Ninth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc.19. v. 41. Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL Luke 19. 41-47.
At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, He wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace: but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side; and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. And entering into the temple, He began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought, saying to them: It is written, “My house is the house of prayer.” but you have made it a den of thieves. And He was teaching daily in the temple.
The Temples and Churches of God, are indeed to be adorned, and dressed up as much as may be: so was Temple of Jerusalem, the wonder of the world, in so much that if any were curiously and gorgeously dressed up, it was a common phrase of speech to say, they were as fine or brave as the Temple,and according to this phrase the Prophet David describing the plenty, riches,and pomp of them that did swim in prosperity, amongst other things he sayth, Their daughters were adorned & dressed up like the Temple.
But it is we ourselves,that are the true Temples of God,whom he delighteth to dwell in, more then in Temples made with hands.
The sumptuousness and glory of the Temple was but a figure of what we should be, that are the living Temples of God: wherefore all our chief care & delight must be to adorn and deck up our souls with virtues,piety, religiosity, and devotion, & especially with charity, which as there was one place in the temple more holy then the rest,called Sancta Sanctorum, the holy of holies, so is Charity the holiest and highest of all Virtues, wherein God is best pleased.
Of Temples of Churches there be three sorts.
One sort is so little Chapels in the wilderness, or by the high wayside, or desolate places.
Another of Parish Churches.
The third of Cathedral Churches, or the like.
In the first peradventure Mass is not celebrated above once in the year, to wit, the day of the dedication or patron thereof, and then it is swept & adorned,all the year after it lieth unswept, foul & full of Cobwebs, & the like: so some there be that care but to receive the Blessed Sacrament only once in the year,at Easter,and that for fear of committing a mortal sin, & being excommunicate, & then they sweep the Temple of their soul,with confession,& adorn it with prayer, praising of God,and devotion; but all the year after, they let it lie foul & unswept.
Parish Churches have one solemn Mass and Evensong in them commonly every Sunday, and then they are swept,adorned and dressed up, bit all the week after they are no more looked unto: These are they that receive on certain principal feasts of the year, & then they sweep their souls with confession and adorn and dress them up with devotion, but all the other time they lie foul and unswept.
Cathedral Churches have Mass celebrated in them every day, with solemn Service, and Music of voices and Organs, and divers holy Ceremonies, to the honor and praise of God: These are those perfect Catholics, that ash their souls continually with tears of compunction and devotion, and sweep them with the broom of sorrowful confession,and do oftentimes frequent the Sacrament of the holy Eucharist,at least once in a month,besides such festival,& holy days of note as do occur making their souls as it were a Quire, where continual praises of God are celebrated, as in a Cathedral Church.
Finally, in Cathedral Churches there are goodly Images of sundry sorts ,& first the image of the blessed Trinity: this image every man hath so much the more perfectly in his soul, by how much the more in the charitable distribute in of his temporal goods he resembleth the blessed Trinity: God the Father giveth his whole essence to his son; the Father & the son their whole essence to the holy Ghost, If thou wilt be perfect, sayth Christ to a certain rich man, Go and give all thou hast to the poor, and follow me,it is more perfect and more like to the blessed Trinity to give all, then a part only.
There is the image of Christ crucified: This they do most resemble, that do most mortify their flesh, and the inordinate affections and passions thereof & crucify them with the nails of fear, love of God,and hop of heaven.
There is the image of the most blessed Virgin Mary: This they do most resemble, that are most chaste, in body, and mind.
There are the images of the Apostles: These they do most resemble, that are ready to renounce & contemn all worldly impediments, to follow Christ, and give themselves to the conversion of others both in faith and life: Such are principally those that have taken upon them the sacred function of Priesthood; and especially such as are sent in mission to convert others as the Apostles were, which if they be withal of any religious Order, then as a Text in the decretals doth testify,they do most of all resemble the Apostles indeed.
Such Temples must we endeavor to be, as the Cathedral Churches are, and with such images to be adorned, & principally religious men, that are Priests who must also especially imitate Christ in the last point of this Gospel to wit, And he was teaching daily in the Temple: So must they, not contenting themselves to preach & catechize the people once a month or more seldom, as some do, but daily as Christ did here in the Temple, and consequently the people are taught hereby, not to be weary to here them, but to be fervent and zealous therein: for if it be commendable in Priests, and Pastors, frequently and zealously to teach and instruct the people; it is as commendable in the people to be willing, frequently and zealously to here them.