The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost.—Lesson of Humility.
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 Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost.—Lesson of Humility.
(Read Luke xiv, I-II.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY this short maxim of true humility which Jesus gives you. Sit down in the lowest place. You must put yourself in the lowest place in your own heart and in your opinion of yourself, considering every one else better than yourself. That this may be less difficult to your pride, consider seriously your natural and moral imperfections, your ingratitude towards the divine goodness and your many sins, for which you have deserved to be trampled under the feet of Lucifer. This will lead you to say like David: I will be little in my own eyes. (2 Kings vi, 22.)
APPLICATION. Till now perhaps you have done the opposite. Closing your eyes to your imperfections, to your sins, to your pride, you look only at the defects of others. It is no wonder therefore that, instead of putting yourself in the last place in your own opinion, you so easily prefer yourself to others. Oh how many others there are, whom you consider your inferiors, but who before God are much better than you and will be still more so in the next life.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou hast regarded my humility: Thou hast saved my soul out of distresses. (Ps. xxx, 8.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that you should put yourself in the lowest place exteriorly also. Procure for yourself as far as it is permitted you the lowest place in all things, and rejoice when by the will of others or by order of superiors you are placed there. Whenever you find yourself in a higher place, you should show great humility in your outward behaviour, manifesting the low opinion you have of yourself, and esteeming yourself below others in talents and in merit. You must let this low opinion of yourself be also evident in your words, by being as silent as possible in everything that might turn to your own praise. Praise others at all times. Be content to be reproved for your faults, but hide those of your neighbours as much as you can.
APPLICATION. Reflect carefully on your behaviour hitherto in this respect. You will find much to be ashamed of in your great pride.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou wilt save the humble people; but wilt bring down the eyes of the proud. (Ps. xvii. 28.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY by way of animating yourself to conquer your pride and to seek the lowest place, that the rules and standards of Christ are far different from those of the world. The world thinks most of him who exalts himself; Christ of him who humbles himself. By humility we now become more like unto Christ Who humbled Himself, in order that we may be more like Him in glory. He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Who are those who are most venerated and esteemed even by the world? Certainly not the proud nor the ambitious and arrogant, but the humble like St. Francis of Assisi, who in order to follow in the footsteps of Christ had espoused humility.
APPLICATION. What more monstrous then to see one, who even as a Christian professes to imitate the humility of Christ, in any way urged on by ambition, courting honours, sensitive on points of honour, preferring himself to others, praising himself and seeking the most honourable posts? Keep ever before you that teaching of Christ: Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humble heart, O God Thou wilt not despise. (Ps. I, 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 the Consideration of the Misery of Man.
I. Thou art miserable wherever thou art, and which way soever thou turnest thyself, unless thou turn thyself to God.
Why art thou troubled because things do not succeed with thee according to thy will and desire?
Who is there that has all things according to his will?.
Neither I, nor thou, nor any man upon earth.
There is no man in the world without some trouble or affliction, though he be a king or a pope.
Who is it that is most at ease? doubtless he who is willing to suffer something for God’s sake.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXII pt. 1.
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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