May 13th.–Instruction XIII. The Adoration of the Wise Men.

May 13th.–Instruction 13. The Adoration of the Wise Men.

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.

May 13th.–Instruction 13. The Adoration of the Wise Men.

Entering into the house, they found the Child, with Mary His Mother.”–St. Matt. ii. II. 

It was unquestionably a touching spectacle to behold the shepherds eagerly hastening to the poor stable of Bethlehem to adore the Infant Saviour. Ere they prostrate themselves, they look in wonder at the Child of Whom the angels had told them. However, another spectacle, no less remarkable, attracts the attention of the whole country. The Wise Men, coming from the East to Jerusalem, earnestly ask: “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and are come to adore Him.” Having learned that Bethlehem was the place where the great King should be born, they continue their journey. A miraculous star conducts them until they reach the place in which the divine Infant lies. Entering the humble stable, they find the Child with Mary His Mother, and prostrating themselves they adore Him, and opening their treasures they present Him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Again Mary discovers that she is a part of the divine plan. She it is who receives the Magi. In the name of her Son Jesus she accepts the gifts which they offer, and she communicates to them the graces which they will receive in recompense of their devotion. We will therefore consider how great was their faith, the signification of their gifts, and the graces they received in return.

1. What was their faith?–The Magi were men at once learned, rich, and powerful. They were also kings in their own country, since the feast of the Epiphany is also commonly called “the feast of the kings.” In their far-off eastern homes, Persia, Media, and Chaldea, they had preserved the prophecy of Balaam. The prophet declared that from Jacob a star would appear, which would be the sign that a great king should be born in Israel. The Wise Men had studied astronomy, and they constantly scanned the heavens in search of the miraculous star. The expectation of this predicted luminary and their desire to discover it was their first disposition to receive the expected Messias. Faith alone could enlighten these attentive souls, whilst the Inspired Word assures us that God is not found in disturbed or troubled hearts. At length they discover this extraordinary star. Interiorly enlightened by grace, they recognize it as the sign of the great King. The Wise Men immediately depart from their country to seek and adore their King. Behold the simplicity of their faith! Difficulties are not considered. The reasons or pretexts which could be alleged to deter them from a long or perilous journey were of no account. During the journey the constancy of their faith will be severely tested. Having arrived at Jerusalem, the star which had thus far conducted them disappeared. However, they courageously enter the capital of Judea and ask, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” They are told that Bethlehem is the place, and at once they resume their journey. As a recompense for their fidelity and constancy the star reappeared to them, “and they rejoiced with great joy.” At length they reach the miserable place, and instead of finding a king surrounded with all the pomp of sovereignty, they see only a little Child with Mary His Mother. Although they find Him enveloped in swaddling-clothes, their faith, which is generous and simple and constant, finds in Him the King of heaven and earth. At once they prostrate themselves and adore Him. At the same time they offer to Mary their respect and veneration as the Mother of their Saviour and their God. The example of the Wise Men will teach us to yield to the inspirations of grace, to follow the light of faith, and thus secure our eternal salvation.

2. The signification of their presents.–The Magi prostrate themselves before the Infant God and at the feet of Mary, whilst they offer to their King gold, frankincense, and myrrh. According to the interpretation of the doctors of the Church the gold signifies charity, this pure gold, which comes from heaven. The incense signifies prayer, which ascends as a sweet perfume even to the throne of God. The myrrh, which is a bitter substance, symbolizes sacrifice, penance, sorrow. When the Wise Men presented gold they recognized in Jesus the powerful King to Whom they were obliged to pay tribute. By their offering of incense they adored Him as their God. By their offering of myrrh they honored His sacred humanity. Never was profession of faith more explicit or more perfect. The Wise Men, the first fruits of the Gentile world, have given to us a complete formula of our faith in the mystery of the incarnation.

It is true they offer their gifts to Jesus, but it is Mary who receives them; she is, therefore, the intermediary between men and her divine Son. Mark it well; the Gospel tells us that the Wise Men found Jesus and Mary His Mother–and why? Because they are inseparable. Jesus cannot be born without Mary. She is the minister of the incarnation. We cannot find Jesus without Mary. She it is who ministers to His wants. Jesus is not crucified without Mary; she is the companion of His passion. After the example of the Wise Men, let us offer to Jesus, by Mary’s hands, the gold of our charity, the incense of our prayers, and the myrrh of our generous sacrifices.

3. Graces they receive in return.–In return for their lively faith, with what superabundance of grace were the Magi compensated! The miraculous star alone filled them with joy. But what was their joy when they beheld Him Who is the Sun of justice itself? What was their joy to behold her who is more radiant far than ever was silvery moon? What tongue can ever tell the consolations which their hearts experienced in the humble stable at Bethlehem? The splendor of that lowly place surpassed infinitely the magnificence of their own palaces. But now the time has come for them to return to their homes. For faithful servants Jesus has always particular favors. The Wise Men are warned in sleep that if they would escape the hypocritical curiosity of cruel Herod they must return to their homes by some other way than that by which they had come. He assists them in their journey through unknown regions, and conducts them safely to their own country. Throughout their lives they afterward became the zealous preachers of the name of Christ, His faithful followers, until, full of merits, God called them hence to life eternal. Therefore, when we also shall have found Jesus and Mary and offered to them the gold of our ardent charity, the incense of our fervent prayers, and the myrrh of our repentance and penance we may reasonably hope to receive the most abundant treasures of God’s benedictions. Nay, more, when we shall have entered the pathway of piety, sanctity, and justice, we will have the untold happiness to reach our own true country, which is 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.

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Of following Christ, and despising all the vanities of the world.

   IV. It is vanity thereof to seek after riches, which must perish, and to trust in them.
It is vanity also to be ambitious of honours, and to raise one’s self to a high station.
It is vanity to follow the lusts of the flesh, and to desire that for which thou must afterwards be grievously punished.
It is vanity to wish for a long life, and to take little care of leading a good life.
It is vanity to mind only this present life, and not to look forward into those things which are to come.
It is vanity to love that which passeth with all speed, and not to hasten thither where everlasting joy remains. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch I pt III.

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May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty

O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.

A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)

The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.

Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).

Hail! Holy Queen Enthroned Above

Hail, holy Queen enthroned above, O Maria!
Hail, Mother of mercy and of love, O Maria!
Triumph all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heav’n and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina!

Our life, our sweetness here below, O Maria!
Our hope in sorrow and in woe, O Maria!
Triumph all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heav’n and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina!

To thee we cry poor sons of Eve, O Maria!
To thee we sigh, we mourn, we grieve, O Maria!
Triumph all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heav’n and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina!

Turn then most gracious Advocate, O Maria!
Tow’rd us thine eyes compassionate, O Maria!
Triumph all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heav’n and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina!

When this our exile is complete, O Maria!
Show us thy Son, our Jesus sweet, O Maria!
Triumph all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heav’n and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina!

O clement, gracious, Mother sweet, O Maria!
O Virgin Mary, we entreat, O Maria!
Triumph all ye Cherubim,
Sing with us ye Seraphim,
Heav’n and earth resound the hymn:
Salve, Salve, Salve, Regina!

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