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.
16. The Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
A young man once set out in great haste from a western city of our country to reach New York in time to receive the blessing of his dying father. He had not seen him for many years. But he wished to hear a last word of consolation and forgiveness from the aged parent who was soon to close his eyes in death.
This was a most worthy desire of the youth, and we do not wonder that he forgot all else in his eagerness to get back to his father’s house and obtain a final blessing. But the children of the Church can so often receive the blessing of their Father and Saviour Christ, and yet, so many neglect the opportunity. At our Benediction service Christ our Lord is exposed to our adoration and wishes to bless us all before we depart from His holy temple. And often so few are present to receive this token of His love. Many there are who pass by on the avenue or boulevard, just outside the church, but they think not of entering and of assisting at the Benediction service where they may be made glad with the precious gift of Christ’s own blessing.
Why is this? Many of the faithful may say they have no time; others may allege that they are tired on Sunday evening and wish to stay at home; others again think that by attending Mass in the morning they have fulfilled all their obligations towards God. These excuses may perhaps be quite sufficient in some cases, but Catholics often stay away from Benediction simply because they fail to realize the solemn meaning of this beautiful service.
It is Christ Himself who blesses the assembled faithful with His own adorable Body, by the hands of His minister. It is His great love for the children of the Church that prompts Him to come forth from the tabernacle and to allow the sacred sign of salvation to be made over those present. How lonely our churches would be, had we not the perpetual, inspiring presence of the King of kings on our altars! We would then be deprived of our greatest treasure, our surest hope, the source of all spiritual strength and refreshment. Perhaps then even the very personality of Christ would become dim and distant, perhaps even distorted. We would indeed still possess the Gospel accounts of His life and teachings. But how have those religious bodies, that no longer have the Eucharistic Lord and Master, dealt with the historic character of Christ? His teaching is misinterpreted, His miracles explained away, and His divinity is often denied.
But during every Benediction service Catholics implicitly voice the sublime confession of the blessed apostle Peter: “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” For it is only because He is God that we kneel down in humble adoration when He is lifted up in the monstrance to bestow heavenly blessings. It is only because He is the Son of the living God that we make the acts of reparation at the end of the service, and ask Him to accept our allegiance. At every Benediction service therefore we are reminded of one of the cardinal truths of our precious faith—the Divinity of Christ the Son of God.
No wonder that some of the greatest luminaries of the Church have composed undying hymns of praise in honor of the “Great Sacrament.” The “Tantum ergo Sacramentum” is the matchless Benediction hymn of the Church, chanted in all lands in honor of the Eucharistic King, and one of the most famous of mediaeval Latin hymns. In the versicle and response sung after the sacramental hymn this holy Sacrament is rightly called “the Bread of Heaven, containing all sweetness.” In the other Benediction hymn, our Lord is addressed as “O Saving Host, opening for us the gates of Heaven.”
These expressions show the veneration the great saints had for the Sacrament of the altar. When you assist at Benediction you have an opportunity of joining in this solemn chorus of praise in honor of the august Sacrament, the Bread of Angels. Should you not consider it a high privilege to be present at this service from which you may go forth with the blessing of the great King upon you?
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.
Of supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.
[Christ] I. WHAT is it thou sayest, My son? Cease to complain, considering My
passion, and the sufferings of the saints.
Thou hast not yet resisted unto blood.
What thou sufferest is but little, in comparison to them who have suffered so much, who have been so strongly tempted, so grievously afflicted, so many ways tried and exercised.
Thou must then call to mind the heavy sufferings of others, that thou mayest the easier bear the little things thou sufferest.
And if to thee they seem not little, take heed lest this also proceed from thy impatience.
But whether they be little or great, strive to bear them all with patience. – Thomas à Kempis – Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XIX.
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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