On the Healing of St. Peter’s Wife’s Mother.
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 Healing of St. Peter’s Wife’s Mother.
To-day you are to accompany our Lord to St. Peter’s house. There you will find his mother-in-law, to whom tradition gives the name of Joanna, lying sick, grievously tormented by a fit of fever. She probably little imagines that relief is so near; perhaps, craving for rest and quiet, she is not over well pleased to hear of the coming of the Visitor. Soon, however, she is to discover who it is who comes to her. Jesus commands the fever to leave her, and immediately she rises from her sick-bed in perfect health, her heart filled with joyous thankfulness. Keep this scene before your mind during your meditation.
1st. According to St. Ambrose, this woman suffering from fever in the natural order is a type of one in the spiritual order who is laid low by the fever of evil concupiscence; she represents a soul attacked by the burning heat of unruly passions. As fever acts upon the body, torturing and inflaming it, rendering it hot and restless, so the spiritual fever of corrupt inclinations and temptations acts upon the soul of man. Consider further; that fever is most dangerous which is not, immediately recognized for what it is, which deprives him who is attacked by it of the use of his natural reason, and produces so morbid a state that when he is utterly prostrated by it, and even nearly at death’s door, he believes himself to be as strong and well as any one. So it is in regard to the soul. Those spiritual fever-patients are in the most dangerous condition who do not know how sick they are, who are not aware that Satan too often assumes the disguise of an angel of light in order to delude the soul and cause that to appear to be divine inspiration and heavenly enlightenment which is in reality diabolical temptation and hellish darkness. For instance, you may form a rash and uncharitable judgment and consider it to be zeal for justice; you may covet a superior position out of ambition and fancy your wish is dictated by pure love of souls; you may infringe the rules of simple obedience under color of a more enlightened aspiration after perfection; you may mix too freely with seculars from motives of self-interest under the plausible pretext of doing them good. All these are vain delusions of the fever stricken brain. Trust not in such matters to your own judgment any more than the fever-patient can trust the dreams of delirium. Call upon Jesus, the heavenly Physician; implore Him to enlighten you, to enlighten your spiritual director, to whom you ought to disclose all that is in your mind, for nothing is more to be dreaded than the faults which we do not recognize as faults, which we excuse, or which we deem of small account.
2d. Consider that Jesus takes the sick woman by the hand, and she immediately rises from her couch. (St. Mark i. 31.) The hand our Lord extends to her signifies His preventing grace, which first comes to the aid of the spiritually sick, rousing him from his sinful torpor, supporting him, helping him to rise from the sick-bed on which he lies. But mark this: Our Lord only takes the patient by the hand; He does not entirely lift her up, she must arise of her own accord. Even so the soul that is prostrated by the fever of sin must bestir himself, he must co-operate with the actual grace whereby he is assisted. For God does not do all for us and without our co-operation. How many forget this! Our Lord comes to them, He extends to them His merciful hand, but they do not take it; they will not rise up from the sick-bed of sinful habits; they will not correct their perverse will. Think, my soul, how often you in like manner have thrust aside the gracious hand our Lord offers you. For weeks past, nay, for years, you have heard a voice of solemn warning in the season of meditation, at the time of confession, exhorting you to give up this or that feeling of aversion, these incessant slight infractions of the Rule, these visits, and the like. But you turn a deaf ear to that voice, and meanwhile complain of the temptations that assail you, and the slight progress you make in virtue. Delay not, but this very day grasp the hand of the heavenly Physician.
3d. Consider this, that the Evangelist relates of the patient after her cure: “She ministered unto them.” She forthwith devotes her newly regained strength to the service of Him from whom she has received such marvelous help and relief. Hence we are to learn and impress on our mind, that the man who in his spiritual sickness employed his members in the service of sin, now that he is healed by Jesus of his malady ought to employ them in the service of God, remembering the admonition of the great Apostle: “For as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification.” (Rom. vi. 19.) Lay this admonition to heart, my soul; remember you are called of God, and called out of thousands. Conceive a high esteem for this great grace, and ponder the words of the author of the Imitation: “Can it be much to serve Thee, whom every creature is bound to serve? It ought not to seem much to me to serve Thee; but this rather is to me great and wonderful that Thou dost deign to receive into Thy service one so poor and unworthy, and to make him one of Thy chosen servants. Oh sacred state of religious bondage, which makes men equal to angels, to be reconciled with God, terrible to the devils, and a praise to all the faithful.” (Imit. B. iii. ch. 10.) Thus do the servants of God, His true servants, regard their state, and would you, my soul, murmur and complain, and deem the divine yoke too heavy to be borne? Shame upon such weakness!
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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