and if the other is to remain in the world, they are bound to live continently. Likewise a father should not leave his children unless thy are well provided with necessities, and are well instructed, educated and adult enough. The same holds for children, who should not leave their parents, poor and old, unless they are taken care of.  Second, one “leaves a wife,” not a wife which he has, but one which he might have, and children which he might have. For the love of Christ he leaves everything. So this text [auctoritas] is to be understood.

  The fourth secret, or the fourth question is shown in this, when the woman says, “How do you, being a Jew, etc.” (Jn 4:9). How does the woman know that Christ is a Jew? Response: that she recognized him by his speech in the same way as Peter was recognized on the night of the passion. “Surely you are also one of them; for even your  speech betrays you,” (Mt  26:73).

  Morally. Everyone is recognized for where his homeland is.  There are two opposing  homelands: paradise, and hell, and in each they speak differently.  The language of paradise is like that in the Psalm, “Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord: they shall praise you for ever and ever,” (Ps 83:5). Therefore when a religious or priest or layman freely praises God, it is a sign that he is one of those from paradise. “.. for even your  speech betrays you,” (Mt  26:73).  It is otherwise when, with weariness in a confused and irreverent and non devout way one recites the Office or prayers. It is a great sign of predestination to praise God with delight.  The language of hell is that of which John says in Apocalypse 16: “And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God, who has power over these plagues, neither did they do  penance to give him glory,” (Rev 16:9).   Therefore when one swears, contradicts [renegat], blasphemes, etc., it is a sign that he is a townsman and citizen of hell, whence,  “you also are one of them, etc.”  Thus to swear and contradict is a manifest sign of predicted damnation.

  The fifth secret is that water of which Christ spoke, “Whosoever drinks…,” (v. 13)  This is the spiritual grace which extinguishes  ardor of pride in the proud,  avarice in the greedy, lust in the lusting, etc., just as natural water puts out the heat of the body.  Such a one does not wish for things inordinately, nor ardently seeks dignities, positions etc, like those do who still burn with the fever of pride, avarice etc. For the pure water of the grace of God extinguishes that burning in them. They who have grace say, with the Apostle [Paul], in 1 Tim. 6: “But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content,” (1 Tim 6:8).  He does not say “delicacies” [delectamenta] and by which we are “decorated” [ornemur] etc. This the grace of God accomplishes, or the water of grace “springing up into life everlasting,” (v. 14).  O, what a spring. Behold why he says, “he who shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever,” (v.13), namely, with that temporal [thirst] from the heat of sin. Of this grace, Romans 6: “But the grace of God, life everlasting,” (Rom 6:23), that is through “the grace of God” one has “eternal life.”

  The sixth secret or sixth question: Since Christ said, “Go call your husband,” Why did he say that, since Christ knew that she did not have a husband?  Response: that Christ chose this way of speaking so that the woman herself would speak the truth with her own mouth, that she did not have a husband.

  Morally. ” For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have, is not your husband,” (v.18). So when one sins out of weakness, or from ignorance, each person has five husbands, and finally takes on the bully [ruffianum], the devil. The five husbands are the five natural bodily senses. For just as a man rules his household, so these five senses rule the body in [those] sins which come from weakness, like Peter when he denied Christ out of fear. But when one sins out of habit and malice, one is ruled by the devil, like a bully or a pimp.  The Apostle says about this, “And they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom they are held captive at his will,” (2 Tim 2:26). The same St. Paul says: “Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,” (2 Tim 3:1-2).

 

SECOND ARGUMENT – THE SAMARITAN WOMAN WITH CHRIST

   The second argument, of the Samaritan woman with Christ begins with her boldness. And to understand this disputation you should know that between the Jews and the Samaritans there was an ancient question as to where they should pray, in Jerusalem or there, on Mount Gerazim.  The Jews said “in Jerusalem,” because thus God commanded.  The Samaritans however said “on this mountain,” because the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob worshipped there. The Samaritan woman seeing Christ to be a prophet, who revealed her secrets to her, thought, “O this one tells you the truth.” To seek the solution to this subtle question, she begins the by saying: “Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say, that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore,” (v. 20).  “Since you are a prophet , what do you say about this question?”

In his reply Christ acknowledged two opinions.  First, that the truer opinion was that of the Jews, because although the patriarchs had adored there, nevertheless the place of prayer had been moved.  The second opinion, that one can worship in every place, because God is everywhere.  Then Christ replied: “Woman, believe me, that the hour is coming, when you shall adore the Father neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem. You adore that which you do not know; we adore that which we know, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and is now, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeks such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they who adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth,” (vv..21-24).  And so Jesus resolved the question against the Samaritan woman.

  “The woman said to him: I know that the Messias (who is called Christ) is coming. Therefore, when he comes, he will tell us all things,”(v. 25).  Jesus replied, ” I, who am speaking with you, am he,” (v.26). Nowhere in the gospels is it found  that Christ so clearly said that he was the Christ, the Savior of the world, as he does here. And instantly the woman, enlightened, left her water jug and ran  into the city, crying out and declaring and calling the people, “O my good people, come, and see a man who has told me everything that I have done. Is not he the Christ?  They went therefore out of the city, and came to him,” (v.29-30).

  In this question there are three secrets.

  1. The first is, God is spirit. What does it mean to adore “in spirit and in truth?”

   1)  To understand this, realize that it is an principle of philosophy, that truth is the correspondence of  thing to intellect. For example when the spirit thinks about the infinite sanctity and purity of Christ, and on the other hand it thinks about the gravest sins which man himself commits, then when the external gesture of the body corresponds to the spirit saying: “Lord I am not worthy to behold you. Alas, how many sins have I committed against your will and holiness etc.,” and physically one bows down, by revealing humility externally, then [the body] corresponds with the spirit in the heart.  But when the heart is in the tavern, and the body bows, it is not truth.  In this way the publican prayed to God in the sprit and truth saying:” O God, be merciful to me a sinner,” (Lk 18:13). For this reason we now say. “Bow your heads to the Lord,” [Invitation to the prayer at the end of Lenten Masses] as if the church is saying, you are not worthy to look upon him.  For this reason the statues are veiled in Lent as if to say we are not worthy to look upon these images.

   2)  Second, God is adored in spirit and truth. First in spirit by thinking of his dominion, how he created body and soul and all things are his.  Otherwise of other lords.  Second, he is to be adored in truth, by the genuflecting of both knees to him, temporal lords only the left, and prelates the right.  In this way we say,  “Let us bend the knees,” [Flectamus genua. Levate. A liturgical command during Good Friday intercessions.] and it does not say by a knee . “Raise up,” namely, the spirit on high.  So when you wish to say a prayer, first you should pray in the spirit, thinking with whom you should be speaking, then in truth, by reverence of the body on the outside.  Behold why Christ says,” The Father also seeks such to adore him…in spirit and in truth,” (Jn 4:23).  And scriptures agree saying,” As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,” (Rom 14:11).

   3)  Third, God is adored in spirit and in truth. First in spirit thinking of his eternity, and in contrast of our own vile beginnings, because [we are] made of earth, and thinking of our end, because we shall die.  And in truth by prostrating oneself on the earth, which is to say “to earth we shall return,” and shall die, and God is in his eternity.  This is signified in his passion when it is said, “He gave up his spirit,” (Mt 27:50).  There every Christian prostrates. Thus David says, ” Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us,” (Ps 94:6).

   4)  Fourth, God is worshipped in spirit, by thinking of the generosity of God who gives all temporal and spiritual goods, and on the other hand our uncleanness and needs.  And in truth.  So we raise our hands: the right for spiritual goods, the left for temporal goods.

   5)  The fifth manner of adoring God in spirit, by thinking of God’s mercy, because since we are condemned to the pitchfork of hell, the Son of God was so merciful that he said to his Father: Blessed Father, I alone wish to be suspended for the whole people.  And on the other hand by thinking about  sins for which the sentence has been given. And in truth, when the cross is signed in the heart saying: “The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord,”  (Ps 32:5) from your passion.  Thus Paul, ” “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Gal 6:14).

   6)  The sixth way of adoring in the spirit by striking our breast, thinking of God’s infinite immensity and thinking of the offense committed toward him by our sins.  Thus the heart is struck with five fingers, just as we have five ways of sinning, namely, thought, word, work, omission and by persistence, because in these ways God is offended.

  1. The second secret is when it says, “She left her jug, etc.”  Literally, why does she leave it?  So she can run more quickly to the city.  But spiritually, the jug symbolized the evil companions of the woman, who blocked her path, and so she left it.  Many are such, who by the association and familiarity and love of certain people are impeded from the path to paradise.  So the woman left her jug, i.e. her bad companions.  Thus the Poet,” Things you have which are harmful, [though dear, let go,]” (Cato, Distich, Lib. I, v. 6).

  1. The third secret is when it is said that she went to the city, crying out, “Come, I shall show you a man…etc.,” (v.29). Thus she was not satisfied with her own conversion, but wished to convert her neighbors, because she converted the whole city.  Here we are  instructed that no one ought to be content with his own conversion, but ought to go out to convert his neighbor, like the good and devout wife, sweetly to convert her crude husband.  Likewise, brother, the brother; neighbor, their neighbor; servant, their lord;  master, their disciple; a lady, her handmaiden. Ecclesiasticus 17, “And he gave to every one of them a commandment concerning his neighbor,” (Sir 17:12).  Also the Apocalypse, last chapter, ” And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that hears, let him say: Come. And he who thirsts, let him come,” and drink, “and he who wishes, let him take the water of life, freely,” (Rev 22:17).  Note how the Holy Sprit says to man, “Come to Paradise etc.”

THE THIRD ARGUMENT – BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS APOSTLES

     The third disputation was between Christ and the Apostles, humbly, because they said, “Rabbi, eat,” (v. 31). and they set a meal before him. However, Christ refused to eat, but replied saying, ” I have meat to eat, which you know not,” (v. 32). The evangelist says that, “The disciples therefore said one to another,” namely between themselves, “Has any man brought him [something] to eat?”  Christ however declaring which food he was talking about said,” My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may perfect his work,” (v. 34).

This he was saying for the sake of the people who were coming from the city, and when he saw the people, he thought, “It is necessary for me to preach,” because he did not say I do not prefer to eat food, but he said, I have other food to eat, namely the word of God. For not by bread alone does a man live, “But in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” (Mat 4:4). Note that, in the example of Christ, a sermon should come from a fasting stomach.

And he preached to those from the city, O how sweetly, “and he remained there two days,” (v. 40). And they believed in him, to such an extent that they said to the woman, “We now believe, not for your saying so: for we ourselves have heard him, and know that this is indeed the Savior of the world. (v. 42) In such a way he illuminated us.” Behold therefore the conclusion of this dispute.

   Morally.  The food of Christ is to do the will of God the Father.  Thus we do the will and we give him to eat, because this food is greatly pleasing to him.

 – He wants food from bishops, that they enter through the door, not through simony. Second after they are inside, that they be more concerned about souls that stipends.  Finally, that they live from stipends and share with the poor and give good example and good teaching.  From this food God is satisfied.

 – As for secular lords he wants food, namely that they minister justice both to the little ones and to the great, both to the poor as well as to the rich, and they do not qualify justice because of bribes and favors. Shunning robbery, content with their own income,  they serve the people in peace.

 – In religious he wants four foods, and from these Christ wishes to be fed, namely apostolic poverty, evangelical chastity, complete obedience, and ceremonial observance.   – And of priests he wants three foods, namely devoutly to pray their breviaries, celebrate worthily, and behave properly.  1 Tim 3:7, “Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach.”

 – Of the laity he wants two foods, and they are enough, namely the articles of the faith and the observance of the precepts of God.  And finally he would say to you in judgment, from Mat 25:34, ” Come, you blessed of my Father, etc.” namely with the aforesaid foods and so you shall be with Christ at the table of glory, about which he said, “And I dispose to you, as my Father has disposed to me, a kingdom; That you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom,”  here through grace, and in the future, through glory (Lk 22:29).