Meditations - Friday in the first Week of Advent: The Reign of Christ in us
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
After having meditated upon the coming of the Saviour at the end of the world, we will now meditate on His coming and His reign in our hearts by grace, and we shall see, first, that this reign is full of sweetness and of joy; second, that all the joys of the world are not to be compared to it. We will then make the resolution, first, to place all our delight in God alone, and our pleasure in His good pleasure; second, to maintain, by a habit of recollection, the reign of Jesus Christ in us; and we will beg of Him, by frequent aspirations, to live forever in our hearts. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of St Paul: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (php iv:4), or else the words of St Augustine: “May everything be bitter to me, that Thou alone mayst be sweet to my heart” (Soliloquies xxii).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore Jesus Christ coming to bring true joy upon earth by His birth. “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy” (luk ii:10), said the angel to the shepherds. Until then, men had placed their joy in the false possessions of the world; they sought satisfaction only in creatures, in the pleasures of life; and the greatest abominations were styled amusements and pleasures, but since His coming, they have learnt to rejoice in God (exo xxxii:6), and to place their happiness in the possession of God (luk i:47). Let us bless the Incarnate Word for the change which His coming has brought into the world.
The Reign of Jesus Christ in us is Full of Sweetness and Joy.
That which the prophet said of the advent of the Messiah upon earth may very rightly be said of the coming of Jesus Christ into the Christian soul. Be comforted, O My people, God says in Isaiah (xl:1); rejoice and give praise, for the Lord comes to console His people (isa lii:9). Happy, indeed, the soul in which Jesus comes to be spiritually born, in these blessed days, in order to live and reign there forever! It will taste how sweet the Lord is; how delicious are the joys inseparable from His presence in the midst of the heart. These joys will fill the soul entirely, and leave no void therein, no room for affliction, trouble, or uneasiness. It is because in God alone we find the happiness which can fully satisfy us; we find in Him the infinite; we possess Him, we taste Him, we enjoy Him; and it is, says St Augustine, a foretaste of Paradise to such a degree that we can no longer take pleasure in creatures, and that all which is not God, or for God, is disgusting to us (Confessions lib. x, xxii). A single drop of this sweetness, the same Father continues, disgusts us with everything else (Soliloquies xxii). These pure and holy joys have also this great advantage, that they cannot be taken from us (joh xvi:22). All other joys are transitory, and the fear of losing them often poisons the possession of them, but the joys which we taste in God nothing can deprive us of. No one can take God from me, said the old religious to those who asked him the reason of his continual joy. These are the joys which give repose during life, peace at the hour of death, paradise in eternity. O Jesus, King full of sweetness, come, then, to be born, to live, and to reign in me, with Thy beauty, Thy charms, and Thy sweetness, which fill the heart with consolation (psa xliv:5).
All the Joys of the World are not to be Compared to the Joys which Accompany the Reign of Christ in us.
There are no joys in the world which completely satisfy the heart. Solomon, who had tasted them all, declares that he found nothing therein except vanity and vexation of spirit (ecc i:2, 14). I have been all that a man can be, said a Roman Emperor, and it has been of no service to me. These false pleasures stop at the surface of the soul; they only touch the flesh and the senses, and therefore they never satisfy. The more we have, the more we desire to possess (pro xxx:15, et seq.); and if we were to possess everything, we should not even then be satisfied: because Thou hast made us for Thee, O my God, and because our hearts, when not with Thee, are always ill at ease (Con- fessions, lib. i cap. i). The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing (ecc i:8). Lastly, the joys of the world are something still worse; they dissipate and enervate the heart until it becomes incapable of all solid virtue; they plunge it into the senses, debasing it through their false sweetness; and lastly, they cause it to be subject to bitter regrets, pro- found sorrow during life, despair at the hour of death, and torment throughout eternity (St Bernard). Let us learn from these things no longer to seek happiness upon earth, but to seek it in God alone, for there only is it to be found. Are these our dispositions?
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.