Friday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost.—Afflictions from the Hand of God.

Friday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost.—Afflictions from the Hand of God.

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.

Friday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost.—Afflictions from the Hand of God.

You now indeed have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice. (John xvi, 22.)

CONSIDER FIRSTLY the apparently strange consolation, that holy Job begged of God in the midst of all his afflictions. He asked for a fresh affliction, and together with the affliction he asked for patience: And that this may be my comfort, that in afflicting me with sorrow, He spare not, nor I contradict the words of the Holy One. (Job vi, 10.) To conform oneself to the will of God when He sends you prosperity and does not try you, is an easy thing to do, but brings little consolation to the soul. But to conform oneself to the will of God fully, and to be consoled when He presses His hand in afflictions, this is true consolation to the spirit of the perfect.

APPLICATION. Blessed indeed are you if you can come to this high state of seeking your consolations in fresh sufferings and in still greater afflictions! And yet you should aspire to this, for in fact we are not here to enjoy life but to suffer. Therefore you will never have true happiness, nor will you ever be content, until you come to find your comfort in suffering.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. They called upon the Lord, and He heard them. (Ps. xcviii, 6.)

CONSIDER SECONDLY the sincere wish of holy Job for suffering. He sat on the dung hill with sores from head to foot and, thus afflicted by God, He asked specially to suffer more. He feared lest God Who is so good, seeing him in such tribulation, might be touched. Therefore he asked, and almost encouraged, Him to continue to treat him with such rigour as would reduce him even to ashes. Now observe to what high virtue mere human nature like your own can arrive by fervour of spirit.

APPLICATION. Be ashamed of your own weakness. Pray to God to give you light to know what a great blessing it is to suffer for Him in this life. Thus by His grace will He strengthen the weakness of your flesh.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. My hand shall help him: and My arm shall strengthen him. (Ps.lxxxviii, 22.)

CONSIDER THIRDLY that holy Job in asking for sufferings, asked at the same time that he might not oppose himself to them when they came, but that he might accept them with complete resignation. Like a truly humble soul, he did not trust himself in this his longing. We very often wish to labour and to suffer much for God. However we may easily presume and trust too much in ourselves, and not pray from our heart that God would help us in the act itself. Hence our longing quickly vanishes, and we lose that perfect conformity to the divine will which we should have in our afflictions.

APPLICATION. No circumstances of time, or of lack of strength, should make trials seem inopportune, nor prevent you from accepting affliction with perfect resignation from the hand of God. This is what holy Job also asked for when he pleaded for sufferings, and this you should ask for all the more because you are so exceedingly weak. Trust less then to your desires, which, although they are good and holy, will never avail you without the special help and assistance of God.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. There also shall Thy hand lead me: and Thy right hand shall hold me. (Ps. cxxxviii, 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.

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Of fervent amendment of our whole Life.

XI. Always remember thy end, and that time once lost never returns.
Without care and diligence thou shalt never acquire virtue.
If thou beginnest to grow lukewarm, thou wilt begin to be uneasy.
But if thou givest thyself to fervour, thou shalt find great peace; and the grace of God and love of virtue will make thee feel less labour.
A fervent and diligent man is ready for all things.
It is a greater labour to resist vices and passions, than to toil at bodily labours.
He that does not shun small defects, by little and little falls into greater.
Thou wilt always rejoice in the evening, if thou spend the day profitably.
Watch over thyself, stir up thyself, admonish thyself; and whatever becometh of others, neglect not thyself.
The greater violence thou offerest to thyself, the greater progress thou wilt make. Amen.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXV pt. XI.

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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, O 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, O 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 grant 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.
R. Amen.
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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