On Our Lord’s Appearance to the Apostles.
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.
On Our Lord’s Appearance to the Apostles.
Imagine yourself a witness of the animated scene depicted in to-day’s Gospel. On the evening of the Paschal Feast the apostles are assembled in the cenaculum; they are discussing the tidings told to them by the women. Alternately inspired with fresh hopes and assailed by cruel doubts, they waver between hope and fear; and while their souls are thus tortured with perplexity, suddenly Jesus, their fondly loved Master, whose loss they have so deeply deplored during the last few days, stands in their midst and salutes them with the loving words: “Peace be with you.” (St. John xx. 19.)
1st. Our Lord appeared to the apostles later than to the women, on the one hand as a slight punishment for the weakness which they had displayed during the Passion, and on the other for the purpose of kindling within them a more vivid desire and longing for Him by the delay, and thereby increasing their joy at seeing Him again; for we know that the more intensely one longs for anything, the more one rejoices when one becomes possessed of it. How often, my soul, has it happened that you have ardently craved some grace or favor from God; you have cherished some wish, some desire which appeared to you most excellent and useful, but the Lord has postponed the accomplishment of your desire, He has withheld the coveted favor either for your correction, or because you are not yet worthy to receive it, or for your greater good, as you will see later on. Look into your past life and you will find in it a corroboration of these words of the author of the Imitation: “Desires often inflame thee and hurry thee on violently; but ponder well whether it be for the honor of God or thine own interest that thou art rather moved.” (B. iii. ch. 11.) Very often the delay in granting your desire has the effect of making you pay greater attention to Him whose honor alone ought to be your chief concern, your God.
2d. Consider that our Lord appeared to the apostles when the doors were shut. By this Christ intends to signify to us that if His servants would enjoy the happiness of receiving Him as their Guest, they ought to keep their door closely shut, the door, that is, of their heart. Jesus is a jealous God. He will tolerate no rival. The more carefully you close your house, the less easily will strange guests obtain access to it, the less is the intrusion of the world, of evil passions to be feared, and then the more surely you may count on the coming of that heavenly Visitor through the closed portals of your heart, who on this day rejoiced the apostles by His presence. “Shut thy door upon thee and call to thee Jesus, thy beloved; stay with Him in thy cell, for nowhere else wilt thou find so great peace.” (Imit.B. ii. ch. 20.) Lay to heart this saying; cleanse your house this very day from all that has no right to be there; banish certain propensities, habits, attachments; then shut the door and, like the apostles, await in holy tranquillity the coming of your Lord.
3d. Consider how kind our Lord is to the apostles. They do not hear a single word from His lips concerning their dastardly desertion of Him; He only wishes them peace, peace after the troublous, calamitous days that are past. Nay, He goes so far in His charity and condescension as actually to partake of fish and honeycomb in their presence in order to banish all fear and set them at their ease, although in His glorified state He has no need of food for His support. Admire the charity which our Lord manifested towards His disciples, and which He has often manifested towards you. Learn also of Him in like manner on your part to stoop, out of charity towards your neighbor, to perform for him some trifling service that may perhaps seem hardly becoming to your superior position and to your personal dignity. Humility is never derogatory to our office or person; on the contrary, it places them in a better light and reflects honor upon them. Wherefore practise some such little act of charity this day, and place before our Lord, who to-day comes to dwell in your heart, some oblation of this description; instead of the broiled fish offer Him an act of mortification and penance, and please Him with the sweet honey of holy devotion during divine worship this day.
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.
True Comfort Is to Be Sought in God alone.
Do with me, O Lord, whatever Thou pleasest; dispense to me either good or evil, health or sickness, life or death, prosperity or adversity, consolations or trials; Thou wilt find me disposed, with the assistance of Thy grace, to receive all things indifferently from Thy fatherly hand, with patience, with submission, with joy, with love and thanksgiving. In one thing, alone, Thou wilt not admit of indifference, and that is, in the business of my salvation. Overwhelm me, therefore, with every misfortune, provided Thou art pleased to preserve me from sin; take from me all riches except those of Thy grace; and in depriving me of all, deprive me not of Thyself; be Thou always my portion, both for time and eternity. Amen. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVII prayer.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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