Wednesday after the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.—Always Watching.
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.
Wednesday after the Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.—Always Watching.
Take ye heed, watch and pray. For you know not when the time is. (Mark xiii, 33.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that in these three things, take heed, watch, and pray, is comprised all that is necessary that you may be prepared for death and save your soul. The first is that you should take heed. Ponder seriously on the shortness of this present life which passes away, the uncertainty of death which comes swiftly, and the eternity of the future life which must be yours. Observe how quickly these twenty, thirty, or forty years of your life have already passed. Still more quickly will fly the few remaining years you may have to live.
APPLICATION. Who can assure you of a few years, or even of a few days, remaining to you? Death may come and take you away when you least expect it! Think how many daily die in the flower of their life. How many people in full health die unexpectedly. Take heed, for ye know not when the time is, for there is no single hour which may not very easily be your last. And yet you live as if death and eternity were far away. Think rather of eternity and of death; and think of them often. Do not act as if Christ were deceiving you, when He says to you: You know not when.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. In the morning he shall flourish and pass away: in the evening he shall fall, grow dry and wither. (Ps. lxxxix, 6.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY yet another thing which is necessary. It is that you should watch. This has two meanings. The first is that you should not thoughtlessly and carelessly misuse the time, which is so precious, that has been given you to gain treasures for eternity. Watch, for there is no time to lose. Love not sleep lest poverty oppress thee. (Prov. xx, 13.) The other meaning is that you must watch lest, by living in sloth and idleness, you lose guard and command over yourself, and become a prey to the insults of your enemies and of your unregulated appetites.
APPLICATION. Therefore stand awake and on the watch against your internal and external adversaries. For they will cause your death when you least expect it. Awake, by listening to the voice of God Who calls you to live a better life, for He may never call you again, but leave you to sleep on in your carelessness and in your sins.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Behold Thou hast made my days measurable: and my substance is as nothing before Thee. (Ps. xxxviii, 6.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY the third thing that is needed, which is to pray. This means that you must not cease to commend yourself to God. You cannot be always actually engaged in vocal or mental prayer, but you must above all things never neglect your prayer at the appointed times. You should also during the day often lift your heart to God, and make known to Him the desire and need you have of His divine assistance. The Lord hath heard the desire of the poor. (Ps. x, 17.)
APPLICATION. The shorter these affections and desires are, the more often repeated ought they to be. Think also often of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, which is frequently so close to you. And above all think of death. For the fear of death will make you commend yourself to God with all your heart both earnestly and frequently.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Hearken to my voice, when I cry to thee. Let my prayer be directed as incense in Thy sight. (Ps. cxl, 1, 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 Interior Conversation.
III. There is no great confidence to be put in a frail mortal man, though he be profitable and beloved; nor much grief to be taken, if sometimes he be against thee and cross thee.
They that are with thee to-day may be against thee to-morrow; and, on the other hand, often change like the wind.
Place thy whole confidence in God. and let Him be thy fear and thy love; He will answer for thee, and do for thee what is for the best.
Thou hast not here a lasting city; and wherever thou art, thou art a stranger and a pilgrim: nor wilt thou ever have rest, unless thou be interiorly united to Christ.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch I, pt. III.
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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