Dominica In Albis Or Low Sunday The Gospel John 20 v.19 Friday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
GOSPEL John 20:19-31
At that time, when it was late the same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them: "Peace be to you." And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: "Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him: "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them: "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." And after eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said: "Peace be to you." Then he said to Thomas: "Put in thy finger hither and see my hands. And bring hither the hand and put it into my side. And be not faithless, but believing." Thomas answered and said to him: "My Lord and my God." Jesus saith to him: "Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and have believed." Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name.
FRIDAYIn that Christ came to his disciples in the night, when the doors were shut in, and saluted them with (Peace be unto you) we may learn that if we will have God to visit us with his grace, and heavenly consolations in our prayers & meditations, we must chose out a time, when we may be most quiet from all noise, and business, as is the silent and quiet night: and we must chose a place where we may be most private, as in our closet, or chamber, or house, and therefore Christ appeared to his disciples in a house; and in the Gospel he bidet us when we pray, to go into our chamber, and being there to shut the door upon us, signifying that when we are at our prayers we must shut the doors and windows of our senses, that we be not distracted, and therefore Christ came to his disciples when the doors were shut in.
He that will be a good contemplative man, must be dumb, deaf, and blind to all things that may distract his mind.
And this is one reason why Churches are commonly built out of the way for avoiding of clamors and noise, the windows high and darkened with colored glass, that we cannot see through to be distracted by our eyes, adorned with holy Images and godly representations to withdraw our minds more forcibly from vain objects and impertinent imaginations.
We must shut the doors or windows of our outward senses, not only to be the more attentive, and recollected in prayer and meditation; but also to avoid the danger of sin, they being called the windows or doors of sin: and we may learn it of the Prophet David who of hearing & speaking when he was wronged and proved by words & deeds of his enemies, that it was hard for a man to hold his peace, saith thus of himself: But I was like one that was deaf and did not hear, & as if I were dumb not having in my mouth any reprehension of them: and of his cries he prayed thus: Avert O Lord mine eyes that I behold not vanities.
They that have itching ears to hear all they can possibly hunt out, have also slippery tongues to speak more then they should, and for over much curiosity of our eyes we can expect no better then that which the prophet Jeremy by way of prophecy bewailed in our persons: my eyes have robbed my soul, and therefore holy Job knowing the danger thereof said thus of himself: I have made a Covenant with my eyes to the end I think not of a Virgin, to wit, over curiously to endanger his soul.
Oh that we would make such a compact or covenant not only with our eyes, but with all our outward senses, tongue & cogitations of our heart, how safely should we live, how sweet would be our prayers, and devotions.
There are some gardens so full of sweet odoriferous flowers, and herbs of sundry sorts, that when we come into them, our senses are marvelously delighted with them, as if we were in a paradise, in so much that we are very loath to leave it.
The life of Christ, is a most spacious and delicate garden, full of most odoriferous and pleasant flowers: How sweet a flower to smell to by way of meditations the mystery of the Nativity of Christ? how sweet his journey or pilgrimage into Egypt, when he was a Child, with our blessed Lady his mother and St. Joseph his reputed Father? how sweet his glorious resurrection, his Ascension, the institution of the blessed Sacrament, yea and his very death & passion of we consider it with tender compassion and love, as we cannot chose, if we consider it well? how sweet all the passages of his life, especially in their several proper times, when the Church celebrates Festival days and times thereof; and what variety is there therein, which variety of itself yielded great delight.
They say those that want one of their senses have the rest more perfect, and lively, and it should seem so in old Isaac, who when he had lost his sight with old age, giving his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau, and smelling his perfumed garments, which Jacob had put on; he lifted up his voice and said: O how sweet is the odor of my son, it is like the odor of a field full of flowers, which our Lord hath blessed.
If the want of one sense make the rest more lively, what will the want of more do, how lively shall they smell the sweet odors of the mysteries of Christ aforesaid in they meditations & contemplation, that deprive themselves of their hearing, seeing & speaking, for the time, as if they were deaf, dumb, and blind, shutting up these three windows or doors of their souls; which was prefigured & obscurely taught us, by the appearing of Christ to his disciples, when the doors were shut, that they might smell the sweet odor of his joyful resurrection the better.