The Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost.—Tribute to Cæsar.
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 Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost.—Tribute to Cæsar.
(Read Matt. xxii, 15-21.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY the admirable answer given by our Blessed Lord to the malicious question of the Pharisees, as to whether it was right to pay tribute to Cæsar or not. They wished to make Him hated either by the Romans by saying, No! or by the Jews if He replied in the affirmative. Render therefore to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s: and to God the things that are God’s. (Matt. xxii, 21.)
APPLICATION. This is what all faithful servants of Christ should do, i.e., leave to the world the things of the world. To the world belong honours, pomp, riches. Such things then you should leave to those who are in the world and who are of the world. Consider seriously and see if there be in your heart any inordinate affections for these things. Do you aim at withdrawing your heart from worldly things, or do you try, as far as you can, to procure honour or riches or ease for yourself? Be ashamed of having lived a life so contrary to the maxims of Christ our Lord.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Shall not my soul be subject to God? For from Him is my salvation. (Ps.lxi, 2.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that it is not enough to leave to the world that which is the world’s, but that you must also give to God what is God’s. You belong to God by many titles, and especially those of creation and of redemption. By the right of creation, for God made you out of nothing and gave you a perfect body, together with an immortal soul made to the image of God. By the title of your redemption, for He bought you back from the slavery of sin, and from the slavery of the devil, at the cost of His own most precious Blood, and of His own life.
APPLICATION. Notwithstanding so many favours as these, how many times have you not left the service of God in order to follow your own disorderly inclinations? How often have you used your faculties and your talents to please creatures by displeasing your Creator?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Be thou, O my soul, subject to God: For He is my God and my Saviour: He is my helper, I shall not be moved. (Ps. lxi, 6, 7.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY in what this rendering to God the things that are God’s consists. It consists in seriously persuading yourself that all you have and all you are belongs to God. Your body, soul, senses and faculties all belong to God, Who gave them to you; and to God you must render them by using them in His service and to His glory. Powers of mind and body, health and strength, and all the other gifts of nature, are all God’s, as well as all the good that you can achieve by means of them. Render it then all to God by recognising it as His gift alone, and attributing to Him alone the glory. From God especially came the gifts of grace, for of your own and of yourself you have nothing but sin.
APPLICATION. Learn then once for all to recognise all as coming from God, and to thank Him for it. Confess that in yourself there is nothing of good, that by yourself you are only able to do what is evil. If you are faithful in rendering to God all that He has given you, He will be ever still more liberal in enriching you with His gifts.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. I am Thy servant; give me understanding. (Ps. cxviii, 125.)
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 Judgment and the punishment of Sins.
God is patient, says St. Augustin, because He is eternal. But after the days of patience shall come the day of justice; terrible, inevitable day, when all flesh shall appear before the king of eternity, in order to render an account of their works, and even of their thoughts. Transport yourself in spirit to that formidable moment; see how the dust of the tombs is stirred, and how the dead from all quarters rush to the feet of the Sovereign Judge. Then all secrets are brought to light, the conscience has no longer any darkness, and each one awaits in silence the fate which is to be allotted to him forever. The two cities separate; the great sentence is pronounced; it opens heaven to the just, and falls upon sinners with all the weight of eternal reprobation, Surrounded by the faithful angels and by the brilliant body of the elect, Jesus Christ reascends to His glory. Satan seizes his prey and drags it into the abyss. All is consummated for ever. There
remain now but the joys of heaven and the despair of hell. Whilst you are still on the earth the choice between those future abiding places is left to you choose then; but remember there can be no repentance beyond the grave.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXIV reflection.
November Devotion: The Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Virtues to practice: Charity and kindness.
Most loving Jesus, I humbly beseech Thee, that Thou Thyself wouldst offer to Thine eternal Father in behalf of the Holy Souls in purgatory, the Most Precious Blood which poured forth from the sacred wounds of Thine adorable Body, together with Thine agony and death. And do thou likewise, 0 sorrowful Virgin Mary, present unto Him, together with the dolorous Passion of thy dear Son, thine own sighs and tears, and all the sorrows thou didst suffer in His suffering, in order that, through the merits of the same, refreshment may be granted to the souls now suffering in the fiery torments of purgatory, so that, being delivered from that painful prison, they may be clothed with glory in heaven, there to sing the mercies of God for ever and ever. Amen.
Absolve, 0 Lord, the souls of all the faithful departed from every bond of sin, that with Thy gracious assistance they may deserve to escape the judgment of vengeance and enjoy the blessedness of everlasting light.
V. Eternal rest give unto them O Lord
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. From the gates of hell,
R. Deliver their souls, O Lord.
V. May they rest in peace.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.
O, God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful; grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids the remission of all their sins: that through our devout supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Eternal rest, etc.
An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if these prayers are said daily for a month (S. C. md., Sept. 15, 1888; S. P. Ap., April 25, 1934).
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