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.
5. The Triumph of Failure.
We often read of the complete antithesis that exists between the spirit of the world and the spirit of Christ. As Christians, we are told to hate the world and to beware of its snares and deceitful maxims. We need not be afraid to follow our Lord’s advice to hate the world and its abominations. He Himself said: “I pray not for the world.” The world is a society diametrically opposed to the spirit and purpose of the great spiritual organization, founded to save souls—the Catholic Church.
As a consequence of this antagonism between the two organizations, there is also a complete antithesis in the judgments, which they respectively pass on questions and principles of utmost importance to man. When, for instance, a man who has spent his whole life in poverty and suffering comes to die, the world, that is, people in general, will say that such a man’s life was a failure. And when to the last days of that man there were added great death bed sufferings, when he was carried out to a lone grave—the world will say that such a life was even a greater failure. But mark well, this is the judgment of a hard and selfish world, which measures success by gross material standards.
For is it true that a life of pain and suffering patiently borne, a life of poverty passed in the friendship of God, but devoid of all the pleasures and comforts of this world, is really a failure? We must answer in the negative if we base our opinions on the words of our Divine Lord. He tells us of the poor man Lazarus, who received not even the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, and yet, when he came to die, was borne by angels to the home of eternal peace and happiness. And the rich man, who was clad in fine linen and fared sumptuously every day, the hard-hearted one, when he too came to die, he was buried in hell. Therefore, is it true that a life of affliction and misery, borne with resignation and conformity to God’s will, is a failure?
Judged from the standpoint of the world our Divine Lord’s career was evidently a complete failure. For it was a life of humility, of toil and of dire poverty. He had some obscure friends, few of whom He could trust entirely, and one of whom sold Him to His enemies. Hence when these enemies had done Him to death and had consigned Him to the tomb, they rejoiced mightily. For they looked upon that Man as inimical to their interests, and now they were glad, because, apparently, His life had closed with the ignominy of the cross. And yet on the third day that same Jesus, whose life they had loudly proclaimed a failure, by His own might rose from the tomb, and stood forth as victor, crowned with undying glory.
The lives of those who imitate Christ most closely, that is, the lives of the saints, are often looked upon as failures by a deluded world. And from the narrow, worldly point of view we may grant that they are failures. Thus the magnanimous St. Paul, enduring hardships and privations for the Master he once persecuted, may have seemed a simpleton to the wise men of Greece and Rome. And yet to-day, the name of Paul shines forth brightly as an heroic apostle of righteousness unto the nations, and as the one who brought unto them the knowledge and the love of the Lord Jesus. Many of the saints died after horrid tortures for the sake of their Divine Master. We may mention a St. Agnes and a St. Cecilia. The world pitied them for their folly in giving up their rich prospects, their homes, the pleasures of life. And yet, now these two names loom up brightly on the roll of illustrious heroines. St. Athanasius persecuted by the world, Francis Xavier penetrating to an unknown people, Peter Claver slaving for the black outcast of Carthagena, Vincent de Paul, sacrificing his health that others might live, Brebeuf and Lallemant dying amid flames for the tribes of the Canadian forest, Father Damien breathing out his soul amidst the lepers of Molokai, Joan of Arc suffering at the stake, Soeur Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus, leading a quiet and retired life when she might have shone in society—the lives of these and of countless other devoted men and women may have seemed a failure to a blind and sinful world, for these lives were all inspired by “the folly of the cross.” And the cross means everything that the world flees from. But are not all these great saints esteemed as heroes of humanity, has not the world been made better for their living and are they not honored to-day by the noblest of our race? The saints are great, not only because churches and towns and institutions have been named in their honor, not only because they did great things for the welfare of the human brotherhood, but above all, because they led the saintly life—because they were heroes in the strife for good and for virtue, heroes in the contest against evil and sin and unrighteousness of every kind. Does not the glory which to-day is theirs answer the question, whether the virtuous life, though ending in obscurity and even in martyrdom, is a failure?
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.
That temporal Miseries are to be borne with Patience after the Example of Jesus Christ.
[Christ.] 1. Son, I came down from heaven for thy salvation; I took upon Me thy miseries, not of necessity, but moved thereto by charity, that thou mightest learn patience, and mightest bear without repining the miseries of this life.
For from the hour of My birth till My expiring on the cross, I was never without suffering.
I underwent a great want of temporal things; I frequently heard many complaints against Me ; I meekly bore with confusion and reproaches; for My benefits I received ingratitude; for My miracles, blasphemies; and for My heavenly doctrine, reproaches.-. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XVIII.
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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