Thursday after the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost.—Christ the Just Judge.
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 Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost.—Christ the Just Judge.
His fan is in His hand . . . He will gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire. (Luke iii, 17.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that the fan, which Christ holds in His hand, signifies the judicial power which belongs to Him as God and as Man; as God because of His supreme and divine power; as Man because He merited this power in divers ways, principally by allowing Himself to be treated as a criminal before earthly tribunals. Truly just is it that our Lord should be seated on His throne in majesty to judge all men, Who for the salvation of all men submitted to be condemned by judges most iniquitous and most unjust. Rejoice then with Him in this glory that He will receive in that last day.
APPLICATION. Endeavour to beg His mercy now whilst He is still your advocate, for in that day as your judge He can only show you rigorous justice. Reflect seriously too what will be your lot on that day. Will you be as the wheat or will you be as the chaff?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The Lord hath reigned . . . justice and judgment are the foundation of His throne. (Ps. xcvi, 1-2.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that the good resemble grain by the multiplicity of the fruit they produce, sometimes even a hundred-fold, and by the health of spirit which they maintain in the world. The bad resemble straw, because of their sterility, their levity and inconstancy. At present the good are mingled with the bad, because the bad can serve and be of great use to the good, as the straw to the grain, by giving them occasion of becoming more mortified, and more humble. This mingling of straw and of grain, of the good and bad, is to be found the world over.
APPLICATION. If you are like grain mortified and crushed, envy not the straw that is proud in its lightness, and which will be soon separated apart and cast to the winds. I will scatter them with a fan. (Jer. xv, 7.)
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The wicked are like the dust which the wind driveth from the face of the earth. (Ps. i, 5.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY the end for which this separation takes place: He will gather the wheat into His barn but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire. (Luke iii, 17.) Heaven is the abode where the elect will be safe and secure, gathered like grain into the granary. They will rejoice in being all united together in love, praising and blessing God, and in not being constrained to abide among the wicked who afflicted them. How much better then is it to procure for yourself at any cost to be as the good grain, than to be cast aside as the straw and thrown into eternal fire. There the wicked will burn indeed like straw, yet still continue to suffer in unquenchable fire.
APPLICATION. Reflect then seriously, whilst still there is time, what it means to burn eternally in the midst of a fire so fierce, so sharp, that our fire in comparison with that of hell is, as the Saints have said, a mere picture of painted fire. Let us then be found as good wheat before our judge.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou shalt make them as an oven of fire, in the time of Thy anger: The Lord shall trouble them in His wrath and fire shall devour them. (Ps. xx, 10.)
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 Exercises of a good religious Man.
III. If, for piety’s sake, or with a design to the profit of our brother, we sometimes omit our accustomed exercise, it may afterwards be easily recovered.
But if, through a loathing of mind, or negligence, it be lightly let alone, it is no small fault, and will prove hurtful.
Let us endeavour what we can, we shall still be apt to fail in many things.
But yet we must always resolve on something certain, and in particular against those things which hinder us most.
We must examine and order well both our exterior and interior; because both conduce to our advancement.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XIX 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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