Trinity Sunday. – On the love of the Three Divine Persons for man. – continued.
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.
8. And because He came on earth to gain our love, as He declared when He said – “I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled?”(Luke xii. 49), He wished at the close of His life to give us the strongest marks and proofs of the love which He bears to us. “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end.”(John xiii. 1.) Hence He not only humbled Himself to death for us, but He also chose to die the most painful and opprobrious of all deaths. “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross.”(Phil. ii. 8.) They who were crucified among the Jews, were objects of malediction and reproach to all. “He is accursed of God that hangeth on a tree.”(Deut. xxi. 23.) Our Redeemer wished to die the shameful death of the cross, in the midst of a tempest of ignominies and sorrows. “I am come into the depths of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.”(Ps. lxviii. 3.)
9. “In this,” says St. John, “we have known the charity of God, because He hath laid down His life for us.”(1 John iii. 16.) And how could God give us a greater proof of His love than by laying down His life for us? Or, how is it possible for us to behold a God dead on the cross for our sake, and not love him? “For the charity of Christ presseth us.”(2 Cor. v. 14.) By these words St. Paul tells us, that it is not so much what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for our salvation, as the love which He has shown in suffering and dying for us, that obliges and compels us to love Him. He has, as the same Apostle adds, died for all, that each of us may live no longer for himself, but only for that God who has given His life for the love of us. “Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not live to themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again.”(2 Cor. v. 15.) And, to captivate our love, He has, after having given His life for us, left Himself for the food of our souls. “Take ye and eat: this is My body.”(Matt. xxvi. 26.) Had not faith taught that He left Himself for our food, who could ever believe it? But of the prodigy of divine love manifested in the holy sacrament, I shall speak on the second Sunday after Pentecost. Let us pass to a brief consideration of the third point.
Third Point. On the love shown to us by the Holy Ghost in our sanctification.
10. The Eternal Father was not content with giving us His Son Jesus Christ, that He might save us by His death; He has also given us the Holy Ghost, that He may dwell in our souls, and that He may keep them always inflamed with holy love. In spite of all the injuries which He received on earth from men, Jesus Christ, forgetful of their ingratitude, after having ascended into heaven, sent us the Holy Ghost, that, by His holy flames, this divine spirit might kindle in our hearts the fire of divine charity, and sanctify our souls. Hence, when He descended on the apostles, He appeared in the form of tongues of fire. “And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire.”(Acts ii. 3.) Hence the Church prescribes the following prayer: – “We beseech Thee, O Lord, that the Spirit may inflame us with that fire which the Lord Jesus Christ sent on the earth, and vehemently wished to be enkindled.” This is the holy fire which inflamed the saints with the desire of doing great things for God, which enabled them to love their most cruel enemies, to seek after contempt, to renounce all the riches and honours of the world, and even to embrace with joy torments and death.
11. The Holy Ghost is that divine bond which unites the Father with the Son; It is He that unites our souls, through love, with God. For, as St. Augustine says, an union with God is the effect of love. “Charity is a virtue which unites us with God.” The chains of the world are chains of death, but the bonds of the Holy Ghost are bonds of eternal life, because they bind us to God, Who is our true and only life.
12. Let us also remember that all the lights, inspirations, divine calls, all the good acts which we have performed during our life, all our acts of contrition, of confidence in the divine mercy, of love, of resignation, have been the gifts of the Holy Ghost. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.”(Rom. viii. 26.) Thus, it is the Holy Ghost that prays for us; for we know not what we ought to ask, but the Holy Spirit teaches us what we should pray for.
13. In a word, the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity have endeavoured to show the love which God has borne us, that we may love Him through gratitude. “When,” says St. Bernard, “God loves, He wishes only to be loved.” It is, then, but just that we love that God Who has been the first to love us, and to put us under so many obligations by so many proofs of tender love. “Let us, therefore, love God, because God first hath loved us.” (1 John iv. 19.) Oh! what a treasure is charity! it is an infinite treasure, because it makes us partakers of the friendship of God. “She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God.”(Wis. vii. 14.) But, to acquire this treasure, it is necessary to detach the heart from earthly things. “Detach the heart from creatures,” says St. Teresa, “and you shall find God.” In a heart filled with earthly affections, there is no room for divine love. Let us therefore continually implore the Lord in our prayers, communions, and visits to the Blessed Sacrament, to give us His holy love; for this love will expel from our souls all affections for the things of this earth. “When,” says St. Francis de Sales, “a house is on fire, all that is within is thrown out through the windows.” By these words the saint meant, that when a soul is inflamed with divine love, she easily detaches herself from creatures: and Father Paul Segneri, the younger, used to say, that divine love is a thief that robs us of all earthly affections, and makes us exclaim: “What, O my Lord, but Thee alone, do I desire?”
14. “Love is strong as death.”(Cant. viii. 6.) As no creature can resist death when the hour of dissolution arrives, so there is no difficulty which love, in a soul that loves God, does not overcome. When there is question of pleasing her beloved, love conquers all things: it conquers pains, losses, ignominies. “Nihil tam durum quod non amoris igne vincatur.” This love made the martyrs, in the midst of torments, racks, and burning gridirons, rejoice, and thank God for enabling them to suffer for Him: it made the other saints, when there was no tyrant to torment them, become, as it were, their own executioners, by fasts, disciplines, and penitential austerities. St. Augustine says, that in doing what one loves there is no labour, and if there be, the labour itself is loved. “In eo quod amatur aut non laboratur, aut ipse labor amatur.”
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 Flying Vain Hope and Pride.
In considering the weakness of man, the uncertainty of life, the sufferings with which he is assailed on all sides, the darkness of his reason, the fickleness of his will, prone to evil from his youth. (Gen. viii. 21), we are astonished that a single impulse of pride can spring up in so miserable a creature; and nevertheless pride is the very foundation stone of our degraded nature. According to the thought of a Father of the Church, “it separates us from wisdom, it causes us to wish ourselves to be our own good, as God himself is good in himself;” such madness is there in crime! It is then that man relies on himself, and admires himself in everything that distinguishes him from others and elevates him in his own ·eyes, such as bodily advantages, wit, birth, fortune, even grace; thus abusing at the same time the gifts of the Creator and of the Redeemer. Oh! how terrible is this disorder, and how much should we be troubled when we discover in ourselves a feeling of vain glory, or when we are tempted to prefer ourselves to one of our brethren! Let us often bring before our mind the Pharisee of the Gospel and his false piety; so satisfied with himself and so criminal in the sight of God; his contempt for the publican who went down into his house justified on account of the humble confession of his wretchedness, and let us say from our heart with him: – Oh God! be merciful to me a sinner!–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch VII reflection.
June Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Obedience, Piety, Dutifulness
Prayers to the Wound of the Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the holy Wound of Thy Heart, my most sweet Jesus! Accept, O Lord, my heart and all the powers of my soul. Detach them from earthly affections. Let me lose even the remembrance of the things of this world. Cast my soul into the adorable Wound of Thy Side, into the ocean of Thy love, into the source of true life. Unite my heart for ever to Thy tender Heart, so truly that it will be impossible for me to desire what is not in conformity with Thy will. May I in all things entirely renounce my own will, and unite myself by faith, hope and charity to Thee, my Lord, my God and my Creator. Amen.
O most sweet Jesus, through the Wound of Thy Heart, pardon, I beseech Thee, all my offences against Thee by acting without sufficient purity of intention, or by following my own perverse will. I offer Thee my heart, that Thou mayest unite it to Thy Heart. Then I shall neither seek nor see anything but Thee in all things. I shall have no other will than Thine. Amen.
Jesu! Creator of the world,
Of all mankind Redeemer blest,
True God of God, in Whom we see
Thy Father’s image clear expressed!
Thee, Saviour, love alone constrained
To make our mortal flesh Thine own,
And, as a second Adam, come
For the first Adam to atone.
That selfsame love which made the sky,
Which made the sea and stars, and earth,
Took pity on our misery,
And broke the bondage of our birth.
O Jesus! in Thy Heart divine
May that same love for ever glow!
Forever mercy to mankind
From that exhaustless fountain flow!
For this the Sacred Heart was pierced,
And both with blood and water ran –
To cleanse us from the stains of guilt,
And be the hope and strength of man.
Jesu, to Thee be glory given,
Who from Thy Heart dost grace outpour,
To Father and to Paraclete
Be endless praise for evermore. Amen.
An indulgence of 5 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, If this hymn is devoutly recited every day for a month (S.P.Ap., March 12, 1936). (Raccolta)
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