Words spoken by our Holy Redeemer after the Washing of Feet.
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.
Words spoken by our Holy Redeemer after the Washing of Feet.
“Then after He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, being set down again, He said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord: and you say well, for so I am. If then I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet: you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”—St. John xiii. 12-14.
AFTER having washed the feet of His dearly beloved disciples, Jesus Christ exhorted them to love one another and to practise holy humility, the queen of all virtues. He said to them: “You call me Master, and Lord: and you say well, for so I am. If then I, who am your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” This address was tantamount to saying, “If I, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Creator of heaven and earth, have so far abased Myself as to wash the feet of My creatures, My disciples, to wash the feet of Judas; how much more ought you to do the same to one another, to pity one another, love one another, help one another: you who are children of the same Father, who are all alike but dust and ashes, who are all subject to the same diseases, miseries, and misfortunes! Do, therefore, to one another as I have done to you. Blessed, indeed, shall you be, if, having penetrated into the meaning of My words and learned how pleasing to Me is the virtue of humility, you endeavor to imitate My example and show yourself in every action meek and humble of heart.”
This was the admirable lesson which the Divine Redeemer gave to His apostles after the mysterious Washing of Feet. A pious author explaining these words, “Know you what I have done to you?” speaks thus: “If you wish to know what Christ did for His apostles at the Last Supper, you can be easily informed. He prostrated Himself before them, washed and, according to a pious tradition, kissed their feet. But if you inquire still further and ask to know what was done for them not merely at the Last Supper, but from the very beginning, the answer will be quite another. It will lead us back to the very hour of creation. This Divine Lord created them out of nothing; when they were incapable of loving God, He infused that divine love into their hearts; nor did He make them after the image of any created thing, but according to His own image and likeness, imprinting on their souls, as it were, an image of the Most Holy Trinity by gifting them with will, memory, and understanding. He gave them the great gift of free will; He gave them angels for their guardians and constant companions; He created this world for their benefit; He prescribed a law for them which, if faithfully observed, would guide them to eternal life; He granted them the pardon of their sins; when He became man He taught them the knowledge of the way to heaven; He healed the sick among them; He raised their dead to life; in a word, He granted them all the graces and blessings of which they stood in need. Might not Jesus well ask His disciples, ‘Know you what I have done to you?’”
Now, all the general benefits which Jesus Christ conferred on His apostles have been likewise given to each of us. He created this visible wonderful world for us; He created us out of nothing; He loved us from eternity; He created us to His own image and likeness; He endowed us with will, memory, and understanding; He destined us for heaven; He instituted seven Sacraments for our sanctification; in short, He accomplished the grand work of human redemption for us.
How have we corresponded to these immense benefits? What have we done in return? Alas! we have repaid our Divine Lord with the basest ingratitude. Let us, therefore, endeavor to change our life, firmly resolving to become true followers of Jesus. To attain this end let us often reflect on the benefits which He has bestowed on us from the hour of our creation to this very moment; we shall then be able to understand how truly worthy Jesus is of all our love and gratitude.
The example of our Holy Redeemer should not only be admired, but it should also be imitated. “If then I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” This was equivalent to saying, Let man do what God did; let the servant imitate the example of his master. No human dignity should refuse to do what the Master of heaven and earth did; what the Master practised should be practised by the servant, and no Christian should disdain to do what Christ Jesus did.
St. Augustine explaining the following passage of the Gospel, “Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls,” paraphrases it thus: “Learn of Me not to build the world, not to create visible and invisible things, not to work miracles, not to raise the dead to life; but learn to be meek and humble of heart.”
We are not required to go into strange countries in order to perform works of charity; we are not required to expose our lives to enlighten those “who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death;” we are not required to undertake any long and dangerous journey, nor to enter the cloister; no, our Merciful Lord does not exact so much from us. To do those things requires graces from heaven which are not granted to all, but to a few only. All that is required of the faithful at large is the observance of the divine law, and perfect submission to Him whose yoke is sweet and whose burden is light. We are commanded to bear with patience our own and our neighbor’s infirmities, to abstain from those things which are forbidden by the commandments of God and of the Church, and to be faithful Christians not only in name but also in deed.
It is not necessary to perform heroic actions in order to be Christians; nor is it necessary to go to distant countries to practise Christian virtues. They may be practised everywhere. We are surrounded on all sides by powerful enemies; we are especially assailed by our common enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil; therefore, we shall always have occasions to practise the virtues of patience and resignation. We can also frequently exercise ourselves in the virtue of charity by assisting our fellow-creatures, by advising them, and praying for them. Opportunities are never wanting to practise voluntary mortifications in order to atone for our faults. Finally, we should ever show ourselves true followers of Christ by a close and constant imitation of His virtues, especially those of meekness and humility.
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.
Whilst the enemy sees us humble, he tries to inspire the mind with a false humility, that is to say, an extreme and wicked humility. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 8.
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).
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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