On the Holy Ghost as a Fountain of Living Water.
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 Holy Ghost as a Fountain of Living Water.
Picture to yourself, my soul, the clear, fresh spring which gushed out of the rock when Moses struck it with his rod. What a welcome sight it must have been for the weary, thirsting Israelites! How they must have shouted for joy and raised their hearts in love and thankfulness to the Lord, who had provided them in the midst of the desert with cool, refreshing water in so marvellous a manner! With what awe they must have regarded that sacred stream bestowed on them by the hand of God! Now in like manner the Holy Ghost is to the faithful a wondrous spring, a fount of living water.
1st. Consider this: According to St. Ambrose the river of living water, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God, spoken of in the Apocalypse, represents the Holy Ghost, who with His manifold gifts and graces continually flows down upon us like a beauteous, bounteous stream. And as along the course of such a river the vegetation is most luxuriant, its banks are verdant and flowery, all things grow and thrive, so it is with the souls who are planted beside that river of living water, of which our Lord said to the women of Samaria that it springs up into life eternal; they are verdant, flourishing fruit-trees in the garden of the Lord. Then why, my soul, are you so withered and dried up, devoid of sap and of vitality? Do not question about this long, but without further delay join in the supplication of the woman at Jacob’s well: “Sir, give me this water “; pray that you may be given to drink of the fountain of grace, the Holy Spirit of God.
2d. Consider that our Lord Himself compares the Holy Ghost to a fount of water, rich in every blessing. For when we read that, standing in the temple of Jerusalem, Christ cried to the people: “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,” we find that the Evangelist adds in his own words: “Now this He said of the Spirit, which they should receive who believed on Him.” (St. John vii. 37-39.) How vivid a picture we can set before our minds from the image our Lord employs of the life-giving action of the Holy Spirit! We know how the streams run down from the mountains, how the rains come down from the heavens, to fertilize and refresh the parched ground with their waters. In the same way the graces of the Holy Spirit are poured down like a plentiful shower of rain upon thirsty souls who yearn after salvation. But mark what our Lord says: “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink.” Alas! after all it may be that you do not feel this thirst; that, immersed in earthly interests, you do not even experience any desire for the gifts of the Holy Ghost; that you do not so much as draw near to Him who can bestow them, but hold aloof from devout supplication and from the reception of the sacraments. Or perhaps you do indeed come, but you do not drink. That is, you do not make use of the opportunities, of the graces within your reach.
3d. Consider how the Lord speaks reproachfully of His people in the book of the prophet Jeremias (ii. 13): “They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Thus men despise the cool, sweet streams of grace, preferring to drink from cisterns, from broken reservoirs of troubled waters. These troubled waters are, according to St. Thomas of Villanova, the sensual desires and carnal lusts of our fallen nature, which fill the soul to such an extent that there is no space left in that unhappy soul, sunk in the mire of sin, for the pure, living water of the Holy Spirit, for the streams of grace that flow from Him. Is that the case with you? Ask yourself this question and then make resolutions suited to your needs.
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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