The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.

On the Admonition Given by Our Lord to the Multitude after They Had Been Miraculously Fed.

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 Admonition Given by Our Lord to the Multitude after They Had Been Miraculously Fed.

Represent to yourself the scene depicted in the Gospel for to-day; contemplate in spirit the vast, hungry multitude which Jesus feeds with a few loaves and fishes, satisfying their needs so amply that twelve baskets are filled with the fragments of the meal, after the appetites of all are satisfied. This miracle impressed the people so profoundly that when our Lord departed after thus feeding them, they went in search of Him and gave themselves no rest until they found Him again. Our Lord, however, aware of the reasons which induced them to seek Him, said:

1st. “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting.” (St. John vi. 27.) Observe, my soul, the reproof conveyed in these words, and see whether it does not apply to you. Our Lord in no wise blames the people for seeking Him thus eagerly; He blames the motive that actuates them in so doing. Listen to the explanation St. Augustine gives of this passage: “You seek Me for the gratification of the flesh, not for the edification of the spirit. But I only fed you with the food of the body in order that, your faith being awakened by the miracle, you might seek the food whereby everlasting life is attained;” the food, as Abbot Rupert says, which imparts the strength necessary to reach the goal, eternal life. The people thought and cared only for the low gratification of the senses; for the higher, supersubstantial food they had no perception. How is it with you, my soul, in this respect? You too seek Jesus; you seek Him in prayer, in divine worship and special practices of devotion; you seek Him by means of the calling you have embraced. That is all very right. But for what reason do you seek Him? Is it not for the most part for the sake of earthly things, and were not the motives that prompted you to seek our Lord in the Priesthood or in the Religious life after all rather of a natural than of a supernatural character? Ask yourself this question seriously, in order that the answer of your conscience may guide you as to the resolutions you will form and thus you may not deserve the censure which our Lord addressed to the Jews.

2d. If by the heavenly meat which endureth unto life everlasting, we are to understand Holy Communion to be meant, observe that our Lord says: Labor for the meat, that is, strive to obtain it, and strive to good purpose. These words contain a useful lesson for ourselves. The celestial food is not like the earthly. The latter nourishes equally the indolent and the diligent, the godly and the ungodly, whereas the former, if it is to be eaten aright, to be eaten efficaciously, requires previous labor and exertion. Christ, says St. Paulinus, is the true, living Bread, the Bread of which it is not given to the slothful laborer to partake; for this Paschal Lamb must be eaten with loins girded, shoes on the feet, a staff in the hand; moreover those who eat it must be standing, not idly sitting at their ease. The most fertilizing rain is of no avail if the ground on which it falls has not previously been tilled. Do your utmost, therefore, my soul, to prepare yourself duly for this celestial aliment; “labor for this meat,” and work the works of God before you receive it, as we read in St. John’s gospel (vi. 28), works of mortification, alms deeds, prayer and meditation; and you will presently experience more fully the virtue of that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.

3d. Consider how the best and most prolonged preparation is not in itself sufficient for the worthy and effectual reception of this heavenly food, without the assistance of divine grace. “Know,” thus our Lord speaks to the devout soul in the Imitation, “that thou canst not do enough towards this preparation by the merit of what thou doest, although thou shouldst prepare thyself a whole year altogether, and think of nothing else. It is merely of My goodness and grace that thou art allowed to draw near.” (Imit. B. iv. ch. 12.) This grace must be implored of God, and the best manner of imploring it is told us by St. Gertrude in her Revelations: “We ought to address three petitions to Almighty God before approaching Holy Communion. The first is this: I beseech Thee, my heavenly Father, by the immaculate purity wherewith Mary prepared a fitting dwelling-place for Thy divine Son, that through her intercession my heart may be cleansed from every stain of sin. The second: I beseech Thee, Eternal Father, by the profound humility by which the Virgin-Mother merited to be exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, that all the deficiencies in me, owing to my negligence, may be supplied. The third: I beseech Thee, most bountiful Father in Heaven, by that inexhaustible charity whereby the Mother of our Saviour was united to God, that of the abundance of Thy grace I may receive a portion.” In these three petitions, revealed to St. Gertrude by the ever-blessed Virgin, the most worthy manner of preparation consists. Meditate upon this, and lay it well 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)

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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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