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 Spirit of Faith.
The lack of faith, of religious faith, of faith in the lasting worth and value of virtuous, God-fearing lives is responsible for much of the unrest and dissatisfaction among people to-day. Many persons attach too much importance to mere external success, to worldly pomp and circumstance, to the work and position that bring them into public notice and cause them to be regarded as greater and more distinguished than their fellowmen. They forget that the “average man” may also put spirit and a splendid energy and wholeheartedness into his every-days tasks, which lend them a value and beauty, that shallow minds fail to see. Those on the other hand who always strive for the empty prizes of life, for the notice of men, and the glitter that for a brief space accompanies “success,” may after a little while, be cast back upon themselves, be slighted by their friends and be bereft of the applause that once soothed their vain ambition. For uncertain and fickle is the frivolous world in the rewards dealt out to its votaries.
Persons, deceived by the gloss and notoriety that sometimes accompany the vain strivings of worldlings, are apt to forget the value of little things well done and performed with a worthy purpose or intention. There are but few careers that most of the time keep men in the full glare of public favor and approval. For to almost all persons life is, after all, composed of a series of humdrum duties, of a succession of seemingly unimportant tasks. Whether it be the artist in his studio, the captain of industry in his office, the toiler in the workshop, or the mother in her home—the lives of these must be made successful by the wise use of the flying moments. Not one moment of itself is great or resplendent. It is rather the sum and collective value of these moments, well spent in little things, that lend dignity and distinction to human lives.
This is especially true of work performed by the toiler in the workshop and of the lives of the poor and humble of Christ’s flock. These should remember that people of their class generally rate their work not too high, but too low. They ought to recall that in their labor there is not only bodily effort but soul effort, something spiritual and higher, that cannot be rewarded with money alone. Yea, they ought to bear in mind that as soon as to the bodily work there is added the good intention, the value of the work grows into infinity, and that from this moment it bears its best reward with in itself, ennobled by the consciousness that it is performed not in the service of man, but in the service of the highest Lord and Creator of all things. This value and reward depend ultimately upon the worker himself and not upon exterior conditions. And upon him, too, it will depend, to what degree his work, in virtue of this intrinsic value, shall exert a liberating, uplifting, wholesome and beneficial effect upon himself.
The life of our Blessed Mother teaches us the beauty and surpassing excellence of the spirit of faith. Her life was ever energized by faith. Hence she performed all her actions, howsoever lowly and obscure, illumined by the spirit of faith. She knew that the faithful performance of these obscure and ordinary tasks rendered her pleasing to her Divine Son and to the Eternal Father. The Fathers of the Church regard her as preeminently the type of faith. She was the lowly maid of Judea and yet she sang that inspiring canticle, the Magnificat, which tells of her own greatness, that canticle which has resounded for nigh two thousand years, accompanied by all the beauty and solemnity of our Catholic liturgy in the great Cathedrals of Europe as well as in the humble village church,—that canticle which tells of her surpassing dignity among all the daughters of Eve. And how dared that little humble maid, she who fled from the sight of men, and who was found at prayer in her abode by the heavenly messenger coming to announce her dignity as the Mother of the Saviour, how dared she sing that song, which stands foremost amongst the songs that have ever fallen from the lips of men?
Ah! Faith, the spirit of faith, taught her the wonderful mysteries that were to be accomplished through her humble self. She recognized by means of her intellect, enlightened by faith, the grandeur of the mystery of the Redemption to be wrought through her.
And so through all her life we find Mary such an exemplar of living faith. On the faith of Mary in the words of the angel depended our Redemption, and Mary believed the seemingly unbelievable with an almost incomprehensible faith; she believed the wonderful message with an equally wonderful faith. For according to the words of the announcing angel she was to believe that she—the humblest of women—was that illustrious one, who was to tread upon the head of the old serpent. And Mary the humble maid believed it.
Hence if any one desire to know how both contempt and respect for self, humility and just pride, may dwell together in the Christian heart, he will find the secret in that canticle of the Magnificat: “The Lord hath looked upon the humility of His handmaid—He that is mighty hath done great things for me.” The spirit of faith teaches me my true grandeur and my true nobility. This grandeur and nobility consist in being a child of God by sanctifying grace. It does not consist in external accomplishments which pass away, in the possession of worldly pomp and circumstance which may surround a person to-day and be absent to-morrow. The spirit of faith prevents me from misunderstanding my real dignity and seeking it where it cannot be found. This nobility, of which I may be justly proud, consists in the supernatural state to which God has elevated me in the life of grace, preparing me for the life of glory and a participation in the divine nature (divinae consortes naturae, 2 Pet. i, 4).
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.
If we have often to suffer from our neighbour, he has not the less to suffer from us. But you say: there are many things hard to bear. Well then, your merit will be the greater on that account. Grace is given to you only for the purpose of doing by its means what would be totally impossible to unaided human nature. Besides, what is there that happens to you, which God has not foreseen, which God has not willed. Patience then is only a sweet and calm submission to what He ordains, and without it we live in perpetual trouble; for who hath resisted God, and hath had peace? (Job. ix. 4). Who after that will dare to murmur, to be passionate, or to return evil for evil?– 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)
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2012 – 2016. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.