Our Spiritual Armor.
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.
Our Spiritual Armor.
The Value of Prayer.
We do not recall as often as we should that in fervent and persevering prayer we have a potent means of obtaining necessary graces. We are apt to lead purely natural lives and to overlook the fact that to secure help in troubles of the soul we need not so much the courage and strength that come from creatures, but rather the assistance of Divine Grace. But, as just said, this is most readily secured by prayer.
The words in St. Matthew, “Seek and you shall find,” and “all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive,” are certainly very explicit. They need no long explanation. Our Lord simply says “ask” and faith tells us we shall “receive.”
We must, of course, bear in mind that through want of foresight, or because we are blinded by passion or self-interest, or impelled by unworthy motives, we may pray for something that is not best for our soul’s welfare. God has not promised to hear such a petition. Indeed, it would not be consistent with His Providence and Wisdom to do so.
Our Lord has given us the example of persevering prayer. St. Matthew tells us “He went up into a mountain alone to pray, and when it was evening, He was there alone.” St. Luke adds, “He passed the whole night in the prayer of God.” The private and public life of the Saviour was above all a life of prayer.
It is, no doubt, in imitation of this example of the Son of God that the Saints were devoted to prayer. They have left us some most consoling words concerning the power of humble prayer. Without frequent recourse to this ready weapon they would not have persevered in God’s grace and friendship. Perseverance in prayer meant for them perseverance in the state of sanctifying grace and the securing of the crown of everlasting life.
St. Alphonsus Ligouri goes so far as to say that he who prays is saved, he who prays not, is lost. These words, too, are explained readily enough. For if we must pray for strength to overcome grievous temptation, that is, temptation to mortal sin, and if Christ tells us that if we ask, we shall receive, it is plain that with prayer we shall find the power to resist that temptation. But if we pray not, the chances are that nature or passion or the force of evil habit may prove too strong, and plunge the soul in mortal sin and thus endanger its salvation. For does not our Lord warn us in the words of St. John: “Without me you can do nothing”? These words mean that without Him we can do nothing in the Spiritual order, nothing for the soul’s salvation.
Even in the Old Law we find a strong proof of the value and power of faithful prayer. When the Israelites were leaving Egypt they encountered their old enemy, King Amalec. The King engaged them in battle and Moses went up to a hill to pray for his people. “And when Moses lifted up his hands, Israel overcame: but if he let them down a little, Amalec overcame.” And so two men were sent up to support the hands of Moses while in prayer. And then the chosen people conquered their foe. It was then not so much by the might of arms as by the power of prayer that victory was secured.
These few thoughts about the value of prayer should console those who, through age or sickness, or for some other reason, cannot engage in strenuous work for God and cannot perform other arduous sacrifices, or attend all the services of the Church. They can at least pray. They can pray for themselves, for others, for our missions, for the whole flock of Christ. This prayer will never be in vain. Christ Himself said so. Those who engage in it are doing much in the upbuilding of Christ’s Kingdom. They are practicing a noble duty, whose vast importance He Himself taught by example. Prayer brings down blessings upon all the people, blessings ten-fold or a hundred-fold, depending upon the fervor, sincerity, confidence and perseverence of the one who prays.
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.
O Holy Victim! O Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world! Grant that I may suffer with Thee, and die with Thee, by uniting my sufferings to those which re-opened heaven to us after sin had shut it against us. Amen. – 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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