On our Lord in His Character of our Eternal Mediator.
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 our Lord in His Character of our Eternal Mediator.
Deeply affected as you cannot fail to be by the terrors of the judgment to come which you have been contemplating, you will doubtless find fear and trembling seize upon your soul, and you will anxiously inquire with our Lord’s disciples: “Who then can be saved?” (St. Matt, xix. 25.) And well it will be for you if you fear and tremble now, since your present apprehension may be the means of preserving you from eternal despair; yet lest you should think of your salvation with overmuch fear, over much alarm, turn your attention to-day to a more pleasing subject of thought. Contemplate once again your Saviour, whom in your meditations you have followed in spirit from His incarnation until the consummation of the world, in the office which He exercised upon earth and still continues to exercise at the right hand of God in Heaven; the office of our Mediator and Advocate. Your God did not deem it sufficient to redeem you with His blood, to impart to you His saving doctrine; He prayed and interceded for you on earth, and He now prays and intercedes for you in Heaven.
1st. Consider that during the period of His earthly existence our Lord constituted Himself our Mediator. For the space of thirty years the walls of His foster-father’s quiet house at Nazareth, the solitudes of His hidden life heard His supplications ascending to Heaven on our behalf; His earnest petitions for us went up from the glades of Mount Olivet on many a tranquil night, until that last night came, the last before His death, when, standing in the gloomy valley of Cedron in that final prayer offered for the last time in His capacity of High Priest, He epitomized the whole purport of His ministry, the object and aim of His life and teaching here below. He then prayed for the welfare of the Church militant in time, and for her perfection and glorification as the Church triumphant to all eternity. Study this prayer to-day, the prayer of Jesus, our High Priest; listen to your Redeemer interceding on your behalf, and on behalf of all who should believe in Him: “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom Thou hast given Me, because they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine and I am glorified in them. And now I am not in the world and these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as we also are.” (St. John xvii. 9-11.) Can you listen unmoved, my soul, when you hear your God beseeching His heavenly Father on your behalf? Can you remain cold and indifferent while He besieges Heaven with this entreaty: “Father, I will that where I am they also whom Thou hast given Me may be with Me, that they may see My glory which Thou hast given Me, because Thou hast loved Me before the creation of the world.” (v. 24.) Wherefore take heart, my soul; see, before you were in existence our Lord prayed for you and for you He still unceasingly prays.
2d. Consider further that our Lord has not ceased to be our intercessor upon earth. St. Paul tells us this, when in his epistle to the Hebrews he writes: “Christ hath an everlasting priesthood whereby He is also able to save for ever them that come to God by Him; always living to make intercession for us.” (Heb. vii. 24, 25.) Again: “You are come to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel.” (ch. xii. 24.) Yes, my soul, as once the blood of Abel, shed upon the fields Cain cultivated, cried to Heaven, so now upon our altars the blood of the second Abel cries daily to Heaven imploring for us, entreating pardon for us. Jesus ever lives in our midst, and in the solitude of the tabernacle He prays for us unceasingly. Do not pass carelessly over this touching truth. Reflect how, just as in the days when our Lord, a child, a youth unknown and unnoticed at Nazareth, pleaded on behalf of mankind, so now, while the world knowing nothing and heeding nothing, constantly provokes the anger of God by its sins and iniquities, from the silent, lonely tabernacle there ascends to Heaven day and night, the supplicating voice of our eternal Mediator interceding for us. What a consoling thought this is for you, my soul; does it not stimulate you to come more often to Jesus in the tabernacle, and in His presence to unite your intercession to His Father for yourself and for your Brethren more fervently than heretofore?
3d. Consider finally that Christ is our Mediator at the right hand of God in Heaven. A wondrous vision was once vouchsafed to John, the prophet of the New Covenant; he thus describes what he beheld: “I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing as it were slain.” (Ap. v. 6.) Thus the Apostle beheld in the sanctuary of Heaven the Lamb “as it were slain,” that is to say, although He is in His glory far removed from death and the pains of death, the Lamb of God yet bears and will for ever bear the marks of His sacred wounds as a trophy of victory and a pledge of reconciliation and mercy for us. Our Lord standing before His heavenly Father bears the stigmata on His glorified body, the five wounds of the divine Lamb that was slain, wounds glorified equally with the rest of His body, and clearly visible upon that body when He rose from the dead. Praying and interceding continually for us miserable sinners, He holds out His hands, marked with those sacred signs, to His heavenly Father whom we have so grievously offended, displaying them to Him as tokens of the atonement that was made upon the cross. Seeing that we have this great Mediator in the highest courts of Heaven, St. John exclaims with rapture: “My little children, these things I write to you that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just, and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for those of the whole world.” (I. St. John ii. 1, 2.) How consoling, how elevating is this truth! Listen, my soul; stained as you are with sin you cannot look up otherwise than with fear and dread to the Heaven against which you have transgressed; but rejoice, for you have in that same Heaven an advocate, Jesus your Lord. Now if not merely all the company of saints and the Queen of all Saints herself plead our cause, but God Himself, the Lord of those saints, constitutes Himself our Mediator and Advocate, intercedes for us with His Father and our Father, who need despair of salvation? Nay more, what excuse is there for one who in spite of such assistance fails to work out his salvation?
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 Friday
O Lord, God Almighty, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Thy Divine Son Jesus shed on this day upon the wood of the cross, especially from His most sacred hands and feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that soul for whom I am most bound to pray, that it may not through my fault be deprived of eternal bliss, but may forthwith praise Thee in Thy glory 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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