SPIRITUAL EXERCISES FOR EVERY DAY IN THE WEEK, FOR THOSE WHO COMMUNICATE OFTEN: TUESDAY + CONSIDER JESUS CHRIST AS TEACHER
CONSIDER JESUS CHRIST AS TEACHER, AND PURPOSE WITH THYSELF TO LEARN HIS DIVINE DOCTRINE
Teach me, O Lord, thy divine ordinances.
It has been thy misfortune, O my Soul to have hitherto lived in darkness and ignorance, to have suffered thyself to be seduced by errors and lies. But behold here the teacher (Matt 22 16,) of the way of God in truth, who this day comes to undeceive thee, and to instruct thee in his divine doctrine. Let it be thy most earnest desire that he would vouchsafe himself to be thy instructor.
Come, O heavenly master! come O teacher of nations! come and teach me the way of truth and the science of salvation, the only science I desire.
I have made choice of the ay of truth I am resolved to walk no longer in that of falsehood. But come, O eternal truth! and instruct me in thy ways; thou alone canst teach me them.
Blessed, O Lord! is that man whom thou instructest and teachest out of thy law Oh! do me favour to instruct me out of it, and to teach me what if prescribes.
Let us go, O my soul! let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the Gd of Jacob, (Isa. 2.3.) and he will teach us his ways, let us go and give ear to the oracles of this master who is come down from heaven, whom his Father commands us to hearken to, saying. Hear ye him.
But do thou O Jesu, give me a docil heart, that I may receive thy doctrine with all due respect, give me understanding that I may comprehend it, give me wisdom that I mat relish it, love it and be guided by it, send forth thy holy spirit to prepare my soul for receiving it.
Thy former errors, O my soul, must be renounced, if thou art desirous of understanding the doctrine of this divine master, without this thou wilt never be able to penetrate or relish it. Yes Lord, I renounce and detest those errors from my heart, I am resolved never t follow any doctrine but thine.
The eucharistical bread is a bread is a bread ( Ecclus. 15.3.) of understanding, which fills with the light of the sublimest wisdom those who partake worthily of it. It is the genuine fruit of the tree of knowledge, which makes us perfectly intelligent in the science of the saints. Go, my soul, and receive it with an ardent desire of being filled with the heavenly light it will infuse into thee.
Is it then possible, O Eternal wisdom, O divine Word, light of the Father, the only begotten Son of God! is it true that thou condescendest to come and visit this day from heaven, and to instruct in person this vile creature? Heretofore thou didst instruct thy people by the mouth of thy patriarchs and prophets, but thou art pleased this day to do me the favour of taking upon thyself to be my instructor. And who or what am I, Lord, to deferve that thou should it address thyself to me! l am no better than a vile wretch, who have offended thee a thousand times, who have a thousand times flighted thy doctrine, and have therefore so often rendered myself 1 unworthy of being instructed by thee. But i how much do I lament my having treated thee in this manner! how am I afhamed and confounded at fuch my behaviour! My heart is i ready to burst, with forrow on this account, and cannot sufficiently exprefs its abhorrence of its wickedness. It humbly craves thy pardon for it, and entreats thee to blot it out of thy remembrance; promising to repair for the future the injury thereby done thee, by the profound respect and veneration it shall ever entertain for thy divine oracles.
I cannot sufficiently admire, O Lord, thy exceeding great charity towards me by condescending to be thyself my instructor; notwithstanding all my ingratitude and my bafe behaviour towards thee. I fee, indeed, that thole men, who are raised a little above me, look down upon me with contempt, though I never gave them the least offence, and even think it beneath them to speak to me. Yet thou, O Lord ! who by the excellency of thy being and greatness of thy majesty, art so immensely raised above me, and whom I have fo often offended, thou, I say, disdaineth not to come down from thy throne to teach me the truths of salvation. O what a charity is this !
Reflect now, O my soul! with all due attention, on the excellence of the matter who comes to thee this day to teach thee his doctrine; he is the sovereign of the universe, in whom are contained all the treasures (Col. 2. 3.) of the divine wisdom and knowledge. He is the source of all knowledge both in heaven and earth, and from whom angels, men and all creatures derive whatever gifts they possess of this kind. He that seeks not for knowledge in this living fountain, must remain in ignorance and error; and he that does, is sure of being blefled with truth. This divine matter is not like other matters whofe fuccefs in teaching depends much on the dispositions and capacities ot their disciples; he teaches his ar one having authority, (Mat. 7. 29.) with influence over the powers, and whenever it pleases him he himself makes them learned. Oh! how soon is learning acquired, when he vouchsafes to teach!
Confider alfo the perfection of his doctrine, which infinitely surpasses all other doctrines whatsoever; as by its nobleness, because it is celestial and divine; by its certainly, because infallibly; by its extensiveness, because it comprises all things; by its utility, because it bestows happiness on all thofe that hearken to it; and by its necessity, because to be ignorant of it, or to despise it would be to expose oneself to eternal perdition.
Reflect how much thou standest in need of receiving instructions from this matter who is come down from heaven, since thou art as a child that cannot distinguish between the right hand and the left, between good and evil; nay, as an irrational creature, and void of understanding: and does not thy behaviour of- tentimes speak thee still more unwise than the very brute itself? For the ox. knoweth his owner (Isai. 1. 3.) and the ass his master’s crib; the swallow and the stork (Isai. 9. 7.) know their appointed seasons , and observe the time of their coming and retiring ; but thou hadst not the fenfe to decline the danger that threatens thee. A beast: coming to the brink of a precipice stops short, but thou willingly cafteft thyfclf headlong down it.
Admire how great the kindness mull be of this adorable sovereign, to Induce him to come! and instruct thee. What other master besides himself would stoop so low as to become thy teacher? He comes to thee, nay he incorporates himself with thee with the view of writing his instructions on thy heart with the characters of his own. Who besides himself would take a pleasure in familiarizing himself with thee and teaching thee the facets of his wisdom ? What other mailer, in line, would reward thy attention to his instructions by heaping on thee riches on this account ? Other matters expect to be paid for their care in teaching their scholars ; but this mailer, to induce his disciples to learn his doctrine, promises and gives them all his wealth, as a reward of their docility. O Lord, how great is thy goodness! how amiable thy charity! how happy am I in such a matter!
Blest as thou art, O my foul! with fo great a matter, is it not thy duty to pay him all due respect? Being so good, oughteft thou not to love him? His doctrine being so pure, and perfect and divine, does it not challenge thy highest esteem? and withal so necessary, is it not thy interest to learn it? I adore thee therefore, O sovereign matter, with the moll profound respect imaginable; I love thee with all the ardour of my foul. I set the highest value on thy doctrine, and defire nothing so much as to learn it, and I hope that this day thou wilt make me a thorough proficient in it.
Prepare thyself, O my foul, to receive with all suitable respect and love, the doctrine of thy divine mafter. Thou art this day to become, in fome repeat, the school in which he is to teach, the pulpit in which he is to preach, and the book in which he is to write. Prepare thyself on all these accounts to embrace and adhere to his doctrine.
But how vain and fruitless will all my endeavours be, O Jefus! for these purposes, without thy alfiftance? Prepare then, I beseech thee, this heart for receiving thy divine instructions: make its inward ear attentive that it may listen to thee, soften its hardness, that thy documents may make a deep impression on it; give it a relish for thy maxims that it may love them; and fend forth thy holy Spirit, that he may give it docility and every other disposition with which thou defireft they may be received and entertained: and to supply for what is wanting on my fide, I offer unto thee the docility and every other suitable disposition of thy saints and angels. Come therefore, O divine master! for my heart pants after thee with extreme earnestness: come, I promise that it shall hearken to thee, that thy doctrine (hall be received in it with respect, and that it shall be there faithfully followed. Come, love, wifdorn, light, divine truth ! come, I pray thee, I have no other, desire but to be instructed by thee.
Thou haft then granted my request O Teacher of the apostles ! and art come into my foul. How great is. my happiness and what a favour have I received ! But what shall I do to testify my gratitude ? May infinite and eternal thanks be returned to thee by all the creatures of heaven and earth ; may every being adore, glorify and praise thy most holy and most adorable name for the inestimable benefit which thou haft granted me. I adore thee, I praise and thank thee together with them, with all the sentiments of respect, love and gratitude my heart is capable of.
But since I enjoy the happiness of having thee within me, O my beloved master! speak to me, instruct me, I beseech thee, for I will never more have any other master but thee; I will never more liften to any other doctrine but thine, teach me then, I most humbly entreat thee.
Suffer me, O divine master 1 to place thyself with all due respect at thy feet as another Mary (Luke 10. 39;) that I may attend to thy divine oracles. Graciously be pleased to accept from me my heart, my understanding, my memory, my affections, my senses both internal and external, that they may be formed and' modelled by thee.
Here is then my heart which I give thee to be thy disciple teach it to serve thee, to do everything in its power to please thee, never to seek itself, to walk at all times in thy ways and never to follow its own; and to fulfil always thy adorable will preferably to the suggestions of its own. Teach it to love the cross, mortifications and penance; to regulate all its desires and actions by the maxims of thy gospel, to abhor and despise the honours, pleasures and riches of the present world, and to place its whole esteem and love in the goods of the world to come; in short, to desire nothing but virtue, to rejoice in nothing but doing good, and put its whole confidence in thee.
Here is likewise my mind which I desire may be thy disciple. Teach it to know thee and to know itself j to judge of dl things by the light in which thou beholdeft them, and not According to fhfet in tohkhthey’afjpearto^ the %es df tnen. Tfeke 'from it that veil which ' hinders its Cleat perception of the Vanity of the -tWngshf this world , of ’the ‘excellence of thole *jf heaven, of the defoimity of fin. Of the beau- WdfVirttte, of the folly of thofe who run after vifible and temporal things of the 'wifitom Of ifechasfhew ho feagetnefs but for thofe that ate 'fftvifible ‘and eternal. Jn fine, difcoVer to *t ^ffie trUtH and beauty Of thy ways, arid the er- ror and' mifery of the wfeys of the wdrld.
Here too are my memory, my imagination, my desires, my senses and all the facilities of hiy foul arid body, Which I g,^e fhee. in hke manner to be difciplined and inftna&ed by tKfee. Teafch rtty meriiOry to bear thee continuity ’-in '‘remembrance, thy imfegiriation^to Digitized by L.o 7 le Jut Bxtrtifo fox, Tvdday*. fern* wages, which, may lead met. to thee* aotfc to rejed all (uch ;sa. may withdeaw met fnw* contemplatjngtby petfedioiaft. Teach nay dft-* fires to govert> all theiT motions by thy, laws, aiwl to repiWs eHvfush.as.are not. cpntarawble to them, Teach my. eyss to behold tfcefr in «*ery thing?*; my easMo liftem only, to the** rayfmeU to. delight- only in th odour, ofc thy perfumes*. my feelje# tabs fenfire only of thjl divine impceffaia .; my. tongue to? fpwfe. only of: thee } ray/ hancbito be employed ift thy fervice, and my feet to* walk only m thy waySn Q divine rnaftec r on thee alone it depends to make me perfed in thy dodrjne ; for it is thou alone that giveft knowledge and underftand- ing. Leave me not therefore in my ignorance and my errors. Though. I have been long in thy fcho€(l> and received, repeated; inftra&roatf from thee, I am but too fenfible of thp little improvement 1 have made under, filch a maf- ter,, being fcance acquainted with the firfb ru»- dimerris of thy divine dodrine - y teach.it me. Lord} I befedclx thee, and fuller me not t* continue longer in my ignorance. If I am ftill a ftranger to thy ways- and maaims, it is bc- caule my heart and mind are prepoffefled and tindured with the dodrines of the falfe writers and wife ones, of this world. But do thou, O Jelus 1 efface every impreflion thofe falfe wri- ters have made on my mind, that it may be thereby prepared fee learning thy divine truths. They have bewitched nay eyes, and enchanted my heart, to prevent ray feeing and loving thy dodrioe. Do thou, OLocd, remove this-de- hifion, enamour me with thy divine precepts , that I may love and value nothing but thy di- vine maxims. I utterly deteft all fuch as are j repugnant to them.
Like a true Israelite, I will henceforward have thy law written on my heart, on my eyes, on my tongue, on my hands, on my feet, on every part of me; but write it thyself. O Jesus! and write it in such a manner that the characters may never be obliterated, and that everything in me may concur to observe it with an inviolable fidelity.
Write it alfo on the hearts of all thy faithful, that they may religiously obey it; make it known to fo many infidel nations that are ignorant of it. Instruct them, I beseech thee in thy truth; dissipate the darkness of their errors; enlighten them with the light of thy gospel, that they may forsake the ways of death and walk in the paths of life. And, thou, my foul, adhere always. firmly, but particularly this day, to the doctrine of thy divine matter, never abandon it upon any account; make it the inviolable rule of thy conduct because it is thy life.
MAY endless praises, blessings and thanksgiving be rendered unto the great teacher of men and angels, for having vouchsafed this day to be my instructor and guide. Thou seest, divine master, the necessity I am under of being taught by thee; abandon me not, I beseech thee, but when by the alteration of the sacramental species thou ceases to be corporally present with me, deprive me not at lead of thy spiritual presence to teach me to walk in thy ways.
Speak, O divine matter! speak, to the inward ears of my heart; make it hear thy voice; repeat to it those divine lessons which thou haft this day taught it; convince it of their truth and importance, and never fuller it to forget thee.
O divine light! dispel my darkness, I pray thee, that I may not sleep ( Pf. iz. 3.) the sleep of death; shew me the ways of life, and teach me to love and serve my God.
Treasure up in thy memory, O my soul the valuable instructions thy amiable Jesus has this day communicated to thee. He has taught thee to contemn all that the world admires; he has recommended to. thee the love of the cross, humiliation, poverty, mortification, obedience and penance. This is the doctrine that thou art to follow.
Depart from me, ye prophets of Baal, false doctors and pretended wise men of the world! I acknowledge no other but Jesus for mastler; l will be forever his disciple, and will faithfully adhere to his doctrine.
1 have made thee a solemn promise, O my Saviour! never to embrace any doctrine but thine, and. never to forget thy divine precepts; and I am determined to observe it faithfully with the assistance of thy grace.