First Point—How we lose Jesus. We lose Jesus by sin, and we lose Him through our spiritual dryness. In the first case the loss of Jesus is a punishment; in the second it is, ordinarily, a trial. We lose Jesus by sin: He departs from the soul when the demon enters it; He leaves it alone with the horrible master it has chosen. To lose Jesus, His friendship, His grace, the sweetness of His conversations, and His benedictions, and the consolations of His love—to lose this God, who is in heaven the joy of the angels and of the elect, and to find in His place the angel of darkness, the tyrant of hell, and the tormentor of the reprobate, what a loss! what a misfortune ! However, behold the lot you have made for yourself by sin. You have lost Jesus, the Friend of your infancy, who lately received your first promises and your first vows; who lisped with you the first simple lessons of faith; who called you to eat with Him a delicious bread,
who shed on your soul such sweetness that the memory of it causes your tears to flow; oh, how you are to be pitied!
lose Jesus by spiritual dryness, but usually this is a trial. Without having been unfaithful to her promises or engagements, the soul finds herself suddenly alone on the journey of life. She believes she possesses Jesus, and behold, He has abandoned her. She relies on His assistance, she hopes for His light, His counsel, His grace, but He is far from her. She has lost Him, or at least, as with the disciples at Emmaus, He has concealed His presence from her. This trial surely awaits us, for , after the sweetness of the first days, God ordinarily allows dryness of soul to follow, to know if we serve Him for Himself or for the favors we receive. In these circumstances, we should be generous and constant. To be happy in the performance of duty is a gift of God, and is never merited; but to be faithful to duty when it is an act depending on ourselves is always a sure indication of a heart solidly virtuous.
Second Point—How should we seek Jesus? We should seek Him eagerly, with confidence and with perseverance. Behold Mary: hardly has she perceived the absence of Jesus than she goes, at once, in search of Him. She inquires for Him of all those whom she meets; she calls Him, and she shall know no rest until she finds Him. Imitate her example. When you have had the misfortune to lose Jesus by sin, recall Him at once: run and cast yourself at the feet of the priest, implore pardon, and merit it by your Repentance. Why remain at enmity with God a week or even a day? Do you not know that if you should die in that state, your eternal unhappiness would be assured ? And may you not die early, and at any moment? Seek Jesus with confidence. After the commission of sin, do not aggravate your misfortune by discouragement or mistrust. Why are you discouraged? Virtue is a rude and difficult pathway, it is not extraordinary that your progress should be slow, difficult, and marked by repeated falls; but these falls, these obstacles, are they reasons for discouragement? No! you must employ greater vigilance, develop greater energy, and seek in God the strength which you have not, and then go forward with confidence. The traveller who is discouraged by the length or the difficulties of the journey shall never arrive at his destination; he only shall reach it who resolutely continues his journey. Therefore seek Jesus with confidence, being well assured that He shall aid you in your seeking, and that He shall receive you with a goodness wholly paternal. Seek Jesus with perseverance. Our Lord has spoken a word which we should often reflect upon: "He who would be saved must persevere to the end." It is indeed something to begin well. It is a grand thing for us to have received an education profoundly Christian; it is a happy guarantee for salvation that our youth should be passed in the practice of love and virtue; but this is not enough. We must persevere; and this is the difficulty. Constancy seems to be a virtue unknown to the human heart. Very many begin well but end badly. Do not imitate them, but imitate Mary in her ardor and in her perseverance in seeking the divine Infant. She will not allow herself to be discouraged, but continues her search until she has found the object of her regrets and her tears. You have prayed, it is true, and you still pray, but God seems to turn away from your entreaties; do not be discouraged; continue, multiply your prayers in proportion to the difficulties you may meet with, and God will give you the consolation of His love. He shall keep strict account of your sighs which you have sent towards heaven, of the prayers which were so often a cross, and a cross without unction; the more painful the test shall have been, the greater shall be the recompense.
Third Point—Where shall we find Jesus ? It was in the temple that Mary found her Son, and it is also in the temple that we shall find Jesus when we shall have lost Him. If this loss is the punishment of your sins, there is in His house a salutary pool, on the shores of which He stands ready to heal you. He is not found in those profane assemblies where you go to stifle the remorse which disturbs your conscience. He is not found in those frivolous books which shall only accomplish the ruin of your piety. He is not found among those frivolous people whose dissipation is an excuse for your own; but He is in the temple, and there you must come to find Him. In the sacred tribunal you shall learn what you must do to approach Him, or, rather, He Himself will come to you, and by the mouth of His minister He will speak to you. After the pardon of your faults, He will re-enter your heart, and you will experience happiness in recovering His grace.
If the loss of Jesus is a trial, it is also a joy to know that it is in the temple that you can find Him. In the temple there is an altar—on the altar there is a tabernacle, and love for us holds Jesus enclosed in it. There it is we must seek Him in communion, or at least in prayer. Listen to this voice of sweet friendship, but take no heed of vain terrors which only separate you from your divine Master. "If you have faith," says St. Augustine, "the absence
of the Lord is only seeming. He is there, ever near you, concealed under eucharistic veils.' Go to Him, cast yourself into His arms with a confidence wholly filial; then you shall feel that peace is born again in your heart."
Source: Short Instructions for Every Sunday of the Year and the Principal Feasts, Imprimatur 1897