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CHAPTER XXI.

A METHOD OF MEDITATION ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD, AND ON THE MOST HOLY TRINITY.

CHIEFLY thou must meditate on the blessed Passion of the Redeemer. Thou mayest, if it so please thee, place on each day before the eyes of thy mind some 53one part of His Passion. For example; one day thou wilt propose to thyself Christ in the garden, full of grief, kneeling on the ground in prayer, and sweating blood under the pressure of that stupendous agony (St. Luke xxii. 39-44). During that day thou wilt meditate on that portion, and, God giving thee grace, thou wilt placidly direct thy interior sight to it, whenever thou shalt he at leisure from other serious thoughts, and free from legitimate impediments.

On the following day thou wilt in like manner represent to thyself what our Lord suffered, when He was betrayed by Judas, taken captive, bound and led away with insults (St. Mark, xiv. 13, 66). Thou wilt thus go through the Passion of our Lord in order, and. having completed it, thou wilt repeat it from the beginning.

If thou shouldst prefer each day to go through several portions of the Passion, or to keep for many days to the meditation of one small portion, or every day to consider that part which represents Christ hanging on the Cross (St. John xviii.), thou mayest follow thine inclination. Adopt freely that method which may be most suitable to thy capacity, and most conducive to devotion.

Do thou in this manner occupy thyself according to thy measure with the Humanity of Christ. Let this so possess thy mind, that, whatever evil phantasy may enter it from other sources, shall quickly be dispelled. Choose this thought in which to repose in safety, so long as thou art not carried on to higher 54things; for it is a ship in which thou mayest without danger cross the seas of this world, and happily roach thy most blessed home. While thou art still navigating it, God may, however, sometimes powerfully sustain thee in regions where thou wilt be inwardly stripped of all forms and images of things; where all action will cease within thee; where at length, losing thyself, thou wilt happily pass into God. To this the Hand of the Lord will sometimes lead thee, if it is expedient for thee to be thus led during the time of thy exile; if it is not expedient, thou wilt not be so led.

But take care that thou seek not anxiously for a visible image of the Saviour, if it does not readily occur to thy heart; do thou rather, putting aside a closer representation of his lineaments and bodily appearance, conceive in thy mind God as a Spirit present to thee within and without; conceive His sweet and most amiable goodness, benignity, and love; dwell upon the same Lord of unspeakable majesty every where present, knowing all things, penetrating all things, giving life to all things, sustaining all things without effort, encompassing all things without limit, disposing all things without disquietude, governing all things without weariness. Conceive these things; hut make not great efforts in doing so; for some of these thoughts will readily and even necessarily offer themselves to the faithful soul reflecting on the Redeemer of the world.

Nor does the faithful soul venerate in Christ the Humanity only, but also the Divinity. It acknowledges the Word to have been so made flesh, that He 55ceased not to be the Word (St. John i. 14). It loves both, the Flesh and the Word; it worships both, Man and God, the One Lord Jesus Christ.

When the thought of the Holy Trinity enters into thy mind, thou shalt not fabricate for thyself any absurd idols; thou shalt not imagine the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be as it were three men or three gods; but confess the unity of the Godhead in the Trinity of Persons. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not three gods, but one God. There are three Persons, but the substance of the Persons is one. This mystery is believed by faith, but is not within the ken of human reason. In the Most Holy Trinity there is one and the same nature, one and the same essence, one and the same eternity, one and the same glory, one and the same majesty, one and the same will, one and the same omnipotence. And, as we believe this same Blessed Trinity to be inseparable in substance, so do we confess it to be inseparable in works. Whatever is said to be done by the Father, the same is done by the Son, and by the Holy Ghost; whatever is said to be done by the Son, the same is done by the Father, and by the Holy Ghost; whatever is said to be done by the Holy Ghost, the same is done by the Father, and by the Son: for the Trinity is inseparable in its works. So, when we worship the Father, we worship also the Son, and the Holy Spirit; when we worship the Son, we worship also the Father, and the Holy Spirit; when we worship the Holy Spirit, we worship also 56the Father and the Son: for the Trinity is inseparable in substance.

It is not expedient for those who are not well versed in Divine things to enquire too curiously into the nature of the Holy Trinity. Let them simply and faithfully believe the Trinity to be such as the Catholic Church confesses it to be; for we shall not be condemned in the day of judgment, because we have not exactly known the nature of our God; but, if we shall have spoken anything rashly, we shall pay the penalty of our rashness.

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