On the Death of the Holy Innocents.
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 Death of the Holy Innocents.
To-day, my soul, you are invited to contemplate, with feelings of tender compassion, the unhappy fate of the children of Bethlehem, the innocent babes whose blood is shed by the sword of the barbarous executioners. Imagine that you hear the piteous wailing of the innocent victims, the sound of which is however drowned by the lamentations and heartrending cries of the unfortunate mothers, who, almost beside themselves with grief, fill the air with their woful shrieks. And when you shudder at the awful scene before you, then consider:
1st. That this unheard-of cruelty was due to the ambition of a single individual. For fear lest he should be deprived by the divine Child of his unstable throne, from which death sooner or later must inevitably drag him; for fear lest the Infant of Bethlehem should snatch away the perishable crown encircling a brow already doomed to destruction, Herod loads his soul with a weight of blood-guiltiness such as has never been known before, sacrificing to his ambition the blood of innocent babes, which even the lowest savages respect.
Learn hence how fatal are the consequences of ambition. It is a vice that works the greatest mischief everywhere. Not only does it cause Bethlehem to resound with the accents of grief and lamentation, it is the curse, the ruin of every community. One ambitious member will overthrow the peace, the tranquillity of a whole family, of a whole convent, nay, even of a whole nation. Therefore examine yourself carefully to-day, to see whether any trace of this dangerous vice lurks within your heart.
2d. In order to discover a brighter side to this melancholy event, consider that the whole life of our Lord upon earth was like a procession to the Mount of Calvary. As our object in joining a procession is to implore of God forgiveness of sin, deliverance from all manner of evils, the bestowal of graces temporal or eternal, so this was the aim, the mission our Lord proposed to Himself on the via crucis, during His lifelong pilgrimage. And as in our processions the young children walk first, as if for the purpose, as it were, of conquering the heart of their heavenly Father by their innocence, so Christ, our High Priest, sent on the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem first of all, as if to intimate to His eternal Father that the supplicatory and propitiatory procession of His Son upon earth had already commenced. They, the Holy Innocents, were privileged to inaugurate the procession; their innocent blood, their atoning blood was first of all to knock at the celestial portals long closed against mankind; they advanced foremost to the charge, thereby showing that the kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away. Then, after the Holy Innocents, Jesus, the great High Priest Himself, follows, and with Him the whole of the clergy, the apostles and disciples, the thousands of martyrs, who all, joining the great crusade, took the kingdom of Heaven by storm at the price of their blood.
3d. Finally consider that in a procession the Christian laity follow the clergy, and thus we, in the glorious pilgrimage of suffering from earth to Heaven, of which the Holy Innocents formed the van, should walk in the footsteps of the Priests who have already made the sacrifice of their blood for the faith, and of the apostles and holy martyrs. Yet lay this to heart: He who would take part in this procession must know how to suffer; he must not shrink from sacrifice, poverty, pain, contempt; he must not seek to shirk the cross and suffering; he must take all upon his shoulders, patiently, as if he were one of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, who, slaughtered like lambs, opened the long procession of suffering pilgrims who tread the path of sorrow that leads to Heaven.
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)
Oh! let us love perfectly this Divine being, who prepares for us so much sweetness in heaven. Let us be all for Him: and let us journey on, night and day, through thorns and roses, to reach this heavenly Jerusalem. – St. Francis de Sales, Letter 213 to St. Chantal.
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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