Saturday after the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany.

On the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon our Lord at His Baptism, in the Form of a Dove.

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 Descent of the Holy Spirit upon our Lord at His Baptism, in the Form of a Dove.

Go back in spirit, my soul, to that wondrous moment, and imagine that you behold the striking spectacle when the heavens opened above the head of Jesus as He stood in the river Jordan, and, as many of the Fathers assert, a bright halo of glory surrounded the Redeemer as in lowliness and humility He bent His head; listen to the words whereby the Eternal Father, speaking from above, so highly honored and magnified His Son; behold the Holy Spirit descending upon the Son of God, and consider:

1st. That upon the voluntary self-abasement of Jesus His exaltation now follows, and after He had of His own free will done penance on behalf of mankind, He now receives the solemn ratification of His mission, and consecration to the work of redemption through the Father and the Holy Ghost. Thus it always is in the kingdom of God; as shame follows upon self-praise, abasement upon self-exaltation, so on the contrary God is accustomed to glorify His servants in that very respect wherein for the love of God they have humbled themselves.  “He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble.” (St. Luke i. 52.) Thus Mary sang in her Magnificat, and does not our own experience bear witness to the truth of her words? But there is something more to be yet learnt from this point. Observe that Jesus receives His supernatural consecration, grace and the ratification of the sublime office on which He is entering, while He stands in the Jordan in the character of a humble penitent. Wherefore undertake no office, do not thrust yourself into any calling, any post, without having previously imitated Jesus example, remembering that without the grace of God you can do nothing, and that He only gives His grace to those who are of a humble and contrite spirit.  

2d. Consider the reason why the Holy Ghost assumed the shape of a dove when He consecrated and dedicated our Lord to the office of Redeemer. As at the time of the deluge it was a dove which, by returning to Noe with the branch of an olive-tree, apprised the patriarch of the subsidence of the terrific flood, so the sacred dove appeared on this occasion with the mystic olive-branch of peace and reconciliation, to signify that, from that time forth, the waters of the spiritual deluge were decreasing, and the world, inundated by sin and vice, was about to be restored through Christ to its pristine form and condition. Would that the Holy Ghost would also descend upon us with the olive-branch of peace and reconciliation with God! Has He thus descended upon you?

3d. Consider another signification which the dove has for us. From time immemorial the dove has been regarded as the symbol of purity, because it is so careful not to contract the slightest defilement, and never alights upon any place that is not clean. And by hovering over the head of our Lord in the form of a dove, what does the Holy Spirit give us to understand, if not that the Lord Jesus is not only Himself entirely free from every stain of sin, but that through Him the whole of mankind should be cleansed from sin in the waters of baptism? May this be indeed the case with you, my soul; may you who are a temple of the Holy Ghost, be also a dove, fearful lest the least impurity should stain your soul, and never frequenting places where you might be defiled; that is to say, never listening to sinful conversation or ungodly discourses, holding aloof from undesirable society. Let the resolution to act thus, and the renewal of your baptismal vows, close your meditation to-day.

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.

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February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)

Virtue to practice: Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales

An indulgence of 3 years.

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).

The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:

An indulgence of 7 years once each day:

A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).

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Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.

V. O Mary, conceived without sin,

R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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