The Doctrine of Jesus
(Fourth Sunday of Lent)
Presence of God – Behold me at Your feet, O Lord, that I may hear Your doctrine, the doctrine of eternal life.
The truths Jesus taught are so important and essential that, to know them or not, to believe them or not, is a matter of life or of death. His doctrine is not optional; rather, it is so essential that we cannot attain eternal life without it. “Whosoever believeth in Him … may have life everlasting…. but he that doth not believe is already judged: because he believeth not in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God” (John 3:16,18). Compared to the truths taught by Jesus, all others are insufficient.
Because the doctrine of Jesus is absolutely indispensable, He proved its truth by miracles in order to help our weak faith to adhere to it. To the blindly obstinate Jews who refused to believe in Him, He said, “The works which the Father hath given Me to perfect; the works themselves which I do, give testimony of Me” (John 5:36). When the disciples of John the Baptist asked Him if He were the Messiah in whom they were to believe, He answered simply, “Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again” (Matthew 11:4,5). The Gospel almost always concludes a recital of the wonders performed by Jesus with such words as: “and His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11); “All wondered and glorified God” (Mark 2:12). Jesus is the only Teacher who can guarantee with miracles the truth of His doctrine.
“O Lord, my God, Thou hast indeed the words of life, wherein, if we will seek it, we mortals shall all find what we desire. But what wonder is it, my God, that we should forget Thy words, when our evil deeds have made us so infirm and foolish?… What is this, Lord?… How blind of us to seek repose where it cannot possibly be found!… Reflect that we do not understand ourselves, or know what we desire, nor are we able to ask as we should. Give us light, Lord. Behold, we need it more than the man who was blind from his birth, for he wished to see the light and could not, whereas nowadays, Lord, no one wishes to see it.
“You alone, O Lord, teach us truth and show us the way of salvation. O unhappy are we, for well do we know and believe these truths, yet our inveterate habit of not reflecting upon them makes them so strange to our souls that we neither know them nor seek to know them.
“Grant, then, Lord, that Your words may never be absent from my thoughts” (Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 8-13).
O Jesus, do not permit me to allow myself to be attracted by maxims and doctrines which do not come from You.
What will it profit me to possess every kind of knowledge, if I do not know You, O Lord, and the truths which You came to teach us? Do not permit me, O Jesus, to be content with superficial knowledge, but give me the light and the intelligence I need to penetrate the profound meaning of Your teachings. Your words will not be made clear by reasoning and eager studying, but by humility, love, and an ardent desire to possess You. Create in me, O Lord, a heart that is upright, humble, sincere, and able to love and understand the meaning of Your divine words.
O my dear Master, I lay open my soul before You, as I would expose a piece of linen to the rays of the sun. I kneel before the tabernacle, knowing that I shall learn much more from You in prayer and recollection than in perusing learned books. But, O Lord, I shall never leave Your book, the Gospel: “I find in it all that my poor soul needs, and I am always discovering there new lights and hidden, mysterious meanings” (Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Story of a Soul, 8).
O Lord, grant that I may understand the words of Your Gospel, and I shall be sufficiently wise.
Note from Dan: This post on “The Doctrine of Jesus” is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
ArtWikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.