THE WEEK OF QUINQUAGESIMA – SATURDAY
LESSON: MATTHEW 26:57-58
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
We have no hesitation at all in declaring that anyone who contemplates God’s sufferings for a day, an hour, a quarter of an hour, does better than fasting for a whole year, praying a psalm every day, and hearing a hundred masses. For such contemplation changes a man quite basically and is very close to the new birth of baptism. Here the sufferings of Christ perform their true and noble work. They choke the Old Adam and dispel all pleasure, joy, and confidence in creatures, even as Christ was forsaken by all and even by God.
Because this work is not under our control, it happens that at times we must pray for it. The result does not follow immediately. Nevertheless, we must not lose heart and desist from our efforts. Sometimes, it happens that we do not pray in accordance with God’s will. God acts in freedom and will not become our captive. And so, a man may become saddened in his conscience and very dissatisfied with his life without realizing that it is Christ’s sufferings, of which he thinks very little, that are influencing him in this way, just as others can ponder Christ’s sufferings almost continuously without ever coming to self-knowledge. With the former, the sufferings of Christ are a hidden but genuine factor; with the latter, they are merely apparent and deceptive. In this way, God often brings the unexpected to pass.
PRAYER: Keep us ever mindful, heavenly Father, of the grim reality of the suffering and death of our Lord and grant us your grace fully to accept all that our Lord gave and suffered for us in our stead. Amen.