Whitsunday GOSPEL St. John 14:23-31 The Saturday Meditation: A Plaine Path-Way To Heaven By Fr.Thomas Hill 1634
Small Passion: 34. The Ascension
Saturday MeditationJohn 14:23-31At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me, does not keep My words. And the word that you have heard is not Mine, but the Father’s Who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while yet dwelling with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, or be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I go away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would indeed rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it has come to pass you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the prince of the world is coming an in Me he has nothing. But he comes that the world may know that I love the Father, and that I do as the Father has commanded Me.
Though we instruct, teach, dispute, persuade, or reprove with never so much art, and eloquence; yet unless the Grace of the holy Ghost doth concur, it availeth little, therefore Christ himself, of those things he had spoken to his disciples before said thus here: These things I spoke unto you being present with you, but the holy Spirit the comforter whom my Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, & suggest unto you whatsoever I have said unto you.
Here one might ask this question: Have they need. O Christ,to be told by another, those things which thou hast told them before, as though any could tell them more effectually then thy self? Yes, whosoever speaketh to my good purpose,and speaketh never so eloquently or well,it is the grace of the holy Ghost that giveth life unto it, and therefore we ought to commend the matter to God by prayer, or elevation of our mind to God more or less, and if we have not time to do more,yet to life up our eyes at least toward heaven, as Christ for our example did many times in the Gospel, before he began to speak, or to do: for as St.Paul sayth, Well may Paul plant and Apollo water, but it is God (the holy Ghost) that giveth the increase. Moreover we may learn here not to arrogate to our selves that virtue or praise that is due to another,but give unto every one their due, that which is Caesars unto Caesar,and that which is Gods unto God: as Christ did here to the holy Ghost, acknowledge him to be the expected comforter unto his disciples, & the leader of them into all truth, and himself together with his Father to be the sender of him.
God is more honored in the Service of many, then of few, & in the Virtues of many, then, few, he being the author & giver as St James sayth of all good gifts: wherefore to rob any man of his honor, is to rob God of his. We may likewise observe, that the holy Ghost descended upon the disciples, being all assembled together in one room, to signify that the grace of the holy Ghost descend not upon us, unless we be united together in one room, the holy Catholic Church, the house of God, as they were.
For as a mans spirit doth quicken only those members of the body that are untied together, and none else: so doth the holy Ghost, which is the spirit of the Catholic Church the mystical body of Christ, quicken no member that is not united unto it, by the bond of faith and charity.
Before the holy Ghost came there was a great sound, as it were, of a vehement blast of wind, to give them notice to prepare themselves: so we, before we address ourselves to prayer or any good exercise,we must prepare our hearts and souls thereunto, and no preparation better then sorrow for our sins, and a firm purpose to abstain from sin, according to that saying of wise Solomon: A just man, in the beginning of his prayer,is an accuser of himself, that is to say, ought to be an accuser of himself. And in another place:Before prayer prepare thy heart, that thou be not like one that tempeth God.
Christ at his Ascension commanded his disciples to go to Jerusalem,and sit there til the holy Ghost came down upon them: Christ said not, (tarry there) but ( sit there) to sit signifeth quietness or tranquility of mind, according whereunto Aristotle the chief of Philosophers sayth: A man is made a philosopher by sitting, and resting; not meaning bodily rest, or sitting, for he himself taught walking, and therefore his disciples were called thereof Peripatetics, that is to say,walkers; he meant not, I say, by the word (sitting)rest and quietness of the body, but of the mind.
Wherefore, when Christ bid his disciples sit in Jerusalem, he meant they should be quiet in mind, as necessary disposition to receive the grace and illumination of the holy Ghost; and so is it for us also, especially before prayer, & contemplation: and as quietness & tranquility of mind from all worldly care and affairs; is a singular preparation to receive the grace of the holy Ghost; so is it likewise an effect which the holy Ghost doth cause in us: insignificant whereof it is said, that at Pentecost the holy Ghost did sit upon every one of them, that is to say,did cause them to have peace and tranquility of soul, from all inordinate love of the world, and the cares and affairs thereof:which if we have, is an evident sign of the holy Ghost within us,and a preparation to ascend,as the Prophet David sayth, from one virtue to another, until we come to see the God of Gods in Sion,that is in heaven, upon whom we had the eyes of our souls fixed here on earth.