from the annals of history unto our current day
Meditations for the Holy Season of Lent
by a Member of the Society of Jesus
Meditation IX - Thursday
On the Bloody Sweat
1st Point. Consider, my soul, how rude was this first shock of his sacred passion to our divine Saviour! Behold him kneeling, bathed in his own blood, which oozes from every pore. It is the fear of his approaching torments; it is the horror inspired by your crimes, and the desire for your salvation, which excites this intolerable combat in his sacred heart. He has concentrated in himself all the iniquities of the human race, and conceived for them so great a sorrow, that he must have expired had not his life been preserved by a miracle. He wrought miracles that he might suffer, but none to exempt himself from suffering. And I am impatient, because God does not constantly interpose miracles to exempt me from suffering and dying.
2nd Point. Oh, Saviour of my soul! this first combat of thine has been a bloody and fearful one! What pains it cost thee to dissipate, by the violence of thy sorrow, the multitude of our crimes, which thou hadst before thine eyes! I was with Judas in the Garden of Gethsemani to seize thee! I was in thy sacred heart to afflict thee! My sins were in the world before my birth; they strengthened the arms of the Jews to strike and buffet thee; and delivered thee to thy enemies, who tormented thee with malicious ingenuity, and afterwards crucified thee!
3rd Point. Oh, divine Master! thou hast given to the world most noble and beautiful examples, but no one desires to imitate them; thou hast taught us the most perfect lessons, but no one desires to learn them; thou goest first to the conflict, but none follow thee. Thy disciples have basely abandoned thee; they sleep while thou dost watch; they enjoy repose while thou art engaged in a bitter warfare; they afflict instead of consoling thee; they betray instead of delivering thee!
Oh, what confusion overwhelms me! Jesus overcomes all the alarms and infirmities of nature, clothed as he was with the weakness of man, and I yield to them, although I am sustained by the strength of God; he goes generously to the conflict with my timidity, and I, who am endowed with his courage, fly!
Oh, precious blood, which watered and bathed this ungrateful earth, warm my cold heart, water my arid soul, strengthen my spirit, and raise up my fallen courage! I wish to enter the combat with a firm resolution to overcome and resist the rebellious movements of nature, even unto the shedding of blood. I will, by the grace and in the strength of God, triumph over my flesh, and subject my spirit to divine charity. I will maintain the warfare, until, like thee, I sweat blood and water. Like thee will I suffer, and drink the chalice of thy bitterness unto death.
WORDS OF SCRIPTURE
"The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" - St. John, xviii.
"He began to grow sorrowful and to be sad. Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me." - St. Matt. xxvi.
"And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground." - St. Luke, xxii.
"Surely he hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows." - Isaias, liii.
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Proceed to the Tenth Meditation