Crucifixion of Heart. St. Ignatius the Martyr.

Crucifixion of Heart. St. Ignatius the Martyr.

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.

Crucifixion of Heart. St. Ignatius the Martyr.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world (Galat. vi. 14.).

I. Consider first, how resolutely the Apostle cries out that he will glory in nothing but the Cross of his Lord. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Might he not have justly gloried also in the wisdom of his Lord, in which he had so largely shared, or in His tenderness of charity, or in His vast influence, or in His superhuman power of working miracles? Doubtless he might; and yet he desired to glory alone in the Cross of Christ, which was then the opprobrium of the world. Happy art thou, if one day thou too shalt learn to appreciate so true a glory! But thou, what dost thou? At best, thou art content to derive glory from the Cross of Christ, not to glory in His Cross. Thou derivest glory from the Cross, because thou gloriest in being a Christian, and as a follower of the Crucified One, thou dost display His Cross upon thy standards, thou dost worship it, greeting it with loud acclamations of honour as thou raisest it on high. But, nevertheless, thou dost not desire to glory in the Cross, for thou carest not to remain upon it, as thou seest Christ remain. Strive to be able in thy own name henceforth to say with truth, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thou wilt find, on attentive consideration, that this Cross consists in three things: extreme poverty, extreme suffering, extreme ignominy. And when thou placest thy glory in these things, thou placest it in the Cross. The world finds its glory in greatness of wealth, in pleasures, in honours. Thine should be placed in far different things.

II. Consider secondly, that this text declares that the world should be crucified to thee, and thou to the world. The meaning is that there should be a direct opposition of sentiment; that thou shouldst contradict the world and the world thee. If two men are nailed to the same cross, one turns his back to the other. So it happens in the present instance. The world turns its back upon thee, thou must turn thy back upon the world. The world laughs at thee, because thou despisest the goods which it prizes so dearly; laugh thou, in thy turn, at the world. The world loves thee not; love not thou the world. The world esteems thee not; esteem not thou the world. This is to be truly crucified.

III. Consider thirdly, that if thou wishest to die to the world by being crucified, the world must first be dead to thee. For this reason the Apostle says not, “I am crucified to the world, and the world to me,” but, “The world is crucified to me, and I to the world.” The world dies to thee when thou actually renouncest all worldly goods; for the world has then no longer any allurements to offer thee, and is, as it were, dead to thee. Thou diest to the world when thou renouncest them in affection, because then thou on thy part canst not be allured, and becomest, as it were, dead to all these attractions. Dost thou wish then in affection to renounce with facility earthly goods, riches, pleasures, honours, as so many saintly religious do, who are therefore said to be dead to the world? Renounce them, if possible, in fact, by flying to the cloister, and, as I have already said, cause the world to be dead to thee. It is a miracle not to fix our affections on earthly goods whilst we actually possess them. “Happy the rich man who follows not after gold.”[1] Thus says the Holy Scripture It says not, “Happy the man,” but, “Happy the rich man,” for such a man would, indeed, be the greatest of prodigies.

Consider fourthly, that we can have no part in this blessed Crucifixion except by the aid of Jesus Crucified. Hence the expression, “through Whom.” The love thou bearest to Him Who has suffered so much for thee must be such that it will cause the world to die to thee, and thee to the world. What will not the love of Christ effect if thou givest it a lodging? Look into the heart of the great martyr, St. Ignatius, and there thou shalt see.

[1] Ecclus. xxxi. 8.

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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He who does not love God with his whole heart, is loving something for itself, and not for GodSt. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 3.

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February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)

Virtue to practice: Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales

An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).

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Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin,

R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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