When Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, He wept over it saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee; and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee around, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation... (Lk. 19.41-44).
The Lord, on this occasion of His weeping, described to us that overthrow of Jerusalem which took place under the Emperors Titus and Vespasian. There is no one who has read of that history can doubt. For the Roman rulers are here referred to when He says: For the days shall come upon thee; and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee around, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee.
That He also added: they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone, bears witness even to the very translation of the city itself, for the former Jerusalem, as we are told, was wholly destroyed, while the present city was constructed outside the gate, upon the site where Our Lord had been crucified. He then adds the reason why this chastisement was inflicted on Jerusalem: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. For the Creator of all things had deigned, through the mystery of His Incarnation, to visit it, but it had not concerned itself either with His love or with His fear for it. And because of this the prophet rebukes them, and even invokes the testimony of the birds of heaven against them, where he says: The kite in the air hath known her time: the turtle and the swallow and the stork have observed the time of their coming: but my people have not known the judgment of the Lord (Jer. 8.17).
But first... what is the meaning of the words: seeing the city, He wept over it saying: If thou also hadst known? The Redeemer did indeed weep beforehand over the destruction of the city; and which the city itself did not know was to come upon it. And rightly does the weeping Lord say to it: If thou also hadst known; meaning , that you also would weep, you who now rejoice, since you know not what threatens you. And because of this He adds: and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace. For while it was giving itself over to the pleasures of the flesh, and saw nothing of the evils that were to come, it already possessed, and in its own day the things that could have been for its peace. Why it held present things as the source of its peace is made clear, when He said: now they are hidden from thine eyes. For if the evils that threatened it were not hidden from the eyes of its heart, it would not have rejoiced in its present good fortune. He then goes to add the punishment which threatened it from the Roman rulers.
Because we now know that Jerusalem was overthrown... and the Temple itself uprooted, we ought from these outward happenings draw, inwardly, a certain similitude, and from these ruined structures of stone learn to fear [our own] destruction... Our Lord weeps for those who know not why He weeps; for those who in Solomon's words, are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in the most wicked things (Prov. 2.14). For if they but knew the hour of their own condemnation, which is close at hand, they would weep for themselves with the tears of the Elect. Well do the words that follow apply to the soul that will perish: and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thine eyes.
The perverse soul which takes its joy in this passing hour has here its day. Here it finds the things that content it; for a while it takes its joy in earthly things, for a while it is puffed up with vanity, for a while it grows feeble through bodily pleasures, and then when it has lost its fear of the judgment to come, it has peace in its own day: to find it a grave stone of stumbling on that other day of its damnation. For there it shall be afflicted, while the just rejoice; all the things that are now for its peace, will then be changed into bitterness of contention: for it will begin to rage within itself, for having closed its eyes from seeing the evils to come. For this reason He says to it: but now they are hidden from thine eyes. For the perverse soul that is given over to temporal things, and weakened by bodily pleasures, blinds itself to the evils that pursue it; for it turns from looking ahead at things to come, lest they trouble its present delight. And in abandoning itself to the allurements of this life, what else is it doing but hurrying with closed eyes towards the everlasting fire?
And because of this it is written, that in the day of good things be not unmindful of evils (Ecclesiasticus 11.27). And regarding this, St. Paul the Apostle says: And they that rejoice, as if they rejoice not (1 Cor. 7.30); so that should you rejoice in this present world, let you so take your joy of it, that the remembrance of the judgment to come is at the same time never far from your mind. For in the measure that the anxious soul is penetrated with the fear of final punishment, the more its present delight is taken with moderation, the more shall the wrath to come be tempered. And because of this was it written: Blessed is the man that is always fearful; but he that is hardened of mind shall fall into evil (Prov. 27.14). For the wrath of the judgment to come will be harder to endure, the less it is now feared, here in the midst of evil doing.
Then we read: For the days shall come upon thee; and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee. Who were ever greater enemies of the human soul than the spirits of evil, who caress it with delusive joys while it gives itself over to the lusts of the flesh, and lay siege to it as it is about to leave the body? They cast a trench about it, when they bring before the eyes of its mind the remembrance of the sins it has committed; and they encompassed it around by dragging it into the company of the damned, so that, held fast in this supreme hour of its life, it then sees by what enemies it is surrounded; and yet it cannot find a way of escape: for it may no longer do the good works which, when it could do them, it despised. Of such as these the words that follow may still be truly understood: they shall compass thee around, and straiten thee on every side. The spirits of evil straiten the soul on every side when they unroll before it its own iniquities, not alone of deed, but also of word, and even of thought, so that the soul that before had spread itself out in many directions in wickedness, now at its end is pressed in on every side in punishment.
Then there follows: and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee. Then the soul will be thrown to the ground through the knowledge of its own guilt, when the body which it believed to be its life is pressed hard to return to the dust. Then shall its children fall down in death, when the unlawful thoughts that now come forth from her are scattered in the final chastisement of life; as it was written: In that day all their thoughts shall perish (Ps. 144.4). And these shameless thoughts can also be understood as stones. For there follows: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone. For the perverse soul, when it adds to a perverse thought another thought more perverse, what is it doing but laying stone upon stone? And as in the destroyed city not a stone is left upon stone, so when the soul is led to final judgment the whole structure of its thoughts is demolished.
He adds the reason why these things are suffered. Because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. For the Omnipotent God is wont to visit each soul in various ways. He visits it continually by His commandments, sometimes with the rod, sometimes by a true miracle, that it may pay attention to the truths it is ignoring. And should it still continue in pride and contempt, it is stung with anguish, that it may return to Him; or, overcome by His kindness, that it may be ashamed of the evil it had done. But when it was far from knowing the time of its visitation, at the end of its life it will be given over to those enemies, to whom it will be joined for ever by an eternal sentence of everlasting damnation; as it is written: When thou goest with they adversary to the prince, while thou art in the way, endeavour to be delivered from him; lest perhaps he draw thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the exacter, and the exacter cast thee into prison (Lk. 12.58).
Our adversary in the way is the Word of God, which in this present life is in conflict with our carnal desires and our proud excellence fed by the "New World/'Catholic' disOrder." And from this adversary he is delivered who is humbly subject to His commandments... In the final judgments of the Judge a sinner will be held guilty if he has despised the word of the Lord. And the Judge will deliver Him to the exacter; for He will permit the evil spirits to drag him to final punishment, to demand for torment the soul now driven from the body, and which of its own will had conspired with him in evil doing. The exacter casts it into prison; for it is thrust down to hell by the evil spirit, until the Day of Judgment comes; after which he also will be tormented in the fires of hell (from the sermon of Pope St. Gregory the Great).
Related posts: "Unless you see signs and wonders you believe not", "On the Number of Sins Beyond Which God Pardons No More". See also "Anti-Christian Conspiracy: Scriptural Truth and Historical Fact", "A Perilous 'Catholic' Voyage", "The Year 1929", "The Catholic Sanctuary Prefigured of Old - II", "Our Lady, Vatican II Disorientation, and the Annihilation of Many Nations" and "The Wine of God's Wrath"