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.
the Sermon on the Mount.
One of the shortest and most eloquent sermons ever delivered, you can find in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel. It was pronounced by Christ, the Teacher of all nations. Though short it is direct and to the point. There is no ambiguity about it; it contains no far-fetched allusions, no vague incentives to righteousness and well-doing. It is a talk for all men of all times. It contains neither introduction nor peroration. Every sentence comes home with a vivid force and is a direct appeal. Like every great sermon it instructs. It bears the hall-mark of great literature. For it is the expression of thoughts of universal and permanent interest, in language becoming its theme.
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain, and when he was sat down, His disciples came unto Him. And opening His mouth, He taught them.” These are the introductory words of the inspired writer. What is the first assertion in this marvelous bit of precious and divine eloquence? It is this beautiful and consoling remark: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The poor in spirit are the humble, and they whose spirit is not set upon riches. Therefore, this sentence has a message for both the poor and the rich; it appeals equally to the man who has gold in abundance, to him who has a hovel for his abode and crumbs for food. What a much-needed lesson is brought out in these simple words! How sorely a deluded world, clamoring, struggling and striving for the passing things of time, needs this inspiring reminder! It is not gold and silver, and possessions in stocks and bonds that are worth while and that lend dignity and value to the individual. It is the being possessed of a Christ-like spirit, it is love of God and of the brotherhood of man, that alone count in presence of the searcher of hearts.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.”
This, too, is a precept of universal application. When fierce anger sweeps over us, when we are tempted to use harsh language and bitter reproaches towards some brother who, we think, has offended us, then we may well and profitably recall the sweet words of the Master: Blessed are the meek. This recollection should be like oil upon troubled waters. Consideration of these words should cause the spirit of Christian love to take possession of the heart and check the fiery speech with which we were about to overwhelm one who, perhaps, had intended no evil. Thus we shall heap fiery coals upon his head, and gain for ourselves the blessings of peace. For the Psalmist has said: “But the meek shall inherit the land, and shall delight in abundance of peace.”
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Where find a stronger incentive to forgive our trespassing brethren than these words of the Sermon on the Mount? We all stand in need of mercy and forgiveness. This we learn from the parable of the hard-hearted servant in the Gospel. We have perhaps often wronged our brother. Often may we have injured him by cutting word or by malicious action. Now the safest way to blot out injuries of this kind, done in the past, will be to cast out anger and furious resentment against those who have offended us.
“Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.”
This beautiful promise has always rewarded those who have striven to wear the white flower of a blameless life. No greater happiness than that resulting from keeping one’s heart free from the vice and degrading sin of those who defile their immortal soul by committing the evil which is an abomination in His sight. We read in the Psalms: “The innocent in hands, and clean of heart, who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor: he shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God the Saviour.”
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 the Confession of our own Infirmity, and of the Miseries of this life.
[Disciple.] I. I will confess against myself my unjustice.-Ps. xxxi. 5. I will confess to Thee, O Lord, my infirmity.
It is oftentimes a small thing which casts me down and troubles me.
I make a resolution to behave myself valiantly; but when a small temptation
comes, I am brought into great straits.
It is sometimes a very trifling thing from whence proceeds a grievous temptation.
And when I think myself somewhat safe, I find myself sometimes, when I least apprehend it, almost overcome with a small blast.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XX.
July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness
Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.
100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.
“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”
—St. Catharine of Sienna.
O blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it. O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them! O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!
Praises to the Precious Blood.
Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.
Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.
There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.
O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.
Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.
Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.
Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!
(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)
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