Friday after the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Death of the Good and the Bad.
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.
Friday after the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Death of the Good and the Bad.
I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you also may be. (John xiv, 3.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that though death comes to all men without distinction, there is nevertheless a great difference between the death of a fervent Christian and the death of a lax one. The death of the latter is called an awakening: when he shall sleep he shall open his eyes and find nothing (Job xxvii, 19), but the death of the fervent soul is called a rest: that they may rest from their labours. (Apoc. xiv, 13.) The death of a lax or sinful soul is an awakening, because death opens the eyes of the mind. He sees disappearing as a dream those satisfactions which he allowed his flesh; vanishing those liberties he took contrary to his conscience; vanishing the praise he sought with so great offence to God: He shall open his eyes and find nothing. (Job, ib.) The death of the fervent, on the contrary, is a rest, because it puts an end to his anxieties, to his penances, to his crosses; he sees himself despoiled of nothing by death but what he had already despised for God’s sake and had changed into a treasury of merits: their works follow them. (Apoc. xiv, 13.)
APPLICATION. What will death be for you? A repose or an awakening? If you would die the death of the fervent soul, you must live the life of the fervent.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The death of the wicked is very evil. (Ps. xxxiii, 22.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that the death of the lax soul is an awakening, not only because of what he sees vanishing from him, but much more because of all he sees appearing before him. Wherever he turns, everything makes him fear and tremble. Within him his conscience is troubled and afflicts him for his sins. Near him he sees the devil assailing him and by his suggestions increasing his alarm. Above him he discerns the Judge already approaching to sentence him; and below him chastisements and punishments which he has deserved. O sad and dreadful awakening! The fervent soul on the contrary is but little troubled by his sins, because he has confessed them and has wept over them. He little fears the devil for he is under the fatherly care of his God. He awaits with longing the coming of the Judge, from Whom he will receive the reward of his faithful service, saying with the Apostle: I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. As to the rest there is laid up for me a crown of justice. (2 Tim. iv, 7-8.)
APPLICATION. If at the present moment death came upon you, could you also say the same and with the same confidence as the Apostle?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of the saints. (Ps. cxv, 15.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that the saddest awakening of the lax and sinful soul, and the sweetest joy of the fervent, will be what immediately follows the moment of death. The fervent will then find himself carried to rest in the bosom of God, to receive the congratulations of all the choirs of the blessed at having triumphed over the flesh, the world, and the devil. But if one dies in a state of laxness, he will see himself condemned to an awakening of most intense punishment and suffering. If by a supreme act of mercy he is happy enough to die in the grace of God, how long and bitter an awakening must he undergo! He must expiate in a prison of fire all his debts, even to the last farthing, with pains far greater than any he ever felt in this world, and perhaps for years and years.
APPLICATION. Now reflect a little. See if it be worth while, for the sake of those momentary satisfactions which the tepid and sinful soul so eagerly pursues, to be obliged to suffer such an awakening at the moment of death. Rather, by leading a more mortified life at present, enjoy then the repose of the fervent.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Behold the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear him: and on them that hope in his mercy, To deliver their souls from death. (Ps. xxxii, 18, 19.)
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. We would have others strictly corrected; but are not willing to be corrected ourselves.
The large liberty of others displeases us; and yet we would not be denied anything we ask for.
We are willing that others should be bound up by laws; and we suffer not ourselves by any means to be restrained.
Thus it is evident how seldom we weigh our neighbour in the same balance with ourselves.
If all were perfect, what then should we have to suffer from others for God’s sake.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XVI 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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