24 February 2024

Bishop Challoner's Meditations ~ The Feast of St Matthias


Consider first, how our Lord, rejoicing in the Holy Ghost, Matt. xi. 25, &c., addressed himself to his heavenly Father in these words: 'I give thanks to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things (the great truths of the gospel) from the wise and prudent (of this world), and hast revealed them to little ones.’ And learn thou, my soul, to admire and adore in this, the wonderful ways of the wisdom of God, who ever resists the proud, and gives his grace to the humble, and therefore withdraws and hides himself and his truths from such as are puffed up with the conceit of their own wit or learning, or any other talents, whether natural or acquired; whilst he discovers his secrets to the little and humble, fills their souls with his heavenly light, and works his greatest wonders in them and by them. Thus he did with regard to his Apostles, and thus we shall generally find, that the humble and simple have been instruments in the hand of God, of all the great works he has wrought in the conversion and sanctification of souls. O blessed be his name for ever, who thus delights in showing his power in weak vessels, and chooses the contemptible things of this world to confound our pride! O teach me, dear Lord, to be ever little and humble!

Consider 2ndly, how sweetly our Lord, on the same occasion, invites us to himself; saying, 'Come to Me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.’ Alas we all labour in this vale of tears: 'The days of this world are short and evil, full of sorrows and miseries, where man is defiled with many sins, ensnared with many passions, assaulted with many fears, disquieted with many cares, dissipated with many curiosities, entangled with many vanities, surrounded with many errors, broken with many hardships and fatigues, troubled with many temptations.’ Kempis. And is not this labouring and being heavy laden? Yes, there is, 'a heavy yoke, indeed, upon the children of Adam, from their coming out of their mother’s womb, until the day of their burial into the mother of all.’ Ecclus. xl. 1. But what remedy then for all these evils? We must run to Christ, and he will refresh us; he will comfort and relieve us. We must take up his yoke upon us, and he will rescue us from the slavery of sin and Satan; he will qualify all our other labours and miseries; he will give us the victory over all our passions and temptations and we shall find rest to our souls. For his yoke is sweet, and his burden light.

Consider 3rdly, that our Lord here invites us also to learn of him, to take him for our master and to become his scholars. A great honour indeed, to have the Son of God come down from heaven to be our teacher! But what then are we to learn of so great a master? Are we to learn of him to make heaven and earth; or to rule and govern the whole universe? Or, are we to learn of him to work all kind of miracles, and to raise the dead to life? O no: but we are to learn of him to be meek and humble of heart. This is the great lesson the King of heaven came down to teach us. In learning this we shall find a remedy for all our evils. No one but he could effectually teach us this lesson. Could we even raise the dead to life, it would be all nothing, without learning to be meek and humble of heart, and overcoming passion and pride.

Conclude, O my soul, to comply henceforward with this sweet summons and invitation of thy dear Lord, and to run to him, and to put thyself in his service: that with his gracious assistance, thou mayest cast off from thy shoulders the heavy yoke of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and take up his light yoke, and rest in him for ever.

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