Monday before Pentecost.

On Mortal Sin as the Chief Hindrance to the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.

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 Mortal Sin as the Chief Hindrance to the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.

Every one knows the exertions people make when a distinguished guest is expected to visit them; the whole house is, so to speak, turned upside down; every part is carefully cleaned and decorated afresh, in order to provide a perfectly clean and bright apartment for the reception of the expected visitor. Now there is no greater Guest, none more illustrious than He whom you are to entertain within your heart next Sunday. Ought you not to apply yourself with the utmost solicitude to the work of cleansing your house, and before all, to remove the impurity which chiefly disfigures the temple, the dwelling of the Holy Ghost? That to which we refer is mortal sin. In order that you may form a due conception of the vast importance of thoroughly purifying your house from this defilement, let it be the subject of your meditation to-day.

1st. Consider the words of the Wise Man in the Old Testament: “Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins.” (Wisd. i. 4.) According to St. Thomas, by wisdom is here meant the gift of the Holy Spirit and also the Giver, the Holy Spirit Himself. Thus we are told that the Holy Ghost never enters into a soul that is malicious, whose will is evil and perverse, corrupted by mortal sin. Mortal sin is like a heavy sepulchral stone laid upon the tomb of the soul, which bars the entrance to the reanimating, life-giving Spirit; it is the crust of ice which forms over the unhappy soul, and prevents the warm sunshine of the Holy Ghost from penetrating and melting it. However much you pray, however much you fast, even if you chastise yourself to blood, all is in vain. You must first remove that stone, you must first melt that coating of ice in the fire of penance, in the warm breeze of contrition, other wise the coming of the Holy Spirit will be profitless as far as you are concerned.

2d. Consider how the patriarch Noe once sent forth a dove out of the ark, but she soon returned to him, not finding where her foot might rest. Before the dove, Noe had sent out a raven; that however had not returned to him, as being an unclean bird it could easily settle upon a dead body. But the dove in her purity disdained so foul a resting-place and preferred to fly back to Noe into the ark. Here, my soul, you have a beautiful emblem of the Holy Ghost. He, the third Person of the Godhead, the celestial Dove, will not rest upon carrion. He will not, that is, come to dwell within a soul of one who is in a state of spiritual decomposition through mortal sin, for such a one is to Him an abomination, He holds him in abhorrence. Ponder this carefully. Alas! it may be that the heavenly Dove hovers anxiously about you; already you hear His wings fluttering near you, you feel that grace is at hand. rise up forthwith! Cleanse yourself at once from mortal sin, that the Holy Spirit may meet with no impediment when He comes to take up His abode within your heart.

3d. In order more fully to appreciate and estimate aright the abhorrence with which the soul of one who is in a state of mortal sin inspires the Holy Ghost, consider how the sight of the remains of the Empress Isabella, whose face and figure, in life so attractive and lovely, were by death rendered in so short a space of time repulsive and hideous to the last degree, filled St. Francis Borgia with such disgust and loathing for the world that he abandoned it immediately. If that was the effect produced upon the saint, what must be the disgust and abhorrence wherewith the Holy Ghost regards the soul that is dead, decomposed by mortal sin? If one single mortal sin changed the most beauteous and brilliant of the angels into a hideous devil, how repugnant to the Holy Ghost must be the sight of a soul stained with mortal sin. No wonder that He will not take up His dwelling in a temple thus defiled. Purify yourself therefore, my soul, and if you have already undergone this cleansing process, and need it not yourself, then be instant in prayer; send up your petitions to Heaven on behalf of the souls under your care; exhort, preach, labor in the sacred ministry; undertake voluntary mortifications in order that a goodly number of your fellow Christians may at the approaching Whitsuntide cleanse their souls from that whereby the Holy Spirit is most forcibly withstood, 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.

Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ

(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)

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