On the Vocation of the Apostles.
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 Vocation of the Apostles.
We have seen our Lord defeat Satan in the most triumphant manner, and now we behold Him, after that brilliant victory, issuing forth from His retreat in the desert, to commence the great work for which He has long been preparing Himself. Standing on the pleasant shores of the sea of Genesareth, He perceives on the waters of the lake some poor, simple fishermen in their boats; His omniscient eye discerns that they are fit for the kingdom of God; He addresses to them this command: “Sequere me,” follow Me – and since they instantly obey the call, their vocation is an accomplished fact. Endeavor to realize the wondrous, the striking manner in which our Lord elects His disciples, and then consider these three points:
1st. Who is it who calls? It is Jesus. The disciples do not offer themselves to Him; they do not press Him to receive them; still less are they actuated by human motives or the prospect of worldly advantage in following Him. It is our Lord who Himself calls them. Their vocation comes from God. Their merit consists – and it is no slight merit – in the prompt obedience wherewith they follow the call; for only see, they leave everything, their boats, their nets, their trade, their house, and family to follow a man whom they never saw before, one who was Himself so destitute that He had not where to lay His head. Ponder deeply, my soul, upon this great mystery of the vocation of the apostles; compare their call to some extent with your own, and examine yourself, whether you, too, were ready as they were for the love of God to abandon all that belonged to time and sense – trustfully casting all your care on God’s providence – nay, even sacrificing to God all the tenderest affections of your nature?
2d. Consider whom Jesus calls. Poor, lowly folk, fishers and publicans. And to what does He call them? He calls them to the apostolate, to be helpers in His great work, to be instrumental in the conversion and spiritual conquest of the world. Oh how different in every respect is this choice from the choice men make, the world makes! They would in our Lord’s place have turned to the great ones of the earth, men in high position, the wise and learned, the opulent and honored; whereas our Lord on the contrary chooses the little ones of the earth to accomplish great things. He calls the poor that by their means He may make the world rich. He chooses the unlettered to instruct mankind and the weak to conquer the great, wide world. Contemplate this election our Lord made with wonder and admiration, and learn from it to be very humble. Despise no man; foolish, despised though he be, God may make of him a first-rate instrument to carry out His designs, while He will perhaps pass by you, apparently a wiser and better man, as useless for His work.
3d. Consider why Jesus calls fishermen and publicans. In order to strengthen our faith. For in fact is it not a miracle greater far than the raising of Lazarus or the stilling of the storm on the lake, that the world should be converted by men who are despised because they are poor, derided as being fools, detested universally for being Jews? Represent to yourself the world, sunk in idolatry and unbelief, given over to the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, and see how men, destitute of learning or eloquence, men of an alien race, preach to that world a religion of suffering and mortification, and thereby renew the face of the earth. Behold this, I say, and assuredly at the close of this meditation you will repeat the Creed with a firmer faith and more joyous 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)
A Week for the Poor Souls:
Prayer for Wednesday
O Lord, God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed through the streets of Jerusalem, when He carried the cross upon His sacred shoulders, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that soul which is richest in merits before Thee; that so, on that high throne of glory which awaits it, it may magnify Thee and bless Thee forever. 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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