On St. Joseph’s Conduct when Called upon to Retire into Egypt.
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 St. Joseph’s Conduct when Called upon to Retire into Egypt.
Picture to yourself, my soul, as forcibly as you can, what St. Joseph’s feelings must have been when, in the middle of the night, the command which he had not been led in any wise to anticipate: “Arise and fly into Egypt” (St. Matt. ii. 13) was communicated to him. Ask yourself what you would have done in a similar case; and then proceed to see what St. Joseph did, and meditate upon it.
1st. Joseph complies with the command immediately and with unruffled composure, just as if he had been told to do something quite ordinary and which he had known for a long time that he would have to do. He does not inquire the reason of the command; he does not think within himself: There is no need to hurry; God surely will protect His own Child from the malice of man. Nothing of the sort; Joseph fulfils the behest of the angel simply and obediently, as if he were the most perfect Religious. Learn from this, my soul, learn from Joseph what is real perfection in the Christian and pre-eminently in the Religious; learn to obey the orders of your Superior even if brought to you in the night, without deliberation, without hesitation, without a single question; obey literally and in all simplicity, although the command may perhaps seem rather extraordinary and unaccountable, as the flight into Egypt must have appeared.
2d. Consider that the angel bade Joseph abandon everything, leave everything just as it was, and only fly at once with Mary and the divine Child. That Joseph did exactly. He did not wait to pack up his household goods; that would have delayed him too long; he did not load the ass with all manner of things that would be wanted for the journey, for had the animal been heavily laden it would not have been able to go quickly enough; no, just as he was, so he started on the way, satisfied if he could accomplish his one object, that of placing the Child in safety. How striking an example Joseph affords in this respect of a perfect Religious! A good Religious does not set out on his flight from the world taking with him a whole cargo of this world’s goods; he does not retire to the desert solitudes of Egypt and refuse to leave behind him the pleasures, the amenities of social life, a few pet possessions of earth. No, as he is, so he departs, with nothing more than usual about him; if he can only insure the safety of Christ all the rest may go to rack and ruin, and the fewer the earthly encumbrances wherewith he burdens himself, the more rapidly, the more readily he will proceed on his way with the Infant Jesus. Wherefore, my soul, strip yourself this very day of all superfluities. Look round your cell; pass in review the thoughts and desires of your heart; think of the range you allow yourself in your reading, your correspondence, and you will find much useless ballast which must be thrown overboard if your little bark is to be kept from foundering before her course is ended. If once you can but say: Now I possess nothing but Christ, then you are flying with Joseph, flying in the right direction, and being thus free and untrammelled by earthly things, you will experience little difficulty in winging your flight upwards to Heaven.
3d. Consider that the angel did not leave St. Joseph at liberty to choose whither he would fly, but indicated to him the land of his exile. Here again Joseph is the model of a perfect Christian, a perfect monk. No doubt many other places might have been chosen more pleasant, more easy of access, and to all appearances safer places of refuge for the divine Child than the distant, the unknown, the idolatrous land of Egypt. But the angel bids him retire thither, and Joseph obeys without contradiction, without a murmur, without a moment’s hesitation. O my soul, learn from this to go cheerfully, joyfully whithersoever God and holy obedience send you. Joseph’s wants were supplied in the desert of Egypt; the trees bending over him gave shade and refreshment; water sprang out of the rock to quench his thirst. Mark this: In that very place where you think you will find a desolate wilderness, God will give you as the reward of your obedience repose, tranquillity, and rich graces, for which you would have looked in vain in the place which you might have chosen for yourself.
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)
But how is it possible, my daughter, that, with such a will to love God, so many imperfections appear and grow up within me? They do not come of my own will, nor by my will; no, most certainly not! They spring up, it seems to me, like the mistletoe which grows upon the tree but is no part of the tree. – St. Francis de Sales, Letter, July 14th 1615.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of us, have mercy on us.
Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us.
Jesus, author of life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, example of virtues, have mercy on us.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our refuge, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the poor, have mercy on us.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us.
Jesus, true light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us.
Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our way and our life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, light of Confessors, have mercy on us.
Jesus, purity of Virgins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, crown of all Saints, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the neglect of Thine inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus.
By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy most divine life, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy labors, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Cross and dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let Us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who has said, Ask and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you, mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name, for Thou never failest to help and to govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast love: who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
– Raccolta 113
An indulgence of 7 years.
A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, for the daily and devout recitation of this litany (S. C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S. P. Ap., Jan. 2, 1933).
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
Prayer in honor of the Holy Name
O my Jesus, Thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. Hitherto I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips.
Most holy Virgin, obtain for me the grace of invoking the name of Thy Son Jesus in all my necessities, together with thine own, my Mother Mary; but let me invoke them always with confidence and love, so that I may be able also to say to thee as did the devout Alphonsus Rodriguez: “Jesus and Mary, may I suffer for you; may I die for you; may I be wholly yours, and in nothing my own!” O my beloved Jesus! O Mary, my beloved Lady! give me the grace to suffer and to die for your love. I will be no longer my own, but altogether yours; yours in life, and yours in death, when I hope by your help to expire saying, Jesus and Mary, help me! Jesus and Mary, I recommend myself to you; Jesus and Mary, I love you, and I give and deliver up to you my whole soul.
The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus de Liguori. p. 163 (Imprimatur 1927)
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