The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Widow of Naim.
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 Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Widow of Naim.
(Read Luke vii, II-16.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that it is not without a divine purpose that the gospels recount the raising from the dead by Christ of three persons, all of different ages, a very young girl, the daughter of a ruler of the Synagogue, a young man, son of the widow of Naim, and then Lazarus, the brother of Magdalen and Martha. We should learn therefrom that death does not respect any age, nor exempt any condition of life. Armed with bow and sword, with the latter it strikes the aged to whom it is nearer, and with the former the young who think themselves quite out of reach.
APPLICATION. Whatever may be your age, be always prepared for death. As both the young and the old die daily, when they least of all expect it, be persuaded that it will be the same with you. Heed you not what our Lord says in the Gospel? Be you then also ready, for at what hour you think not, the Son of Man will come. (Luke xii, 40.)
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. He will brandish his sword; he hath bent his bow. (Ps. vii, 13.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that in these three dead persons, raised to life by Christ, are represented three classes of people, who were dead in sin but have been raised to life again by Christ. In the death of the young girl, are represented those people who fall into sin through ignorance and through weakness of nature; in the death of the young man, those who sin from the impulse of vehement passion; and in the death of Lazarus, those who fall into sin through the malice of their own will.
APPLICATION. Under which of these classes do your falls and sins place you? It may be that, by the earnest life you lead for God, you are ordinarily guarded from more serious falls and from mortal sins. Still it is very probable that you daily fall into venial sins. See then whether your daily falls arise from weakness of nature, or from the assaults of your strong passions, or with full deliberation from the malice of your will. For even though all of them may be culpable yet not all are equally hurtful.
- Through weakness even the saints sometimes fall;
- by the force of passions not conquered the imperfect fall;
- and from malice of will, those who may easily fall further into mortal sin.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled, and my soul is troubled exceedingly: but Thou, O Lord, how long? (Ps. vi, 3, 4)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that Christ at the death of the child forbade all weeping, and that at the death of the young man, He said to the widowed mother: Weep not. But at the death of Lazarus He not only suffered the two sisters Martha and Magdalen to weep, but He Himself also wept. Jesus wept. (John xi, 35.)
APPLICATION. By the death of Lazarus are represented, as we have meditated, those who fall through the malice of their will. Such as sin gravely, especially when and where they are furnished with much light and protection, will be more severely dealt with. For their fall is more wilful and malicious and most hateful in the sight of heaven.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. O Lord, my God, enlighten my eyes that I never sleep in death. (Ps. xii, 4.)
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 Compunction of Heart.
IV. Acknowledge thyself unworthy of divine consolation, and rather worthy of much tribulation.
When a man has perfect compunction, then the whole world is to him burdensome and distasteful.
A good man always finds subjects enough for mourning and weeping.
For whether he considers himself or thinks of his neighbour, he knows that no man lives here without tribulation: and the more thoroughly he considers himself the more he grieves.
The subjects for just grief and interior compunction are our vices and sins, in which we lie entangled in such manner as seldom to be able to contemplate heavenly things.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXI pt IV.
[compunction = contrition, remorse, reservations.]
September Devotion: The Holy Cross.
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days
Crux mihi certa salus.
Crux est quam semper adoro.
Crux Domini mecum.
Crux mihi refugium.
The cross is my sure salvation.
The cross I ever adore.
The cross of my Lord is with me.
The cross is my refuge.
His Holiness, Pope Pius IX., by an autograph rescript, June 21, 1874, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall say these prayers, drawn up in the form of a cross by the Angelic Doctor, S. Thomas Aquinas: AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
Adoramus te, sanctissime Domine Jesu Christe, benedicimus tibi; quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore Thee, O most blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, we bless Thee; because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of indulgences, March 4, 1882, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall recite this ejaculation: AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
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