The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Last Judgment.
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-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.—The Last Judgment.
(Read Matt. xxiv, 15-35.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that, at the end of each one’s life, God passes the particular judgment on his individual soul, and that at the end of the world He will hold the universal judgment on all men. Then will the glory and the reward of the elect be increased, as will also the confusion and punishment of the reprobate. Then will appear the justification of divine Providence which is now so utterly misunderstood. The good are seen to be oppressed while the wicked are in prosperity; the virtuous are despoiled of this world’s goods and the bad are often enriched. Then however these dispositions of divine Providence, which now seem to us so unequal, will be seen to have been all ordered with supreme wisdom for the divine glory and for our good.
APPLICATION. When at times then you may seem to see something, which to your little understanding appears ill regulated in the government or order of the world, recall to mind the warning of the Apostle: Judge not before the time, until the Lord come. (I Cor. iv, 5.) Only on that day will the wise ordering of Providence be perfectly apparent in all that may now seem disorder, just as a piece of tapestry, which if seen on the reverse side seems to be a confusion of ill-ordered stitches and texture, proves, when seen on its right side, to be a most artistically arranged piece of work.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. And He shall judge the world in equity, and He shall judge the people in justice. (Ps. ix, 9.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that when man is near to death his eyes become dimmed, his complexion pale, and his senses and his strength are all seen to fail. So likewise at the end of the world all the elements will be cast into confusion. The sun, the moon and the stars will be eclipsed; the earth will be shaken by horrible earthquakes; a most terrible fire will destroy woods, houses, cities and all that is found upon the earth. Then will be seen clearly what was the worth of that earth that was so passionately beloved of men. All its pomp and all its riches will in a moment be devoured by fire.
APPLICATION. How you should thank God that He has thus beforehand made you know the true value of the goods of this world. All will be so shortly and so suddenly reduced to ashes and mere nothingness!
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The fear of the Lord is holy, enduring for ever and ever: the judgments of the Lord are true, justified in themselves. (Ps. xviii, 10.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that, when the earth shall be destroyed by the devouring fire, the trumpet shall sound from the four quarters of the world and summon the dead from their graves to judgment: Arise ye dead, and come to the judgment. In a moment by the ministry of angels the bodies of the dead shall be seen, re-united to their souls and assembled in the valley of Jehosaphat. At that gathering there will be no distinction between rich and poor, noble and plebeian, monarch and vassal, but only between the good and the bad. Then will it be clear that the only true good is the goodness of virtue, and the only real evil that of sin. Consider, too, the great difference that will be seen between the reprobate and the elect. The souls of the elect will be re-united to bodies more resplendent than the sun, adorned with the four gifts of glory, and raised aloft so as to be nearer the throne of the Most High; the souls of the reprobate will be re-united to loathsome bodies resembling fire brands of hell and will remain in the company of the devils.
APPLICATION. One of these two lots must be yours. Choose now which it is to be. For if now in this world you strive so eagerly to attain an honourable position, and if it so displeases you to be ignored, or to have a sickly or an ill-disposed body, with how much more ardour, then, should you strive in that day of judgment to have a position of true honour and a glorious body. The good and glory of that day will be never-ending.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Let death come upon them: and let them go down alive into hell. But I have cried: and the Lord will save me. (Ps. liv, 16, 17.)
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 fervent amendment of our whole Life.
Thou knowest, O Lord, that we can do nothing if Thou dost not assist us; but Thy grace will make us capable of all, if Thou wilt vouchsafe to grant it; and everything will appear not only possible, but easy to us, if Thou vouchsafe to increase in us, as we beseech Thee, the divine virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Amen.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XXV prayer.
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.
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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