On our Lord’s Conversation with the Samaritan Woman.
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 our Lord’s Conversation with the Samaritan Woman.
Whilst our Lord was engaged in earnest conversation with the woman of Samaria, the disciples came up, and stood still with astonishment, wondering to see their Master talking in an animated manner with a woman, and that woman a Samaritan. But they would have had yet more reason to be surprised, had they been acquainted with the subject of that conversation, had they known that the deep, mysterious truths of salvation formed its theme. Imagine yourself standing with the disciples listening to the sacred words that Jesus speaks.
1st. “If thou didst know the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee, etc.” (St. John iv. 10.) Thus our Lord speaks to the woman, in order to make her aware from the first of the exalted dignity of His person, and that consequently it was no slight favor, but a great gift from God, that He should converse with her; He, the Creator, with one of His creatures; He, the Son of God, with a fallen daughter of Eve; He, the Judge of all men, with a woman of evil life. wondrous mercy, infinite condescension of our God! Alas! you will perhaps exclaim with a sigh of envy, if such a privilege were to come in my way, how highly I should prize it! Reflect, reader, before you utter those words, reflect how often a like privilege is granted to you, and how little you care about it. How often in confession, in Holy Communion you have, like the Samaritan woman, been admitted to sweet converse with Jesus, yet you have scarcely heard, certainly not heeded the words He spoke to you. What lamentable blindness! The devil comes your bitterest adversary he accosts you, he tempts you and you listen to him with pleasure and obey him with docility, yet as soon as God, your best friend, speaks to you, you turn a deaf ear to His voice.
2d. Jesus continues: “If thou didst know the gift of God, thou perhaps wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” The living water here spoken of is sanctifying grace; but alas! how many are strangers to that gift of God! how many know not how great it is! how many fail to appreciate its inestimable worth! Hence they so heedlessly imperil this grace of God, they are so indifferent as to the actual loss of it. Ponder this to-day, my soul, and endeavor to conceive a right idea of the magnitude of this divine gift, sanctifying grace. St. Peter says of it that it makes man a partaker of the divine nature; St. John asserts that it makes us children of God; St. Paul declares that it makes us heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. In order to create a countless multitude of worlds, only one word from the mouth of God was needed, but in order to obtain for us this gift of God, sanctifying grace, in order to impart a supernatural, celestial life to the soul, it was necessary that God should become man and suffer death upon the cross. The whole firmament of heaven, with its myriads of shining orbs, is of far less value in God’s sight than one individual soul, embellished with sanctifying grace. “If thou didst know the gift of God” how would it be possible for you thus heedlessly to cast this pearl before swine!
3d. Furthermore our Lord says: “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever.” (v. 13.) By the water first mentioned the pleasures of time and sense are meant, the enjoyment of earthly wealth and earthly honors. That water can never quench the thirst of the soul; it rather intensifies it, as the salt water of the sea does natural thirst. Hear what Solomon, the Wise Man, says: “I surpassed in riches all that were before me in Jerusalem; whatsoever my eyes desired I refused them not; I withheld not my heart from enjoying every pleasure, and after all, I saw in all things vanity and vexation of mind, and that nothing was lasting under the sun.” (Eccles. ii. 9, 11.) The votaries of the world, those who are engrossed in the pursuit of worldly delights, lead a life of incessent movement and unrest, nor after death do they find repose. Whoso on the contrary drinks of the water that Jesus will give him. who finds contentment and satisfaction in His grace. His riches, His joys, he will not thirst for ever; he will be at peace here, and enjoy eternal repose hereafter. Only ask yourself, my soul, when you feel tranquil, when you feel contented and happy, and when you are restless, when you are athirst, and you will find that your own experience will confirm the truth of what we read in the Imitation: “When Jesus is with us, all is well and nothing seems difficult; but when Jesus is not with us, everything is hard. Thou alone, God, canst give tranquillity of heart, great peace, and festive joy.” (B. ii. ch. 8.)
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)
PRAYER WHICH ST. GERTRUDE RECITED DAILY.
I salute thee, O Heart of Jesus my Saviour, vivifying and immutable source of joy and eternal life, infinite treasure of divinity, furnace of pure love; thou art my refuge and shelter, Thou art all to me. O loving Heart, fill my heart with the same fervor which inflames Thine. Bestow on me those abundant graces of which Thou art the source. Let my soul be always united to Thine, and let my will be continually subject to Thee. I have but one desire, that is that the rule of my actions, the object of my thoughts and sentiments, be Thine holy and infallible will. Amen.
Jesus, who art meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thy heart. (300 days indulgence.)
Sweet Heart of Jesus, enkindle me with Thy love. (300 days indulgence.)
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us. (100 days indulgence.)
Be loved everywhere O Sacred Heart of Jesus!(100 days indulgence.)
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