Monday after Septuagesima Sunday.

On Our Lord’s Passion under the Figure of a Wondrous Book.

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 Our Lord’s Passion under the Figure of a Wondrous Book.

Place before your eyes, my soul, the figure contained in the tenth chapter of the Apocalypse, where St. John, the prophet of the New Testament, tells us he was commanded to eat an open book which was given to him by an angel. And when he had eaten it, it was in his mouth sweet as honey, but in his stomach bitter as gall. This book is a symbol of our Lord’s Passion.

1st. Consider how this book, enclosed for a time in Mary’s virginal womb, was unclosed and opened to all the world at the time of His lowly birth, and how the different events succeeded one another like the pages of an open book: First His circumcision, when the first drops of blood were shed; then His agony and bloody sweat in the Garden of Olives; next the scourging and crowning with thorns; finally the nailing to the cross, whereby this wondrous book was unsealed for all time, and laid open to the whole world that the greatest mysteries might be read therein. Yes, this book is open to all without exception; the learned read it and find in its pages matter for the most profoundly erudite works, while the unlearned also read it and learn from it true wisdom. It is open to all, and those who read it, whether sick or in health, rich or poor, high or low, young or old, all find in it instruction, consolation, the best counsel, the highest wisdom. This book is open to you also, my soul, for many long years it has lain open before you; why then have you read in it so little?

2d. Consider that this book, like the mystic book spoken of in the Apocalypse, must be eaten. As the stomach receives the food it eats, so the soul must receive and assimilate to itself this book by means of devout meditation, otherwise she will derive no nourishment from it. And whilst thus consuming it, the soul will taste the sweetness of honey and also the bitterness of gall. Our Lord’s Passion is sweet as honey to the pious Christian; he will draw from it the courageous desire to follow our Lord. It is sweet as honey to the suffering; they will draw from it that which will alleviate their pain. It is sweet as honey to the dying; they extract from it strength and fortitude in their last hours. It is sweet as honey to all men of good will; they find in it the most efficacious means of salvation. But it is bitter, bitter as gall to the sinner, for it fills his soul with deepest compunction, when he remembers that he has been the cause of that Passion. And well for you, my soul, if you do not shrink from setting your lips, after the example of your Saviour, to the bitter chalice, filled with myrrh and gall. Well for you, if you rather do your utmost to call forth tears, bitter tears of compassion by attentive meditation on our Lord’s Passion. For such bitterness as this is speedily followed by the sweetness of peace, the peace which is the reward of every true penitent.

3d. Consider that the wondrous book was given to St. John by an angel. If, my soul, you desire during this season of preparation for the Easter festival, to study with great spiritual profit the marvellous book of Christ’s Passion, see that you receive that book only from the hand of your Guardian Angel; that is, see that you do not apply yourself to these meditations in a spirit of indifference, do not study this book merely from curiosity or habit, do not view the mysteries of our Lord’s Passion simply as matter for mental inquiry and vain research, but enter upon your meditation in the company of your Guardian Angel, with holy dispositions, with all the fervor of your heart, all the powers of your soul. Each of these meditations ought to be for you a sweet season of mental prayer, of sympathy with and compassion for your suffering Saviour. Thus and thus only will you read with full profit the pages of this mystic book, written in blood-red characters, in letters crimsoned with the blood drawn from His veins by the rods and scourges, the sharp thorns, the points of the nails. Nor will you ever lay down this singular document, upon which the angels gaze in never-ceasing wonder, with its letters inscribed upon the tender virginal flesh of the Saviour as upon finest parchment, without feeling hearty contrition at the thought that you by your sins helped to trace a considerable portion of the woful characters inscribed in the pages of that book.

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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