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 Consolations which Our Lord Imparted to His Apostles concerning the Work of Their Vocation.
Picture to yourself the apostles, how on the one hand sorrow and melancholy filled their hearts as the day drew near when their Master would leave them and return to His Father, while on the other hand they felt an increasing fear and timidity at the prospect of the great, the momentous task which lay before them in the fulfillment of their sacred ministry. Yet as we have seen, our Lord had already prepared them for this, and given them grounds of consolation and support. To-day let us consider another of His consolatory utterances.
1st. “The disciple,” He said to them, “is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the servant that he be as his master and the servant as his lord. If they have called the good man of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household? Therefore fear them not.” (St. Matt. x. 24-26.) In these words Jesus proposes Himself to them as their example in bearing the contempt and reproach which await His apostles and indeed all His faithful servants. If He, the supreme God, if He, their Lord and Master, if He, Himself consummate sanctity and purity, is accused of being a devil, a glutton and a wine-drinker, one who stirs up sedition among the people, then wonder not, apostles, think it no hardship, Christian, if you, His creatures, you, His servants, you, miserable sinners, fare no better. Truly, my soul, if when scorn and upbraiding are your portion, you remember that your God experienced the very same, you will with the apostles rejoice that you are counted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.
2d. Consider another consolatory utterance from our Lord’s lips: “Nothing is covered that shall not be revealed, nor hid that shall not be known.” (v. 26.) Of all the afflictions that fall to the lot of the Christian, not one is so acutely painful as unjust treatment, misconstruction and misrepresentation of what is done from the best and highest motives, slights and slanders. But here again consolation is not wanting. “Nothing is covered that shall not be revealed.” Although your innocence may be temporarily obscured and trodden down, although your good name may be aspersed by the calumniator, and your best, your noblest intentions branded as criminal, only have patience, for ere long all shall be revealed and made known.
This Jesus, your Judge, the Judge of all mankind, has promised. If He does not accomplish His promise on earth, He will infallibly do so at the last great day of judgment. Then the treachery, the malice of your enemies will be made known to all the world, and your innocence will also be clear as the day. Until that time have patience and lay to heart the precious words we read in the Imitation of Christ: “Let not thy peace depend on the tongues of men, for whether they put a good or a bad construction on what thou dost, thou art not therefore another man.” (B. iii. ch. 28.)
3d. “He that loseth his life for Me shall find it.” (St. Matt. x. 39.) Listen again to our Lord’s consolatory words. What does it matter if we lose our life, that is to say, if in this world we endure suffering, tribulations, nay death itself, if here below our life is one of penance, renunciation, mortification? The world, it is true, regards such a life of daily penance as loss, but the Christian, relying on our Lord’s promise, can say with the Apostle: “To me to die is gain.” (Phil. i. 21.) For I gain by this death in life even here below such peace as the world cannot give and hereafter I shall possess my soul for ever more in glory and felicity that shall never end. Wherefore, Christian, if sufferings and afflictions come upon you, do not look around you, do not run hither and thither on earth in search of consolation; open the pages of Holy Scripture, read our Lord’s parting discourses, and you will find therein all and more than all that is needed to afford you comfort and allay your fears.
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.
– Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ
(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)
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