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.
Have you ever taken note of the fact that the Church has not only provided for her children the larger devotions, such as the Way of the Cross, the devotion to the Sacred Heart, to the Virgin Mother, but has also given us beautiful short prayers and aspirations. We should often use the latter, for they not only remind us of certain truths of our faith, but in themselves they are consoling and uplifting, and their devout use is sometimes enriched with indulgences.
What a more becoming greeting than the one which our children are taught to use when their pastor enters the class-room: “Praised be Jesus Christ.” Christ Himself is the greatest teacher and guide of youth. He takes special care of the little ones of His flock. He blesses those who honor His holy Name. He desires that due respect be shown to His ministers. Hence is it not appropriate that the children, who are brought up in His name, should early become familiar with that holy greeting? Those who reverently speak the praises of that holy Name shall experience, in the word of St. Bernard, that the sweet name of Jesus “gives true joy to the heart.”
Sometimes we are recipients of some unusual grace or favor. Why should we not give thanks to Him from Whom all blessings flow! We have such a short and efficacious formula of thanks, approved by the Church and daily used in the liturgy of the Holy Mass. It is the aspiration: “Deo gratias”—“thanks be to God.” Our Lord loves a prayer of thanksgiving. When He had healed the lepers and when only one returned after the miraculous cure to give thanks, He mildly asked: “Where are the other nine?” But the saints used this pious aspiration even when trials and misfortune befell them. They saw in these calamities Providence and the chastising hand of God. It would be well for us, too, to look upon crosses and adversities that befall us in the course of life’s pilgrimage as sweet tokens of His special love for us. This sensible view of crosses and sufferings will put cheer and comfort into our hearts and enable us to bear up manfully under the burden. Hence even when the cup of affliction is pressed to our lips we may well say “Deo gratias.”
When we begin some task in the course of the day we can insure its success, at least from the standpoint of supernatural merit, in no better way than by the pious aspiration authorized and sanctified by scriptural authority: “In nomine Domini”—“in the name of the Lord.” Not only large and apparently important works and undertakings of vast consequence may thus be hallowed and sanctified by invoking the sweet name of the Lord, but even our every-day toil and our round of ordinary duties. The consciousness that we are working not for human glory or for the vain applause of the multitude, but for the sake of the Lord Christ will lend courage and inspiration when weariness is about to overtake us.
There is nothing so helpful to the Christian engaged in the spiritual combat than a brief and efficacious appeal for help and pardon. And the Church like a gracious mother whispers to him this salutary orison: “My Jesus, mercy!” We know that the use of this petition has been recommended by the greatest saints of the Church. We all stand in need of mercy and forgiveness. In the dark hour of need and temptation and bitter conflict with the powers of evil let us say, but say with hope and confidence, “My Jesus, mercy!”
When we are about to answer the last great call and take our place in the vast army of the silent dead, we are once more taught a supplication, surpassing in strength and holiness. It is: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” After we have praised the name of the Lord during life, after we have given thanks for both the blessings and crosses that have been our portion, after we have received mercy and the hope of pardon from Jesus, how appropriate that in that last great hour, we should invoke Jesus, the Saviour, Mary our mother, and Joseph, the patron of a happy death? Verily, we are abundantly blessed in the multitude of these pious aspirations, which the Church recommends for our use during the course of life’s 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.
Of supporting injuries, and who is proved to be truly patient.
IV. Be thou, therefore, ready prepared to fight, if thou desirest to gain the victory.
Without fighting, thou canst not obtain the crown of patience.
If thou wilt not suffer, thou refusest to be crowned; but if thou desirest to be crowned, fight manfully, and endure patiently.
Without labour there is no coming to rest, nor without fighting can the victory be obtained.– 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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