On the Conversion of 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 the Conversion of the Samaritan Woman.
Endeavor to realize the deplorable spiritual state of Photina, (for such, tradition tells us, was the name of the Samaritan woman), at the time of her interview with our Lord. Held captive in the bonds of an illicit union, burdened with the weight of grievous sins, she would have gone irretrievably on the way of everlasting perdition had not the voice of the Good Shepherd at the opportune moment called her back from the yawning abyss; had she not, when she went to Jacob’s well, found One sitting there whose divine heart, as St. Augustine says, thirsted to bestow on her the gift of faith, thirsted for the salvation of a fallen woman, for whom He was to shed His precious blood. Hear what our Lord says to the sinner:
1st. “Go call thy husband.” (St. John iv. 16.) These words were the initial cause of the conversion of the unhappy sinner; by them our Lord gave her an occasion calculated to reveal to the listener His supernatural power of reading the heart, as well as to awaken her conscience and arouse within her the desire of salvation. For God only grants His grace to those who desire it, and the grace of remission of sin pre-eminently is not given until the sinner acknowledges his misdeeds and confesses them with contrition of heart. After the Samaritan woman, touched by our Lord’s loving rebuke, had come to a knowledge of her sin and confessed her sin, then, and then only, was forgiveness extended to her. If you, my soul, are desirous to obtain the pardon of your transgressions, acknowledge and confess them, as the woman did at Jacob’s well.
2d. Consider this: “The woman left her water-pot and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not He the Christ?” (v. 28, 29.) These words show us how thorough was the conversion of the woman. She goes back empty-handed, leaving her water-pot standing by the well, thereby signifying that she had completely abandoned the water-pot of evil concupiscences hitherto indulged, which had never availed to quench her thirst, and chose from thenceforth to drink instead of the water of salvation, which quenches the thirst for evermore. How many sinners are converted, but only apparently; they do not return from receiving the Sacrament of Penance empty-handed, but carry with them the water-pot of their old habits of sin, which they will not forsake, the occasions which have already caused them to fall, and which they will not avoid. Ask yourself whether you are one of these superficial converts. If not, if you have completely abandoned your evil ways, you may yet learn something from the Samaritan woman. Observe that she, herself called by Jesus, now in her turn calls others to Him, and does so with humility and modesty, for she owns that the revelation to her of her own sins has led her to the faith. If, Christian, you are truly reformed, if the reformation of your life has given as much edification to others as your former manner of life gave scandal, do not rest content with this; strive, as did the woman in question, to convert others by means of warning and exhortation, by prayer and works of penance done on their behalf. But see that you do this in a humble and modest manner, recognizing the fact that you were yourself formerly, before divine grace touched your heart, a miserable sinner, remembering that you have every reason to say with St. Augustine: “You reproach me with my old sins; well, I condemn them even more severely than you do. I am the first to blame that which you abhor. The more I am reproached with my former faults and failings, the more I extol the medicine which effected my cure.”
3d. Consider that our Lord had the conversion of the Samaritan woman so much at heart, and rejoiced so much at it, that He neglected to partake of the food which the disciples brought to Him. But what gave Him so much pleasure was not the self-complacent thought that He, He individually, had succeeded in saving a soul from eternal death; no, He rather rejoiced in the consciousness, the sublime consciousness of having done the will of His heavenly Father and perfected His work. (v. 34.) That is His meat and His drink. What a lesson this is for you! You are perhaps most zealous in performing the duties that the cure of souls imposes on you; you forget your own meat and drink when in the confessional or the pulpit; you practise many mortifications for the conversion of sinners; yet ask yourself, ask yourself seriously, is the motive that actuates you the only really meritorious, the only really admirable one, the desire to accomplish the will of God, to promote the extension of His kingdom, to labor for the increase of His glory? Or after all, is the chief mainspring of your zeal and your gladness in saving souls the self-complacent consciousness, the proud feeling: that is all my doing. You will say that it is not so; but if that be the case, why do you at once feel a certain jealousy when others accomplish more than you do? Why are you downcast if an opportunity to work for the spiritual welfare of your neighbor is given to others and not to you? Why do you look more to the number of your hearers, of your penitents, why do you think more of the praises you earn than the compunction you awaken in their hearts, of the progress they make in virtue? Examine yourself on this point.
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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