Friday after the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.—All Loss but Jesus Christ.
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.
Consider firstly how clear was the light of faith and of the Gospel doctrine, which shone in the mind of the Apostle, when in this light all his greatest gains seemed to him to be but loss. I count all things to be loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ. (Phil. iii, 8.) So it is with all who are illuminated as was the Apostle. How they wonder that in the past they could have followed the maxims of worldly people, in valuing empty and useless emulation, points of precedence and vain applause!
Application. If after you have begun to lead a more fervent Christian life, you are not surprised at your having even up to the present sought after those things, that you once gave up for the love of Christ, it is a sign that you are not living by that light. The light of justice hath not shined unto us. (Wisdom v, 6.)
Affections and Resolutions. Better is a little to the just than the great riches of the wicked. (Ps. xxxvi, 16.)
Consider secondly that the Apostle not only reckoned as loss those things he had counted gain, but went further still and regarded all things loss that were not Jesus Christ; namely, nobility of birth, eloquence, talents, and all other such gifts. He had formed this judgment of estimating as loss all things which the world prizes most highly, by the light of that wisdom which he acquired in the school of Jesus Christ. The Master had made known to him that whoever does not renounce himself, and all that is his, cannot be His follower. He that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be My disciple. (Luke xiv, 33.)
Application. Strive to attain this wisdom, which is of the very highest. If you attain to it, not only will the things you once possessed in the world, but even all that could possibly be yours, appear to you as loss. Christ poor and naked upon the Cross will take the place of all these things for you, and will satisfy you more than all else.
Affections and Resolutions. If riches abound, set not your heart upon them. (Ps.lxi, II.)
Consider thirdly what estimate the Apostle made of all the good things of this life when he added: I count them but as dung (ib.). For he saw the vast difference there is between the things of this world and the things of his Saviour Jesus Christ. The good things of this world are dung from their very foulness, if they belong to the concupiscence of the flesh. If they belong to the concupiscence of the eyes which is avarice, they are dung from their sordidness. If they belong to the pride of life which is ambition, they are dung because they so soon wither away and perish.
Application. The Apostle rejects all things of earth in order to possess Jesus Christ. How then could you think of leaving Christ, and not keeping close to Him, in order merely that you might have the things of earth, which are only so much dung?
Affections and Resolutions. How sweet are Thy words to my palate! More than honey to my mouth. (Ps. cxviii, 103.)
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 Works done out of Charity.
I. Evil ought not to be done either for any thing in the world, or for the love of any man; but for the profit of one that stands in need, a good work is sometimes freely to be omitted, or rather to be changed for a better.
For by doing thus, a good work is not lost, but is changed into a better.
Without charity the outward work profiteth nothing: but whatever is done out of charity, be it never so little and contemptible, all becomes fruitful.
For God regards more with how much affection and love a person performs a work, than how much he does..–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XV pt I.
August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary
Virtues to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things
O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.
An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901)
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