Whitsunday GOSPEL St. John 14:23-31 The Thursday Meditation: A Plaine Path-Way To Heaven By Fr.Thomas Hill 1634
ANDREA di Vanni d'Andrea
Ascension of Christ
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.
We see that some have not only natural life in them, but are as it were full of life,like children & young people,unto whom the soul doth not only give life howsoever,but beauty, strength, agility, lustiness, vivacity of all their senses exterior and interior:and for motion they are not content only to go, or walk,but to run and leap & skip like young lambs upon a sunny bank in a cold morning; old people have none of these, but only live,and as much as they can do to live: So some have no more spiritual life of grace, but only to live out of mortal sin,and aspire no further.
Some again rest not there,but aspire to all manner of perfection; they are not content to go or walkin the way of salvation and service of God,but run as the Prophet David did with great alacrity, joy & comfort, after God had dilated and enlarged his heart, with grace and liveliness of the holy Ghost.
Of which effect the holy Ghost is denominated and called the Paraclete in Greek,which in English signifieth a Comforter, of which effect it is also called a spiritual Unction, or Ointment, wherewith our hearts being anointed, it maketh all things go easily and pleasantly away in the service of God without murmur or grudging, as material ointment of oil or the like maketh Cartwheels heavy loaded, (which otherwise would chare & make a murmuring noise) to go easily, and without any noise at all; and not only without murmuration and noise, but with a great deal of alacrity, joy, and comfort; and that not confined to the soul only,but redounding also to the body,and especially to the tongue, which is the proper instrument, as the Proverb sayth,to utter what is in the heart.
And first concerning the prayers of God, this unction of the holy Ghost maketh men to sound them forth so savourly, & with such a pleasant relish to the pallate of the soul, that though they do it every day, and divers times in the day, and the very same one time that they do another, they pronounce them so delighfully, as if they were every one different and new: of the first, to wit the sweet relish thereof, the Prophet David sayth thus: Sing to our Lord, sing (Sapienter) savourly, and with a sweet relish, of the word sapio, to taste or relish; and of the other, Sing unto our Lord,sing a new song, that is say,sing as delightfully as if that you sing were always a new song, and the tongue for volubility and nimbleness here, he compareth it, unto the pen of a swift writer, in regard whereof the holy Church is not content to have her Churchmen to say or read her public divine service, and prayers of God, but to sing them in the Quire, and to answer one another in melodious manner, and to add all manner of musical instruments, being untied by the Prophet David so to do, and call Holy days Feasts, because people do then feast with God in their prayers, and praise; & every day Ferial, or Festival days unto Church-men, because they are bound to feast or singing the divine Office, or Service of the Church.
But we must understand this joy and cheerfulness cannot be had without a pure and immaculate conscience, and therefore the Prophet David said; I will sing and understand in an immaculate way, as if he should say,unless my heart be immaculate and pure from sin, I cannot sing cheerfully, nor understand the comfort thereof, and therefore many do abstain from sin a great deal the more, because they would not deprive themselves of this sweet comfort in their prayers, and praises of God.
From this sweet refection and recreation of the soul, when St Bernard in his Monastery was called to the refection of his body,he came to it as to a torment, because the refection of his body interrupted the refection of his soul.
That and many other gifts besides doth one and the same Spirit,as St.Paul sayth, to wit, the Holy Ghost, give and pour out upon us, it being the fountain of all grace. Wherefore this being so, and this feast being the high and solemn feast of the holy Ghost, which we keep once a year, to the honor of the Holy Ghost, let us rejoice and be glad therein like good children of our holy Mother the Church,who in the Service of the holy Mass at his time, multipleth her joyful song of Alleluia very much, & conclude the joyful time of Easter with this no less joyful Feast of Pentecost, or coming of the holy Ghost.
Let us give thanks to God for all his gifts,and graces he gave at Pentecost to the disciples, and out of their fullness to all the body of the Catholic Church throughout the world. Let us do the like for all the gifts,& graces he hath given us and our particular friends. Let us desire him not only to continue the same graces unto us,but to increase it, that we may not barely be able, and willing to live out of mortal sin, and no more; but to be lively, strong, and lustly in spiritual life, to run in the way of the commandments of God, to aspire to perfection , to proceed from on virtue to another, to be devout in prayer, zealous and fervent in the service of God.
This is that,which is most pleasing to God,signified here in that the holy Ghost came upon the disciples, not in a little soft wind, but in a strong vehement blast which filled all the room with the din and noise thereof.
This is that which Christ came into the world to do, as himself sayth, that we might not only have life of grace, how soever, but in abundance. And therefore God sayth unto every one of us by the mouth of St.John the Evangelist:I would thou were hot or cold, but because thou art neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm,I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth, alluding to the similitude of Luke-warm water,which being drunk especially fasting next to a mans heart, provoketh him to vomit; and indeed all those that fall from God, and are as it were vomited out of his mouth, do commonly begin with luke-warm coldness and tepidity in prayer, Sacraments, & Service of God.