by Mother Mary Loyola
He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
(John i. II.)
How strange it seems, O Lord! For You had been promised so long. You had been so ardently desired by the best and noblest of our race; so gloriously prefigured, so set forth in prophecy, as to awaken the keenest expectation and enkindle the most glowing love. How was it, then, that Your own received You not? How is it that even now You come unto Your own and are not welcomed, are not wanted, are left alone, not through the night only—that perhaps was to be expected—but through the long day hours, with Your so-called friends, and the weary and the heavy laden within a stone’s throw of Your door? Ah, Lord, the outrage and the sacrilege that mark the hatred of Your enemies are less to be wondered at, less to be deplored, than the coldness of those You call Your own. You are not given to complain. But when along the ages a meek remonstrance does break upon the silence, it is always the same—the protest wrung from You by the desertion of those You love. “Behold…my familiar friends also are departed from me…My brethren have passed by me”(Job vi). “Do you now believe? Behold…you shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone” (John xvi). How Your Heart felt the desolation of abandonment; how, to speak human language, You feel it still—You made known in that cry of unrequited love, “Behold this Heart which has so loved men and is so little loved by them.”
Who would have thought that God could upbraid so tenderly, or that men could hear such reproach without being touched and won! If not to make great sacrifices for Him, if not to give up all, at least to go a few steps in order to keep Him company in His loneliness, and sympathise with Him in His sorrows—surely He might have looked for this!
Dearest Lord, one would have expected You to be in such request upon the altar; expected that there would be crowding and crushing in Your presence as in the days of Your earthly life; that we should be seen flocking to You early and late, to show our appreciation of Your love, and to pour out our troubles into Your willing ear. Where is our faith to leave You thus deserted? “Do you believe? Behold you shall be scattered every one to his own, and shall leave Me alone.”
He came unto His own—that is, He comes as far as He can—from heaven to the Host, and down to the altar rails. Further He cannot come. The rest of the way must be ours. We must meet Him there in Holy Communion, or His loving journey to us will have been in vain. He will not force our free will. But He does so want to come. Shall we disappoint Him? Oh, if our own love will not draw us to Him, at least let us have compassion on His! If we think ourselves at liberty to deprive ourselves of our communions, surely we are not free to deprive Him of His.
You long, O Lover of my soul, to come to me. Your delights are to be with me, cold, inhospitable as I am. Come, then; come, Lord Jesus, and in satisfying Your own desire, enkindle mine.
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