The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Pharisee and the Publican.
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 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Pharisee and the Publican.
(Read Luke xviii, 9-14.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY in this pharisee of the gospel the true picture of a proud and a haughty spirit. Proud in his outward bearing, in his arrogance he did not deign to humble himself or to bow down even in the presence of God: Standing he prayed. Still more proud interiorly, he praised and flattered himself for the little good he had done, without ever reflecting at all upon his faults and his pride. As for others, on the contrary, he considers only their faults; he thinks the worst of each, preferring himself to all: I am not as the rest of men. In his prayer he does not beseech God for anything, as if he would say: I am sufficient for myself. (Ecclus. xi, 26.)
APPLICATION. Turn your eyes now on yourself and see if your outward bearing before God and men is that of a proud man, or of one who is humble. See whether you are vain and praise yourself for the good you do, and pay no attention to your own sins; whether you easily condemn the faults of others and reckon yourself their superior. Then ask yourself, if this spirit of pride displeased God so greatly in a pharisee, what must it do in one who calls himself a follower of Christ?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The Lord looketh on the lowly and the lofty he knoweth afar off. (Ps. cxxxvii, 6.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY in the poor publican the bearing of a truly humble man. He stands there in the temple humbling himself before God and men: standing afar off. Even as one excommunicated and unworthy to associate with others: he would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven. Filled with confusion, bowed down to the earth, he did not dare to lift up his eyes to heaven. He struck his breast in his deep sorrow for his sins; he confessed himself the worst of sinners; and he begged mercy of God. O God be merciful to me a sinner.
APPLICATION. Such is the manner you should imitate in making your supplications to God and in pleading for mercy. The prayer of him that humbleth himself shall pierce the clouds. (Ecclus. xxxv, 21.)
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. He hath had regard unto the prayer of the lowly, and hath not despised their petition. (Ps. ci, 18.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY how in this proud pharisee and in the humble publican are verified the words: Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. For pride is the vice that is most hated of heaven and that most of all keeps us estranged from God; whereas humility is the virtue which is most pleasing to heaven and unites us most closely to God. He would rather tolerate men that are full of sin than those who are swelled with pride; and He hates less sin that is joined with humility than innocence joined with pride. God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. (James iv, 6.) Hence as by humility sin is cast out and the soul purified, so by pride virtue itself is poisoned and vice generated.
APPLICATION. Learn then to have a great horror of the vice of pride, and a great love for the virtue of humility. This is the virtue of which Jesus by His example made Himself most especially our Master. He wished to eradicate that first sin of pride brought by Lucifer from the first into the earthly paradise, and transmitted to all of us by our first parents. Consider attentively the examples of humility which your Redeemer has given you, that so you may the more desire to be the disciple of Jesus Who was a teacher of humility, rather than that of Lucifer who was a master of pride.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou wilt save the humble people, but wilt bring down the eyes of the proud. (Ps. xvii, 28.)
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 the Examples of the holy Fathers.
I. Look upon the lively examples of the holy fathers, in whom true perfection and religion were most shining, and thou wilt see how little, and almost nothing, that is which we do.
Alas! what is our life if compared to theirs.
The saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst; in cold and nakedness; in labour and weariness; in watchings and fastings; in prayers and holy meditations; in persecutions and many reproaches.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XVIII 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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