On the Conduct to Be Pursued towards One Whom We Have Offended.
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 Conduct to Be Pursued towards One Whom We Have Offended.
To-day’s Gospel places before your eyes the divine Teacher, Himself the pattern of fraternal charity, of charity towards one’s neighbor, that is ready to forgive one’s enemies, now emphatically urging upon us to refrain from indulging any feeling, however slight, of antipathy towards our neighbor. Listen to the admonition He gives us:
1st. “If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee; leave there thy offering before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.” (St. Matt. v. 23, 24.) Such is the heavenly teaching presented to us; every word is a rich mine of matter for our meditation. Hence you learn that you may only venture to approach God, you can only dare to offer Him an oblation, if your charity towards your Brethren, your Sisters, is pure and undisturbed. For, as St. Chrysostom says, unity and concord are more pleasing to God than sacrifice; that is to say, as long as there is any strife amongst the faithful, their oblation will not be accepted. God is therefore willing to set aside His own glory; He would rather forego the oblation which is His due than tolerate any breach of brotherly love and fellowship. Consider this attentively, my soul, and take heed lest you go up to the altar, lest you receive Communion with feelings of animosity in your heart. For this reason avoid those trifling faults in your intercourse with others which are in themselves but a slight breach of charity, and yet too often take all the sweet consolation from your Communion, and deprive you of the fruit it would otherwise produce in you. Such little offences against charity are sneers and sarcastic speeches; they are, as St. Albert asserts, the sure sign of a corrupt heart, just as unpleasant breath is the sign that the digestive organs are out of order. Moreover the same may be said of that spirit of contradiction which incites a man to dispute about the most insignificant things, and defend his own opinion with an insistency and pertinacity that would lead one to suppose a kingdom to be at stake. “Contend not in words,” is the counsel the Apostle gives to Timothy; again he says: “The servant of the Lord must not wrangle, but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient.” (II. Tim. ii. 14, 24.)
2d. Consider the express command our Lord lays on the one who has offended: “Go first to be reconciled to thy brother.” This reconciliation must be in proportion to and of the nature of the preceding offence. If you have offended in thought, be reconciled in thought; if you have offended in word, be reconciled in words; if you have offended by some act, be reconciled in act, for the penance whereby a sin is expiated ought to be of the same nature as the sin. Therefore if you have quarrelled with your brother, if there is any thing between him and you, do not wait long, for postponement only renders the matter more difficult; make friends with him as soon as ever you can, so that the sun may not go down upon your anger. Remember, too, that in being the first to hold out the hand of reconciliation, an excellent opportunity is offered you to practise the virtue of humility, that pearl of all virtues, of which St. Bonaventure justly says that through humility alone can the offence against charity be repaired. It requires a victory over self, but the happiness that you will subsequently experience outweighs a hundredfold the slight effort which this self-conquest costs you.
3d. Consider the punishment of those who will not be reconciled, which our Lord announces in these words: “Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes, whilst thou art in the way with him, lest perhaps the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer and thou be cast into prison.” (v. 25.) According to St. Augustine, the adversary here spoken of is the law of God, which, by prohibiting enmity and contention, is at variance with our evil propensities. Submit to this adversary; obey this commandment whilst you are still in the way, that is, while there is yet time, before the end of this mortal existence, for were you to depart out of this life and death may overtake you at any moment without having been reconciled, woe betide you. Then your adversary, the divine law which you have violated, would deliver you to God, your Judge, and He would give you over to the officer, to Satan, who would cast you into the prison of hell. “Let not therefore the sun go down upon your anger.” (Eph. iv. 26.) You do not know whether you will see the light of another day, and if not, if you were to die unreconciled, what would become of you? Christ tells you in the words quoted above. Lay them to 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)
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.)
Copyright © 2013. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.