The Trial before Annas.

The Trial before Annas

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 Trial before Annas.

The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world, I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple whither all the Jews resort, and in private I have spoken nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them who have heard what I have spoken to them; behold, they know what things I have said. And when He had said these things, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest Thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken ill, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou Me? And Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest.”– JOHN xviii. 19-24.

1. This preliminary trial still shows Our Lord in all His dignity. He knows that Annas has no real jurisdiction over Him; therefore He gives him no direct answer. More than that, Annas inquires first of Our Lord’s disciples, as if he would gladly involve them in the ruin of their Master. Here, indeed, for us English Catholics, is an anticipation of those attempts at involving others by cross-examination of our martyrs with which their records are full. But Our Lord sets the example of a model answer. He does not deny that He has followers; indeed, all the world are His followers; He points to all those who have listened to Him “in the synagogue and the Temple”; of His very own He says nothing; of those whom His Father had given Him He has not lost any one.

2. The answer is exasperating, precisely because it is so true. It is triumphant, and therefore to the vanquished it appears as an impertinence. So does it appear to this court. “And when He had answered these things, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest Thou the high priest so?” No doubt Our Lord had been struck already since the affair in the Garden; but this is the first blow of His life that is recorded. We hear it fall; we see the livid marks it leaves upon His face; we know that from henceforth those blue stripes will be there. As we look we recall the words of the greatest of heathen philosophers. When he describes his ideal of a man, he says that he will have a great heart which will endure bravely great misfortunes, will accept even shame with equanimity. But there he draws the line; he says there is one shame which no great man will accept; to accept it, he says, marks a feeble soul; he will not endure to be struck in the face. Yet here Our Lord endures it! One may say with truth, that blow marks the boundary line between paganism and Christianity; the line where paganism stops and Christianity goes forward.

3. The blow has fallen; there follows a solemn silence; for the moment all there present, soldiers, and high priest, and on-lookers alike, are awed by this wanton act of shame. They feel that they have overstepped all bounds. And in the midst of the silence is heard the solemn rebuke: “If I have spoken ill, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou Me?” But they have now waded too deep; they will not go back. They break up the assembly; they pack off the Prisoner to another court; themselves they slink away like whipped curs, as a sinner slinks away when he has done a deed of shame, and in the very act his conscience rises up and rebukes him.

Summary.

1. Our Lord’s defence of Himself and of His own.
2. The blow He received; the dividing-line between paganism and Christianity.
3. The rebuke which followed it, making the sinner ashamed.

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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If you wish to advance in the love of God, speak of it; for pious conversations are to charity what the wind is to the flame.. St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter of April 15, 1543.

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March Devotion: St. Joseph

Virtue to practice: Mortification

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious Son of David, pray for us.
Splendour of patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Watchful Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most pure, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most couragious, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of all who labor, pray for us.
Glory of family life, pray for us.
Preserver of virgins, pray for us.
Mainstay of families, pray for us.
Solace of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He hath made him master of His house,
R. And ruler of all His possessions.

Let us Pray.

O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph

(This prayer was said to be founded in the 50 A.D. In the 1500′s it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. According to oral tradition, whoever reads this prayer, hears it, or carries it, will not fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor will they be defeated in battle.)

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.

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To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and, implored the help of thy thrice-holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou was united to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength. Most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us most lovely father, all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.

An indulgence of 3 years. An indulgence of 7 years during the month of October, when said after the recitation of the Rosary and on any Wednesday throughout the year. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, If this prayer is devoutly said daily (Leo XIII, Encyclical Aug. 15, 1889; S.C. Ind., Sept. 21, 1889; S.P.Ap., May 17, 1927; Dec. 13, 1935; and March 10, 1941).

Good St. Joseph protect us, protect the holy Church.

O good and kind St. Joseph guide us in the way of perfection.

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