The Sign by which Christians Are Known.
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 Sign by which Christians Are Known.
In this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another (St. John xiii. 35).
I. Consider first, what is the special mark by which the Lord has chosen that His followers, that is to say Christians, should be distinguished from all the rest of the human race. It was not the gift of miracles, it was not knowledge, or wisdom, or any other of the high attributes which they possess; it was their mutual love: “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” See what a place of honour has been assigned among all the virtues to ever-blessed charity, to be the very mark by which Christians can be known! Is not this alone enough to make thee in love with charity?
II. Consider secondly, as this love was chosen to be the distinctive mark of a Christian, it must infallibly follow that it can be no common love; it must be an exceeding love, that is to say, greater than any that prevails among . . . all who are not followers of Christ; for otherwise it would not be sufficient to distinguish them, since, as Ecclesiasticus said, “Every animal loveth its like.” And yet Christ not only wished it to be sufficient to distinguish them unerringly, but to distinguish them at once among whatever people they are placed. At once, and therefore He said “in this,” and not “from this,” unerringly, and therefore He said “shall know,” and not “shall guess,” among all people, and therefore He said “all,” and not “many.” Consider then what sort of love is here demanded. It needs must be a love exalted, sublime, superhuman, one that cannot be really imitated by opposite vices, like so many other virtues peculiar to Christians, humility, patience, poverty, remarkable austerity of life, and the like, which like gold too often tempt men to produce a counterfeit resemblance. Is thy charity genuine?
III. Consider thirdly, that in point of fact Christ has obtained His wish that this love should be the mark by which His followers would be distinguished from all other men. Many a time have the astonished idolaters cried out to their companions, speaking of the Christians, “See how they love one another!” And thus it is clearly shown that the saying of Christ, “In this shall all men know it,” contained not only a command, but a prophecy. “They shall know,” for never have false worshippers displayed that superabounding charity which in so many instances Christians have practised, not only among themselves, but also towards their most implacable persecutors, ministering to them in the time of plague, redeeming them from slavery, feeding them when hungry, healing them when sick, and even making them their heirs, in the very act of receiving death at their hands. Yes, search through all the false religions of the world, and thou shalt find no one that can boast of acts comparable with those of Christian charity.
IV. Consider fourthly, how well the Lord has provided for His Church by this command, since He has willed that all within its fold “should have love one for another,” and therefore that all should be joined in perfect union; that each should love all, and that all should love each; so that the cord wherewith He bound them from the beginning should never be snapt asunder. But what was this cord? Know it is a triple cord, which is of all the strongest: “A three-fold cord is with difficulty broken.” And such was the cord which bound His first followers “to one another;” composed of the mind and the will and the way of life. Of the mind, so it is said, “they had but one heart,” by reason of their unity of faith; of the will, so it is said, “they had but one soul,” by reason of their conformity of purpose; and of the way of life, so it is said, “that they had all things in common,” by reason of their perfect agreement of conduct. If Christians were always bound together in this way and would be content to wage no other strife but one of mutual love, what power could ever equal theirs? It is incredible how such close union is hateful to the devil. No wonder then that he exerts himself to the utmost to rend it asunder. Certain it is, that where all ought to be careful to preserve “the unity of spirit in the bond of peace,” as the Apostle said, rebellion, dissension, party strife are growing fiercer every day. Unhappy Christians who know not how supreme is the good which they thus forfeit by disunion! But how dare they call themselves Christians? They alone are such who bear the device of the followers of Christ “Who have love for one another.”
V. Consider fifthly, how it comes to pass that Christians lose that mutual love which Christ so urgently commended to them. The reason is that they do not love Christ. Notice the construction of a circle. The more the lines converge upon the centre, the more nearly they approach each other the further they depart from the centre, the more widely they part company without limit to their divergence. Now this is an exact image of our case. If we were all united in Jesus, thinking of Him, speaking of Him, seeking His glory in all things, can we doubt that we should be closely united among ourselves? But our love for Him is poor and weak: and it is no wonder if there be but little interchange of love among ourselves. Do thou then as I bid thee. Devote thyself in the first place to acquiring the most ardent love of thy Lord. Thou wilt then long for some way of proving it. But as thou knowest that thou canst do no real service to One Who is so rich in all things, what remains for thee? Forthwith employ all thy energies in doing good to those in whose persons He is willing to be served. And these are thy neighbours.
 Ecclus. xiii. 19.
 Eccles. iv. 12.
 Acts iv. 32.
 Acts iv. 32.
 Acts iv. 32.
 Ephes. iv. 3.
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.
Among those who are united in our Lord Jesus Christ by the bonds of charity, and by the desire to procure the honor and glory of God, the most profitable words are those which the Holy Ghost engraves on their hearts by the prayers which they offer for one another.–St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 64.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, 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.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of us, have mercy on us.
Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us.
Jesus, author of life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, example of virtues, have mercy on us.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our refuge, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the poor, have mercy on us.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us.
Jesus, true light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us.
Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our way and our life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, light of Confessors, have mercy on us.
Jesus, purity of Virgins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, crown of all Saints, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the neglect of Thine inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus.
By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy most divine life, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy labors, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Cross and dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let Us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who has said, Ask and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you, mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name, for Thou never failest to help and to govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast love: who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
– Raccolta 113 An indulgence of 7 years. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, for the daily and devout recitation of this litany (S. C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S. P. Ap., Jan. 2, 1933).
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
Prayer in honor of the Holy Name
O my Jesus, Thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. Hitherto I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips.
Most holy Virgin, obtain for me the grace of invoking the name of Thy Son Jesus in all my necessities, together with thine own, my Mother Mary; but let me invoke them always with confidence and love, so that I may be able also to say to thee as did the devout Alphonsus Rodriguez: “Jesus and Mary, may I suffer for you; may I die for you; may I be wholly yours, and in nothing my own!” O my beloved Jesus! O Mary, my beloved Lady! give me the grace to suffer and to die for your love. I will be no longer my own, but altogether yours; yours in life, and yours in death, when I hope by your help to expire saying, Jesus and Mary, help me! Jesus and Mary, I recommend myself to you; Jesus and Mary, I love you, and I give and deliver up to you my whole soul.
The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus de Liguori. p. 163 (Imprimatur 1927)
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