Friday in Easter Week

Our Lord Appears to the Disciples on the Seashore.

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 Miraculous Draught of FishesOur Lord Appears to the Disciples on the Seashore.

It is early morning. A little boat is floating on the still waters of the lake of Genesareth; in it are some fish­ermen who have been toiling and exerting themselves all night long at their trade, but without meeting with any success; they have not caught any fish. Those men are our Lord’s disciples. Just as they have taken in their nets and are preparing to return home, all their efforts having been fruitless, our Lord appears to them on the banks of the lake, calling to them in accents of tender, loving solici­tude: “Children, have you any meat?” (St. John xxi. 5.) Keep this scene before your eyes during your medi­tation.

1st. Our Lord does not make this inquiry of His disci­ples concerning food on His own behalf—He has risen from the dead, and His glorified body stands in no need of earthly aliments—it is for their sake that He asks whether they have a provision of fish. His design is to bring them, through the recognition of their own poverty and weakness, to a sense of their dependence upon Him, their Master, to show them how little they can do without Him, and then to afford them assistance and give them an abundant harvest of fishes. O most bountiful Jesus! How often dost Thou stand before us, asking something from us not for Thyself, but for our benefit. So it is with you, my soul; as He once craved a draught of water from the woman of Samaria, in order that He might give her in exchange the living water of divine grace, so oft times He knocks at the door of your heart by means of your Breth­ren and Sisters, asking from you this or that trifling act of charity, requiring of you this or that sacrifice, with the purpose of bestowing on you a great, a superabundantly great reward, provided you hear His call and obey His voice.

2d. Consider the command our Lord gives to His dis­ciples, to cast the net out once more. What behest could have been more inopportune, more inconvenient than this? How strange, how wanting in common sense we may al­most say, this suggestion must have appeared to these men, experienced as they were in their craft. They had already cleansed their nets and stowed them away carefully, and now to cast them out again seemed utterly useless, since during the livelong night, which was the proper, suitable time for fishing, they had caught nothing. In spite of this they obeyed, they submitted their apparently better judgment and did as they were bidden, and the recompense of their obedience was a draught of fishes more numerous, of larger size than any they had previously taken in the waters of the lake. Here, my soul, you see the blessing that attends upon obedience. Take example from these disciples. By obeying, by subordinating your judgment to the will of your Superior, you will gain a great reward; whereas if you throw off the yoke of obedience you will perhaps labor all night without taking a single fish in your net. Look back at your past life and ask yourself whether it does not afford confirmation of this truth.

3d. Consider that our Lord was recognized first of all by John, who said to the others in the ship: “It is the Lord.” (St. John xxi. 7.) John was the eagle that proudly soars aloft and gazes on the sun, the emblem of the con­templative and meditative life; he was also the virgin apostle. Hence we may learn what first and foremost leads to the knowledge of God, to the comprehension of the mysteries He has revealed, to the sense of His nearness, to the reception of His inspirations, of His graces. It is the contemplation of God, meditation upon the truths of revelation, a life of chastity and vir­ginity. “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.” (St. Matt. v. 8.) If you keep your soul pure and unstained; if you consecrate yourself with chaste heart to the contemplative life; if, as far as your daily duties permit you keep up the practice of daily meditation, then you will, like John, be the first to recognize the Lord, to feel Him near and experience His consolations, and you will gather in as rich a harvest for your spiritual life as the disciples did for their material existence on this day. But if hitherto your efforts have been devoid of success, if in fact you have labored all night long and taken noth­ing, O examine yourself, ask yourself whether the reason is not to be found in the fact that there has been about you too little resemblance to John, the virginal apostle, the contemplative saint.

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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That we ought to cast all our care upon God.

    [Disciple.] IV. Lord, I will suffer willingly for Thee whatsoever Thou art pleased should befall me.
    I will receive with indifference from Thy hand good and evil, sweet and bitter, joy and sorrow; and will give Thee thanks for all that happens to me.
    Keep me only from all sin, and I will fear neither death. nor hell.
    Cast me not off for ever, nor blot me out of the book of life; and what tribulation soever befalleth me shall not hurt me. – Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVII pt. IV.

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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.

Thursday in Easter Week.

Jesus Appears to St. PeterOur Lord Appears to Peter after His 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.

Our Lord Appears to Peter after His Resurrection.

Endeavor to realize the keen sorrow and contrition of the prince of apostles during the days that witnessed our Lord’s Passion. His tortured heart was at one time overwhelmed with a storm of anguish and distress on ac­count of the sad fate of his beloved Master; then again a tempest of grief swept over his soul, at the thought that he had denied that Master, and by his denial had added to and aggravated His sufferings. And now Christ was really dead and laid in the grave without his ever having had an opportunity of throwing himself at His feet in an agony of sorrow and repentance and hearing from His lips words of pardon and forgiveness. Night had of a truth closed in upon the apostle’s soul, a night dark as the grave; yet suddenly a star of hope rises, the sorrow­ing penitent sees a ray of light amid the gloom; the tid­ings are brought him: the Lord is risen from the dead.

1st. Immediately Peter hastens to the sepulchre to as­certain for himself whether this announcement is true, and perhaps, as he hopes, even to see the risen Saviour with his own eyes. But his wish is not to be fulfilled so speed­ily. He does indeed find the grave to be empty, he finds that the body of Jesus is no longer there, but he does not see his beloved Master in person. Yet Mary, the Virgin-Mother, has already seen Him; He has also shown Him­self to Mary Magdalen the penitent, and even the other women have beheld Him. How is it that Peter, the great­est, the chief of the apostles, is not yet privileged to en­joy that signal happiness? We need not search long for the reason. By their fidelity, their love, the sympathy they evinced for their crucified Lord, Mary and Magdalen and the devout women deserved to see their risen Lord sooner than the apostle who denied all knowledge of Him. Pon­der that, my soul, and remember whenever our Lord delays to come to you with His consolations, His grace, His succor, if He does not impart them to you as soon as He does to others, seek the primary cause in yourself; ask your­self seriously whether you have acted so as to deserve that the Lord should draw near to you in His compassion and loving kindness; whether you have been as faithful to Him in the days of prosperity as you would have Him be to you in the season of adversity.

2d. Consider with what feelings Peter stood in our Lord’s presence when the latter actually appeared to him. Must he not have fallen at the feet of his risen Master, over­come by an excess of contrition and grief? confessing his fault with floods of tears and earnestly imploring pardon? Must he not have acknowledged himself to be quite un­worthy that our Lord should condescend to appear to him? Must he not for ever afterwards with warmest gratitude have remembered the extreme kindness wherewith Jesus in His charity received the disciple who had denied Him? Reflect, my soul, on your part whether such should not be the sentiments animating your heart whenever our Lord appears to you with His grace, especially in Holy Com­munion; whether you also like this apostle ought not to weep over the sins which have rendered you unworthy that our Lord should visit you; whether you ought not to acknowledge and confess in all humility that you are far more deserving of the just chastisements of your God than of His pardoning love.

3d. Consider that Peter immediately hastened to seek out his fellow apostles, to proclaim to them the joyful tidings of Christ’s resurrection and thereby to confirm their faith, as our Lord commissioned him to do. This is one characteristic of holy, magnanimous souls, that they do not desire jealously to keep the graces, the consolations wherewith God favors them all for themselves; they feel urged to share them with others; they long for nothing more ardently than to lead many, nay, all their brethren to Christ, that they too may rejoice in His graces and His blessings. As there is no saint who does not prize his own soul above everything else, so there is no saint who does not love the souls of others as he loves his own. Is it so with you? Are you like Peter, who hastens to give joy to others and to confirm them in the faith?

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.

_______________________________________________

That we ought to cast all our care upon God..

    [Christ.] III. Son, it is in this manner thou must stand affected, if thou desire to walk with Me.
Thou must be as ready to suffer as to rejoice; thou must be as willing to be poor and needy, as to be full and rich. – Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVII pt. II.

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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.

Wednesday in Easter Week.

On the Five Wounds of Our Lord’s Body after the 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 the Five Wounds of Our Lord’s Body after the Resurrection.

Jesus Appears to St. Thomas

Imagine, my soul, that you behold the risen Saviour at the moment when He, standing in the room where the apostles are assembled, shows Thomas the marks of His sacred wounds, bidding him look at them, touch them, that thereby his faith in Him may be strengthened. These sacred scars, shining brightly in the glorified body of the risen Redeemer, were indeed well calculated to re­kindle the expiring light of faith in the mind of the doubting apostle; the effect upon him was instantaneous, for we read that as soon as he saw the print of the wounds, with rapturous delight and adoring love he fell at his Master’s feet, exclaiming in the joy of his heart: “My Lord and my God!” (St. John xx. 28.) Now let us pro­ceed to consider the reason why our Lord retained the print of His five sacred wounds; the reason was of a three­fold nature.

1st. It was in order to confirm our faith. Like Thomas, face to face with the marks of these wounds we can no longer doubt that our Lord has risen from the dead, and that He who appeared to the apostles and disciples was really and truly the self-same Saviour who hung upon the cross and, transfixed by five nails, expired upon the cross. Now if the resurrection of Christ is the founda­tion whereon our Faith rests, and the marks of the five wounds are the seal which confirms the truth of the res­urrection, you will readily perceive how greatly the fact that these signs of what He suffered for us were retained in His glorified body must strengthen us in the Faith. How thankful then you ought to be to your Lord, whose charity and forethought for you extend far beyond the grave.

2d. Consider that our Lord retained upon His glorified body the print of the nails in order to strengthen our hope. He ascended up on high to His heavenly kingdom, bearing on His hands and feet and side the five sacred wounds whence, when He hung upon the cross, there flowed that precious blood wherewith He appeased the just wrath of the Eternal Father. And in Heaven He lifts His hands above, showing continually to His heavenly Father this fivefold seal and sign of the reconciliation be­tween God and man which He accomplished upon the cross. And if the Most High, in accordance with the promise He Himself gave to Noe (Gen. ix. 16), mitigates His just anger, and will no more destroy all flesh with the waters of a flood when He sees the rainbow with its seven colors which He sets in the clouds as a sign of the covenant and of the reconciliation between Himself and the earth, how much the more will He let Himself be moved to mercy when He looks upon Jesus, His well-beloved Son, whom He gave to be a mediator to the world, and whose five sacred wounds are far brighter, more beauteous than the fairest rainbow? Ought not this, my soul, to strengthen your hope most powerfully? For now, like the timid dove that hides in the cleft of the rock to es­cape the talons of the bird of prey, you can at all times with hopeful confidence fly for refuge from hell’s vultures to the wounds of Jesus Christ, which to all eternity are open for your shelter.

3d. Consider, finally, that our Lord retains the marks of His sacred wounds in order to kindle our charity. The Ven. Bede asserts that our Lord retained the print of the nails on His glorified body that they might be an everlasting memorial of His love to us and stimulate us to make a return of love. If Jacob’s grief always burst forth afresh at the sight of the blood-stained coat his son Joseph had worn, will not the sight of the Saviour who was wounded for love of us, who for evermore will bear those signs of love, incite us to love Him in return, to kindle within our hearts an ardent flame of charity? Could you look un­moved on the scars of the wounds your friend received in doing battle on your behalf? Far from you such a thought! Do not then remain cold and indifferent at the sight of our Lord’s wounds, lest at the day of judgment the marks of those wounds on the glorified body of your Judge should prove your perdition instead of your salvation.

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.

_______________________________________________

That we ought to cast all our care upon God.

[Disciple.] II. Lord, what Thou sayest is true; Thy care over me is greater than all the care I can take of myself.

    For he stands at too great a hazard that does not cast his whole care on Thee.

    Lord, provided that my will remain but right and firm towards Thee, do with me whatsoever it shall please Thee.

    For it cannot but be good, whatever Thou shalt do by me.

    If Thou wilt have me to be in darkness, be Thou blessed; and if Thou wilt have me to be in light, be Thou again blessed; if Thou vouchsafe to comfort me, be Thou blessed; and if it be Thy will I should be afflicted, be Thou always equally blessed.  Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVII pt. II.

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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.

Easter Tuesday.

Easter Tuesday.

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.

Easter Tuesday.
“Courtesy-of-the-Digital-Image-Archive,-Pitts-Theology-Library,-Candler-School-of-Theology,-Emory-University”

Imagine that you see Mary, the Mother of our Lord, Mary Magdalen, the penitent, and the other devout women repairing at an early hour in the morning to the sepulchre wherein Jesus was laid. They are the same women who only a few days previously traversed this same way, following the Condemned on His way to Cal­vary, amid the clamor and outcries of the raging, furious mob; and now they who to the very last faithfully and lovingly kept their station beside the Crucified One are privileged to be the first who shall witness the glory of His resurrection.

1st. Consider that our Lord appears to His blessed Mother. With what fervent longing we can imagine that the holy Virgin, strong in faith, anticipated the dawn of the third day when the prediction of her divine Son was to be accomplished. Perhaps she hastens at a very early hour in the morning, before the roseate hues of dawn light up the eastern sky, on her way to the sepulchre, to behold Jesus, the Sun of justice, who is to rise from the grave and dispel the shades of darkness before the light of the natural sun illumines the heavens at its rising. Her faith, her confidence was not deceived; an angel came down to the sepulchre, the earth quaked, and the Re­deemer, risen from the dead, stood before her resplendent in surpassing beauty and majesty. What words can de­scribe her joy, her delight, her happiness when she beheld Him whom but a short time before she held in her arms, who lay upon her knees a mournful, mangled corpse, now clothed in the robe of celestial glory! Mark this well, my soul, that, as the Fathers of the Church and preemi­nently St. Ambrose assure us, she to whom it was granted first of all others to enjoy the delight and rapture of that Easter morn, was the one who had felt most acutely the sorrows of the way of the cross, and had also displayed the greatest faith and courage on that sad pil­grimage. The more you suffer here below, my soul, and the more steadily the light of your unwavering faith and confidence burns during the night of affliction, the more reason you have to hope that you will sing with Mary a joyous alleluia in the courts of the heavenly Jerusalem.

2d. Consider how our Lord appeared to Mary Mag­dalen. She was walking to and fro in the garden, weep­ing bitterly, overwhelmed with profound grief, seeking her beloved Lord “because they had taken Him away.” And now, when she finds Him whom she loves with the most ardent affection of her soul, and finds Him, not dead as she expected, but alive; when He in gentle, loving ac­cents calls her by her name, O who can depict the rapture, the ecstasy of that meeting! Ponder this attentively, my soul; first of all Mary, who represents suffer­ing innocence, was privileged to taste the joys of our Lord’s resurrection; then after her Mary, suffering peni­tence, who had followed Christ crucified with contrite love, these two were permitted before the other women to rejoice in the presence of their risen Saviour. Remember this whenever the yoke of the life of penance whereon you have entered becomes distasteful to you.

3d. Consider how, according to St. Matthew (ch. xxviii. v. 9) our Lord also appeared to the other women on the way. These women did not possess Mary’s firm, unalloyed faith; they did not come, as she did, to see their risen Lord; they came for the purpose of embalming His life­less body, to pay a last tribute of affection even in the sepulchre to the dead Christ, whom they had compas­sionated on the way to Calvary. And the love they thus displayed was so pleasing to God, that He vouchsafed to permit them to share before others the joy of our Lord’s resurrection. Thus God is wont to reward every service of love. Wherefore rise up, my soul! Be tender and com­passionate towards your suffering Lord in the person of your Brethren and Sisters; weep with those who weep; go with the mourners to the sepulchre, that you may there like the devout women show charity to the dead. Act thus, and it will do much towards obtaining for you the privilege of a blissful resurrection, and the beatific vision of the risen Saviour.

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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That we ought to cast all our care upon God.

    [Christ.] I. Son, suffer me to do with thee what I will: I know what is best for thee.
    Thou thinkest as man; thou judgest in many things as human affection suggests.  – Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVII pt. I.

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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.

The Necessity of Prayer. – continued.

The Necessity of Prayer – continued.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

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

The Necessity of Prayer – continued.

In the preceding Treatise we have seen how important it is for everyone to meditate on the great truths of the Christian faith. We will here show the necessity and efficacy of prayer. “Meditation shows us with its light what we stand in need of; the prayer of petition obtains it. The former prepares the road of perfection; the latter leads us safely along our road. By meditation we become aware of the dangers that threaten us: by prayer we escape them” (St. Bernard Serm. 2, In Festo, S. Andreæ). By which is meant that meditation is necessary to us in so far as, making us aware of our needs, it moves us to ask and obtain of God whatever is necessary.

After Baptism, man stands in need of constant prayer, in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, for, though by Baptism sins are washed away, there yet remains the incentive to sin which attacks us from within, while the devil and the world assail us from without. Hence it is expressly noted in St. Luke, that while Jesus was praying, after having been baptized, the heavens were immediately opened, that we might understand how necessary to the baptized is that prayer which opens to us also the gates of heaven, and prepares for us an entrance into that blessed country (St. Thomas, Part III, Q. 39, Art. 5, in corp.).

What is said here of Baptism is also true of Penance, whereby we recover the baptismal gift.

The holy Doctor teaches this same truth in another place when he observes that “after a man has been justified by the gift of grace he must, of necessity, ever pray and beg the gift of perseverance to the end, that God may keep him from the evil of sin to the very end of his days” (St Thomas I, 2 qu., 199, Art. 10, in corp.).

This great necessity for prayer arises from the two following truths.

The first truth is that, apart from God’s special assistance, we cannot continue long in His friendship, for so many are the internal impulses of our passions inciting us to evil, so great is the attraction and fascination by which outward objects allure us to what is wrong, so many are the attacks which our hellish foes bring to bear upon us in order to hurl us into sin, that the brittle clay of which we are formed cannot withstand all these shocks; and unless the Almighty hand of God protect us with His grace, we must necessarily fall into some grievous offence. And, furthermore, to remain in God’s friendship, we are obliged to perform various good and holy works which His laws commands us to perform. Now, unless we mean to partake in the heresy of the Pelagians, we are bound to own that this is possible to us only by special assistance of divine grace.

If ever we have observed a boat in the middle of a strong and rapid current, we must have noticed what great strength of arm, and what exertion on the part of the rowers, are needed to carry it against the stream to its destination; but, that it may be borne away and swamped by the current, all that the boatmen have to do is to cease plying their oars. And exactly in the same manner, in order to make for the port of everlasting bliss, against the stream of our passions, the allurements of the world, the temptations of the devil, how much striving on our part, and grace on the side of God, are needed for us! But to drift into sin and perdition, we have only to be forsaken of God, and left to the weakness of our own frail nature. All this is a simple truth of the Catholic faith, defined by the Council of Trent, when it teaches that, in order to gain the grace of God and to persevere in it, we must be helped by His special assistance (Session VI, De Justif, Can. i, 2, 22).

The second truth we have to establish is this: that the above-mentioned grace and aid, so necessary to maintain us in God’s favour, and to help us to the possession of everlasting life, towards which all our desires tend, are usually withheld from him who seeks it not in prayer. Such is the express teaching of St Augustine: “We believe that none can start upon the road to salvation, unless invited by the preventing grace of God; that no one pursues the path and works out his salvation, unless encouraged by the helping grace of God; that no one can merit or receive such graces and such helps, except by means of supplication and constant petition” (St. Augustine Lib. De Ecclesia, Dogm. Cap. 57).

Divines infer from this, that we are all under a grave obligation to pray especially in times of grievous temptation, and in circumstances of danger. Indeed, they further add, we are bound to this, not only by the divine positive precept, but by the natural law itself; because, presupposing that we have the light of faith, reason itself dictates that we are bound to make use of the means necessary to save ourselves from everlasting ruin. But it must be plain to everyone that the chief of these means is to beseech and obtain the help of God.

The Angelic Doctor is, of all divines, the most emphatic in his assertion and proof of the gravity of this obligation of praying for necessary aid. He affirms as certain in several of his works, that “every one is obliged to use the prayer of petition, for the very reason that everyone is bound to gain for himself those spiritual gifts which can be given by no one but God alone, nor obtained from Him except by way of earnest petition” (St. Thomas, In IV, Sent. Dist. 15, Art. I, q. 3). “ Prayer is necessary, and even of strict obligation, in regard to whatever the will is bound to perform in order that we may attain our last end” (St Thomas).

St. Chrysostom illustrates by a striking and most apt comparison, the grave obligation, we all lie under, of unceasingly begging God to help us. “Take a fish out of water, and shortly you will see it expire under your very eyes. In the same manner, cease, yourself, from prayer, you too will soon die to grace and to God; for what water is to the bodily life of a fish, that prayer is to man’s spiritual life” (Lib. II, De Orando Deum).

Now, as a fish, if endowed with faith and reason, would be under a grave obligation not to leave the element which is essential to the preservation of its life; so, a Christian is bound not to forsake prayers, supplications, and petitions, on which depend both the life of grace in this world, and that of a glorious immortality in the world to come.

It is, then, utterly impossible to attain to Christian perfection without prayer; for perfection requires us to keep not only the commandments, but also the counsels; not merely to avoid grievous sin, but even lesser faults. And what is more to the purpose, it supposes us to aim at uprooting every vice or evil habit, to moderate our passions, to acquire the moral virtues, and above all, to gain charity, wherein perfection mainly consists, the which being very difficult, requires a special aid of divine grace, and consequently that we apply ourselves unceasingly to prayer and supplication. “I deem it plain to everyone, that it is absolutely impossible, without the help of prayer, to live virtuously, and thus to persevere in goodness throughout life. For how can anyone lead a virtuous life unless he continually draw nigh to, and suppliantly call upon, Him, Who alone can impart goodness to man? (St. Chrysostom, Lib. I, De Orando Deum).

If anyone would assert that prayer and devout supplication are to the soul what the sinews are to the body, I would go with him. For as our bodily frame is made up of sinews, and by them knit together, and moved, and made suitable for all the operations that constitute our life; so, in the same way, all the vigour and activity of the soul is founded on prayer. In prayer the soul receives strength for acts of virtue, and is enabled to run with speed along the road of piety and perfection. And, as it suffices that but one sinew should be cut, to destroy the framework of the body, so that nothing but a helpless trunk should remain; in like manner, when deprived of prayer, the soul loses its balance, strays from the path of virtue, and becomes incapable of doing good” (St. Chrysostom, Lib. II, De Orando Deum).

Let no one, therefore, hope for salvation, still less for perfection, who is not determined to be constant in the frequent exercise of prayer, of petition, and of repeated supplication, for every need of his soul (Scaramelli).

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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What claims has not our Lord to our service for the blessings He has showered upon us, and which have cost Him so dear! When He proposed to sacrifice Himself because of His love for us, He forgot, it seems, according to our manner of speaking, that He was God. St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 50.

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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.