The Espousals of the Blessed Virgin — Nazareth. (continued)

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 Espousals of the Blessed Virgin — Nazareth. (continued)

Joseph, her husband, a just man.” — St. Matt. i. 19.

Let us kneel before this humble house, like the pilgrims to the Holy Land and to our Lady of Loretto; let us love it as Joseph and Mary loved it, happy in their poverty, and living in prayer and labour under the eye of God. If God has given us a home as poor as theirs, let us think that holiness can make a sanctuary of any dwelling, where happiness can find place even in this world, through resignation, pious affections, and peace. If he has given to our hearths the riches refused to so many others, let us always think of the House of Nazareth, and imagine that we give to Joseph and to Mary whenever we give work or bread to the poor whom the Lord loves. This is the grace which we should ask for ourselves and each other, through the intercession of Mary, and also through the intercession of that great saint whose memory we should endeavour to bear away in our hearts to-night, never again to let it depart. Let us take St. Joseph for our patron and our friend. His virtues, before which the greatest intellects humble themselves, have nothing in them to alarm us. Labourers, who support your family by the labour of your hands, pray to this holy labourer, who supports by the labour of his hands both the Blessed Virgin and the Infant Jesus. You love people who are easy to speak to; love him then. You can certainly have no difficulty in speaking to him who, sprung from kings as he was, was poor as you are, and your equal in all but holiness. Become holy; love Jesus and Mary as much as he loved them, and you will become quite like St. Joseph. In the meantime tell him all your troubles, simply, as to a friend; he knows them all, and he has the power to remove them, if you deserve it, or to comfort you by teaching you to understand all that your soul will gain by them. Do you think if he was to pray for you that our Saviour would refuse anything to him whom for thirty years He called His father? Listen to what the great St. Teresa says on this subject: “I took for my advocate and my master the glorious St. Joseph, and specially recommended myself to him. I saw clearly afterwards that he whom I had called my master and my father, had delivered me more completely even than I had dared to ask him, in great risks, where the salvation of my soul was endangered. I never remember to this day having asked him a single thing which he has not done for me. To other saints, it appears to me, have been given particular graces, to succour men in one of their necessities, but I know by experience that the glorious St. Joseph succours them in everything; and it is the will of our Blessed Saviour that we should understand that as He submitted upon earth to everything he might order Him to do, since, being only foster-father, he bore the name of father, so he grants him all his requests in heaven, and this has been experienced also by some people whom I have advised to recommend themselves to him. I should wish to persuade all my brethren to become devout servants of this great saint. I never knew a person who had a sincere devotion to him, and who rendered him a special honour, who did not visibly make great advances in virtue; for his intercession does great things for those who recommend themselves to him . . . I ask, then, for the love of God, those who will not believe me to make the trial themselves; they will then learn by experience how greatly the soul benefits by commending itself to this glorious patriarch, having a sincere devotion to him . . . I do not know how we can think of the Queen of Angels, and of the time when she suffered such hardships with the Infant Jesus, without thanking St. Joseph for having done us all such good service by serving them.”

Let us love St. Joseph; let us love him who loved our Saviour so much, who protected Him, who took care of Him, hid Him, and nourished Him. Let us pray to him in life, that we may learn to serve Jesus as he did; let us pray to him in death, that we may die as he did, in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Prayer.

O holy spouse of our glorious Mother, the simplest of all men and the greatest of all saints, since, while thou wert called the carpenter of Nazareth, it was given to thee to call by the name of son the eternal Son of God, teach us to love the obscurity of thy life, there to wait for Jesus, and there to serve Him as thou didst, with all the devotion of our souls. Bring often to our memories the humble house at Nazareth, that we may ponder at the same time on its poverty and on its greatness, and that, seeing such poor walls destined to contain the Child-God, we may understand that poverty may hide under its daily trials so great a treasure that no earthly sufferings would suffice to pay for it, and may the poorest of our houses become rich in virtues, like the house of Nazareth, and Jesus will come and dwell in them. Mary our holy Mother, and thou Joseph, who hast drawn from our Saviour’s love charity for all men, pray for us, that we may adorn our souls as an abode for Him, and that one day the divine Guest whom we have invited to remain with us, may give us entrance into His eternal kingdom. Amen.

Practice.

Often to return in spirit to the house at Nazareth—whether rich or poor to make it the model of our life. To call upon St. Joseph with confidence, and to love Jesus and Mary as he did.

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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August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary

Virtues to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things


O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.

An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901)

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