Palm-Sunday. On Communion. – continued (3).
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.
Palm-Sunday. On Communion. – continued (3).
3. If, indeed, you were animated with a supereminent degree of compunction, and with a sincere and ardent desire of being united to your Lord, no delay would be necessary, as I have said above. This your fervent love, which is the third proof required, would excuse your immediate admission to the sacred banquet. But, alas! in what breast does this fervent love reside? The greater part of Christians are uneasy at the approach of this holy time. They loath the bread of life. These days of joy and gladness to the Church, are to them days of melancholy and sadness. Like the young man in the gospel, whom our Saviour counselled to sell all he had and follow him, they are sorrowful when they hear the solemn proclamation of the Church summoning them to throw off the defiled garments of sin, and to prepare for the nuptials: and were it not for her threats and anathemas, they would willingly renounce the table of the Lord for ever.
Great God! is it necessary, then, to drive Thy beloved children into Thy embraces! Are their hearts so far estranged from Thee, as to be callous to all the attractions of Thy infinite love! Could the primitive Christians have believed that the authority of the Church would ever have been exerted for these purposes? and that her threats, which in those times were employed only to deter the rebellious and unworthy from daring to partake of her mysteries, would in after ages have been necessary to prevent her children from entirely forsaking thy holy altar!
Were you animated with the true spirit of Christianity, you would declare that a prohibition from partaking of the body of the Lord, would be the greatest punishment which the Church could inflict: you would declare that life was insupportable without the Blessed Eucharist. Then it would be unnecessary to exhort you to the participation of this sacred food: you would tell me, that in religion there was nothing more consolatory, in virtue nothing more desirable or beneficial. You would tell me, that it was the sweetest soother in affliction, the only comfort in your banishment, the daily remedy for your weaknesses, and the universal reliever of all your wants.
But you say that the holy Eucharist requires such perfect dispositions in the receiver. I grant it. But, my christian brethren, these dispositions are attained by the frequent participation of it. By its means alone you will be enabled to resist your spiritual enemies, to subdue your passions, and to live a holy life. By its means alone will you be enabled to receive it worthily, One communion ought to be a preparation for the next. The farther you remove yourselves from the holy table, the more will your tepidity increase, the greater strength will your passions acquire, and the more will both the reign of Jesus be weakened in your hearts, and the man of sin be established and fortified. Be not deterred, therefore, by a plea which is not the offspring of humility, but the child of sloth. Fly to the altar on the wings of love. Open your hearts to the sweet attractions of your Jesus; invite Him to take full possession of them, and to make them His abode for ever.
Pour forth your souls before Him, and say with St. Augustin: Lord! who will give me, that I may be for ever united to Thee; that Thou alone mayest possess my affections, and reign without a rival in my soul? Ah! perhaps, Lord, my inward house is not sufficiently adorned for Thy reception; but do Thou come; Thy presence alone will embellish it. Perhaps Thy secret and invisible enemies are not entirely dislodged; but art not Thou stronger than the strongest in armour? Thy presence alone will expel them: all will be in peace, when Thou hast taken possession of my heart. Perhaps my soul is as yet defiled with spots and stains, which disfigure her in Thy sight: but Thy sacred blood will remove every defilement, and Thou wilt renew my youth and my beauty, like that of the eagle. Only come, Lord, and delay not. With Thee I shall possess all things; but without Thee, I shall possess nothing, although surrounded by all the pleasures and favours which the world can bestow.
Are these, my beloved friends, the holy sentiments of eagerness and impatience, which lead the greater number of you to the table of the Lord? Ah! if the Church left you at full liberty to communicate or not, the table of the Lord would be abandoned at this holy time; very small indeed would be the number of true disciples, who, with repentance and love, would keep the Pasch with their divine Master.
My soul hateth your new moons and your solemnities, says the Lord, by the mouth of His prophet; they are become troublesome to me, I am weary of bearing them, Isa. i. 14. You behold all the people hastening to the foot of My altar, and partaking of the sacred offerings during the days of this solemn festival. You suppose that the only motive which actuates them, is the sanctification of My name; that I am pleased with their incense and sacrifices; and that these extraordinary acts of homage will induce Me to forget their iniquities: but you are deceived. They are a perverse race; they have put no difference between what is impure, and what is holy; and so far from being glorified, I was profaned in the midst of them, Ezek. xxii. 26. Adulterers, fornicators, the slaves of hatred, animosity, revenge, rapine, and calumny, appear with confidence in the holy place. The hands, which you behold extended towards My throne, are filled with abominations; and their sacrifices pollute the sanctity of My eyes, when I look down upon them.
Be on your guard, my beloved brethren, and profit by the experience of others. Prove yourselves, before you presume to appear before the altar of God. Be animated with the pure sentiments of compunction and love. Put on the new man, and take precautions that Jesus Christ enter not your souls in vain. Preserve the holy treasure, after you have received it; and guard it, I do admonish you, carefully against the enemies of your salvation, who will then redouble their efforts to wrest it from you. Make yourselves worthy to become the temple and the abode of God, who is about to incorporate Himself with you; and do not fill up the measure of your iniquities, in a place where you may find a plentiful source of grace, and a pledge of immortality.
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.
Of supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.
The better thou disposest thyself for suffering, the more wisely dost thou act, and the more dost thou merit: and thou wilt bear it more easily, thy mind being well prepared for it, and accustomed to it.
Do not say, I cannot take these things from such a man, and things of this kind are not to be suffered by me, for he has done me a great injury, and he upbraids me with things I never thought on; but I will suffer willingly from another, and as far as I shall judge fitting for me to suffer.
Such a thought is foolish, which considers not the virtue of patience, nor by Whom it shall be crowned; but rather weighs the persons, and the offences committed.
– Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX pt. II.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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