The Sunday Within The Octave Of The Ascension GOSPEL St. John 15:26-27 & 16:1-4 The Friday Meditation: A Plaine Path-Way To Heaven By Fr.Thomas Hill 1634
WEYDEN, Rogier van der
Gospel St. John 15:26-27 and 16:1-4
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceed eth from the Father, He shall give testimony of Me: and you shall give testimony, because you are with Me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things I have told you, that, when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you of them.
How great the Comfort or the holy Ghost is, appearth also by this example: when a body is poisoned, all his food, being never so good turneth to poison: What a great benefit would we esteem it to have a preservative or Antidote against poison,that we take not infection by it, or having taken it, to have an undoubted medicine given us of a friend, for the cure thereof: Such is our case, we were all poisoned in nature by Adams sin that we are apt and inclinable to turn all things to sin be they never so good: And such is the grace of the holy Ghost that as a most sovereign preservative or Antidote against the poison of sin, it preserveth our souls from it, that we incur it not, and expelleth it from us when we have incurred it, and turneth all things into good, if bad, into good, if good into better.
This doth charity, which as St. Paul sayeth, Is diffused in our hearts by the holy Ghost. O what a rich commodity is this Philosophers stone unto us, which turneth all that it toucheth into gold of spiritual joy and consolation, which excelleth all worldly joy and consolation, by so much as the soul excelleth the body, or heaven excelleth the earth: and therefore St. Paul in the enumeration of the fruits of the holy Ghost, next unto charity placeth Joy as an inseparable companion thereof.
Charity proceedeth from the holy Ghost, from Charity the fulfilling of the law, from the fulfilling of the law Security: from Security a continual banquet of joy: A secure mind, saith the Wise man, is a continual banquet of joy. Is not the holy Ghost then a true comforter? is not this name Paraclete, which signifyeth a comforter, truly applied unto him? Let us give God most hearty thanks for sending the holy Ghost upon his disciples so plentifully at Pentecost, that all the world received of the plenitude thereof, & for all the comforts that we ourselves have & hope to receive thereby, or any other: And let us learn of our Master Christ to comfort the afflicted and distressed, as much as we can as he did his sorrowful and distressed disciples, & comfort ourselves that we are so happy as to have where withall to comfort them.
Whereat St. Paul was so good, that he said of himself, who is sick, and I am not sick with him? who is scandalized , and I am not troubled at it? &c. When the people of Israel upon a certain time, were in very great affliction, God appeared unto Moses, and said unto him: I have seen the afflictions of my people in Egypt, and knowing their grief, I descended unto them that I might deliver them, & bring them out of that naughty land, into a good land; where we are to note this word (I descended) not that God descended from heaven in person, but in pity and compassion,as if he had been with them, and seen and felt their afflictions with them. So will the grace of the holy Ghost make us to descend into Hospitals, Prisons, Dungeons, and other places of affliction, by pity, and compassion, as if we saw or felt it ourselves, especially into Purgatory, where the affliction is greatest of all, and which is likely to be our own case, if we do not prevent it with works of mercy,& pity towards them that are distressed.
And as for the souls in purgatory, the holy Mass being a propitiatory Sacrifice, as well for the dead as the living, they require of us as of due, to be remembered thereat, especially of their friends, crying out with these pitiful words of Job, which he spake in the person of a soul in Purgatory: Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you that are my friends: for though the holy Mass be common Sacrifice for all the souls in purgatory, yet it doth profit them so much the ore as it is applied in particular unto them: and therefore if we remember not our friends there, we do in some sort defraud them of their due.
It was a godly custom taken up of Christians,to bury their dead round about the Church that their graves might seem to beg prayers of them that came to Church. Let us imagine the like when we come to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, wheresoever we are.