Life Of Christ:
Christ Announces To St. Peter His Supreme Pastoral Charge
Private Life Of Jesus During His Ministry
Sorrow Caused To Jesus And Mary By The Persecution Of The Jews
Jesus Triumphantly Enters Jerusalem
Jews Lay Plans To Put Jesus To Death
The Last Supper
Farewell Discourse And Prayer Of Jesus
Jesus In The Garden Of Gethsemani
Treason Of Judas, And The Apprehension Of Jesus
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Farewell Discourse And Prayer Of Jesus
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
AFTER the Last Supper Our Lord addressed to His apostles a most touching discourse, in words the most pathetic and expressive of His love. " Let not your heart be troubled," He said, " because I go to the Father, and will prepare a place for you: for in My Father's house there are many mansions. You believe in God; believe also in Me. I will not leave you orphans; I will come again, and will take you to Myself, that where I am, you may also be. If you love Me, keep My commandments: he who loveth Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him. Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, that I will do. Peace I leave with you: My peace I give unto you. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who shall abide with you, and teach you all things." (John xiv.)
The sublime parting words of Our Saviour abound in profound mysteries. Dearest Saviour, Thou art going to Thy Father, Thou art going by the way of the cross to Thy triumph, a way full of grace and good fortune to us. For by treading this way of the cross and going thus to Thy Father, Thou hast earned and secured for us the saving influence and interposition of the comforting Spirit, the Paraclete. By the perfection of the work of atonement, Thou hast rendered us competent to receive His sevenfold supernatural graces.
Observe here, Christian soul, with what tenderness and delicacy Our Saviour prepares His apostles for the sad news that the hour of separation has at last come. He has already foretold to them the coming of the Holy Ghost, with His manifold graces and effects, the triumph of God's kingdom on earth, and their own admission into the realms of heaven. And now He uses less sorrowful words to communicate the painful information.
"A little while, and now you shall not see Me: and again a little while, and you shall see Me, because I go to the Father. Then some of His disciples said one to another: What is this that He saith to us: A little while and you shall not see Me, and again a little while and you shall see Me, and, because I go to the Father? They said therefore: What is this that He saith, A little while? We know not what He speaketh. And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask Him, and He said to them : Of this do you inquire among yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me. Amen, amen, I say to you, that you snail lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, bath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. So also now indeed you have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man shall take from you. And in that day you shall not ask Me, anything. Amen, amen, I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name : Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will speak no more to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father. In that day you shall ask in My name, and I say not to you that I will ask the Father for you : for the Father Himself loveth you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and I go to the Father. His disciples say to Him: Behold, now Thou speakest plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now we know that Thou knowest all things, and Thou needest not that any man should ask Thee. By this we believe that Thou comest forth from God. Jesus answered them: Do you now believe?" (John xvi. 16-31.)
"Do you now believe?" Christian soul, do you thoroughly understand the impor- of this sorrowful question of the Saviour? In a few hours it will become painfully evident that the faith of the apostles was not a living faith, not a faith to withstand trials and temptation. It has yet to be made such a faith, and will be made so by the coming of the Holy Ghost.
Now that our beloved Redeemer, like a dying father, had instructed His children, the apostles, in what was to take place after His death, He began the recital of that beautiful prayer, given to us by the holy evangelist St. John:
"These things Jesus spoke: and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said : Father, the hour is come, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may glorify Thee : As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He may give eternal life to all whom Thou hast given Him. Now this is eternal life : That they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which -Thou gayest Me to do : and now glorify Thou Me, O Father, with Thyself, with the glory which I had, be-fore the world was, with Thee. I have manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou hast given Me out of the world : Thine they were, and to Me Thou gayest them : and they have kept Thy word. Now they have known that all things which Thou hast given Me are from Thee : because the words which Thou gayest Me, I have given to them: and they have received them, and have known in very deed that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them : I pray not for the world, but for them whom Thou hast given Me: because they are Thine: and all My things are Thine, and Thine are Mine: and I am glorified in them. And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, whom Thou hast given Me : that they may be one, as We also are. While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name. Those whom Thou gayest Me have I kept: and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture may be fulfilled. And now I come to Thee : and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy filled in themselves. I have given them Thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for them do I sanctify Myself : that they also may be sanctified in truth. And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in Me: that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given to them : that they may be one, as We also are one. I in them, and Thou in Me: that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast also loved Me. Father, I will that where I am, they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me: that they may see My glory which Thou hast given Me, because Thou hast loved Me before the creation of the world. Just Father, the world hath not known Thee; but I have known Thee : and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have made known Thy name to them, and will make it known: that the love where-with Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John xvii.)
Many wise and learned men have endeavored to ex-plain this prayer. But how could they expect to succeed? It is a pure ray of heaven's glory, a strain of celestial sweetness: a truly spiritual soul may relish, a pure imagination may form some conception of it, but no mortal mind can fully explain it. It is a sublime mystery; the believing heart may fathom its depth of meaning, but no created intellect can comprehend it. There-fore, fall humbly upon your knees, sign yourself. reverently with the sign of the cross, and then, with deepest reverence, give yourself to its contemplation.