JESUS BEAUTIFUL I HIS WEARIESS AD REST.

BY SISTER TERESA GERTRUDE
Jesus therefore being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well
(St. John iv. 6).
THERE are many kinds of weariness in this world of
ours, and our Lord made experience of them all, save
that only which results from sin and worldliness. He
was wearied with toil, with journeyings, with long and
apparently fruitless arguments and discourses, with
sorrow, with the sickening sight of sin, with His long
and painful exile in a corrupt world. ot a shadow,
however, of the imperfection that inevitably mingles
with our weariness, even when proceeding from such
causes as those enumerated above, was to be found in
the weariness of Jesus.
It showed forth the beauty of His love in His
assumption of our human nature, as it was likewise
an act of His Divine condescension, that He should
acquire experimental knowledge of the peculiar form
of suffering which, perhaps, more than any other makes
us yearn for the rest that earth was never designed to
give. There is a mystery singularly exceptional in the
weariness of Him Who yet could know no fatigue, of
Him Who was Himself the refreshment of fatigued
and weary souls, the rest of those who are fainting on
their journey beneath the heat and burden of the day.
Yet He was weary with a real weariness, just as He
FF
4 8 2 JESUS BEAUTIFUL
was inwardly oppressed with real grief and tortured
with sensible and exterior pain. His weariness was
also of two kinds : first, as has been said, He expe
rienced physical weariness in the arduous labours of
His Ministry ; but secondly, and far more deeply, He
experienced that weariness of heart which results
naturally from sorrow and disappointment, as well as
that yearning of the soul for its final rest, which is so-
natural a longing in every man.
In ourselves this weariness too frequently degene
rates into imperfection, by reason of our selfishness
and our want of resemblance to Jesus in His perfect
conformity to His Father s will. In Him it was the
weariness of a perfect human Soul, whose every faculty
and sense was raised to the Divine order through its
union with the Word. Even in our fellow-creatures,
provided that it does not degenerate into peevish com
plaint or selfish inaction, there is something in their
weariness that to a certain extent attracts our human-
hearts. If this be physical weariness, it ordinarily
imparts a subdued and refined gentleness of manner,
to which those who possess a more vigorous or robust
organization are entire strangers. There is less danger
of sensual excess in the indulgence they allow them
selves during their hours of ordinary recreation ; not
that this moderation in any way proceeds from virtue,
but from an enforced repose which in some cases will
be gladly accepted as a substitute for culture. Physical
weariness, moreover, is a means employed by God to
detach us from the gratifications of sense and from the
frivolity of the world ; He would by it also lead us on
to long for a nobler rest than sensible enjoyment can
ever bestow. As soon as this eager desire is raised
to the height of the supernatural by the introduction
I HIS WEARIESS AD REST. 483,
of a truly religious motive, it reminds us of the lassitude
of Him Who was wearied with His journey, and, when
united to the merits of His Divine weariness, it enables
us to share in the like heavenly character.
But there exists another and still more sanctifying
cause of weariness, and one which more directly tells
upon the nobler qualities of our souls, and thus detaches
us more quickly and powerfully from the pleasures of
this life. The cause of mental weariness, we now speak
of, is sorrow ; not a selfish sorrow, but a pure-hearted
sorrow for sin, whether it be the sin of others or our
own. Such, too, is a loyal mourning for the protracted
and apparently endless trials of the Church and of the
just; such is grief for our own infidelities and the
weariness attendant on the long-enduring struggle with
temptation, beneath which it seems to us we are drifting
away from God. Oh ! how the soul yearns, under
similar trials, for that haven where the billows of the
sea of this world may no more break over it, threatening
it with shipwreck. Without murmuring at the appoint
ments of the Divine will for we are speaking of
Christian weariness how idle everything appears to
us which lacks the power of dissipating the clouds that
hang above us ; how intense becomes the longing for
that rest which God alone can bestow. Into all this,
as we have said, much imperfection ordinarily enters.
evertheless, it is undoubtedly an element in the
sanctification of many, and is capable of becoming
if, when regarding the weariness of our Lord, we con
template also His rest a useful means of drawing us
nearer to Him, and uniting us more. intimately to His
Sacred Heart.
We read that, at the time of our Lord s journey
from Judea into Galilee, being wearied He sat down to
484 JESUS BEAUTIFUL
rest at the well of Jacob. Taking first these words in
their simplest sense, we understand that He was really
footsore and fatigued with long walking, just as any of
ourselves would have been. ow fatigue manifests
itself generally in the paleness of the countenance, in
the expression of languor that rests upon the features,
and in a heaviness weighing upon every limb and
making the slightest movement to be really a great
effort. Since our Lord permitted such weariness as
this to come upon Him, we must suppose that its ordi
nary physical consequences were as easily perceptible
in His Sacred Person as they would be in ours. It is
but just to remark that this fact, combined with the
request made by our Lord for a draught of refreshing
water when He said, "Give Me to drink," showed Him
to be truly a Man, subject to the laws and requirements
of human nature. For this reason did it distinctly
bear striking testimony to the admirable faith of the
Samaritan woman, who, notwithstanding, so readily
recognized and acknowledged Him for the promised
Messias. Probably there was something in the marked
weariness about our Lord that touched a kind and
-generous chord within her heart, and prepared her for
some especial supernatural influence. This was another
of the cords of Adam which Jesus cast around her,
with the view of drawing her to admit the claims He
was about to lay upon her faith in the truth of His
Divinity. There is for ourselves, as we contemplate
Him sitting thus upon the well, and wearied with His
journey, a certain charm exclusive of the mystery
which we have the authority of St. Augustine for
saying was shadowed forth in this incident. We behold
Him as a pilgrim and a wayfarer, in need of rest and
refreshment, and we love to contemplate Him as He
I HIS WEARIESS AD REST. 485
sits there in His ever-watchful consent to the feeling of
fatigue, awaiting the Samaritan s approach, in order
that He may carry healing to her soul. This event
possessed so strong an attraction for the devotion of
St. Teresa, that she always kept beside her a little
picture of the scene, and very frequently made it the
subject of her meditation.
But, venturing to penetrate further than our Lord s
exterior weariness, let us gather some additional light
from the circumstances immediately preceding His
journey. We are told that, when Jesus heard of the
Baptist s confinement in prison, He left Judea and
retired into Galilee. This was the apparent cause
assigned for His withdrawal. He knew the treatment
His Precursor had met with, and He saw full well that
He Himself was the person aimed at. After this dis
couragement, humanly speaking, which assailed the
beginning of His Public Ministry, our Lord set out
towards Galilee. Sorrow lay heavily on His Heart, and
He would, for our sakes, experience the weariness
following upon sorrow, or disappointment, and on the
clear prevision before His eye of the long and obstinate
resistance to be brought to bear against His merciful
designs. As He journeyed along the road to Sychar,.
many thoughts occupied His mind, and these could not
fail to add to the weariness of the way ; but now a
two-fold rest presented itself to Him, and in availing
Himself of that He appears still more beautiful than
in His weariness. While sitting beside the well the
Samaritan woman came to draw water, and we are
fully acquainted with the history of what followed.
The place, and the hour of her coming, had been fore
seen by our Lord from all eternity. As she drew near
He addressed her. The conversion of her soul was to-
JESUS BEAUTIFUL
be His rest and refreshment, far more so than the
material repose afforded Him by the shaded seat at
Jacob s Well, or the drink of water which He asked the
woman to draw for Him out of it. We have in this
narrative of marked interest a faithful image of the
weariness and of the rest of Jesus during the entire
course of His life. The toil of the missioner in evan
gelizing souls is one that involves much long-suffering
patience, whence comes the weariness incidental to
man in all such work for God. How greatly then must
not the human Heart of Jesus have felt the pressure of
the evangelization and redemption of the whole world.
But the ordinary labourer meets with his reward,
and in like manner the Divine labourer, during the
course of His Ministry, met with recompenses for His
frequent disappointments. Thus when, on the dark
side of the picture, the people belonging to the country
of the Gerasenes besought Him to depart from their
coasts, after driving forth the legion of devils from
the man who was possessed, our Lord yielded to
their request, and turned back from whence He came.
But although, while recrossing the sea, His Heart must
have been filled with the weariness of that sorrow
which many a generous apostle has since experienced
^t the opposition to and failure of all His efforts, yet
our Lord, however baffled by that ungrateful people,
found on reaching the other side of the lake a multi
tude who received Him gladly, because "they were
all waiting for Him. l If one Apostle betrayed Him,
the other, who in a moment of weakness denied Him,
opened out his soul to grace, and became the model
of a penitent and confessor, the Head of the Church
under his Divine Master, and ultimately a glorious
St. Luke viii. 40.
I HIS WEARIESS AD REST. 487
martyr ; whilst a third stood faithful beneath the Cross
to the very end. If one of the thieves blasphemed
Him and became a reprobate, the other nobly confessed
Him and was saved at the eleventh hour. If some of
the disciples found His word too hard, and went back
and walked with Him no more, He was consoled by
the generous loyalty of Peter s avowal that He alone
had the words of eternal life, and by his perseverance,
as well as that of his fellow- Apostles. The case of the
Samaritan woman ended, to the signal refreshment of
His Soul, not only in the conversion of the woman
herself, but, through her, of the whole city of Sychar;
.and this formed our Lord s repose after the weariness
of that sorrow which had driven Him from Judea.
In like manner did our Lord, on other occasions, take
His rest after the different fatigues of His exile.
To know the mind and the will of God, and to find
our joy in doing that will, is indeed the true rest of the
loving soul. ow the Divine knowledge of our Lord
enabled Him to understand the mind and will of His
Father perfectly. To do His will was His meat His
nourishment, as He Himself declared to His disciples.
In the absence of the woman of Samaria, who, flushed
with the first joy of her conversion, had returned to the
city in haste, in order that she might call upon the
inhabitants to come and see Him Whom she had recog
nized for the Christ, His disciples reappeared, begging
Him to take some meat. He replied that He had
meat to eat which they knew not of. They thought He
spoke of material nourishment, whereupon our Lord
explained that His meat was to do the will of Him
Who sent Him, and "to perfect His work;" this
work being the salvation of the souls of men. It was
then in the performance of His work, which was " ever
488 JESUS BEAUTIFUL
before Him," 1 that our Lord found His rest, since to
" perfect " that work was the end for which He came
on earth. This was the will of His Father. This was
His food and His refreshment, as it was to be that of
His Apostles, and should be of all who, like them, labour
in the vineyard of the Lord. Thus it was that Jesus,
when He seemed to be resting, and when in the sense
we have shown He in reality did rest, nevertheless
most efficaciously utilized that rest by toiling for our
salvation. We read in the Gospel of His frequently
going away to the mountains, where He passed the
night. Wearied with the labours of the day, the
silence of the night and the cool air succeeding
the heat and turmoil of the cities afforded a natural
refreshment of which His Human ature was sensible,
just as it would have been in ourselves. But in what
did His true rest consist ? It was in still negotiating
the affair of our salvation by prayer and continual
oblation of Himself to His Eternal Father. " And
He passed the whole night in the prayer of God." 2
So had it been at azareth, when His Ever Blessed
Mother and St. Joseph had often knelt in rapt adoration
watching His repose, for He was still pursuing His
work. If He slept, His Heart watched, and His " Soul
hath laboured." Beautiful rest of Jesus by which
" many were justified," wherein " He prayed for the
transgressors" and "delivered His Soul unto death,"
thus accepting the sufferings of His Passion and
Crucifixion ! 3 As each " Scripture was fulfilled," each
prophecy realized, our Lord saw His work becoming
perfected. Each grief, causing weariness to His human
Heart, had its corresponding rest in the knowledge that
1 Isaias Ixii. n.
* St. Luke vi. 12. 3 Isaias liii. n, 12.
I HIS WEARIESS AD PEST. 489
at was the accomplishment of an eternal decree, an
exterior manifestation of the mind of His Father,
another stage in His own pilgrimage here below. Thus
it was also that His Heart dilated as His Passion
drew nearer. He was "straitened" for the accom
plishment of His baptism of Blood, He " desired with
desire " to eat the Pasch with His disciples, as the
immediate precursor of that last tragedy wherein the
work of the Father was, by His co-operation, to attain
its final perfection.
And when at length the end had come, and our
Lord was suspended upon the tree, which was to be
for man the instrument of his redemption ; when every
type and figure had been fulfilled, every jot and tittle
of His Father s will accomplished; when every torment
of Soul and Body was pressing upon Him abandoned,
despised, annihilated as He was He could exclaim
on seeing the work of the Father perfected, "It is
consummated," then was the rest of Jesus complete,
for the end of His Mission had been reached. " In the
head of the book it is written of Me, that I should do
Thy will, O My God ; I have desired it, and Thy law
is in the midst of My Heart." 1 To do that will had been
the rest of the Heart of Jesus during the whole period
of His life. This had been His repose in the weariness
of His exile, in the bitterness of His sorrows, in the
toils of His Mission upon earth ; it was so now in the
supreme pain and anguish which that will required of
Him, before His work could be made fully perfect. To
sum up all, He found the highest realization of His
own ideal of rest from weariness to be ever the fulfil
ment of that will, which had decreed that He should be
its victim.
1 Psalm xxxix. 9.
490 JESUS BEAUTIFUL.
Beautiful, eternal rest of Jesus ! partially made
known to us on earth through faith, but of which the
unclouded manifestation, that shall be seen through
and through, is reserved for the one great day without
a sunset, when we shall see Him as He is in His
beauty, there in that land still afar off, the bosom
of His Father, encircled round about with the glory
which He had before the world was.
We shall all share, according to our power and
degree, in the work of our Lord, to wit, the salvation
of our brethren. This is the will of our Father Who
is in Heaven, this the work we must perfect, according
to the example of our Elder Brother, by personal
suffering. But before our Father s work is perfected,,
before consummation shall have crow r ned the under
taking, many kinds of weariness have still to be
experienced by us, in which we must seek our rest
where our Lord found His in doing the Father s will.
Sorrow and pain, disgrace and disappointment, despolia
tion and annihilation, though they bring weariness in
their train, will yet be welcome to us if we love, because
they will enable us to advance the work of our Father
by the perfect accomplishment of His will. There is
the weariness too of those for whom every link and tie
to earth is broken by the highest spiritual detachment,
whose souls are athirst for the effulgent vision of that
beauty of which they have caught a few faint and
passing glimpses here below. For, every one of those
"who have believed shall enter into rest," 1 the rest
which is God Himself, according to His own words>
They shall enter into My rest."
1 Hebrews iv. 3.
COCLUSIO.
I writing the work which we now conclude, it will
be seen that one object throughout has been held
exclusively before the mind, the object namely of
portraying the beauty of our Lord under its several
aspects, or in other words, of contemplating the Sacred
Humanity from the one point of its perfect beauty.
This object must never be lost sight of by the reader,
for otherwise we shall be accused of much needless
repetition.
Our aim has been to fix the mind in more con
centrated attention on the loveliness of Jesus all-
beautiful, in Whose Sacred Person everything bears
the impress of the Divinity. In order to attain our
end, we have been sparing in subjective reflection, fully
persuaded that, if our spiritual eye be only filled with
a clear perception of the beauty of God Incarnate, His
Holy Spirit will assuredly, when aided by faithful co
operation, do the rest, and will plant in our souls the
likeness of the excellencies we behold in Jesus.
We are all seeking rest and beauty and consolation
everywhere, under some form or other, but nowhere
shall we be fully satisfied if not in Him Who is Himself
essential Beauty, Who is the fountain-head of all con
solation, and the eternal rest of the Saints. Here below
indeed our knowledge of His loveliness cannot be
492 COCLUSIO.
obtained without painstaking and persevering effort,
combined with self-denial and interior abnegation.
Here also we can catch only glimpses of His trans
cendent beauty. These, however, are more than
sufficient to reward our fidelity, to refresh our souls
amidst the weariness of earth s sorrows and tempta
tions, and to feed in us those streams of Divine love
which spring up into life everlasting.
In proportion as we have placed our joy in the
contemplation of the beauty of the Son of God upon
earth, will be the measure of our joy when we shall
behold Him in His Heavenly Kingdom. There we
shall see Him, no longer concealed by the veils of past
humiliation, but standing forth filled through and
through, and enveloped all round about, with the
splendours of His beauty infinitely beautiful in the
glory of His Humanity, living and reigning in His
unity with the Father and the Holy Ghost, throughout
everlasting ages.
" I saw one like to the Son of Man, clothed with a
garment down to His feet, . . . and His eyes were as
a flame of fire, and His feet like unto fine brass, as in
a burning furnace. And His voice as the sound of many
waters, . . . and His face was as the sun shining in his
power. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying :
Fear not. I am the first and the last, and am alive
and was dead : and behold, I am living for evermore." 1
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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