IV. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The Sign of the Cross – continued 2.

IV. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The Sign of the Cross – continued 2.

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.

IV. The Excellence of the Various Parts of the Rosary – The Sign of the Cross – continued 2.

Finally, the Cross is a sign of power. Because Jesus upon the Cross conquered the arch enemy, redeemed mankind and merited for us all blessings and graces, there lies in the sign of the Cross a miraculous strength and efficacy. Jesus himself has said: “Everything that you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.” The sign of the Cross calls for help and grace through the Blood of Christ shed upon the Cross. Would God deny such prayer? The sign of the Cross is a particularly powerful weapon against the malicious and cunning assaults of the devil. Of this St. Chrysostom says: “When in the fulness of faith you make the sign of the Cross upon your forehead no impure spirit will be able to tarry near you; for he beholds the sword that has given him the death blow.” “Write the sign of the Cross upon thy brow,” says St. Cyril, “so that the devils when they see the sign of the king may tremble and take flight.” St Augustine tells us that our mere remembrance of the Cross puts the devil to flight, strengthens us against his assaults, and preserves us from his snares. The sign of the Cross provides us with a powerful weapon, wherewith we may conquer the unseen foe in every attack.

We know, too, from the testimony of Holy Writ, that the evil spirit can injure mankind not only in body and soul but also in earthly possessions. Thus the devil, by God’s permission, slew Job’s children, deprived him of his possessions and afflicted him with painful and loathsome maladies. Now, though Christ by His death has broken Satan’s power, yet He has not completely removed it. For this reason the Church makes the sign of the Cross over people, blesses food and drink, dwellings, water, soil, in brief everything that Christians come in contact with. This she does in order to withdraw all these things from the injurious influence of the evil spirit, to unite them with the divine blessing and thus make them salutary. The grace before meals of Christians has the same purpose. It is indeed a sad token of ignorance, of indifference, or lack of faith, when in Christian homes grace before meals is disregarded, as not infrequently happens in our days. We know from the testimony of history that the sign of the Cross was also employed successfully against bodily evils. When St. Benedict was handed a glass of poisoned wine, the saint made the sign of the Cross over it, and behold the glass broke in his hand, and he was saved from death. St. Gregory of Nissa testifies that his sister during an illness desired her mother to make the sign of the Cross over her; and when it was done the illness left her. Through the sign of the Cross Bishop Fortunatus restored the sight to a blind man; St. Lawrence cured several others similarly affected. St. Roch cured the plague stricken, and the legend says that St. Corbinian brought the dead back to life by this same sign. The lives of the saints are replete with examples that testify to the miraculous power of the sign of the Cross.

Because the Cross is then a sign of honor, of blessing and power, because it is an effective remedy against evils of body and soul, the Church has always exhorted the faithful by word and example to make zealous use of the same at all times. Since the time of the Apostles the sign of the Cross has been made by the faithful in all their undertakings. Through this sign they dedicated their work to God and invoke the divine blessing upon it.

The Fathers teach that this custom originated with the Apostles; it is related even by a pious legend that Christ Himself at His ascension into heaven blessed the Apostles with this sign. How universal this custom was among Christians of the early centuries may be learned from the words of St. Chrysostom: “We find everywhere the sign of the Cross, it is used by princes and subjects, by women and men, by the slaves and the free. They all sign themselves with it by making it over their foreheads.”

Let us then imitate the pious Christians of those days when faith was more lively and robust, and let us never be ashamed of this sign of honor! What would you think of a soldier ashamed of his colors? Let us not be ashamed of this sign, lest Jesus be ashamed of us, when He comes in power and majesty, with the Cross shining before Him like the sun. Let us not deprive ourselves of the manifold blessings of this sign, either through fear of our fellowmen or indifference. Let us make abundant use of this sign of power, so that we may participate in the blessing and protection that comes from the Cross, most especially when assailed by the enemies of our salvation. This sign of the Cross should be placed upon the forehead, lips and breast, before our prayers, for by this our thoughts, our words, and the emotions of our heart are consecrated and become more pleasing to God. This is the purpose of beginning the prayer of the rosary with the sign of the Cross. But, remember, it is not enough to make the sign merely with the fingers, our spirit must take part in making it, and it should be made with reverence, devotion, with a lively faith and firm confidence in the merits of Jesus Christ. Christians who make this sign thoughtlessly and without devotion deprive themselves of the great blessings of this holy sign. We, however, who have just contemplated this glorious token of salvation will use it with the greatest zeal and piety, and profess with it our faith in the blessed Trinity and in our holy mother Church. Amen.

 

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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October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.


Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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