The Power of Prayer.

The Power of Prayer.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!The Power of Prayer.

“Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father, Who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him?” (Luke xi, 11-13).

Truly, an overwhelming argument, fitted to bring home, even to the darkest mind, the conviction that it cannot be otherwise than that God will hearken to our requests concerning our soul’s salvation and due degree of perfection, if only we present our petitions in a fit and proper manner.

Can we think that Jesus Christ will deceive us, or will break His word, and be faithless to His promises? By no means, says the Holy Ghost: for “God is not as man, that He should lie, nor as the son of man, that He should be changed. Hath He said then, and will He not do? hath He spoken, and will He not fulfil” (Num. xxiii, 19). Hence it is no less certain that whosoever shall ask of God what is expedient for salvation, and shall proffer his petition in a becoming manner, shall be heard, than it is beyond question that the Word made flesh cannot be false to His promises, or fail to make good that to which He has pledged Himself. Resting on this immovable foundation, St. John Chrysostom plainly asserts, that “it is absolutely impossible for a man who prays in a fitting attitude of mind, and who perseveres in prayer to God, ever to fall into sin.” The learned Fr. Suarez, examining this assertion, and weighing it in the exact balance of theological accuracy, has no hesitation in saying: “If any one pray constantly for perseverance in grace, he will most surely obtain it.” This too, though it be a gratuitous gift, which cannot be a matter of strict merit. And he continues: “Hence we assert that a just man, by duly persevering in earnest, frequent prayer, can infallibly obtain final perseverance.” Nor should we wonder at this, since it is plain that prayer is the appointed channel by which every spiritual blessing, and consequently, in the end, final perseverance itself, flows to us. Nor can there be any delusion in this, because, as St. Augustine says, “The Eternal Father has assured us of it by His own mouth. Ask, and you shall receive. Such is the promise of God; and who shall fear to be deceived, when Truth itself gives us the assurance” (Tom 3, De Gratia, Lib. xii, C. 38),

The example of Jesus Christ Himself is a further proof of the necessity and special efficacy of prayer. He prayed in order to leave us an example, and to convince us of the absolute necessity of prayer. “And rising up very early, going out, He went into a desert place, and there He prayed” (Mark i, 35). “And having dismissed the multitude, He went up into a mountain alone to pray” (Mark xiv, 23). When He was dying upon the Cross He prayed even for His enemies, saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The Apostles prayed, and all the great Saints and servants of God were remarkable for their spirit of prayer. We have never heard of a Saint who neglected prayer. All this shows the great efficacy and utility of prayer.

Hence, if we find ourselves unstable in the observance of the Divine law, or slothful and lukewarm in the way of perfection, if we fall frequently into sin, whether mortal or venial, we may attribute the cause to our neglect of asking and beseeching of God, and of recommending ourselves to Him in prayer. For were we to pray often for our spiritual needs, and in the way in which God would have us make our supplications, we should most surely obtain all we ask, since God’s promise cannot be rendered void. Each one of us is needy and naked as to the Christian virtues, cold in God’s service, weak, faint and liable to fall into deadly sin, and all because we care not to take the trouble to call, without ceasing, and with our whole hearts, for help from above, To us, then, may it justly be said, that ours is the blame if we advance not in the path of perfection, or as it may even happen, if we are gliding backwards, and are in imminent danger of a disastrous fall.

Ask then incessantly—ask in all your temptations, in all your perplexities, in all the interior wants of your soul—being always mindful of what St. Augustine says in his comments on the words of the Psalmist: “Blessed be God, who hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me:” “Be sure that so long as you slacken not in prayer, God’s mercy shall never fail to uphold you with His most mighty help,” (In Ps. lxv, 20).

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of Resisting Temptation.

I am sensible, O Jesus, that in the time of temptation, if left to myself, I cannot but offend Thee, and that, carried along by my natural inclination for evil, I am in danger of falling into sin. But I will stretch out my hand to Thee as St. Peter did, and confidently hope Thou wilt support me from perishing. Amen.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIII prayer.

_______________________________________________Sacred Heart

July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus

Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness


Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.

100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.

“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”

—St. Catharine of Sienna.


O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!


Praises to the Precious Blood.

Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Infinitely kind!

Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.

There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.

O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.

Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Terror-Struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.

Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!

(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)

Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

The Power of Prayer.

The Power of Prayer

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!The Power of Prayer

Prayer made with the proper conditions is sure to produce its effects, that is, it is certain to obtain from God what we petition for. It is infallible, because God has engaged Himself by His sacred word, and by His fidelity to His promises to grant our requests when we pray as we ought.

There are many beautiful examples in Sacred Scripture of the powerful efficacy of prayer. We read in the Book of Exodus that while the Israelites were fighting against the Amalakites, Moses stood on the summit of a hill praying that his people might obtain the victory. Whilst Moses kept his hands lifted up in prayer the Israelites overcame, but if he let them fall down, if he slackened in prayer, they began to have the worst of the fight (Exodus xvii, II). “Which of the just has ever fought without prayer? Moses prays and overcomes, he quits prayer and is overcome” (St. Chrysostom).

King Ezechias prayed in his sickness, and he received his health. “I have heard thy prayer, and have seen thy tears: and behold I have healed thee” (4 Kings XX 5)

“Elias was a man passible like unto us: and with prayer he prayed that it might not rain upon the earth, and it rained not for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (James v, 17, 18).

There is no exaggeration in the remark of St. John Climacus, that prayer offers a pleasing violence to the heart of God, for God is not ashamed to declare Himself forced to yield to our petitions. So much so, that, constrained by the fervent pleadings of Moses, He said, “Let Me alone, that my wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them: and I will make of thee a great nation. But Moses besought the Lord his God, saying, Why, O Lord, is Thy indignation enkindled against Thy people, whom Thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? . . . Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou sworest by Thy own self, saying, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and this whole land that I have spoken of, I will give to your seed, and you shall possess it for ever. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which He had spoken against His people” (Exod. xxxii, 10-14).

And conscious of the great power of the prayer of Jeremias over His compassionate heart, the Almighty said to the Prophet: “Therefore do not thou pray for this people, nor take to thee praise and supplication for them, and do not withstand Me” (Jerem. vii, 16). St. Jerome, commenting on these two texts, remarks, that the words which the Lord spoke to the Prophet, “do not withstand Me,” and to Moses, “Let Me alone,” show clearly that prayer has power to appease the Divine wrath, and to force God to grant us peace and pardon.

If it should be asked, who has endowed prayer with the insuperable force which holds back the full torrent of the anger of the Most High, and constrains even the power of the Almighty to impart to us every blessing, provided only it be fitting and just? we reply: that it is God Himself, who has bound Himself by His own word to grant us every favour which we beseech Him to bestow. “And I say to you: “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened” (Luke xi, 9, 10).

“Therefore I say unto you, all things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come unto you” (Luke xi, 24).

“Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in My Name. Ask, and you shall receive” (John xvi, 23, 24).

“But if any of you want wisdom, let him ask of God, Who giveth to all men abundantly, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him” (James 1-5).

Surely no promise could possibly be made in clearer or more express terms. Christ could not have pledged His word with greater clearness. Our Divine Lord, not content, so to speak, with having pledged His own word, obliges Himself to fulfil it by giving His Eternal Father as an additional security. Having thus bound Himself to give the graces we ask for at His hands, our most loving Redeemer proceeds to explain the reasons which urge Him to be thus gracious. All know the boundless extent of the mercy, the liberality, the goodness, the beneficence of our God: His longing to pour forth and impart to His creatures those immense treasures which He, as being the well spring and fountain-head of every good gift, contains within Himself. So great is it, indeed, that St. Augustine believes it far to surpass all our desires, all our yearnings, hopes, and expectations: for God is more anxious to give than we are to receive, and He is much more desirous of showing mercy, than we are to be freed from our misery (Serm. 19, De Verb. Domini). And this is the very reason alleged by our Lord, when accounting for the influence of prayer on the heart of God.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

_______________________________________________

Of Resisting Temptation.

No man is free from temptations. They purify us, prove us, instruct us, humiliate us. It is not only by flight or by violent resistence that we triumph, but by a calm patience, and by abandoning ourselves confidently into the hands of God. Let us watch, nevertheless, according to the precept of Jesus Christ, watch ye and pray (Mark, xiv. 28). We can easily conquer a temptation at its birth, but if we let it increase and grow strong, we suffer, in succumbing to it, the punishment of neglecting it and of our own presumption. Do you really desire to conquer? If so, repulse the enemy at his very first attack. Do you wish to draw the advantage from the conflict, in view of which God permits you to be tempted? If so, acknowledge your misery, your weakness, your helplessness; and humiliate yourself more and more. Humility is the foundation of our security, of our peace, and of all perfection.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIII reflection.

_______________________________________________Sacred Heart

July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus

Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness


Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.

100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.

“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”

—St. Catharine of Sienna.


O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!


Praises to the Precious Blood.

Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Infinitely kind!

Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.

There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.

O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.

Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Terror-Struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.

Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!

(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)

Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.-continued (2).

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.-continued (2).

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.-continued (2).

7. “The children of this world,” says Jesus Christ, “are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” (Luke xvi. 8.) how wise in earthly affairs are worldlings, who live in the midst of the darkness of the world! “Behold,” says St. Augustine, “how much men suffer for things for which they entertain a vicious love.” “What fatigue do they endure for the acquisition of property, or of a situation of emolument! With what care do they endeavour to preserve their bodily health! They consult the best physician, and procure the best medicine. And Christians, who are the children of light, will take no pains, will suffer nothing, to secure the salvation of their souls! O God! at the light of the candle which lights them to death, at that hour, at that time, which is called the time of truth, worldlings shall see and confess their folly. Then each of them shall exclaim: O that I had led the life of a saint! At the hour of death, Philip the Second, King of Spain, called in his son, and having shown him his breast devoured with worms, said to him: Son, behold how we die; behold the end of all worldly greatness. He then ordered a wooden cross to be fastened to His neck; and, having made arrangements for his death, he turned again to his son, and said: My son, I wished you to be present at this scene, that you might understand how the world in the end treats even monarchs. He died saying: Oh, that I had been a lay brother in some religious order, and that I had not been a king! Such is the language at the hour of death, even of the princes of the earth, whom worldlings regard as the most fortunate of men. But these desires and sights of regret serve only to increase the anguish and remorse of the lovers of the world at the hour of death, when the scene is about to close.

8. And what is the present life but a scene, which soon passes away for ever? It may end when we least expect it. Cassimir, King of Poland, while he sat at table with his grandees, died in the act of raising a cup to take a draught; thus the scene ended for him. The Emperor Celsus was put to death in seven days after his election; and the scene closed for him. Ladislaus, King of Bohemia, in his eighteenth year, while he was preparing for the reception of his spouse, the daughter of the King of France, was suddenly seized with a violent pain, which took away his life. Couriers were instantly despatched to announce to her that the scene was over for Ladislaus, that she might return to France. “The world,” says Cornelius a Lapide, in his comment upon this passage, “is like a stage. One generation passes away, and a new generation comes. The king does not take with Him the purple. Tell me, O villa, O house, how many masters had you?” In every age the inhabitants of this earth are changed. Cities and kingdoms are filled with new people. The first generation passes to the other world, a second comes on, and this is followed by another. He who, in the scene of this world, has acted the part of a king is no longer a king. The master of such a villa or palace is no longer its master. Hence the Apostle gives us the following advice: “The time is short; it remaineth that… they that use this world be as if they used it not; for the fashion of this world passeth away.” (I Cor. vii. 29, 30.) Since the time of our dwelling on this earth is short, and since all must end with our death, let us make use of this world to despise it, as if it did not exist for us; and let us labour to acquire the eternal treasures of Paradise, where, as the Gospel says, there are no moths to consume, nor thieves to steal them. “But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither the rust nor the moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matt. vi. 20.) St. Teresa used to say: “We should not set value on what ends with life; the true life consists in living in such a manner as not to be afraid of death.” Death shall have no terror for him who, during life, is detached from the vanities of this world, and is careful to provide himself only with goods which shall accompany him to eternity, and make him happy for ever.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

_______________________________________________

Of Resisting Temptation.

IX. In temptations and tribulations a man is proved as to what progress he has made: and in them there is greater merit, and his,virtue appears more conspicuous.
Nor is it much if a man be devout and fervent when he feels no trouble; but if in the time of adversity he bears up with patience, there will be hope of a great advancement.
Some are preserved from great temptations, and are often overcome in daily little ones; that being humbled, they may never presume of themselves in great things, who are weak in such small occurrences.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIII pt IX.

_______________________________________________Sacred Heart

July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus

Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness


Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.

100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.

“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”

—St. Catharine of Sienna.


O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!


Praises to the Precious Blood.

Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Infinitely kind!

Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.

There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.

O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.

Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Terror-Struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.

Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!

(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)

Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.-continued.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.-continued.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.-continued.

4. The Prophet Osee tells us that the world holds in its hand a deceitful balance. “He is like Chanaan” (that is the world); “there is a deceitful balance in His hand.” (Osee xii. 7.) We must, then, weigh things in the balance of God, and not in that of the world, which makes them appear different from what they are. What are the goods of this life? “My days,” said Job, “have been swifter than a post: they have passed by as ships carrying fruits.” (Job ix. 25, 26.) The ships signify the lives of men, which soon pass away, and run speedily to death; and if men have laboured only to provide themselves with earthly goods, these fruits decay at the hour of death: we can bring none of them with us to the other world. We, says St. Ambrose, falsely call these things our property, which we cannot bring with us to eternity, where we must live for ever, and where virtue alone will accompany us. “Non nostra sunt, quæ non possumus auferre nobiscum: sola virtus nos comitatur.” You, says St. Augustine, attend only to what a rich man possessed; but tell me, which of his possessions shall he, now that he is on the point of death, be able to take with him? “Quid hie habebat attendis, quid secum fert, attendo?” (Serm. xiii. de Adv. Dom.) The rich bring with them a miserable garment, which shall rot with them in the grave. And should they, during life, have acquired a great name, they shall be soon forgotten. “Their memory hath perished with a noise.” (Ps. ix. 7.)

5. Oh! that men would keep before their eyes that great maxim of Jesus Christ—“What doth it profit a man, if He gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of His own soul?” (Matt. xvi. 26.) If they did, they should certainly cease to love the world. What shall it profit them at the hour of death to have acquired all the goods of this world, if their souls must go into hell to be in torments for all eternity? How many has this maxim, sent into the cloister and into the desert? How many martyrs has it encouraged to embrace torments and death! In the history of England, we read of thirty kings and queens, who left the world and became religious, in order to secure a happy death. The consideration of the vanity of earthly goods made St. Francis Borgia retire from the world. At the sight of the Empress Isabella, who had died in the flower of youth, He came to the resolution of serving God alone. “Is such, then,” He said, “the end of all the grandeur and crowns of this world? Henceforth I will serve a master who can never die.” The day of death is called “the day of destruction” (“The day of destruction is at hand.” Deut. xxxii. 35), because on that day we shall lose and give up all the goods of the world—all its riches, honours, and pleasures. The shade of death obscures all the treasures and grandeurs of this earth; it obscures even the purple and the crown. Sister Margaret of St. Anne, a Discalced Carmelite, and daughter of the Emperor Rodolph the Second, used to say: “What do kingdoms profit us at the hour of death?” “The affliction of an hour maketh one forget great delights.” (Eccl. xi. 29.) The melancholy hour of death puts an end to all the delights and pomps of this life. St. Gregory says, that all goods which cannot remain with us, or which are incapable of taking away our miseries, are deceitful. “Fallaces sunt que nobiscum permanere non possunt: fallaces sunt que mentis nostræ inopiam non expellunt.” (Hom. xv. in Lue.) Behold a sinner whom the riches and honours which he had acquired made an object of envy to others. Death came upon him when he was at the summit of his glory, and he is no longer what he was. “I have seen the wicked highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Libanus; and I passed by, and lo! he was not; and I sought him, and his place was not found.” (Ps. xxxvi. 35, 36.)

6. These truths the unhappy damned fruitlessly confess in hell, where they exclaim with tears: “What hath pride profited us? or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow.” (Wis. v. 8, 9.) What, they say, have our pomps and riches profited us, now that they are all passed away like a shadow, and for us nothing remains but eternal torments and despair? Dearly beloved Christians, let us open our eyes, and now that we have it in our power, let us attend to the salvation of our souls; for, if we lose them, we shall not be able to save them in the next life. Aristippus, the philosopher, was once shipwrecked, and lost all his goods; but such was the esteem which the people entertained for him on account of his learning, that, as soon as he reached the shore, they presented him with an equivalent for all that he had lost. he then wrote to his friends, and exhorted them to attend to the acquisition of goods which cannot be lost by shipwreck. Our relatives and friends who have passed into eternity exhort us, from the other world, to labour in this life for the attainment of goods which are not lost at death. If at that awful moment we shall be found to have attended only to the accumulation of earthly goods, we shall be called fools, and shall receive the reproach addressed to the rich man in the gospel, who, after having reaped an abundant crop from his fields, said to himself: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thy rest, eat, drink, make good cheer. But God said to Him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee: and whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?” (Luke xii. 19, 20.) He said, “they require thy soul of thee,” because to every man his soul is given, not with full power to dispose of it as he pleases, but it is given to him in trust, that he may preserve and return it to God in a state of innocence, when it shall be presented at the tribunal of the Sovereign Judge. The Redeemer concludes this parable by saying: “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God” (v. 21). This is what happens to those who seek to enrich themselves with the goods of this life, and not with the love of God. Hence St. Augustine asks: “What has the rich man if he has not charity? If the poor man has charity, what is there that he has not?” He that possesses all the treasures of this world, and has not charity, is the poorest of men; but the poor who have God possess all things, though they should be bereft of all earthly goods.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

_______________________________________________

Of Resisting Temptation.

VIII. We must not therefore despair when we are tempted, but pray to God with so much the more fervour, that He may
vouchsafe to help us in all tribulations: Who, no doubt, according to the saying of St. Paul, will make such issue with the temptation, that we may be able to sustain it.-I Cor., x.
Let us therefore humble our souls under the hand of God in all temptations and tribulations: for He will save the humble in spirit, and exalt. them.-Psalm xxxiii. 19..–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIII pt VIII.

_______________________________________________Sacred Heart

July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus

Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness


Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.

100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.

“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”

—St. Catharine of Sienna.


O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!


Praises to the Precious Blood.

Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Infinitely kind!

Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.

There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.

O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.

Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Terror-Struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.

Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!

(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)

Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us!Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.-On the vanity of the world.

“And have nothing to eat.” MARK viii. 2.

1. Such were the attractions of our Divine Saviour, and such the sweetness with which He received all, that He drew after Him thousands of the people. He one day saw Himself surrounded by a great multitude of men, who followed Him and remained with Him three days, without eating anything. Touched with pity for them, Jesus Christ said to His disciples: “I have compassion on the multitude; for behold they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat.” (Mark viii. 2.) He, on this occasion, wrought the miracle of the multiplication of the seven loaves and a few fishes, so as to satisfy the whole multitude. This is the literal sense; but the mystic sense is, that in this world there is no food which can fill the desire of our souls. All the goods of this earth—riches, honours, and pleasures—delight the sense of the body, but cannot satiate the soul, which has been created for God, and which God alone can content. I will, therefore speak to-day on the vanity of the world, and will show how great is the illusion of the lovers of the world, who lead an unhappy life on this earth, and expose themselves to the imminent danger of a still more unhappy life in eternity.

2. “O ye sons of men,” exclaims the Royal Prophet, against worldlings, “how long will you be dull at heart? Why do you love vanity and seek after lying?” (Ps. iv. 3.) O men, fools, how long will you fix the affections of your hearts on this earth? why do you love the goods of this world, which are all vanity and lies? Do you imagine that you shall find peace by the acquisition of these goods? But how can you expect to find peace, while you walk in the ways of affliction, and misery? Behold how David describes the condition of worldlings. “Destruction and unhappiness in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known.” (Ps. xiii. 3.) You hope to obtain peace from the world; but how can the world give you that peace which you seek, when St. John says, “that the whole world is seated in wickedness?” (1 John v. 19.) The world is full of iniquities; hence worldlings live under the despotism of the wicked one—that is, the Devil. The Lord has declared that there is no peace for the wicked who live without His grace. “There is no peace to the wicked.” (Isa. xlviii. 22.)

3. The goods of the world are but apparent goods, which cannot satisfy the heart of man. “You have eaten,” says the Prophet Aggeus, “and have not had enough.” “(Ag. i. 6.) Instead of satisfying our hunger they increase it. “These,” says St. Bernard, “provoke rather than extinguish hunger.” If the goods of this world made men content, the rich and powerful should enjoy complete happiness; but experience shows the contrary. We see every day that they are the most unhappy of men; they appear always oppressed by fears, by jealousies and sadness. Listen to King Solomon, who abounded in these goods: “And behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Eccl. i. 14.) He tells us, that all things in this world are vanity, lies, and illusion. They are not only vanity, but also affliction of spirit. They torture the poor soul, which finds in them a continual source, not of happiness, but of affliction and bitterness. This is a just punishment on those who instead of serving their God with joy, wish to serve their enemy—the world—which makes them endure the want of every good. “Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joy and gladness of heart thou shaft serve thy enemy in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of all things.” (Deut. xxviii. 47, 48.) Man expects to content His heart with the goods of this earth; but, howsoever abundantly He may possess them, He is never satisfied. Hence, He always seeks after more of them, and is always unhappy. Oh! happy he who wishes for nothing but God; for God will satisfy all the desires of his heart. “Delight in the Lord, and He will give thee the requests of thy heart.” (Ps. xxxvi. 4.) Hence St. Augustine asks: “What, O miserable man, dost thou seek in seeking after goods? Seek one good, in which are all goods.” And, having dearly learned that the goods of this world do not content, but rather afflict the heart of man, the saint, turning to the Lord, said: “All things are hard, and thou alone repose.” Hence in saying, “My God and my all,” the seraphic St. Francis, though divested of all worldly goods, enjoyed greater riches and happiness than all the worldlings on this earth. Yes; for the peace which fills the soul that desires nothing but God, surpasses all the delights which creatures can give. They can only delight the senses, but cannot content the heart of man. “The peace of God which surpasseth all understanding.” (Phil. iy. 7.) According to St. Thomas, the difference between God, the sovereign good, and the goods of the earth, consists in this, that the more perfectly we possess God, the more ardently we love Him, because the more perfectly we possess Him, the better we comprehend His infinite greatness, and therefore the more we despise other things; but, when we possess temporal goods, we despise them, because we see their emptiness, and desire other things, which may make us content. “Summum bonum quanto perfectius possidetur, tanto magis amatur, et alia contemnuntur. Sed in appetitu temporalium bonorum, quando habentur, contemnentur, et alia appetuntur.” (S. Thom. i. 2, qu. 2, art. 1, ad. 3.)

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

_______________________________________________

Of Resisting Temptation.

VII. Some suffer great temptations in the beginning of their conversion, and some in the end.
And some there are who are much troubled in a manner all their lifetime.
Some are but lightly tempted, according to that wisdom and equity of the ordinance of God, who weighs the state and merits of men, and pre-ordains all for the salvation of His elect..–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIII pt VII.

_______________________________________________Sacred Heart

July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus

Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness


Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.

Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.

100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.

“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”

—St. Catharine of Sienna.


O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!


Praises to the Precious Blood.

Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Infinitely kind!

Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.

There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.

O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.

Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Terror-Struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.

Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!

(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)

Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.