Monday after the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—Mercifulness.
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.
Monday after the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—Mercifulness.
Be ye therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful. (Luke vi, 36.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that true mercifulness, by which you should resemble your divine Father, is not that quality which comes from simple tenderness of sentiment and compassion for the distress of your neighbour, but is that which arises from the virtue of charity, which moves you to help him from love of God. When the affection of compassion is awakened in you from this motive, then your mercy is complete and perfect. For you not only desire to assuage the distress of others but you also wish to feel them and to share them. This is the mercy which God has shown towards you. For whilst helping you in your infirmities, He willed at the same time in His humanity to realise the sentiments of true compassion for you: It behoved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren that He might become a merciful High-Priest. (Heb. ii, 17.)
APPLICATION. It is then this complete and perfect mercifulness that you should exercise towards your neighbour. Help him for the love of God, and feel his sorrows as if they were your own.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the evil day. (Ps. xl, 2.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that you should not only exercise this mercy and compassion towards your friends and your relatives, but also towards the unworthy, towards strangers, and also towards your enemies, for whom naturally you would not feel compassion and pity. Thus will your mercifulness be the more perfect and more like the divine mercy, which so intensely pities and helps the sinful and those who are enemies of God. Do you not notice that Christ when He bids you imitate the mercifulness of God, calls Him by the name of Father? Be ye merciful therefore as your Father is merciful. For God most tenderly pities His children and He helps them to the uttermost, even when they are unruly and proud.
APPLICATION. How often, instead of feeling pity and compassion for the evils which you perceive your enemies and unworthy persons to suffer, you have rather rejoiced in their misfortunes! If you cannot sympathise with them with a tender affection, at least try to help and aid them with your prayers, for the love of God our Lord. For, when you were most unworthy and ungrateful, He has shown you such mercifulness in sympathising with all your afflictions and alleviating them, at the cost of His blood.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. He hath distributed, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever and ever. (Ps. cxi, 9.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that of all the divine virtues, Christ expressly proposes in the gospels this virtue of mercifulness in particular for your imitation. For it is the one that will make you most resemble God. The mercy of God, as seen in its effects, may be said to be the greatest virtue of all, because it moved Him to redeem the whole human race with His blood. According to his mercy, he saved us. (Titus iii, 5.)
APPLICATION. And for you also it should be the greatest virtue. For the exercise of mercifulness towards one’s neighbour for the love of God is true charity. It unites you to God and to your neighbour, and gives you a large field in which to exercise towards those who are most afflicted, many acts of virtue, without any danger of self interest or of self love. Do you not feel attracted to the love of this virtue, in order to become more like unto your heavenly Father?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The Lord is in his holy temple: the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes look on the poor man; his eyelids examine the sons of men. The Lord trieth the just and the wicked. (Ps. x, 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.
Almost all the actions of man spring from a vitiated principle; from that triple concupiscence of which St. John speaks, and against which Christian life is but a perpetual conflict. Boundless love of ourselves, so difficult to entirely conquer, too often corrupts works apparently the most pure. How many labours, how many alms, how many acts of penitence, on which we perhaps place reliance, are barren as far as regards heaven! God only gives Himself to those who love Him. He is the prize of charity, of that unspeakable love, boundless and without measure, which, when everything else passes away, remains eternally.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XV reflection.
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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