On the Healing of the Woman with the Issue of Blood.
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 the Woman with the Issue of Blood.
Represent to yourself, my soul, how, while Jesus, surrounded by a vast multitude of the people, was proceeding to the house of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, in order to raise his little daughter to life, a heathen woman, suffering from an obstinate malady, endeavored to approach the heavenly Physician. Partly animated by a confident hope of cure, partly restrained by a secret timidity and bashfulness, with difficulty she edges her way through the crowd, nor will she desist until she has accomplished her purpose of touching the hem of His garment. This woman is a type of the spiritually sick, who draw near to the heavenly Physician with similar confidence in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
1st. Consider the hopeless condition of the woman. For twelve years she had been troubled with an issue of blood. Many physicians had tried their skill upon her, she had spent her substance on different remedies, but all was in vain; she was nothing better, but rather worse. There is only one who can heal that poor woman, and that one is Jesus. Thus this poor diseased woman represents to us those unhappy souls who have a natural tendency to what is evil, who are enslaved by various passions, bad proclivities, propensity to sin. How much such persons have to suffer! They do indeed desire to tame their rebel nature, they strive to master their bad tendencies, they take trouble and fight hard, they try many means of cure, they have recourse to spiritual physicians, to confessors, they seek to find a cure in almsdeeds, austerities, mortifications, but all is in vain. What is to be done? Must they give up hope? Oh no, there is still one who can help them; it is Jesus, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Prostrate before the tabernacle, let them not weary of prayers and entreaties; let them, like the woman in the Gospel, “touch the hem of His garment,” the garment of the sacramental species beneath which His sacred body is concealed, and they shall be made whole. The frequent reception of this spiritual medicine, provided it be received worthily, the earnest prayer of faith sent up to the heavenly Physician will change the worst nature and heal the soul even if it has been sick for long years without hope of cure. But you will perhaps say: “This remedy does not cure me.” There is something more to be considered on this point.
2d. Consider with what humble zeal and childlike confidence the sick woman sought for help. She came behind our Lord, saying within herself: “If I shall only touch His garment, I shall be whole.” (St. Matt. ix. 21.) Think first of all, with what difficulty the woman makes her way through the crowd, with what perseverance and assiduity she tries every means of cure, and how she embraces the earliest opportunity of applying to our Lord for help. Then consider how the zeal this woman displays is coupled with touching humility. Her malady renders her legally unclean; she knows this and therefore humbly and modestly only approaches our Lord from behind, without allowing herself to be seen. She contents herself with touching the hem of His garment; she does not venture to appear before His face and beseech Him to heal her. And yet this humility is on the other hand accompanied by such uncommon faith and confidence that our Lord Himself pays to it a tribute of admiration: “Thy faith,” He says, “hath made thee whole.” (v. 22.) And now ask yourself, my soul, whether it is with similar dispositions that you draw near to the heavenly Physician in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar? Are you animated by the same eager desire, the same solicitude for the cure of your diseased nature, so that you omit no opportunity of applying to your Lord for healing, and do you go to the heavenly Physician with the same reverent humility, the same truthful, filial confidence as did that heathen woman? Oh confess it to yourself, you did of a truth ask our Lord to make you whole, but not with the same dispositions, and therefore this medicine, otherwise so salutary in its effects, does not benefit you. I say this salutary medicine, and with justice, for in the next point.
3d. Consider what virtue the sacred body of our Lord must possess if even His garments when touched, be it remembered, for this is an indispensable condition, with unwavering faith effected an instantaneous cure. Wherefore let not him who in faith and confidence touches the wondrous sacramental garment which veils the body of Christ from our view doubt that he will be healed. Rise up then, unhappy soul, tormented as you are by bad tendencies, hampered by evil habits; come, hasten with the heathen woman to Jesus; go to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament joyfully, hopefully, remembering the words of the Imitation (B. iv. ch. 4): “This most lofty and most excellent sacrament is the health of soul and body, the remedy of all spiritual languor; in it my defects are healed, my passions restrained, temptations overcome or lessened, greater grace is infused, virtue once begun increased, faith confirmed, hope strengthened, charity inflamed and enlarged.”
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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