On Obedience after the Example of Our Lord.
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 Obedience after the Example of Our Lord.
To-day, my soul, you will do well to study awhile the private, domestic life of the devout family at Nazareth, contemplating more particularly the relations in which Jesus stands to Joseph and Mary now that He is no longer a child, but a youth, rapidly growing up to man’s estate. Imagine that you see Him, obedient to every hint or sign from His blessed Mother, and submitting without the least opposition to all the orders of His foster-father. Compare your obedience with this mirror of obedience.
1st. Consider who it is whom Jesus obeys: Two of the beings whom He created. Thus God obeys man, the Creator obeys the creature, the supreme King of Heaven and earth obeys one of His subjects, a lowly carpenter. And do you, worm of earth, refuse to obey God in your Superior? You see Almighty God obeying mortal man, and you, a man yourself, find it difficult to submit to the will of a man, because you are, or imagine yourself to be, wiser, more pious, more virtuous, more intelligent than the individual who has a right to command you. Was not Jesus wiser than Mary? Yet He obeyed her. Was He not cleverer than Joseph? Yet He did not carry out His own views, but those of His foster-father. Learn therefore to-day from Jesus example to obey humbly all those who have authority over you.
2d. In what does Jesus obey? Under some circumstances it is not only a pleasure, but an honor to obey. For instance, it was an honorable distinction and a delight for the Archangel Gabriel, when he was chosen to bring the glad tidings to Mary. Now look in what respects Jesus is required to obey. He, the Son of the living God, performs all the menial household duties in the dwelling of a poor carpenter. He draws the water, cleans the house, and labors in the workshop. This He does, by whose word the heavens and the earth were created. Here you have an example of perfect obedience, and now you perceive in what the true Religious or the Christian who strives after perfection is required to obey. In everything, in small things as well as in great, in what is honorable as well as in what is contemptible and insignificant. Small things have their value in God’s sight as much as great things. To take up a broom for the love of God is often a work of greater merit, as far as obedience is concerned, than to deliver a discourse which one’s hearers applaud. Obey as Jesus obeyed in everything without raising an objection, and you will then be practising perfect obedience. He who seeks to choose what he will do loses all the merit of obedience.
3d. For how long did Jesus obey? For fully thirty years. During all those years He performed obediently the lowly duties of a carpenter. O my soul, can you fail to admire such obedience as this! See during what a long period your Redeemer atones by His obedience for the single act of disobedience of which our first parents were guilty. For thirty years Jesus, the Son of the Most High God, dwells in the humble, obscure cottage at Nazareth in a position of subjection, and yet you, miserable mortal that you are, if in virtue of obedience you are required to follow a calling which is not the one you would prefer, to fill a somewhat arduous post, to live in a place you do not like, cannot retain that post or remain in that spot for a few years without evincing very plainly by your expression and manner, by your words and actions, how galling you find the yoke of obedience. No, my soul, after that fashion one cannot be happy, one cannot attain perfection, one can never reach one’s goal. Either do not take a vow of obedience or else obey when God wills, in whatever He wills, and as long as He wills. Let the resolution to act thus be the fruit of your meditation to-day.
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)
A Week for the Poor Souls:
Prayer for Tuesday
Lord, God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and amongst them all especially that soul which would be the last to issue from those pains, that it tarry not so long a time before it comes to praise Thee in Thy glory and bless Thee for ever. Amen.
Our Father, and Hail Mary.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
De Profundis for the Faithful Departed (Ps. 129)
Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my voice.
Let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, O Lord, shalt mark our iniquities: O Lord, who shall stand it?
For with Thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of Thy law I have waited for Thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on His word: my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even unto night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with Him plenteous redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
V. Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
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