Taking Up the Cross.
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.
Taking Up the Cross.
And He said to all: If any man will come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke ix, 23.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that Christ promulgated and addressed to all the faithful this great evangelical maxim of mortification and suffering: And He said to all: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke ix, 23.) Much more is this said, and in an especial manner, to all those who wish to lead a more holy and more perfect life, to be more intimate disciples and more faithful companions of Christ. For to be a true disciple and companion of our Lord consists not merely in listening to His doctrines, but it consists, as our divine Lord declares, in denying yourself and bearing the cross, and following Him, treading in His footsteps marked with blood even up to Calvary.
APPLICATION. This assuredly deserves your serious consideration. Observe furthermore what Christ says: If any man will. For He desires that you follow Him of your free will and spontaneously, as the invitation of so loving a Lord deserves, Who for love of you went so far as to die on the tree of the Cross. In your life then, as a follower of Him, you must certainly expect to suffer somewhat and to be mortified in many things. See then that you bear them willingly for love of your crucified lover, for this is what is pleasing to God. Notice that He does not say, let him bear, but let him take up his cross, to show you that if you wish to be truly a follower of His, you must embrace your cross with alacrity and promptness. Do not wait until it be placed on your shoulder like the Cyrenean, nor must you drag it along as it were by compulsion. Blessed are you if you carry it gladly; you will merit more and you will suffer less.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. If thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would surely have given it. (Ps. 1, 18.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that the readily embracing and carrying of the cross is not a work for you for certain days only and certain times, but for all days and for all times. Let him take up his cross daily. By the word cross is to be understood any misfortune, tribulation or affliction that may come upon you. Now these crosses abound everywhere, whether in internal afflictions of soul or external ones of the body.
APPLICATION. Such then is the cross that you must willingly and even cheerfully embrace in all occurrences of life. Let him take up his cross daily. If you do this, what a great treasure you will also gain both of merit and of glory!
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thine ordinances I will never forget, for by them Thou hast given me life. (Ps. cxviii, 93.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that nothing so much hinders you in carrying your cross willingly, and under all circumstances, as your self love. Consequently Christ asks in the first place for the total abnegation of yourself. Let him deny himself. Have you understood what it means to deny yourself? It means that you must contradict all the inclinations and ill-regulated desires of your lower nature. Regard then and treat it as an enemy, because you have many times discovered it to be a traitor. You will never uproot entirely these perverse inclinations of yours. Consequently Christ bids you deny them: Let him deny himself, which means that you must not let them gain the mastery over you.
APPLICATION. Let not sin, that is concupiscence, so the Apostle tells us, reign in your mortal body, so that you obey the lusts thereof. (Rom. vi, 12.) Follow this counsel and your cross will become light to you. You will embrace it gladly, following therein the footsteps of Christ.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded: deliver me in Thy justice. (Ps. xxx, 2.)
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 Compunction of Heart.
VI. It is oftentimes a want of spirit, which makes the wretched body so easily complain.
Pray therefore humbly to our Lord, that He may give thee the spirit of compunction; and say with the prophet: Feed us, O Lord, with the food of tears, and give us for our drink tears in measure.-Ps.lxxix. 6.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXI pt VI.
[compunction = contrition, remorse, reservations.]
September Devotion: The Holy Cross.
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days
Crux mihi certa salus.
Crux est quam semper adoro.
Crux Domini mecum.
Crux mihi refugium.
The cross is my sure salvation.
The cross I ever adore.
The cross of my Lord is with me.
The cross is my refuge.
His Holiness, Pope Pius IX., by an autograph rescript, June 21, 1874, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall say these prayers, drawn up in the form of a cross by the Angelic Doctor, S. Thomas Aquinas: AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
Adoramus te, sanctissime Domine Jesu Christe, benedicimus tibi; quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore Thee, O most blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, we bless Thee; because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of indulgences, March 4, 1882, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall recite this ejaculation: AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
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