Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Marc.7 v. 31. Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634

TIZIANO Vecellio 
Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple (detail) 
1534-38
GOSPEL Mark 7:31-37 
At that time, Jesus went out from the borders of Tyre, and came through Sidon unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to lay his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it. And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, "He hath done all things well; he maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak." 
Wednesday Meditation

In that Christ our Saviour did cast his eyes up to heaven, is signify, that in the cure of ones self being spiritually deaf and dumb, (for in this every man is to be his own physician, and the Proverb calleth upon him and sayth, Physician cure thyself) or in the cure of another, (for we are likewise in Charity to be one anothers Physician) we must cast up our eyes to heaven, that is to say, expect help and aid from thence, as the Prophet David said he did, in the like case: I lifted up my eyes, sayth he, to the mountains (that is to heaven) from whence commeth my aid; and we must cast down our eyes upon ourselves, and behold how great our misery is, who easily fall into sin of our selves, but being fallen we are not able to rise again of our selves, wherein we are in far worse case for our soul, then a beast, or ourselves for our body, who being corporeally fallen into a ditch, are able of ourselves to rise again: and by casting our eyes thus down upon ourselves,we shall sigh at our own misery and unworthiness.

These two things to look up to heaven, and down upon ourselves in manner aforesaid, or rather first, to look down upon our selves, & then to look up, is a singular means, next unto shunning the occasions of sin, to cure ourselves, or others of their sin: & this peradventure is the reason that Religious Persons use to look down so much as they do.

By the Ceremony of our Saviour Christ his putting his fingers into the deaf mans ears, is signified, that if in case we be deaf, that is to say, unwilling of dull to hear the word of God, I mean not for all sorts of people to the word of God in the Bible it self in the Mother tongue, & understand it how they list, to their own perdition, as St Peter sayth, the unlearned and unstable do the Scriptures, being hard and intricate, as the same St. Peter saith, especially the Epistles of St. Paul and the Apocalypse (wherein as the Fathers affirm, there are as many mysteries as sentences:) but to hear Catholic Sermons and exhortations, to read Catholic books, wherein the word of God is truly expounded & applied unto us, to hear good Ghostly Counsel, and charitable Admonitions (all which are reduced to the hearing of the word of God, and is indeed the only right and sound reading of the word of God, unless it be for such as be by their function Pastors, and teachers of others:) if, I say, we be deaf, and dull to hear the word of God in this fashion, then by Christ his putting his fingers into the deaf mans ears, is signified, that we must pray that Christ will vouchsafe to put his fingers into our ears, that is to say, send the holy Ghost, which is called the Finger of God, into the ears of pour soul, to open them there into.

By the spittle that Christ touched the dumb mans tongue, which descend into the mouth from the head, which is the seat and shop as it were of wisdom, is signified heavenly wisdom, or wisdom in heavenly things, pertaining to our soul, which as the Scripture sayth procedeth from the mouth, & consequently from the head (as spittle doth) of the most high God.

We being therefore made willing and desirous to hear the word of God as aforesaid, by the Finger of the holy Ghost, touching the ears of our soul, we must desire God to touch our tongue with wisdom, discretion, eloquence, audacity and zeal, to speak & utter those things of the word of God, which we hear when time is, to the honor of God and edification of souls, especially those that are called to the function of priesthood, and preaching to others.

Which must be done (if we will do it perfectly indeed) not so much for the salvation of souls. (though that be an excellent good end) as merely for the honor of God.

For as the devil out of his perfection of malice against God, maketh his chief end of procuring men to sin, not so much the loss of their souls, as the dishonor of God, whereunto sin and loss of souls doth tend, they being the image of God: so we if we will be perfect in our end, should in freeing ourselves or others from sin, not so much respect the salvation of souls as the honor of God, whereunto the salvation of souls doth tend, they being the image of God.

When David came to fight the combat with the giant Golias, who set him at naught, and reviled him as if he were a dog, because he came to encounter with him being a Giant and in complete armour, with a sling in his hand, and certain little stones in his shepherds scrip, he being a shepherd, and but a youth, and of small stature; David said unto him again, Our Lord, will give thee into my hands, and I will strike thee and take of thy head, and all the earth shall know, that there is a Lord God in Israel, and all people shall know, that this our Lord doth not save neither in sword nor spear. for the battle is his.

Behold how the holy young man attended neither to the honor, nor liberty of his people, nor his own, nor any other end but merely unto the honor and glory of God, and with that motive did he incite and animate himself to fight, and did overcome, & verify his words aforesaid.

With the same consideration and motive should we incite and animate ourselves to fight against the Devil, in keeping ourselves & others free from sin, to wit, merely that God be not dishonored and offended thereby.

And that we may have access better to God, to receive these, and the like benefits of him, let us procure others, to wit the Saints in heaven, and holy people here on earth, such as religious persons commonly are and ought to be, to present us to God by their prayers, especially the public prayers, & suffrages of the Church, to beg for us, as these men here in the Gospel did,for this deaf and dumb man.


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