Sermon of Jesus Christ after the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament.
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.
Sermon of Jesus Christ after the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament.
“Little children, yet a little while I am with you.”—St. John xiii. 33.
WHEN Judas Iscariot had gone out of the supper-room, Jesus Christ, who knew well where the unhappy apostle was to betake himself, heaved a deep sigh and exclaimed, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.” This glory, however, was to Jesus a source of anguish, because it had come to Him through the loss of a beloved disciple for whose conversion He had exhausted, as it were, all the treasures of His mercy. Then Jesus turned towards the eleven; and as a tender friend when setting out on a long journey affectionately bids farewell to his dear ones, or as a dying father gathers his beloved children around his bed to convey to them his last wishes, so does the Merciful Redeemer who, foreseeing the hour of His approaching sacrifice, thus addresses His apostles: “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. But the hour of My departure is at hand, and I go where you cannot come at present. As it is the parting hour, hear My last paternal injunctions, and impress them on your hearts, for they are given by the most tender of Fathers in the last moments of His mortal life.” Then Jesus said: “The first and most important command which I give you is that of charity. Dear children, love one another with that sincere affection with which I have loved you. By this love the world shall know that you are My disciples. This love shall be the mark of My true followers, the character by which the children of the Gospel shall be distinguished from the children of the world.
“Let not your hearts be troubled as you hear that I am about to leave you, because though where I go you can not come at present, still the time will come when you also shall follow Me. I go before you to prepare you a place, and when it shall have been prepared I will come again and take you with Me. The words which I speak to you are not Mine, but they are suggested to Me by My Father.
“If you do not believe in Me, believe in My works; believe in the miracles which you have seen wrought by My hands—miracles of such a nature that they surpass all human power. As to those who will believe in Me, they, too, shall perform miracles, and even greater ones than I have performed, if they only ask the power from My Heavenly Father in My name. For whatever you ask the Father in My name, it shall be granted unto you, that the Father may be glorified in His Son. If then it is true that you love Me, keep My commandments; and I will ask the Father, and He will send you the Paraclete, who shall remain with you forever. The Paraclete shall be the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees nor knows Him; but you shall receive and recognize Him, because He shall abide with you and within you. Be, therefore, of good heart; for though I am going away, yet I will not leave you orphans. The Holy Spirit who shall come after Me shall be a father to you. He shall explain to you all these great mysteries which you do not at present understand, and He will give you proofs of all the doctrines which I have preached to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. You have heard that I said to you: ‘I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved Me, you would, indeed, be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it came to pass: that when it shall come to pass you may believe.’”
Such was the sublime and ever-memorable discourse pronounced by our Divine Redeemer after the Last Supper; a discourse from which we should draw these three great lessons: First, that it is a strict duty incumbent upon us all to observe the great precept of charity, if we would be recognized as true followers of Jesus Christ. Second, that the observance of the commandments is of the utmost importance, if we wish to enter the kingdom of heaven. Third, that prayer is necessary in order to obtain from the Eternal Father grace to work out our salvation.
During the delivery of His affectionate farewell to His disciples, our Lord was frequently interrupted by them. Upon hearing the Master say, “Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now, but thou shalt follow hereafter,” Peter, with a fervor quite peculiar to himself, exclaimed, “Why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down My life for thee.” Jesus answered: “Wilt thou lay down thy life for Me? Amen, amen I say to thee, the cock shall not crow till thou deny Me thrice.” St. Thomas, also, hearing Jesus say, “And whither I go you know, and the way you know,” replied at once, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” Jesus made answer thus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me.” “Lord, show us the Father and it shall be enough for us,” immediately rejoined St. Philip, to whom Jesus replied, “Philip, he that seeth Me seeth the Father also.”
From these questions of the apostles, as well as from the replies of our Divine Lord, we are enabled to perceive that before the descent of the Holy Ghost the apostles were very ignorant of the truths of faith. Whence we may infer that had we not the light of the same Holy Spirit to guide us to a knowledge of God and His holy mysteries, we should now be in a like ignorance of them. “We ought also to learn that we shall go, sooner or later, where our Lord has gone, provided we keep His commandments. But if we hear not the divine word and follow the maxims of the world, the Lord will not love us, nor reveal Himself to us, nor lead us to the kingdom of His Eternal Father.
It should be observed here that the great promises of our Divine Redeemer, far from making the apostles more fervent in the observance of the sublime maxims which He constantly taught during the three years of His public life, only served to inflame their ambition. For, hearing the Divine Master speak of His kingdom and future glory, and still believing that Jesus was to reign on earth, they began to dispute among themselves as to which of them should hold the first place in Christ’s kingdom. O miserable human nature! how frail art thou? Only a few moments before the apostles had seen Jesus in an humble posture washing their feet; they had just received the Holy Eucharist; they had just been ordained priests, even the first bishops of the New Law; they had just heard from the lips of Jesus words of eternal life; they had just been assured by Him that His last hour was at hand, and that His enemies were soon to crucify Him: and instead of gathering around their Divine Master to console Him, they began to dispute among themselves. And their dispute, after all the lessons of humility given at the Last Supper, was about what? “There was a strife among them,” the Scripture tells us, “which of them should seem to be the greater.”
But let us hear how our Lord ended the dispute. “The kings of the gentiles,” said Christ, “lord it over them; and they that have power over them are called beneficent. But you not so: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth. For which is greater, he that sitteth at table or he that serveth? Is it not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth.” Those words of Jesus were equivalent to these: “I have humbled Myself so far as to assume human nature; I have even washed your feet; I have practised mortifications and humiliations of every kind; and if you would be My disciples, you should certainly imitate My example.”
Thus Jesus ended His sublime lesson on humility, the foundation of all virtues. Let us, therefore, resolve to practise this great virtue in imitation of our Divine Lord, that we may daily become more pleasing in His sight.
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.
Ask of God much suffering; in giving it to you, He will do you a great favor, for in this single gift are countless blessings. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Bartoli, Book iv.
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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