Easter Sunday.

On Our Lord’s Resurrection.

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 Our Lord’s Resurrection.

image_Jesus_General011Go in spirit to our Lord’s sepulchre. It is early in the morning; a hallowed silence rests on all around. The sepulchre wherein the body of Jesus reposes is securely closed by the heavy stone; it is guarded by soldiers who perhaps at the dawn of this the third day after His death recall with derision the prediction of the crucified One that He would rise again on the third day. That day has come now, but no sign of any change appears; the sepulchre remains just the same as it was yesterday and the day before, undis­turbed, unaltered. Externally all is at rest, but behind the stone, within the tomb, the repose is not unbroken.

1st. Consider that our Lord’s soul has just quitted Limbo, and accompanied by the holy patriarchs, has re­turned to the sepulchre, to be reunited to the sacred remains deposited there. There the body lies, wrapped in linen cloths, rigid and lifeless. What, think you, must the feelings of those devout patriarchs have been when they saw the price at which their redemption was purchased, when they gazed upon the dead body of our Lord, when they beheld it to be one vast wound, crimsoned with blood, marked with five large, gaping wounds, on hands and feet and side! Well may we suppose them to have been stimulated by this spectacle to give thanks anew to the Lord for the redemption He accomplished with so much suffering, the awful cost of which this sepulchre now reveals to them. Yet while they gazed in sorrow on the mournful sight the sacred body of Christ presented, all was speedily to be changed, and a wondrous and joyful transition to take place.

2d. Consider the complete transformation our Lord’s body underwent when the soul was reunited to it. All the disfigurement, all the stains and scars vanished in an instant; the defaced and mangled body is suddenly clothed with light and shines with greater brilliance than when transfigured on Thabor. Rigid and motionless a moment before, it suddenly becomes translucent, subtle, ethereal, endowed with immortality and with celestial splendor. The sacred wounds have not however disap­peared; nay, on our Lord’s glorified body they shine like stars and sparkle like precious stones, and the risen Saviour will ever retain them as a perpetual memorial of the redemption He accomplished. Here behold, my soul, an image, an earnest of your own resurrection. This body of yours which perhaps is now so unlovely, so defaced and deformed, so tortured by aches and pains, will one day shine with the radiance of the noon-day sun, will gleam as brightly as the morning star; but, be it observed, this will only be the case if it bears the marks not of transgressions and iniquities, but of those graces and virtues which flow from the five wounds of the glorified body of Christ, our risen Lord.

3d. Consider in what manner our Lord rose from the grave. Like a lightning-flash He penetrated the rock, the earth quaked, an angel descended like a flash of light from Heaven above and rolled the stone that closed the sepulchre to one side. The watchmen were struck with terror and became as dead men; they laid on the ground stupefied, dazzled by the brilliant light that streamed out of the sepulchre. Unseen by men the celestial cohorts hovered around the risen Christ; and as they once sang their joyous song: Gloria in excelsis Deo in the plains of Bethlehem, so it may be readily imagined that now, when their God and their King rose in triumph from the grave, a threefold victor over His foes, over death and over hell, in holy exultation they raised their jubilant voices, repeating the words the Church to-day takes upon her lips: “This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Rejoice with them, my soul; let your alleluia rise up to Heaven, resounding out of the depths of a heart overflowing with joy and gladness; and let this day be nothing else but one long canticle of pious, joyous praise and thanksgiving to the glory of Him who on the third day rose again from the dead!

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 supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.

O Jesus! be our model. Thou hast taught us to say to God: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. That is what we ask every day, what we promise every day. Grant that our prayer may be fulfilled. Amen.Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX prayer.

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April Devotion: The Holy Ghost

Virtue to practice: Patience

Vexilla Regis prodeunt

The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’

O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.

On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.

Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.

Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Dicéndo natiónibus:
Regnávit a ligno Deus.

Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.

Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.

O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.

Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.

(ex. Breviario Romano)

*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.

An indulgence of 5 years.

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).

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

Holy Saturday.

On the Blessed Virgin at Our Lord’s Sepulchre.

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 Blessed Virgin at Our Lord’s Sepulchre.

image_Mater_delorosa_fixedImagine, my soul, that you are contemplating the holy Mother of our Lord standing beside the sepulchre of her divine Son. See how, before the massive block of stone closes the entrance for ever, she casts one more fond, lingering look on His beloved remains, a look in which grief and love are mingled; once more she bedews His countenance with her tears and takes a final, sad farewell of the Son of her love. Impress the image of the mourning Mother of God upon your mind and keep it before your eyes during your meditation.

1st. Consider with what feelings Mary gazed upon the dead body of Jesus. She saw before her the body of her Son, supernaturally conceived without stain by the opera­tion of the Holy Ghost, flesh of her flesh, the life of her life, the sacred vessel fashioned in her pure womb by the overshadowing from on high, now bereft of all beauty, of all form, bereft of the soul that animated it, subjected to the laws of nature which He Himself established, mal­treated, defaced by the men for whose redemption He took this form upon Him, by them mangled and slain. Alas! how pallid are His cheeks, how sunken His eyes; there is no beauty left in that fair virginal body! O sorrowing Mother! words fail to describe the grief of this last look at the lifeless form of thy Son. Yet, my soul, are you aware that there is a sight still more grievous in Mary’s eyes than this? It is when she is compelled to see the sacred body of our Lord laid in the grave of a heart unprepared to receive Him worthily, as perhaps she will have to do on the Easter festival to-morrow.

2d. Consider how lonely and forsaken Mary feels as she stands beside the sepulchre of Jesus. He who was dearest to her upon earth is dead. She has nothing left to her here below that can in any degree compensate her for His loss. Great as was the sympathy shown her by Joseph of Arimathea and the devout women, fondly as her adopted son, John the apostle, loved her, no one could be to her what Jesus was, no one could replace Him. The tomb by which she stood took from her her best, her all. Compassionate the sorrowing Mother of our Lord, and from her heartbroken grief learn a salutary lesson, that it is a good sign when nothing upon earth, nothing that we can possess, none of our fellow creatures, not even our nearest and dearest, who are united to us by the bond of blood, nay, not even one of the saints can compensate to us for the loss of Jesus. Let us therefore rejoice if we cannot be happy here below without Him, if, like Mary standing at His sepulchre, our most fervent aspiration and desire is “to be dissolved and to be with Christ.” (Phil. i. 23.)

3d. Consider that Mary’s only consolation after the burial of her Son was to visit the places hallowed by His sufferings and His death. Imagine the devotion where­with the lonely, forsaken Mother, left behind in her soli­tude, followed on the way of her Son’s Passion, the way of the cross. Imagine the ardent affection that glowed within her heart as she climbed the steep of Calvary, the loving, pious tears that fell from her eyes on to the ground which her divine Son had moistened with His sweat of blood in the hour of His agony. Already, my soul, the alleluias of Easter sound in your ears; the feast is quickly approaching, the season of joy, and other subjects of a less sorrowful nature will be the theme of your meditations. Yet learn of Mary from henceforth to visit from time to time the scene of our Lord’s Passion; reflect at what mo­ment and in what manner you will in future recall to mind His sacred Passion, and make a special resolution at least once in every week to follow with Mary the way of the cross.

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 supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.

If we have often to suffer from our neighbour, he has not the less to suffer from us. But you say: there are many things hard to bear. Well then, your merit will be the greater on that account. Grace is given to you only for the purpose of doing by its means what would be totally impossible to unaided human nature. Besides, what is there that happens to you, which God has not foreseen, which God has not willed. Patience then is only a sweet and calm submission to what He ordains, and without it we live in perpetual trouble; for who hath resisted God, and hath had peace? (Job. ix. 4). Who after that will dare to murmur, to be passionate, or to return evil for evil? Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX reflection.

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April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)

Virtue to practice: Patience

Vexilla Regis prodeunt

The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’

O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.

On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.

Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.

Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Dicéndo natiónibus:
Regnávit a ligno Deus.

Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.

Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.

O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.

Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.

(ex. Breviario Romano)

*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.

An indulgence of 5 years.

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).

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

Good Friday.

On the Burial of Our Lord.

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 Burial of Our Lord.

Christian remember that thou hast today a soul to save!Picture to yourself the mournful procession which to­day wends its way from the summit of Calvary down to the garden belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. Nicodemus and Joseph, assisted by the disciple whom Jesus loved, are carrying our Lord’s sacred and precious body to the tomb; they are followed by His heartbroken Mother, Mary, the most bereaved, the most to be pitied of all the mothers in Israel; they are followed by Magdalen, dissolved in tears of bitter grief, and the devout women, sorrowing sore, close the melancholy funeral procession. But that is not all; the angels of God, unseen by human eye, are present; they witness the burial of their Creator. In spirit join the company of mourners, accompany them to the sepulchre wherein your Lord was laid, and meditate upon this solemn scene.

1st. His sepulchre is in a garden. It was in a garden that the sentence of death was passed upon the human race, hence He who took the condemnation upon Himself was buried in a garden. The fall of man took place, his destitution commenced in a garden, and to-day his restitu­tion is accomplished in a garden. It was in a garden that the first Adam, by his prevarication, closed the portals of heaven against his posterity; and it was whilst His body rested in a garden that the second Adam, descending to Limbo, opened the gates of heaven to all believers.

Betake yourself therefore with feelings of profound gratitude to the sepulchre of our Lord to-day; and if your heart is to be a spiritual tomb wherein our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament will rest, O spare no pains that this grave may be in a garden, a garden filled with fair flowers and the choice fruits of good works, fragrant with the per­fume of your virtues. Is this so with you, or is our Lord’s spiritual grave in a desert instead of in a garden?

2d. It is a new grave in which Jesus is laid. It was meet and right that it should be so, for He was a new man, one such as the world had never seen before, for He was both God and man; His Mother was a woman such as the world had never seen, for she was a mother and at the same time a virgin; His doctrine was new, His man­ner of life was new, His miracles were new, and finally through Him the whole world was made new. Betake yourself therefore to-day, my soul, with a thankful heart to the sepulchre of our Lord; and if your breast is to be a spiritual grave wherein He is to be laid, O spare no pains that it may be a new grave which you offer Him as His resting-place. Cast out the old leaven of sin, strip your­self of the old Adam, put on the new man and pray in the words of the Psalmist: “Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit within my bowels.” (Ps. I. 12.)

3d. Finally it is a stranger’s grave in which Jesus is laid. Behold He to whom the Heavens and the earth belong, He who created all things, who upholds all things, who governs all things, has nothing that He can call His own at His death any more than He had during His life. He lived as a stranger upon earth and as a stranger He died. So true and faithful was Jesus in His love of pov­erty. He was born in a stable, He sojourned in a dwelling that was not His own, He died upon the cross, and now He is interred in the monument of another. Betake your­self to-day, my soul, with a thankful heart to our Lord’s sepulchre; there renew your vow of voluntary poverty, the poverty which He observed so perfectly unto His life’s end; and if your heart is to be a spiritual grave wherein He is to be laid, let it be the grave of a stranger; see that you always feel yourself a stranger, an alien, here below; do not ever make earth your home; let not your heart cling to earthly things, but ever look and long for heavenly things; know that as soon as the Christian begins to feel really comfortable and at ease upon earth, then he may be sure that he has not the right spirit, he is not in the right dispositions. Bestir yourself then, my soul; see that you prepare a spiritual tomb for our Lord within your breast; a grave that is like a garden, that is new, that is the grave of a stranger upon earth; then you will have every reason to hope that the grave of your mortal body shall, like that of our Lord, be glorious.

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 supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.

[Disciple] V. May Thy grace, O Lord, make that possible to me, which seems impossible to me by nature.

Thou knowest that I can bear but little, and that I am quickly cast down by a small adversity.

Let all exercises of tribulation become amiable and agreeable to me, for Thy name’s sake; for to suffer and to be afflicted for Thee is very healthful for my soul.Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt. V.

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April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)

Virtue to practice: Patience

Vexilla Regis prodeunt

The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’

O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.

On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.

Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.

Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Dicéndo natiónibus:
Regnávit a ligno Deus.

Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.

Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.

O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.

Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.

(ex. Breviario Romano)

*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.

An indulgence of 5 years.

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).

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

Holy Thursday

On the Pierced Heart of Our Lord.

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 Pierced Heart of Our Lord.

Sacred HeartJesus has yielded up His spirit; His weary head has sunk upon His breast, and at the same instant in which He drew His last breath the earth quaked, the rocks were rent and fell asunder, all nature mourned, and a thrill of fear and horror ran through the whole earth as a witness to the divinity of the Crucified, and a warning to man of the enormity of his crime. It was consummated; our Lord’s soul quitted His body, and all who heard the last cry of the expiring Redeemer, uttered in His death agony, trembled at the sound. But one of the soldiers who stood beneath the cross raised his spear and thrust it with such violence into the Saviour’s side, that forthwith there flowed there­from blood and water. Hast Thou not suffered enough already, O persecuted Jesus! Why dost Thou permit Thy broken heart to be thus pierced by a cruel lance? Let us consider the reasons.

1st. Our Lord allows Himself to be tortured in every member of His sacred body, because man has sinned with every part of his body. He suffers His heart, hitherto unwounded, to be pierced with a lance, in order to make atonement for the sins all the members of the human race have committed in their heart, which is the seat of every corrupt thought and desire. It was the all-surpassing love of Christ that guided that lance. It was that divine char­ity that desired to expiate all our transgressions; it was that charity which resolved to shed His blood even to the last drop for our redemption. Our Lord willed to be the pelican who wounds her breast for the sake of her young; He willed to give His heart’s blood as a remedy for His people who had imbibed the fatal venom of the serpent. O blessed Jesus, wound my cold, sinful heart with the lance of Thy love that I too may feel the pain of that thrust, the pain of bitter but salutary compunction.

2d. Consider that our Lord suffered His heart to be opened by a spear, in order to indicate, as St. Augustine asserts, that now the portals of life are thrown open, through which the streams of divine grace flow down upon mankind. Yes, the riven heart of Jesus is the heavenly paradise; thither sick souls may go to obtain medicine for their spiritual maladies; and there devout souls may take refuge. Like timid doves they seek and find in the heart of Jesus, as in a sure hiding-place, protection from the spirits of hell, the infernal birds of prey. It is the mystic abode of pious souls, who say with St. Eleazar: “If you desire to find me, O my friends, seek for me in the wound of our Lord’s sacred side, for there you will surely find me.” Remember, my soul, that the Scripture says: “Where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.” (St. Matt. vi. 21.) Ask yourself whether the heart of Jesus is indeed your spiritual dwelling-place, whither you betake yourself for rest and refreshment in preference to any other, or whether you have treasures elsewhere, treasures to which your heart fondly clings, and thus the sacred heart of Jesus was pierced and opened for you in vain.

3d. Consider that as God took a rib out of Adam’s side when he was asleep in the Garden of Eden, and out of it formed Eve, the mother of our physical existence, so on this day the side of the second Adam, sleeping upon the cross, was opened in order that the Church, our spiritual Mother, may find therein the source whence she derives her life and vigor in the holy sacraments, which are sym­bolized by the blood and water flowing from the Saviour’s riven side. It is by the water of the holy sacraments that we are cleansed from our transgressions, and it is by the blood of Jesus that our souls are nourished and preserved to life eternal, pre-eminently in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar which was instituted on this day, and in which it flows continually. The soldier’s lance opened to us this perennial spring, whence the holy sacraments flow. Rise up then, my soul; go down this very day into the true pool of Siloe, cleanse yourself in its purifying, its healing waters, by virtue of which you may appear clean and whole on the approaching festival of Easter.

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 supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.

IV. Be thou, therefore, ready prepared to fight, if thou desirest to gain the victory.

Without fighting, thou canst not obtain the crown of patience.

If thou wilt not suffer, thou refusest to be crowned; but if thou desirest to be crowned, fight manfully, and endure patiently.

Without labour there is not coming to rest, nor without fight can the victory be obtained. Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt. IV.

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April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)

Virtue to practice: Patience

Vexilla Regis prodeunt

The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’

O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.

On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.

Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.

Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Dicéndo natiónibus:
Regnávit a ligno Deus.

Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.

Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.

O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.

Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.

(ex. Breviario Romano)

*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.

An indulgence of 5 years.

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).

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

The Necessity of Prayer.

The Necessity 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.

The Necessity of Prayer.

Prayer is a necessity for everyone. It is a necessity for the good, because if they give up prayer for a considerable time they will lose the grace of God. This is the teaching of Sacred Scripture, and the experience of all those who have neglected prayer.

It is necessary for the bad, because without it, they will not, in the ordinary course of God’s providence be able to get back into the state of grace.

The necessity of prayer arises from two very important truths. The first truth is, that of ourselves and by our own natural strength, without a special grace from God, we cannot do any good work. By a good work we mean something which tends to our eternal salvation. We are bound to do good and to avoid evil, but without a special grace from God we cannot do the good nor avoid the evil.

We cannot do even a good work without a grace from God for our Divine Lord says: “No man can come to Me, except the Father, who hath sent Me, draw him” (John vi, 44). “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

I am the vine, you the branches, he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you” (John xv, 4, 7).

Neither can we avoid evil without a special grace from God. We cannot avoid evil because since the fall of our first parents there is a certain proneness in our nature to what is evil; we have passions, we live in a wicked world where we are constantly exposed to temptations and to the attacks of the devil, who “as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour” (i Peter v, 8).

Considering all this, it follows that without a particular grace from God we cannot live for a considerable space of time without falling into mortal sin. And if all this is true of a person in God’s grace how much more true is it that a person who has fallen away from God by mortal sin cannot come back to Him, cannot rise out of that sad state, without a special grace, and consequently without prayer.

A person in the state of mortal sin would remain for ever in that sad condition if he did not get grace from God. He is, as it were, bound hand and foot, and of himself, and left to himself, he is utterly incapable of doing anything which would restore him to the state of grace. The grace of a supernatural sorrow for his sins must come from God.

Therefore, the first truth from which arises the necessity of prayer is that without a special grace from God we can do no good work, we can do nothing towards our salvation. We can neither do a meritorious work, nor overcome temptations, nor our bad passions, nor the snares of the devil. “Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. iii, 5). “With fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God Who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will” (Philip ii, 12, 13).

The second truth from which arises the necessity of prayer is that prayer is the ordinary means which God has established for obtaining the special graces which we require to do good works.

We are not only incapable of doing anything towards our salvation without a grace from God, but of ourselves we are unworthy of receiving His graces.

After the fall of man God could in strict justice have left him in the sad state to which man, by his own free act, had reduced himself.

But God, out of pure goodness and mercy, willed to save us, and to provide us with all the means necessary for our salvation. Now since our salvation and all the means to obtain it are the free gifts of God, God can demand from us whatever conditions He pleases. God requires in the first place that we humble ourselves before Him, acknowledge our weakness, misery, and our unworthiness of His help, and furthermore, He requires that we should ask Him out of mercy to grant us His gifts and graces which we stand so much in need of.

But we cannot even ask the Divine assistance without grace from God. As the Sacred Scriptures puts it, “not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. iii, 5).

God then knowing our inability to ask without His assistance, out of His infinite mercy gives to all men the grace of prayer as the first step towards their salvation, moving men to have recourse to prayer and enabling them to perform it. “I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayer” (Zach. xii, 10).

But God, having given us the grace of prayer, wills that we should co-operate with this grace, and ask of Him all the other graces we stand in need of. “God does not command impossibilities, but when commanding to do anything, He admonishes us to do what we can, to pray for what help we need, and then He helps us to make us able” (Council of Trent, Sess. VI, Chap. II).

Prayer then is a free gift from God, and it is the ordinary means ordained by Him for obtaining all graces which we stand in need of. This is the second truth from which arises the necessity of prayer. The necessity of prayer and its efficacy is also shown from the fact that our Divine Lord has repeatedly commanded us to pray. “And He spoke also a parable to them, that we ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke xviii, i).

“Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation” (Matt, xxvi, 41).

“Be instant in prayer: watching in it in thanksgiving” (Col. iv, 2).

“Be nothing solicitous, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God” (Phil, iv, 6).

“Be prudent, therefore, and watch in prayer” (i Peter iv,7)

Now, who can doubt that a thing inculcated in the Divine Scriptures so many times, in so many ways, and in so urgent a manner, is imposed upon us by the rigorous command of God? Who can question that prayer is an instrument of the highest necessity and indispensable to eternal salvation, when God wills that we should employ it with such frequency, so perseveringly, and without any notable intermission of time? “It is a most clear proof of folly not to be sensible of the greatness of the honour of converse with Almighty God, not to love the practice of prayer, not to be persuaded that to neglect prostrating ourselves frequently before God and asking His aid, is to bring upon ourselves death to grace in this life, and eternal death in the life to come” (St. Chrysostom, Lib. i, De Orando Deum).

From these passages of Sacred Scripture it is clear that we are bound to practise prayer, and that it is the means of obtaining the most important graces which we stand in need of for the working out of our eternal salvation, such as, the grace of a happy death, grace to overcome temptations, pardon for our sins, etc.

All the Fathers and Doctors of the Church teach the necessity of prayer. 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 this exercise. All of which show how necessary prayer is as long as we are in this world.

We might give a still further proof of the necessity of prayer by saying that it is the experience of everyone, who gives up prayer for a considerable time, that they fall into mortal sin.

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 supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.

III. He is not a truly patient man, who will suffer no more than he thinks good, and from whom he pleaseth.

The truly patient man minds not by whom it is he is exercised, whether by his superior, or by one of his equals, or by an inferior; whether by a good and holy man, or by one that is perverse and unworthy.

But how much soever and how often soever any adversity happens to him from anything created, he takes it all with equality of mind, as from the hand of God, with thanksgiving, and esteems it a great gain.

For nothing, how little soever, that is suffered for God’s sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God. Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt. III.

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April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)

Virtue to practice: Patience

Vexilla Regis prodeunt

The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.

Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,

Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’

O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.

On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.

Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.

Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.

Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Dicéndo natiónibus:
Regnávit a ligno Deus.

Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.

Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.

O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.

Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.

(ex. Breviario Romano)

*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.

An indulgence of 5 years.

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).

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