First Denial of Peter.

First Denial of Peter.

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.

First Denial of Peter.

But Simon Peter followed Jesus afar off, and so did another disciple, to the high priest’s palace. And that disciple was known to the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the court of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the portress and brought in Peter. And when they had kindled a fire of coals in the midst of the hall, because it was cold, and were sitting about it, Peter sat with the servants to see the end, and warmed himself. Now when Peter was in the court below, there cometh one of the maidservants of the high priest, the maid that was portress; and when she had seen Peter sitting in the light and warming himself, and had looked on him, she said: Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth, the Galilæan. This man also was with him. Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? But he denied Him before them all, saying: Woman, I am not. I know Him not. I neither know nor understand what thou sayest.”—Matt. xxvi. 69, 70; Mark xiv. 66-68; Luke xxii. 54-57; John xviii. 25.

[NOTE. There is, perhaps, no scene in Scripture more difficult to harmonize than the scene of Peter’s first denial; yet, as usual where harmony is difficult, the fact itself cannot for a moment be suspected. The first three Evangelists give it at the fireside, and do not say that the maid who challenged Peter was portress. St. John seems to imply that the denial took place at the gate as soon as Peter had entered, and that it was made in answer to a challenge of the portress. If, as seems to be right, we must confine the denials to three, it would appear to be necessary to give the preference to the account of St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, and to take from St. John further details. At the same time, it is to be noted that St. John puts the second denial at the fireside, which the others place after he had left it; the third he describes as in answer to “the kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off,” whom the others do not mention. The narrative of St. John is throughout much more circumstantial and dramatic than is that of the others. It reads much more like the evidence of an eyewitness; it is written by one who already knew the other accounts; and if, as many suppose, St. John was “the other disciple known to the high priest,” it may well be the most accurate version. If we allowed four denials, then the accounts could be easily reconciled one at the gate, one at the fireside, and two after Peter had left it; though here, again, it is not clear that all are speaking of the same occasions. But for the purposes of meditation we have preferred the traditional three; the solemn fact remains, and alone concerns us.]

Peter had had his warning; he had disbelieved in it; he had despised it; a later word implies that he had forgotten it; in consequence even Peter, the first to declare Our Lord to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” is the first to deny Him.

The reason for the fall is clear. It is not merely fear of the portress; had they been alone, would he have denied Our Lord at her taunt? Would she ever have uttered it? Rather it is that demoralizing influence of a crowd, of public opinion, close akin to human respect, which so often seems to paralyze our lips when we would speak the truth.

And the occasion is no less clear. Peter’s motive for going there was good; he went “that he might see the end.” But the motive was not enough to justify his being there. He forgot the prayer: “Lead us not into temptation.”

Summary.

1. The neglect of warning.

2. The reason of the fall.

3. The occasion.

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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