The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Unjust Steward.
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.
The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Unjust Steward.
(Read Luke xvi, 1-9.)
Consider firstly that the steward spoken of in to-day’s Gospel, fearing to be dismissed and punished by his master for his careless management, gave himself to serious thought about his present state, and how he could best provide for the needs of the future. And you, who have wasted so many gifts of God, fear you not the irreparable evil and punishment which is impending over you at the day of reckoning? How often have you not diverted, merely for your bodily pleasure, to gratify your irregular desires, for your self-love, so many gifts of soul and body, of nature and of grace, which God has bestowed upon you that you might spend them in His service and employ them to His glory?
Application. For such wrong then so basely done to God, you know that you must soon render a most strict account. Do you then never think of it, or strive to make reparation for so much evil done? Oh how true it is that the children of this world are wiser!
Affections and Resolutions. Thou hast caused judgment to be heard from heaven: the earth trembled and was still, when God arose in judgment. (Ps. lxxv, 9, 10.)
Consider secondly the ingenious expedient made use of by the steward, to his own profit, indeed, but to the loss of his master, who nevertheless praised his steward’s foresight in making friends betimes with his master’s debtors by remitting part of their debt, so that, after his dismissal, they would give him wherewith to live. How much dost thou owe my lord? A hundred barrels of oil. Write fifty. You on the contrary can never inflict injury on God by providing for your own advantage, but you do Him grievous wrong by injuring yourself. Why then do you neglect those means, by which you may provide for all the necessities of your last moments, to your own profit and happiness, and at the same time to the glory of God?
Application. Consider attentively how much worldly men fatigue and spend themselves for temporal interests, how much they labour that they may not lose what they already possess, how much they work in order to gain what they ambition, and how much they strive to provide for all their future possible needs. Yet these earthly things all pass speedily away and all are ended at death. Blessed are you if you study and strive as much to acquire and secure the true treasures of heaven, which will never end!
Affections and Resolutions. I thought upon the days of old: and I had in my mind the eternal years. (Ps. lxxvi, 6.)
Consider thirdly that life is short, and the time of death uncertain, and that soon it may surprise you! And then, now thou canst be steward no longer. Then you will have no more time to adjust your accounts, or to accumulate merits of good works, in order to compensate for the waste you have made. So many gifts were received from God in the course of your life, so much light, so many inspirations, and so much good example.
Application. For all these must you give a most strict account at the moment of death; according to the solemn words of the gospel: Unto whomsoever much is given of him much shall be required. (Luke xii, 48.) Be up then and doing, for the time is near at hand when thou canst be steward no longer.
Affections and Resolutions. My heart is troubled within me: and the fear of death is fallen upon me. Fear and trembling are come upon me. (Ps. liv. 5, 6.)
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.
III. He that has true and perfect charity seeks himself in no one thing; but desires only the glory of God in all things.
He envies no man, because he loves no private joy, nor does he desire to rejoice in himself, but above all good things he wishes to be made happy in God.
He attributes nothing of good to any man, but refers it totally to God, from whom all things proceed as from their fountain; in the enjoyment of whom all the saints repose as in their last end.
Ah! if a man had but one spark of perfect charity, he would doubtless perceive that all earthly things are full of vanity.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XV pt III.
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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