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.
2. Helps Along the Journey of Life.
Holy Scripture and the saints of God frequently compare man’s life on earth to a journey. They teach us that we are like pilgrims on the way to a distant goal. This goal is eternity—and to eternity we are hastening onwards every day. We meet many snares and pitfalls on this journey through life. We are often told that “life is a warfare,”—a warfare against evil passion, against evil inclination, against temptation and sin. We are warned to be always ready to fight successfully in this spiritual combat.
Now our lot would indeed be sad and deplorable were there no means at hand to help us in the struggle against the manifold forces of evil which we inevitably encounter through the pilgrimage of life. But as children of the Church of Christ we have been amply provided with means to make this journey through life a success. For we have been provided with the seven Sacraments—so many channels of grace, from which we may draw strength and courage and consolation when the spirit flags and the trials and temptations of life weigh heavily upon us. How grateful we ought to be for these spiritual means ever at our command, for these powerful helps and incentives towards leading the Christ-like life.
It is not necessary to recite in detail the manifold effects of the Sacraments when worthily received. It will suffice to speak of the marvelous effects produced in the soul by two of them Penance and the Holy Eucharist. Many a member of the Holy Church sets out with hope upon this journey of life, with a noble resolve to remain true to his Lord during the days of his earthly pilgrimage. But alas! for the weakness of man! Ere he is aware, robber passions attack him. Like the poor traveler going to Jericho he is stripped of all his goods—spiritual goods, the robe of sanctifying grace, and he is left alone in his shame and degradation. Where now shall he turn in his sad plight? Or perhaps, in an evil hour less virtuous companions have given him an outlook into another land, a land where hang the shadows of death and where bloom the fruits of lasting remorse. Again, he is deprived of priceless spiritual possessions—the state of sanctifying grace and the privilege of fellowship with Christ. Whither shall this wounded, wearied, abandoned soul look for help and remedy? Shall it not be to the Christ, to the Son of the living God, to Him Who came to save, to uplift and to sanctify?
Has not this same Saviour instituted a special Sacrament for those who like him have sinned grievously after receiving Baptism? Has He not told His apostles, and through them, told all the priests of His everlasting Church: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain they are retained?” The Council of Trent aptly calls this Sacrament a plank for those who have suffered spiritual ship wreck by losing the grace of God received in the Sacrament of Baptism. But Confession is at the same time one of the best and most practical means for making the journey of life upwards towards our heavenly homeland a success.
Next to Confession as a means and help along life’s journey must be mentioned the Holy Eucharist. It is the food of the strong, the wine that makes virgins, the Bread of Heaven, containing all sweetness. You may remember the beautiful story told in the Book of Kings—a story foretelling the wonderful power of the Holy Eucharist for Christians as a support through life’s devious ways. The prophet Elias fled into the desert from the face of the wicked Queen Jezabel, who sought to put him to death. And as the man of God was oppressed by the heat and fatigue of his journey he lay down under a juniper tree and fell asleep. And lo, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, and placed a vessel with water and a hearth-cake by his head, and awoke him and said to him: “Arise, eat, for thou hast yet a long way to go.” And Elias arose and partook of that heaven-sent food, and in the strength thereof, he went forward for forty days until he came to the mountain of God, Horeb. This beautiful story has been interpreted by the Fathers as a figure and a wonderful foreshadowing of that real Bread from heaven, which was to be given to the Christian wayfarer in the New Law.
Besides these two powerful helps, there are many others proffered to every member of the Church of Christ, wherewith to travel forward successfully through the pilgrimage of years. We have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, our beautiful and approved devotions, like those to the Sacred Heart and to the Sacred Passion of our Redeemer. We have our sodalities and our confraternities, membership in which is frequently enriched with special spiritual privileges and with indulgences. Verily, the Catholic cannot complain that his Church, which is rightly called a mother, fails to provide him with weapons wherewith to fight the spiritual combat. Let us examine whether we appreciate this goodness and this foresight of our mother, and whether we make good use of these helps wherewith we may be enabled to remain her faithful children even to the end of life’s journey and pilgrimage.
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.
June Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Obedience, Piety, Dutifulness
Prayers to the Wound of the Heart of Jesus.
Blessed be the holy Wound of Thy Heart, my most sweet Jesus! Accept, O Lord, my heart and all the powers of my soul. Detach them from earthly affections. Let me lose even the remembrance of the things of this world. Cast my soul into the adorable Wound of Thy Side, into the ocean of Thy love, into the source of true life. Unite my heart for ever to Thy tender Heart, so truly that it will be impossible for me to desire what is not in conformity with Thy will. May I in all things entirely renounce my own will, and unite myself by faith, hope and charity to Thee, my Lord, my God and my Creator. Amen.
O most sweet Jesus, through the Wound of Thy Heart, pardon, I beseech Thee, all my offences against Thee by acting without sufficient purity of intention, or by following my own perverse will. I offer Thee my heart, that Thou mayest unite it to Thy Heart. Then I shall neither seek nor see anything but Thee in all things. I shall have no other will than Thine. Amen.
Jesu! Creator of the world,
Of all mankind Redeemer blest,
True God of God, in Whom we see
Thy Father’s image clear expressed!
Thee, Saviour, love alone constrained
To make our mortal flesh Thine own,
And, as a second Adam, come
For the first Adam to atone.
That selfsame love which made the sky,
Which made the sea and stars, and earth,
Took pity on our misery,
And broke the bondage of our birth.
O Jesus! in Thy Heart divine
May that same love for ever glow!
Forever mercy to mankind
From that exhaustless fountain flow!
For this the Sacred Heart was pierced,
And both with blood and water ran –
To cleanse us from the stains of guilt,
And be the hope and strength of man.
Jesu, to Thee be glory given,
Who from Thy Heart dost grace outpour,
To Father and to Paraclete
Be endless praise for evermore. Amen.
An indulgence of 5 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, If this hymn is devoutly recited every day for a month (S.P.Ap., March 12, 1936). (Raccolta)
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