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.
“Work and Pray”.
“Work and pray”—is a maxim whose faithful observance has filled many a life with happiness, and rewarded it with a crown of glory celestial. It is a saying which guided the members of the monastic orders, who did so much for the spiritual and social welfare of European nations ever since the Middle Ages. Had they not been devoted to this twofold exercise, they would not have become such mighty forces for the spread of Christian culture. But it was because the hands that were devoted to rugged toil were frequently lifted up in prayer, that “God gave the increase,” and blessed the efforts of the monks causing fruit a hundred fold to spring from the labors of the religious brotherhoods.
It is true that now-a-days we hear a good deal about the value of work. Long before an American ex-President had sung the praises of the “Strenuous Life,” Carlyle had written down in memorable words, the stern duty of every man to work to the best of his ability. “Blessed is the man who has found his work; let him ask no greater blessing.”
But there is no doubt that work joined with prayer, or work lifted up to a higher sphere by the “good intention,” will have more value before God. “Prayerful “ work never missed its reward. Who has not heard of the famous Indian Reductions of Paraguay? The story has often been told how the savages had been gradually weaned from their wild life in the forest and mountains, and brought to the settled life of the plains and the pampas by the good example of their spiritual guides, who taught them to join work and prayer. The savages now began to lay out fields and orchards. Every hour had its appointed task, for both young and old. The bell never failed to ring for prayer after the day’s work. It also rang at intervals during the day’s toil. Who will say that this exercise of hand and heart was misplaced? Who will deny that it was richly blessed? The “Reductions” were a model community, solidly established in social peace and industrial prosperity. But then envy, and hatred of the name of God, began their devastating work. The enemies of Christ broke in upon this happy domain and rudely swept away the fruit of toil and prayer.
“Work and pray”—both exercises are equally good, equally noble and important. But when the limbs refuse to respond as actively as in the days of youth to the call of duty, when the fatigue of old age has set in, and the weakening of bodily forces has begun—even then, you may work and pray. For prayer welling up from a simple heart, fervent and persevering prayer, is work; it is work for the common good, for God’s Church, for all the faithful, for all mankind.
“Ora et labora”—write these words before you and heed their gentle message. For they are a message coming to you from the great ones of the Heavenly City. It comes to you from the sainted men and women who toiled through life’s fitful fever, and from those who achieved the blessed reward of days well-spent for God and man.
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.
The life of man on earth is full of grief, of misery, and of sufferings. Who is there that does not know this? We are visibly punished, and as the justice which chastises us is all-powerful, there are no means of escape from the chastisement, Now, in this condition, human wisdom has seen but the choice between two alternatives, either to shut its eyes to the nature of things and deny that it was punishment, or to seek a distraction from it in the indulgence of the passions. It has demanded happiness from pride and from the senses, and, deceived in its hopes, it has veiled its head, saying: There is no remedy. The world was in this condition, when suddenly a voice was heard: Blessed are they that mourn! (Matt. v. 5)· The nations listen and are astonished: something new is stirred up within them; they understand, they taste the joy of tears, and from the height of the cross, on which the Man of sorrows (Is. liii. 3) is suspended an inexhaustible river of unknown consolations flows over the entire human race. Life has lost its sadness, since Jesus, bathed in a sweat of blood, and in the midst of his agony, cried out: My soul is sorrowful even unto death (Mark, xiv. 34). – 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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