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.
Imagine, my soul, that you see before you our Lord in His character of divine Teacher, delivering the discourse contained in to-day’s Gospel. Fancy yourself standing amongst His hearers, listening with devout attention to the consolatory words which fall from His lips.
1st. “Ask and you shall receive.” (St. John xvi. 24.) This is what our Lord says in to-day’s Gospel; already on a former occasion He said: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (St. Matt. vii. 7.) Think seriously who it is who proclaims this truth. It is Jesus, the Son of God, He who knows better than any one can know how bountiful, how kind God the Father is towards us poor needy mortals, how ready He is to help us. What a consolation, what an encouragement to persevere in prayer it is to know, and to know on the testimony of His own Son, that our heavenly Father never grows weary of listening to our petitions; I may knock when I will and where I will, I am permitted to ask and to seek as often as I like, and when I ask I shall receive, when I seek I shall find and when I knock, I shall meet with a door open before me. Rise up then, my soul! From this time forth pray with greater earnestness, with more confidence than heretofore, and you will more often receive a favorable answer to your supplications.
2d. Consider the comparison of which our Lord makes use in order to augment our confidence. “What man is there among you,” He says, “of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? or if he shall ask him a fish, shall he reach him a serpent?” (St. Matt. vii. 9, 10.) Ponder this parable. Men, ordinarily so crafty, deceitful and false, cannot bring themselves to refuse anything reasonable to their own children; they will not deny them the food they require or give them anything that would be hurtful to them, and can it be imagined that our heavenly Father, who is goodness and love personified, would act otherwise towards us His children? Wherefore ask with perfect trust; pray especially in these Rogation days for yourself and for all men; present your fervent petitions to your Father reminding Him of these words which His Son uttered and on which we are meditating to-day, and He will assuredly hear you. But you will perhaps say: “My prayers have so often not been heard.” Do not let this discourage you.
3d. Consider that God is your Father. How often a child screams and cries for something, begs his father with tears to give him something, and the parent refuses the child’s request, not because he does not love him, or because his tears awaken in him no compassion, but either because what the child asks may be prejudicial to him, or because the father has good reasons for delaying to grant the petition, since he considers that at a later period it will be more beneficial to the suppliant, or he desires that the child should ask it more urgently. Oh how often we pray to our heavenly Father like foolish children, and well it is for us that for reasons similar to those attributed to the earthly parent He does not receive our prayer, or postpones answering it until a later period. Consider your past life, and ask yourself whether you do not find this truth corroborated by your own experience. Learn then from your meditation to-day not to desist so soon from your supplications if the answer to them be long delayed; and learn also submissively to adore the wisdom of your God if He altogether withholds from you the favor you implore.
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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