Whitsunday GOSPEL St. John 14:23-31 The Wednesday Meditation: A Plaine Path-Way To Heaven By Fr.Thomas Hill 1634
ANDREA DA FIRENZE
Ascension of Christ (south vault cell)
At 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.
When God in the beginning of the world created mankind, he first framed the form and shape of a mans body in clay, with all the parts, lineaments and feature thereof: having done that, he breathed into it as the Scripture sayth, the breath of life, that is to say, a living soul, and so it became a perfect man, of body and soul, calling him Adam, which signifiyeth a thing made of clay, because he was made of clay.
Even so when God was to make and ordain a second Adam, to wit his holy Catholic Christian Church, throughout the world, which is his mystical body, he sent his only begotten son Christ Jesus into the earth, who for the space of three & thirty years was building and framing this body by preaching the gospel, confirming it by miracles, instituting Sacraments, dying for it, rising again, ascending into heaven, and ordaining all things necessary for the salvation and perfection thereof: all this was yet a but a dead body, as Adam was, without life, having only the materials of such a body, not able to move nor to to enter into the kingdom of heaven, though Christ by his death, Resurrection, and Ascension had set the gates thereof wide open.
Wherefore at this Feast of Pentecost he sent the holy Ghost upon his disciples, who breathed into them the breath of life, that is to say of grace, wherewithall, & with the sundry gifts thereof, the Holy Ghost replenished their souls, and not only theirs but the whole body of the Church of Christ throughout the world, by their preaching & planting the faith of Christ; For the sound of their preaching like a Trumpet, went through the world, as the Scripture testify, and upon their preaching the spirit of our Lord, that is to say the holy Ghost, as another place of Scripture testify, with his grace and gifts, replenished the whole orb, or Circle of the earth, as it were with spiritual life, which before was as it were a dead body.
For how weak and frail the Apostles were before the coming of the holy Ghost, their dullness to believe in Christ notwithstanding they conversed with him and saw his divine miracles, which none but God could do, doth testify; in so much that Christ was fain often times to reprehend them for it, and once very sharply as though he were weary of them saying: O ye incredulous men how long shall I endure you? He blamed St. Peter and called him Satan, he foretold he would deny him, and so he did, though he was the chief man of all the Apostles, and that not once but thrice at the interrogation of a poor feely maid; and how strong, constant and zealous they were after the coming of the holy Ghost that nothing could daunt them, we know, as if they had been dead before, and life breathed into them after.
And this life of grace is aptly said to be breathed into them, and us; for the holy Ghost is self proceed from the Father & the son by way of inspiration or breathing; he is called sanctus spiritus, the holy spirit,or breath, for so spirit us in English doeth signify; he came down upon the disciples with the visible sign of a great breath or blast of wind, to show the invisible operation thereof; when Christ gave the holy Ghost to his disciples, he breathed upon them and said; Receive yee the holy Ghost: The good motions that the holy Ghost infused into our souls are called Inspirations, or Breathings; the breathing of natural kiss by almighty God into Adams body of clay was a figure of the breathing of spiritual life by the holy Ghost into the souls of disciples at Pentecost, and by their means into all the mystical body of the universal Church: yea as a natural body having once life breathed into it, maintaineth the same life by breathing, without which it cannot live,and therefore to breath,and to live is all one: for a man to say, I will do such, and such a thing ( while I breath) is all one as if he said (while I live:) Even so our souls having received the spiritual life of grace by the inspiration and breathing of the holy Ghost,we cannot maintain it without continual breathing, that is to say, receiving in the god motions and inspirations of the holy Ghost, and yielding forth breathings and good aspirations to God again in prayer meditation and other holy operations, and works both of body and soul: and of prayer the Prophet David sayth thus, I opened my mouth, to wit in prayer, and meditation, and drew in spirit ,or breath: and as we draw in spiritual breath by prayer, so we yield forth spiritual breath by good aspirations to God again, by uttering his prayers, by our good purposes, and intentions to honor and serve God,and his Blessed Mother,and Saints in heaven, & chiefly by our good works themselves if we do them for the honor and love of God,as St Paul counsaileth us to do in these words, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do it all to the honor and glory of God.