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.
“Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish” is the stern mandate of the Lord Christ to those who are in earnest about the business of salvation. To save our souls we must be found at death in the state of sanctifying grace, that is, free from unforgiven, mortal sin. But we cannot avoid that dreadful evil without practicing some degree of self-control, some restraint over the senses and the lower appetite, and without a resolute checking of the first slimy approach of grievous sin. Our Divine Lord goes so far as to say: “If thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off.” This means that we must be ready to make any bodily sacrifice rather than offend the Lord God by serious sin.
The practice of mortification will enable us to avoid, or at least to beat down many dangers to the spiritual life of the soul. Exterior mortification, that is, self-denial or pain, which directly affects the senses and the body, is frequently mentioned in the Bible. The Fathers and the saints not only speak highly of this kind of mortification, but have given us the splendid example of truly mortified lives. In fact, there is not a saint in Heaven to-day who was not aided in his spiritual warfare by bodily mortification, sometimes continued for many years.
But besides this exterior self-denial, fasting, shortening the hours of sleep, inflicting bodily pain, etc., there is another very important kind of mortification. It is called interior, and is very necessary if we would always remain in the state of grace. Thus, restraining curiosity of the eyes, not speaking in self-praise when there is occasion to do so, gladly accepting a rebuff or humiliation, keeping silence when the ready answer in self-defense is on the tongue—all these are interior mortifications. They are exterior only in so far as the body is to some extent concerned in them, but, says Bishop Hedley, “the pain is mental.” In fact, even exterior mortifications are of no avail, and help little in holding down rebellious inclinations of the flesh, unless they are accepted interiorly. To inflict self-hurt, out of a motive of vanity, is not the Christian virtue of mortification.
There are so many ways in which we can practice interior mortification. Going along the streets there are so many sights thrust upon the eye. Are they all worthy of admission, or are they apt to cause base and carnal thoughts? It is far more prudent and noble to close the eyes to these unworthy images. Many chances there are of ruling the tongue and not speaking the fault-finding word. A person who makes use of these little occasions in the proper way, gains much. For he gradually acquires that splendid habit of moving and living in God’s holy presence.
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.
O Jesus! be our model. Thou hast taught us to say to God: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. That is what we ask every day, what we promise every day. Grant that our prayer may be fulfilled. Amen. – 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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