Jesus Christ weeps over Jerusalem.

Jesus Christ weeps over Jerusalem.

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.

Jesus Christ weeps over Jerusalem.

“And when He drew near, seeing the city, He wept over it.”—St. Luke xix. 41. 18.

First Point.

OUR Lord rested for a time at Jericho, after which He continued His journey towards Jerusalem, and on the eve of the Sabbath arrived at Bethania, a small suburb about half a mile distant from the city. Here He passed the Sabbath at the house of Mary Magdalene and Martha, where He was accustomed to stop with His disciples whenever He went from Galilee to Judea. The day following, being the fifth day before the Passover, was the occasion on which the Jews, according to the Mosaic law, brought the Paschal lambs into the city amid great pomp and rejoicing. Jesus, therefore, who was the true Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, and the spotless Victim whose sacrifice on the altar of the cross was to secure the redemption of mankind, thought it proper to enter Jerusalem also on that day with appropriate rejoicing. Accompanied by His apostles He left Bethania early on the morning of Palm-Sunday, and went in the direction of the steep Mount of Olives. Arriving at Bethphage, a small village situated on a declivity of that mountain, He chose two of His disciples and said to them: “Go into the village that is over against you, and immediately at your coming in thither, you shall find a colt tied, upon which no man yet hath sat: loose him and bring him. And if any man shall say to you: What are you doing? say ye that the Lord hath need of him: and immediately he will let him come hither” (St. Mark xi. 2, 3). The disciples obeyed at once. “And going their way, they found the colt tied before the gate without, in the meeting of two ways: and they loose him. And some of them that stood there said to them: “What do you loosing the colt? Who said to them as Jesus had commanded them, and they let him go with them. And they brought the colt to Jesus: and they lay their garments on him, and He sat upon him” (St. Mark xi. 4-7). Thus mounted, the Divine Master, surrounded by His disciples, rode in the direction of Jerusalem. Passing over Mount Olivet, He was about to descend towards the Vale of Josaphat, when He halted to gaze upon the scene which lay spread out before Him at His feet the garden of Gethsemani, before Him Mount Calvary, and beyond the full prospect of the holy city with its triple walls and lofty towers. Instantly His loving soul was assailed by a mortal sadness, and He gave vent to His grief in a copious flood of tears. “And when He drew near, seeing the city, He wept over it” (St. Luke xix. 41). Our Lord wept, and wept bitterly, not over Himself, but over the blindness of the Jews, over the hardness of sinners, over the obstinacy of His own people, and over the unhappy fate of Jerusalem. In the bitterness of His grief, He addressed these affectionate words to the unhappy city: “If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace, but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee: and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round: 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” (St. Luke xix. 42-44).

With these and other loving expressions, our merciful Lord bewailed the future calamities which hovered over Jerusalem. But in weeping over His own people and their unhappy city, He also mourned over the ingratitude of the millions of Christians, whom He foresaw would reap no fruits from the Redemption because of their indifference to Heaven’s call. Ah! let the tears of our loving Jesus move us to pity for our miserable state, and if in the past we have displeased His loving heart by our obstinacy in sin, let us endeavor for the future to please Him by our repentance.

SECOND POINT.

The prophecy of Jesus Christ regarding the siege and total destruction of Jerusalem has been literally fulfilled. Thirty-seven years after the Redeemer’s death, Titus, Emperor of the Romans, surrounded the deicide city with a strong intrenchment, and after five months of terrible fighting razed it to the ground, leaving not a stone upon a stone, and cleansed unhappy Jerusalem of all its iniquities by the slaughter of eleven hundred thousand of its inhabitants. The obstinate Jews have been since then without temple or altar, without sacrifice or priesthood, without king or country, exiled, dispersed all over the globe, despised by all, reputed as a vile race, bearing impressed on their pallid foreheads the indelible sign of the terrible deicide perpetrated by their fathers. In the awful fate of this nation we can recognize the vengeance of God excited by the insolence of the ungrateful Jews in disregarding the visitation of His divine mercy.

We should now reflect on ourselves in order to derive profit from the misfortunes of others. Let us imagine that our merciful Lord, knowing us guilty of many sins and seeing the approaching punishments which menace us, looks upon us from heaven with commiseration, and speaks to our hearts, saying: Unhappy soul, you do not know the miserable state in which you are! If you could see the eternal punishment which awaits you unless you repent, you would make serious reflections. Your body which you indulge so much will soon be reduced to ashes; those persons whom you love so tenderly you shall soon leave forever. All will be separated from you but your good and evil works; these will accompany you. You believe that the time is not near, but it is fast approaching: hell is open beneath you; the sentence of death has already been issued, and on My will depends its execution. Every day, every moment, every hour, may be the last for you. How long, therefore, will you delay to do penance? How long will you still provoke My anger, tire My patience? How many inspirations did I not send you? how many graces did I not grant you? how many advices and good examples did you not receive? how many times have I not called upon you, and you failed to respond? You were deaf to My voice and dumb to My exhortations. Therefore, I weep over you, and over your unhappy state, and the punishments which menace you; and weeping, I invite you for the last time to repentance, that yours may not be the fate of Jerusalem, obduracy, abandonment, and eternal perdition.

Thus our merciful Lord speaks to our souls; and how shall we respond? With ingratitude? Ah, no! let us prostrate ourselves at His feet, beseeching Him to grant us a profound grief for our sins, a firm and strong resolution of nevermore offending Him, and an ardent desire of loving Him now and for eternity. Let us also earnestly ask Him for the grace of meditating on His sufferings, in order that, having them before our eyes, we may be encouraged to support our sufferings.

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.

_______________________________________________

Behold how the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, the Eternal Wisdom, are rejected, His deeds forgotten, and the price of His precious Blood lost, in a measure, considering how few there are who seek their salvation.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 50.

_______________________________________________

February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice:
Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales

An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).

_________________________________________________

Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

_________________________________________________

Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2012 – 2016. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Jesus Christ predicts His Passion to His Apostles.

Jesus Christ predicts His Passion to His Apostles..

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.

Jesus Christ predicts His Passion to His Apostles.

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death.”—St. Matt. xx. 17, 18.

First Point.

THE time determined from all eternity for the Redemption of mankind was fast approaching, and Jesus, taking a last leave of the plains of Galilee, went to Jericho, the city of palms, where He remained for some time. He was followed by a great multitude of people of every condition, who were attracted no less by His sanctity than by His divine doctrine. Among them were His Virgin Mother, His apostles, a great number of disciples, and the holy women who accompanied Him to Calvary. As the feast of the Pasch drew near, Jesus passed on to Jerusalem, there to celebrate that solemnity with the people. His joy on this occasion was so great, and beamed so resplendently from His countenance, that the mother of James and John believed that the time had come for His temporal kingdom, and besought Him to let her two children sit one on the right and the other on the left of His throne.

Far different indeed was the cause of the joy which filled His Sacred Heart: He was about to immolate Himself upon the cross to appease His Eternal Father for our sins, and for this reason He was happy. But fearing that His passion might be an occasion of scandal to His apostles, He called them apart and told them of it thus: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death.” This was equivalent to saying: “Behold, my dear disciples, we go up to Jerusalem, but I shall not return with you to Galilee. My enemies who have long been trying to apprehend Me will now accomplish their designs, and I shall be delivered as a malefactor into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, who will condemn Me to a most disgraceful death. I shall then be given over to the gentiles, who will mock Me, scourge Me, crown Me with thorns, and finally crucify Me between two thieves. Be not scandalized at seeing Me subjected to such indignities; for as I have power to foresee them, so have I also power to avoid them: but I know that they are necessary to the eternal salvation of mankind, and also to My glory; therefore I go joyfully to meet them. You have now been forewarned of My ignominious death, and you know of My glorious resurrection; and when these things come to pass they should confirm your faith in Me, because I had predicted them to you.”

Our Divine Redeemer had often before spoken of His future passion, always in terms which betrayed the yearnings of His loving heart for its accomplishment. On several occasions He had mentioned it to His holy Virgin Mother, and it had frequently been the subject of His conversation with His apostles and disciples; and the Gospel tells us that during His glorious transfiguration on Mount Thabor in the presence of Peter, James, and John, Moses and Elias were talking with Him, “and they spoke of His decease that He should accomplish in Jerusalem” (St. Luke ix. 31). There seemed to be nothing dearer to Him than His much-desired passion. Speaking to His disciples He said, “I have a baptism, wherewith I am to be baptized: and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!” On the night of His last supper, unable longer to conceal His joy at the approach of His bitter passion, He manifested it to His apostles, saying: “With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer” (St. Luke xxii. 15). Again He displayed this ardent desire when, turning to Judas who had already betrayed Him, He said, “Since thou hast determined to deliver Me into the hands of My enemies, delay no longer; do it quickly.”

Oh, when we consider how the Eternal Son of God longed to die upon the cross for our redemption, how great appears our ingratitude in refusing to suffer any thing for His love! Jesus went to meet His ignominious death with pleasure; we bear with murmuring and impatience even those little adversities which are unavoidable in our life. Ah! ought we not to be ashamed of our ingratitude towards our loving and merciful Redeemer? Let us resolve from this very moment to bear with patience and resignation all the crosses and humiliations which it may please God to send us.

SECOND POINT.

The Evangelist remarks the eagerness with which our Lord undertook His last journey to Jerusalem: “And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem: and Jesus went before them, and they were astonished: and following were afraid” (St. Mark x. 32). An observer would have said that Jesus was going up to the holy city, not to be crucified as a malefactor, but to be crowned king. “Let those be ashamed,” says Venerable Bede, “who think that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ feared death. He foresaw all the snares which His enemies laid against Him, yet He did not avoid them. He foresaw all the horrors of His bitter passion, yet He did not become terrified, neither did He flee, but went spontaneously to encounter death, though all dissuaded Him.” This internal and external joy of our Saviour proceeded from His divinity more than from His humanity: His divine love for man was so intense, and His merciful desire of redeeming him so great, that they fortified His humanity against all fear of the torments, tortures, and slaughter to which it would soon be subjected. Still His Sacred Heart must have been immersed in the profoundest affliction; for, though His humanity, strengthened by His divinity, shrank not from the approaching passion, yet it keenly anticipated all the horrors which accompanied that passion. In fact, we read that in the Garden of Olives our Lord was assailed by such agonizing grief that He sweat blood. In this case His divinity, instead of relieving His anguish, increased it, by displaying before His mind in all their hideous enormity the ignominies to which He would be subjected.

In order to form an idea of our Saviour’s emotions on leaving Galilee, let us imagine Him to be a person like ourselves, feeling such pangs as we suffer in quitting country, riches, honors, parents, and relatives.

With what tender affection does not a man take a last farewell of his native land, his parents, and his friends, when about to enter upon a long and dangerous journey from which he fears he may not return! The place which he is about to abandon never appeared so beautiful, the loved ones with whom he parts never seemed so dear; all the diversions of his childhood, all the pleasures of his youth, all the hopes of his past life are fondly and sadly recollected.

Let us refer these same emotions to the loving and sensitive heart of Jesus. How affectionately did He not bid farewell to Nazareth where He had passed His youth; to Capharnaum which He had chosen as the centre of His heavenly mission; to Cana of Galilee where He had performed His first miracle; to Lake Tiberias across which He had often sailed with His disciples; to Mount Thabor where He had been transfigured; to the river Jordan where He had been baptized by His precursor; to Naim where He had wrought many wonders,—in a word, to all those places which had witnessed His childhood, His youth, His preaching, His prodigies, His prayers, His penances, and His fasts! We know from the Gospel that after His resurrection He returned to visit them again: “And behold He will go before you into Galilee: there you shall see Him” (St. Matt, xxviii. 7).

Let us imagine that our Lord as He journeyed along gazed affectionately on the mountains, streams, and other familiar objects by the way, and considering that it was the last time that He should pass as a mortal man through that beautiful region which awakened in Him the fondest memories, He sought, as it were, to divide His grief with His beloved apostles, saying: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death.”

If Jesus was so grieved at leaving those delightful places what must have been His feelings at parting from His apostles and disciples, and above all from His most loving Mother! Oh! it is impossible to give expression to such grief. Let us meditate upon this first step of our Saviour’s passion; and if we are not able to repay Him for His love, let us at least pity Him in His affliction.

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.

_______________________________________________

Behold how the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, the Eternal Wisdom, are rejected, His deeds forgotten, and the price of His precious Blood lost, in a measure, considering how few there are who seek their salvation.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 50.

_______________________________________________

February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice:
Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales

An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).

_________________________________________________

Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

_________________________________________________

Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2012 – 2016. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Meditations on the Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Meditations on the Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

Meditations on the Sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to My sorrow.”—Lamentations i. 12.

THESE mournful accents placed by Jeremias in the mouth of the afflicted daughter of Sion may well be referred to Jesus Christ suspended between heaven and earth; and yet, oh senselessness! “the just perisheth,” says Isaias the prophet, “and no man layeth it to heart.” “Every creature,” says St. Jerome, “commiserates the death of Jesus Christ: the sun is obscured, the earth trembles, the rocks are split, the vale of the temple is rent, the sepulchres are opened, and man alone for whom Jesus died remains insensible; and man does not pity his Redeemer.” St. Augustine thus addresses man: “Jesus Christ came to suffer; He came to die, to be spat upon, and, finally, to be crucified on that infamous gibbet, the cross; He patiently endured all these pains, all these sufferings, for you, and will you not suffer something for Him?”

Cardinal Bellarmine seeks to know why we are scarcely willing to suffer for love of God even what is strictly necessary for our salvation, since the Eternal Son of God, who could have redeemed us by shedding a single drop of His precious blood, willingly endured unspeakable sufferings and poured out all His blood for love of us. The venerable author discovers that it is because we do not attentively meditate on the passion of Jesus Christ, and on the great love He showed for us by dying on the cross. The prophet Jeremias assigns the same reason when he says, “With desolation is all the land made desolate: because there is none that considereth in the heart” (Jerem. xii. 11). And indeed if all would reflect upon how much our beloved Redeemer suffered for us, certainly they would not offend Him by even a venial sin, and they would be as ardent with divine love as the seraphim in heaven. The Doctor of Grace recommends as most beneficial the daily meditation on the passion, asserting that a tear shed in memory of the sufferings of Christ is more meritorious before God than a life-long fast. “The wounds of Jesus,” says the same holy Father, “are full of mercy, full of sweetness and charity. As for me, in all my adversities I have not found a more powerful remedy than meditation on the sacred wounds of my holy Redeemer; in those wounds I repose calmly. “When some foul thought disturbs my mind, I have recourse to the wounds of my Jesus; when my flesh rebels against me, I remain victorious with the memory of the wounds of my Saviour; when the common enemy lays snares against me, I have recourse to the mercy of my Holy Redeemer, and the infernal enemy flies from me; when the ardor of concupiscence goads and excites my passions, I remember the passion of Jesus, and they return, at once to their former calm. In a word, there is nothing in the world, though bitter as death itself, which with the memory of the sufferings of Jesus will not become sweetened.” St. Gregory the Great says that “where the thought of the death of Jesus reigns, there concupiscence of the flesh cannot reign.” St. Isidore affirms that if we consider the passion of our Redeemer, there is no suffering which we may not only bear with patience and resignation, but also with exquisite pleasure and joy. “Truly,” asks St. Bernard, “who is there so irreligious as not to become contrite at the consideration of the excruciating sufferings of Jesus Christ? Who is there so proud as not to become humble? so irascible and vindictive as not to forgive? so attached to the honors and riches of the world as not to despise them? so malicious and sinful as not to repent? Ah! even this very moment the remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus moves the hardest hearts, as one day His painful death moved the earth and split the rocks.”

The same writer, addressing himself to our Lord, says: “Thy passion, O Lord, is the last refuge of a miserable sinner; it is a powerful remedy for all the infirmities of the soul; it supplies wisdom, justice, and sanctity. When virtue fails me, when my feeble strength abandons me, I am not disturbed; I do not distrust, but I have recourse to the wholesome chalice of Thy passion. I know that I have no merits before Thee, but I know that Thy merits are infinite, as is also the treasure of Thy mercy. I shelter myself meanwhile in the bowels of Thy mercy, and therein I taste how sweet is the Lord.”

“The passion of our Lord,” a devout author writes, “supports heaven and earth and vanquishes hell. By the passion the angels are confirmed, mankind is redeemed, the enemies are conquered.” Another pious author says that “the passion of Jesus Christ restored glory to God, repaired the ruin of the angels, crowded heaven with citizens, merited grace for man, acquired glory for the just, condemned sin and death, disarmed the devil of his power, and despoiled hell of its prisoners.” In a word, the passion of Jesus is so meritorious that God alone can explain its excellence; but we may experience the efficacy of its merits by a daily meditation upon it.“O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet: blessed is the man that hopeth in Him” (Psalms xxxiii. 9).

Father Louis della Palma says that meditation on the passion of our Lord is suitable for all persons and all states of life. It will recall the sinner from his evil course, raise the falling from the pit of vice, strengthen the feeble in the path of virtue, quicken the persevering in the way to perfection, stimulate the love of the holy soul. All the glorious examples of virtue which Jesus gave us during His life shine out most resplendently in His passion.

St. Bonaventure, who wrote admirably on the passion and acquired his seraphic doctrine from the crucifix, says that if we wish to advance in perfection we should meditate every day on the sufferings of Jesus Christ, because such a practice is a powerful means of sanctifying our souls. It will free us from all evil, procure us every good, enrich us with the grace of God in this world, and merit for us eternal life in the next. “Yes,” says St. Leo the Great, “meditation on the sufferings of Jesus will merit for you life everlasting; because where the participation of the sufferings is, there is also a certain expectation of the promised beatitude.”

What devotion can there be more excellent, more efficacious, and more useful than this? “Who would refuse to spend half an hour a day in this pious exercise which has always been the delight of the saints? How many nights did not our seraphic Father St. Francis pass in contemplating the sufferings of his beloved Jesus, and with how many graces was he not favored in return? Let us, therefore, imitate this seraph of love, and like him we shall derive great joys and consolations in this life, and also in the next.

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.

_______________________________________________

He who bears God in his heart, carries his paradise with him everywhere.St. Ignatius of Loyola, In Compend. Vitae.

_______________________________________________

February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice:
Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales

An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).

_________________________________________________

Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

_________________________________________________

Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2012 – 2016. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

On the Love of God.

On the Love of God.

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.

On the Love of God.

This only take care of with all diligence, that you love the Lord your God.” — Josua xxiii. I.

LOVE is strong as death (Cant. viii. 6): since both equally separate the soul from the body and all terrestrial things, the only difference is, that the separation is real and effectual when caused by death, whereas that occasioned by love is usually confined to the heart.

I say usually, because divine love is sometimes so violent that it actually separates the soul from the body, and, by causing the death of those who love, it renders them infinitely happier than if it bestowed on them a thousand lives.

As the lot of the reprobate is to die in sin, that of the elect is to expire in the love and grace of God, which is effected in several ways.

Many of the Saints died, not only in the state of charity, but in the actual exercise of divine love. St. Augustine expired in making an act of contrition, which cannot exist without love; St. Jerome, in exhorting his disciples to charity and the practice of all virtues; St. Ambrose, in conversing sweetly with his Saviour, whom he had received in the Holy Eucharist; St. Antony of Padua also expired in the act of discoursing with our Divine Lord, after having recited a hymn in honour of the ever-glorious Virgin; St. Thomas of Aquinas, with his hands clasped, his eyes raised to heaven, and pronouncing these words of the Canticles, which were the last he had expounded: “Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field” (Cant. vii. II).

All the apostles, and the greater number of the martyrs, died in prayer. Venerable Bede, having learned the hour of his death by revelation, went to the choir at the usual hour to sing the evening office, it being the feast of the Ascension, and at the very moment he had finished singing vespers, he expired, following his Guide and Master into heaven, to celebrate His praises in that abode of rest and happiness, round which the shades of night can never gather, because it is illumined by the brightness of the eternal day, which neither dawns nor ends.

John Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris, remarkable for his learning and virtue—of whom Sixtus of Sienna said, “that it is difficult to decide whether the vein of piety which runs through his works surpasses his science, or whether his learning exceeds his piety”—after having explained the fifty properties of divine love mentioned in the Canticles, expired at the close of three days, smiling, and pronouncing these words of the same sacred text: “Thy love, O God, is strong as death” (Cant. viii. 6).

The fervour and ardour of St. Martin at the hour of his death are remarkable. St. Louis, who has proved himself as great a monarch among the Saints as an eminent saint among kings, being attacked by the plague, ceased not to pray, and after receiving the viaticum, he extended his arms in the form of a cross, fixed his eyes on heaven, and, animated with love and confidence, expired in saying with the Psalmist: “I will come into Thy house, O Lord; I will worship towards Thy holy temple, in Thy fear” (Ps. v. 8).

St. Peter Celestine, after having endured the most cruel and incredible afflictions, seeing the end of his days approach, began to sing like the swan, and terminated his song with his life, by these words of the last Psalm: “Let every spirit praise the Lord” (Ps. cl. 5).

St. Eusebiâ, surnamed the Stranger, died kneeling in fervent prayer. St. Peter the Martyr yielded his last sigh in writing (with his finger, which he had dipped in his blood) the articles of the faith for which he sacrificed his life, and in saying: “Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit” (Ps. xxx. 6).

The great apostle of the Indies and Japan, St. Francis Xavier, expired holding a crucifix, which he tenderly embraced, and incessantly repeated in transports of love: “O Jesus! the God of my heart!”

St. Francis de Sales.
From his Treatise on “The Love 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.

_______________________________________________

He who does not love God with his whole heart, is loving something for itself, and not for GodSt. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 3.

_______________________________________________

February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)

Virtue to practice: Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales

An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).

_________________________________________________

Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

_________________________________________________

Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2012 – 2016. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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.

Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they carried Jesus to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord.”–St. Luke ii. 22.

According to the prescriptions of the Mosaic law, forty days after the birth of a son the mother must present herself in the temple, there to be purified, and to consecrate her child to the Lord. On these occasions the wealthy sacrifice a lamb, whilst the poor usually offer two turtle doves. Forty days have come and gone since that blessed Christmas night, and Mary, bearing in her arms the divine Infant, journeys to Jerusalem to present herself in the temple and submit to the law of purification. Joseph follows her, carrying the two doves for Mary’s offering. This is all that their poverty will allow them to offer for the sacrifice. Mary, having been exempt from the original stain, was not subject to the law of purification. She had not contracted the slightest stain, neither in her conception nor in the birth of Christ the Saviour. However, we must admire her obedience, her humility, and her charity.

I. Her obedience.–The Blessed Virgin, in complying with this law, gives us an example of perfect obedience to the authority of God in all things. Although this law was not obligatory on her, still she obeys it, just to teach us we should omit nothing which is commanded us. How many pretexts, excuses, or reasons, more or less specious, are often alleged to dispense us from the duties which religion imposes! On each Sunday or festival day, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice is an imperative obligation. But a visit must be made or some duty must be performed. Perhaps we have a slight indisposition, or we are obliged to walk some distance to the church. To the eyes of faith and to ordinary piety these obstacles present nothing serious. It is only a half-hearted Christian who will consider these difficulties for a moment. The law of the purification of conscience by the reception of the Sacrament of Penance obliges all, at least once a year. And yet, because we can say we have done no wrong to our neighbor or committed no grievous sins, the law is not obeyed, and the Church vainly threatens with the menace of her anathemas. Mary is wholly innocent and pure. He to Whom she has given birth is sanctity itself; however, she tells us, as her divine Son, “it is becoming for us to fulfil all justice.” During forty days she does not appear in public, as if she had contracted the legal stain, as other women. This time has passed, and she presents herself in the temple to obey all that the law prescribes for her purification. Let us resolve to imitate her obedience and fidelity to the law of God.

2. Her humility.–In the mystery of the purification Mary gives us an example of the most perfect humility. Although she enjoyed the singular privilege of being conceived without sin, although the holiest and purest of creatures, and exalted to the incomparable dignity of Mother of God, still, she does not hesitate to humble herself to the rank of ordinary women and to mingle with mothers who, according to the prophet, have conceived their children in iniquity. Well does she know the miracle which God has accomplished in her by uniting virginity and maternity. But she and her holy spouse, St. Joseph, are alone in the possession of the divine secret. In the eyes of the Jews, and even in the estimation of the priests who see her presenting herself in the temple, she is only regarded as the wife of a poor workman. They believe that she has come to the temple as other women, in obedience to the laws and to observe the sacred rites. Her humility is also apparent to us in her offering of two doves, the ordinary gift of the poor. Could she not have spoken a word to unveil the mystery? Could she not say that the prophecies were fulfilled, and that the little Child she had just presented in the temple was the long-promised and expected Messias? The sure proofs were not wanting. But no; not a single word escapes her lips. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians tells us Jesus humbled Himself even to annihilation to lift us up even to Himself. Mary, also, wished to annihilate herself, to teach us that humility is the first trait of resemblance which we should have with Our Lord and Saviour.

3. Her charity.–In submitting to the law of purification, Mary at the same time offered Jesus to God, His Father. From the time when the Lord had put to death the first-born of the Egyptians, to save the children of Israel, He had commanded that all the eldest sons of His people should be offered and consecrated to Him, as well as the first fruits of the harvest, and even the animals. It is to comply with this prescription that Mary presents her Son in the temple. What a splendid proof she gives us of her charity and of her tenderness by offering the very victim which will one day redeem us, and by devoting her well-beloved Son to death! What a sacrifice for the heart of a mother! But Mary knows the designs of God; she knows that the world cannot be redeemed except by the blood of her adorable Son. There remains but one more act, and that is to immolate herself with her Saviour God. This also she is prepared to do. Listen to the holy old Simeon. Inspired by Heaven, he predicts that “a sword of sorrow shall pierce her soul.” According to St. Jerome, Mary was the first martyr, because of the great and incomprehensible sorrow which she had to suffer in her heart–by sharing the persecutions, the sufferings, the passion, and death of her divine Son. Let us show our gratitude to our tender Mother, and, since she did not hesitate to offer her only Jesus for our salvation, on our part we should place no limits to our generosity to make known her devotion and her glory.

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 following Christ, and despising all the vanities of the world.

III. What doth it avail thee to discourse profoundly of the Trinity, if thou be void of humility, and consequently displeasing to the Trinity ?
In truth, sublime words make not a man holy and just; but a virtuous life maketh him dear to God.
I had rather feel compunction, than know its definition.
If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would it all profit thee, without the love of God and his grace?
Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity, besides loving God and serving him alone.
This is the highest wisdom: by despising the world to tend to heavenly kingdoms.. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch I pt III.

_______________________________________________

February Devotion: The Holy Trinity

(also the Holy Family)

Virtue to practice: Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’

(St. Francis de Sales)
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).
(taken from The Raccolta (c)1957)

_________________________________________________

Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

_________________________________________________

Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2012 – 2016. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.