On the Occurrences that Took Place after Our Lord Appeared at the Lake of Genesareth.
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 Occurrences that Took Place after Our Lord Appeared at the Lake of Genesareth.
To-day, my soul, fix your attention again on the miraculous draught of fishes; realize the astonishment of the apostles when they suddenly felt their nets become heavy, and on drawing them out of the water found that they contained such a multitude of fishes that there was every reason to fear that the meshes would break under the weight. Then indeed their eyes were opened, and they knew at once who was the mysterious Stranger standing upon the shore, who had commanded them to let down their nets for this unwonted harvest.
1st. Consider the mystic meaning of this draught of fishes. The apostles are fishermen, and this their successors must ever be in their character of preachers and teachers. The net they cast is the holy Gospel, and every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. This net is cast on the right side of the ship when the true doctrines of the Catholic Church are published with a sincere intention and a pure heart. The Fathers of the Church attach a mystic interpretation to the number of fishes taken—which St. John asserts to have been a hundred and fifty-three. The total number of the fishes, they declare, signifies the whole number of the redeemed who are enclosed in the Catholic Church as in a net, and are divided into larger or smaller groups according to their state and calling. Thus a hundred is supposed to represent the number of the married, fifty that of persons living a life of continence in the world, and the smallest number, three, to denote those who are entirely and exclusively consecrated to God by the vow of virginity. You, O reader, take heed therefore and see that when the net is drawn up to the shore you are found to be one of the good, not one of the bad fishes it contains.
2d. Consider St. Peter’s conduct on the occasion of this miracle. As soon as John said: “It is the Lord,” his eager, impetuous nature could not wait until the boat was brought to land. He girt his fisher’s coat about him, being careful to observe, as St. Chrysostom bids us remark, the reverence due to the person of his Master; then his ardent temperament urges him to cast himself into the water; he cannot wait until the ship brings him to Jesus’ feet, he swims to shore to reach Him sooner. You also, my soul, without acting rashly and precipitately, so as to neglect the respect due to your Master, but with moderate and well-ordered zeal, should strive to reach your Lord as soon as possible, to arrive at the shore of eternal felicity where He is waiting for you, without being detained in the purgatorial fire. If such be your desire and your aim, cast yourself with St. Peter into the sea, into the bitter, storm-tossed waters of compunction, of penance, of mortification, of self-denial. If you swim through this sea with fortitude and perseverance, strengthened as St. Peter was by the ardor of love, you will attain the shores of the heavenly country more quickly than by the ordinary way.
3d. Consider the mysterious food which the apostles found prepared for them on the bank of the lake. When they got out of the ship we are told they saw hot coals lying there and a fish on it and bread. Thus after His resurrection our Lord shows Himself to be the self-same wonder-working Father and Provider, who supplies His children with food without any man giving to Him. The aliments prepared in this mysterious manner have a deep signification. If it be considered that Christ Himself is wont to be represented under the figure of a fish, who can fail to see in the fish laid on the fire with bread, an image of our Lord in His Passion, the hot coals symbolizing the glowing fire of charity on which His sacred body was laid for our sakes, and on arising from which He gave Himself to the Church as the Bread of Life. At the same time learn from this incident that our Lord, whilst you toil and spend your strength in His service, is meanwhile preparing for you a spiritual banquet for your refreshment at the end of your labors. Wherefore let no work which you perform in the service of God here below, no labor however arduous, seem too hard for your strength, for your Lord has already prepared for you a place at His table above, the table of celestial bliss which you will enjoy not for a short season but to all eternity.
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.
That we ought to cast all our care upon God.
It cannot too often be repeated that the Christian life consists solely in wishing what God wishes, and only what He wishes. Our desires almost always deceive us, as a consequence of our ignorance and of our corruption. But God knows all that is hidden from us; He knows the secret dispositions of our hearts, the measure of their weakness. the trials to which it is good we should be subjected; the assistance we should get in order to support them. He will not permit any one to be tempted beyond his strength. What confidence, what peace should we not find in this thought. What is there sweeter than to abandon ourselves without reserve to Him who has done all for His poor creatures; to lose ourselves in Him by the imtimate union of our wills to His, reserving nothing to ourselves but the action of grace and of love; so that our souls, our entire beings, may breath forth these words, which comprise all: My Lord and my God. – Thomas à Kempis –Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVII Reflection.
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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