The Fourth Sunday In Lent The Gospel John 6. v. 1 Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

Prayer Book of Hildegard of Bingen 
c. 1180

GOSPEL (John 6:1-15) 
At that time, After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain: and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" And this he said to try him: for he himself knew what he would do.Philip answered him: "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one may take a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: "There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes. But what are these among so many?" Then Jesus said: "Make the men sit down." Now, there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: "Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost." They gathered up therefore and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: "This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world." Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountains, himself alone.


Christ asked Philip: how shall we get bread that these may have to eat? This said he, not because he had any need of Philips help, or advice, for he determined before what to do, being able to do what he pleased, and knew well enough what provision there was to be had, to wit five barley loaves, & two fishes: but he asked him to give us example, not to trust to much to our own wit, or judgment, in our affairs, especially if they be of moment, but to advice with others though less sufficient then ourselves; Do not lean to much, saith Salomon the prudent of men, to thy own prudence.

When Christ called St. Paul extraordinarily from heaven to be one of his Apostles, St. Paul asked him what he would have him do: Go into the City, saith Christ, and there thou shalt understand my will.

Why did not Christ tell him himself, but send him to Ananias? because, saith Saint Bernard, no man should take occasion not to take council of another, or think God will reveal all unto him, though he seek it by much prayer and fasting, and that we should not out of pride be ashamed to consult with others, though inferior unto us.

The beauty and brightness of the moon is the light, not of her own, for she hath none;but that which she borroweth of the Sun.

God could have created the moon with natural light if her own, independent of the sun but he would not, for three causes, as St. John Damascene doth ponder: For the beauty of order, for mutual communication of light and humble subjection and subordination.

In like manner God hath endued some men with more wisdom and knowledge then others: and as the moon and the rest of the planets, borrow their light of the Sun: So would God have us to learn not only of them that be wiser then ourselves, and so to borrow light of them for order and subordinations sake: but also of our inferiors if we find none wiser then ourselves, for humility sake.

And therefore God hath so ordained, that often times wise men may learn of weaker wits then their own; A wise man may sometimes learn of a child; and God doth oftentimes reveale that wisdom to little ones, which be hideth from the wise, to keep them in humility, and from overweening of their own wisdom, and contempt and setting light of others, & to learn them that all wisdom is from God, as all natural light from the sun, from whom, as St. James saith (to wit from God) as from the father of all light proceedeth every good perfect gift.

A certain Eremite studied fasted, and prayed, long, to understand a hard place or passage of scripture, but could not. At last it came into his mind, to go to a poor simple man, but a holy man, another Eremite hard by him, and upon the way as he went, he found out the sense thereof.

Humility, and thinking that God might reveal that unto little ones sometimes, that he hideth from the wise and learned found out the sense, where long fasting, prayer and study could not.

Jethro Moses his father in law, simple man, in comparison of Moses, who was most wise; seeing him much overburdened, with hearing all the causes and controversies between his people, which God had committed to his charge, said unto him: Thou overtoilest thyself with foolish labor, admitting none to help thee: Reserve only the greater causes, to thyself, and commit the rest to others.

Moses accepted of his counsel, found great wisdom in it, took no exception at his words, though he did little better then call him fool, telling him he overtired himself with foolish labor, as aforesaid: and admirable example for our instruction, as this of our blessed Savior was, to advise with his poor weak Disciple St. Philip: Who showed himself very weak, in that not withstanding he had seen Christ do so many miracles before, annswered weakly, as if he had thought Christ could do no more, he might have remembered is former miracles, especially his turning of water into wine.


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