On Mary’s Sorrow at the Loss of the Divine Child.
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 Mary’s Sorrow at the Loss of the Divine Child.
“Thy own soul a sword shall pierce.” (St. Luke ii. 35.) This prophecy, uttered by the aged Simeon in the self same temple wherein the Child Jesus, now twelve years of age, has tarried behind, is now sadly fulfilled! Picture to yourself, my soul, the anguish and anxiety the holy Virgin endured during that night, the first which she had spent without Jesus for twelve years. It is impossible to describe her grief and her alarm during those sleepless hours while she waited with holy impatience for the first dawn of day, which would enable her to continue her search for the Child she had lost! In order to estimate aright the depth of Mary’s sorrow, consider the following points:
1st. Her sorrow was great because her love was great. The dearer anything is to us, and the more our heart clings to it, the more sorrow we experience at its loss. Now what can a mother lose that is more precious to her, what can she lose from which it costs her as much to part, as her child? And now think of the affection with which Mary, the purest and holiest of mothers that ever lived on earth, clung to her divine Child, and you will understand how during the time in which her Child was lost she might well exclaim: “All ye that pass by the way attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow!”
If, my soul, it is a sign of the love we bear to anything that we feel such pain at its loss, test the love you have for Christ by the slight contrition you feel for the sins which separate you from Him, and you will see how poor and incomplete is the measure of your love for Him.
2d. Mary’s sorrow was great because she valued so highly what she had lost. The loss of a glass bead does not affect us very deeply, whereas the loss of a valuable diamond or beautiful emerald causes us real concern. The more we value the object we lose, the more acutely we feel its loss. Now what was there higher, more precious on earth for Mary than the Child Jesus? Full well she knew that in Him she had lost not only the most beauteous and gracious Child on whom the sun ever shone, she had besides lost her God, her Saviour, her Redeemer. This was the reason why her sorrow was so intense, her distress so deep, although – do not overlook this fact – she herself was not in any wise to blame for His loss. If you, my soul, have frequently and through your own fault lost Jesus, and yet have gone on living for days, for months, not to say years, without evincing any special regret, you may hence conclude with confusion of face and contrition of heart that your faith is indeed a feeble thing. For had you reflected within yourself in the spirit of faith: I have lost my God, my Redeemer. I have lost what is more to me than Heaven and earth, could you have remained so cool and unconcerned? The loss of a comparatively valueless book, or some other paltry possession will often cost a man his night’s sleep, while the loss of God, the Supreme Good, does not disturb his serenity. How is this to be accounted for?
3d. Consider that Mary’s sorrow increased every hour. At first she consoled herself with the hope of finding Him in this place or that, but when hour after hour passed, and she could not find the beloved Child anywhere, when night again fell, a long, sad night without Jesus, Mary’s heart was immersed in a sea of bitterness and sorrow. How keen that sorrow must have been we may gather from the fact that even in the joyful moment when at last she caught sight of the Child whom she had lost, remembering all she had gone through she could not refrain from uttering the sorrowful exclamation: “Son, why hast Thou done so to us?” It was as if she would say: Thou knowest, God of my love, that Thou art our Supreme Good, our riches, our sole consolation; that without Thee we are poor and miserable indeed. Thou art our life; we would rather die than be without Thee. Thou art our light, our sun, therefore we were shrouded in mournful darkness when Thou didst withdraw Thyself from our sight.
Arise, my soul, and look once more in this mirror! Were you conscious of any such feelings in your heart, did words expressive of such pain escape your lips, when you by your sins had lost Jesus, or when He apparently forsook you in order to try your faith? Examine yourself seriously, and consider this: If Mary experienced such acute sorrow because she was separated from Jesus for a few hours, and that by no fault of her own, what words can depict the awful grief, the terrible lamentations of the damned, the gnawing worm of self-reproach that torments those souls who through their own sin have separated themselves eternally from Jesus! You too will endure this eternal sorrow for the loss of Jesus if you have felt no sorrow for His loss on earth. Wherefore close the meditation of to-day by a heartfelt prayer to Mary, entreating her for the sake of this one of her dolors to obtain for us and for all poor sinners sorrow, sorrow and deep contrition for the loss of Jesus.
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. 25th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!
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