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 story is told in some of the old devotional books of a little child which tries laboriously to write out the series of digits just learned at school. It toils and struggles with the strange symbols, but cannot succeed in reproducing them in their proper order. A long number of zeros is the only result of this first attempt at writing numbers. But lo! the Angel Guardian bends over the child, gently takes its hand, and puts a single little stroke before the row of meaningless ciphers. What first was nothingness, has become a number exceeding great.
We often strain and struggle at some task and at best muddle through it in a half-successful way. We accomplish so little from the standpoint of those critics, who weigh everything by results which can be measured or weighed, compared and registered. It were deplorable, indeed, were this slim and unsatisfactory outcome the only reward of our pains and well-meant efforts.
But though the fond expectation of brilliant success is quite often defeated, the efforts will not be unrewarded. What the single stroke achieved for the row of zeros, the “good intention” brings about for the permanent value of our exertions. A striving in “Nomine Domini”—in the Name of the Lord—is never in vain. Part of the work always bears fruit, if not in results that are apparent to the eye, at least in reward and merit that are treasured there “where no moths devour.”
The laborers in the vineyard who had come at the eleventh hour, received as much as those who had “borne the burdens of the day and the heats.” According to our standard of economy this is altogether wrong. But cannot the Lord pay out as He will? Shall we continually apply our narrow, thumb-rule standards? Remember that all labor is great and dignified in the sight of the Lord.
The Master of the vineyard, no doubt, saw the good will and energy of those who had been called at the eleventh hour and therefore He rewarded them liberally. The “good intention,” which we are recommended to make at the dawn of every new day of toil, is something too valuable to pass by. For it lifts the task out of the sphere of the commonplace, and makes it worthy of reward in the eternal mansions.
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.
II. Behold, then, O Lord, my abjection and frailty, every way known to Thee.
Have pity on me and draw me out of the mire, that I stick not fast therein, that I may not be utterly cast down forever.
This it is which often drives me back, and confounds me in Thy sight, to find that I am so subject to fall, and have so little strength to resist my passions.
And although I do not altogether consent, yet their assaults are troublesome and grievous to me, and it is exceedingly irksome to me to live thus always in a conflict.
From hence my infirmity is made known to me; because wicked thoughts do always much more easily rush in upon me, than they can be cast out again.–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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