Thursday after the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Crown of Victory.
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.
Thursday after the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Crown of Victory.
He that shall persevere to the end he shall be saved. (Matt. x, 22.)
Consider firstly that in order to be crowned you must fight against your own disorderly inclinations. For the crown of glory is prepared for holiness and for perfection, and is not attained by the performance of devotions and mortifications and fastings done at our own caprice. It is gained by the perfect victory over oneself, all other things being merely helps or means to arrive at this victory.
Application. Of what value will these external acts be to you if interiorly through untamed passions you are ever thinking yourself better than others, judging them, being upset at every slightest word, unwilling to submit and obey, seeking yourself in everything? It is not in this way the crown is won.
Affections and Resolutions. My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. (Ps. lxxxiii, 3.)
Consider secondly that, in order to be crowned, it is not enough merely to strive, but necessary to strive constantly. St. Augustine says our efforts must be indefatigable as long as we are in the arena of this life. You must never lay aside the lance from out of your hand.
Application. If at times you receive some little hurt, have but patience. God does not bid you to crush your appetites in such a manner that they will not make themselves felt any more; but He does wish you to strive without any thought of truce. Strive for justice for thy soul even unto death. (Ecclus. iv, 33·)
Affections and Resolutions. Deliver my soul from the fear of the enemy. Thou hast protected me from the assembly of the malignant: from the multitude of the workers of iniquity. (Ps. lxiii, 2, 3.)
Consider thirdly that this continuous strife against your evil inclinations should not alarm you. If you give them any truce they do but gain strength. Moreover these spiritual combats are dissimilar from all material warfare. In the latter the longer you fight, the more tired, the weaker you become; whilst in the former, the longer you combat, the stronger you grow. For divine grace which is your only strength is always increased therein.
Application. The weapons then with which you are to fight are distrust of self, confidence in God, and prayer. Distrust of yourself will cause you not to presume. You will proceed with reflection and circumspection, and if sometimes you fall, you will then humble yourself. You will not give way to disquiet, being convinced that of yourself you can do nothing. Confidence in God will result in God’s giving you the victory, which He alone can give and which He so much desires to give you. Prayer will ensure your receiving all the help you need. In the Olympian games the prize was given by the judge, but he gave no help to the wrestlers; whereas God promises you the crown of glory, and gives you the help of His grace, provided you ask it faithfully and continually.
Affections and Resolutions. They are many that make war against me; but I will trust in thee. (Ps. lv, 3-4.)
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 bearing the Defects of others.
III. If any one, being once or twice admonished, does not comply, contend not with Him; but commit all to God, that His will may be done, and that He may be honoured in all His servants, who knows how to convert evil into good.
Endeavour to be patient in supporting the defects and imfirmities of others, of what kind soever; because thou also hast many things which others must bear withal.
If thou canst not make thyself such a one as thou wouldst, how canst thou expect to have another according to thy liking?
We would willingly have others perfect; and yet we mend not our own defects.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XVI pt II.
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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