On the Return of the Holy Family to Nazareth.
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.
On the Return of the Holy Family to Nazareth.
For seven long years the Holy Family had to remain in the land of their exile. Picture to yourself, my soul, how these holy persons used to sit in the quiet evening hours, before the door of the cottage they had constructed for themselves in that foreign land, and look with longing in the direction of their own dear country, that was so far, far away; thinking of Jerusalem, the glorious city of their God; of Nazareth, the pleasant village where they had dwelt; of Bethlehem, the place of their birth. Try to realize the yearning of their hearts, the melancholy that weighed on these exiles banished from their home, and consider:
1st. That Joseph does not know how long he will have to remain in misery and exile with Mary and the divine Child. The angel had simply told him that he was to wait there in Egypt until further orders were communicated to him. Whether his sojourn was to be for a longer or a shorter period was not told him; he was to wait, and acquiesce patiently in doing so. “Be there until I shall tell thee.” (St. Matt. ii. 13.) Here is an excellent lesson for you, my soul. Learn from St. Joseph to accommodate yourself to a disagreeable position, an uncongenial office; to submit resignedly to whatever crosses and sufferings may be your lot. For how long? Just as long as God pleases, until such time as He may by the lips of His messenger announce to you the change that is to be made. Or do you consider yourself better than Joseph, worthy of more consideration than Mary? Thus to wait patiently and passively until the Lord sees fit to send relief is required of all the children of God, of all His elect, and it will in the end be for their eternal salvation. Only consider:
2d. That God has always acted thus with His servants. He commanded Abraham to offer his only son to Him in sacrifice. Imagine the intense grief that must have rent the paternal heart of the patriarch. And how long was this friend of God to be tortured by the prospect of having to execute the behest, which, moreover, all the time God proposed to withdraw? “As long as I please, until I shall tell thee otherwise.” He permitted Joseph to be cast into prison, although he was entirely guiltless of the crime attributed to him; and how long, God, is this young man, Thy favored servant, to languish in the dungeon? “As long as I please, until I shall tell him.” The innocent Susanna was actually condemned to death; it was not the will of God that she should die, but how long then, Lord, wilt Thou suffer this unhappy woman to endure in anticipation the agonies of death? “As long as I please, until I shall tell her.” So long, until I see fit to change Abraham’s grief into gladness, to convert his sorrow into a blessing for himself and his posterity; so long, until I see fit to raise Joseph from the dungeon to the royal throne, and to send Daniel to rescue Susanna and render her more honored than before. And you, my soul, find waiting so irksome! You are assailed by this or that temptation, you are oppressed and persecuted, you experience aridity and tepidity at your devotions, and you imagine that God has forsaken you. How long, you ask with a sigh, am I to endure this or that cross? Just as long as it is God’s will that you should endure it; meanwhile submit to it patiently; wait as Joseph waited, and you will see how all will turn out for your good; remember the saying: “After the storm comes sunshine,” but God is near in the storm as well as in the sunshine.
3d. Consider how delighted Joseph and Mary must have been when at length the angel announced to them that they might return to the land of Israel; but yet a certain sadness was mingled with their joy. They rejoiced, in that their banishment was at last ended; they rejoiced in the anticipation of soon seeing their beloved country again; they rejoiced above all to think that at Nazareth it would be within their power to afford the beloved Child Jesus many advantages which He could not have in a strange land. Yet in spite of all this consolation not a little sadness mingled in Mary’s joy, for she knew that she was about to journey with her innocent Child to a country where His own would not receive Him, a country where hatred and persecution, disdain and derision awaited Him, where a crown of thorns, a cross was in store for Him. Then indeed the sharp sword spoken of by Simeon pierced Mary’s virginal soul; learn from this, that no joy is perfect here below, and that the children of God must not expect to find it so. Let this be the fruit you carry away from your meditation to-day; that you bear willingly the solemnity, the quiet happiness of this penitential time. Now is the time of mourning and weeping, and blessed so our Lord declares are ye that weep now. (St. Luke vi. 21.) This is the lot of the Christian here below. But the day will come when we shall return out of the Egypt of this world to the land of promise, and, provided we have not abandoned ourselves too much to the pleasures of Egypt, this land of our exile, it will not be as Joseph and Mary, with joy tempered by sadness, but it will be with fulness of joy that we shall enter its blissful gates.
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.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of us, have mercy on us.
Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us.
Jesus, author of life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, example of virtues, have mercy on us.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our refuge, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the poor, have mercy on us.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us.
Jesus, true light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us.
Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our way and our life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, light of Confessors, have mercy on us.
Jesus, purity of Virgins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, crown of all Saints, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the neglect of Thine inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus.
By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy most divine life, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy labors, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Cross and dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let Us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who has said, Ask and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you, mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name, for Thou never failest to help and to govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast love: who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
– Raccolta 113
An indulgence of 7 years.A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, for the daily and devout recitation of this litany (S. C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S. P. Ap., Jan. 2, 1933).
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
Prayer in honor of the Holy Name
O my Jesus, Thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. Hitherto I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips.
Most holy Virgin, obtain for me the grace of invoking the name of Thy Son Jesus in all my necessities, together with thine own, my Mother Mary; but let me invoke them always with confidence and love, so that I may be able also to say to thee as did the devout Alphonsus Rodriguez: “Jesus and Mary, may I suffer for you; may I die for you; may I be wholly yours, and in nothing my own!” O my beloved Jesus! O Mary, my beloved Lady! give me the grace to suffer and to die for your love. I will be no longer my own, but altogether yours; yours in life, and yours in death, when I hope by your help to expire saying, Jesus and Mary, help me! Jesus and Mary, I recommend myself to you; Jesus and Mary, I love you, and I give and deliver up to you my whole soul.
The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus de Liguori. p. 163 (Imprimatur 1927)
P.S. 20th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!
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