Tuesday before Pentecost.

On Pride as a 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 Pride as a Hindrance to the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.

The Mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was with the apostles at the time when they were preparing in silence and seclusion for the coming of the Holy Ghost. From her, the lowly handmaid of the Lord, who precisely on account of her humility was chosen to be the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, we may learn that if the coming of the Holy Spirit is to be fruitful in graces for us, it appertains above all to our preparation for that coming to banish all kind of pride from the heart, for pride resists the Holy Spirit.

1st. Consider how the Holy Spirit descended with His grace upon Saul, an unassuming husbandman, when Samuel the prophet anointed him king of Israel. But as soon as Saul had grown arrogant, and was envious of David because of his reputation, and even in his pride of heart wilfully disobeyed the commandment of God, the Holy Spirit departed from him, and an evil spirit, a spirit of melancholy, took possession of him. Unhappily there are many who follow in Saul’s footsteps. How many men have kept themselves free from the servitude of vice, how many have perhaps for years led a life of the strictest penance, have practised austerities and mortifications, and suddenly, when they seemed to have attained the summit of perfection, they have fallen, and fallen so deeply! What was the cause of this? Conquered by pride, they lost the Holy Spirit and His sanctifying grace, and all the exertions and efforts of a whole life went for nothing. Thus let it be remembered that the Holy Spirit departs from the proud.

2d. Consider further that He does not come to the haughty. Only think how full of people Jerusalem was at the time of Pentecost, and yet the Holy Spirit who descended to earth as a rushing, mighty wind came but to a few men, came only to the poor, insignificant, humble apostles, not to the high priests, not to the proud Pharisees, not to the haughty Scribes. St. James teaches us that the Holy Spirit only distils the dew of His grace upon the hearts of the humble. (Ch. iv. 6.) It is in valleys and low-lying meadows that we see the fertilizing waters flow down and congregate. St. Augustine says that humility attracts God to the soul, while pride does the contrary. God is great, he adds, God is on high; if thou abase thyself He will condescend to come down to thee, but if thou liftest up thyself, He will fly from thee. “The humble soul,” St. Bonaventure remarks, “is open to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit; it is as susceptible of His gracious influences as melted wax is of the impression stamped upon it.” When Joseph made a banquet for his brethren, the best portions were sent to Benjamin, the youngest and the least among them. Ask yourself whether you most resemble the humble Benjamin or the haughty Saul?

3d. Consider how easily pride creeps into the human heart. Almost all men are more or less infected with this sin. The sin of pride even made its entrance into Heaven: it thrust itself up to the steps of the throne of the Most High, it brought about the fall of the highest of the celestial spirits. “The other vices,” St. Augustine says, “only accompany sinful actions, but we have to be on our Ward against pride even in the performance of good actions.” How many have risen as on eagles wings and attained a lofty height of virtue and suddenly through pride fallen down and become blind bats! We read of a hermit who walked unhurt over red-hot embers, and a thought of pride having on that account insinuated itself into his heart, he fell from the paths of virtue wherein he had attained great eminence and became the prey of the lowest vices. Be warned by these lessons, and this very day scrutinize the inmost recesses of your heart; observe when and in what manner you most frequently yield to this most dangerous sin; form a rule for yourself that you may know how you can best combat it every day, and especially implore the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost to create in you a humble heart.

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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