On Our Lord’s Passion As a Victory over Death.
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 As a Victory over Death.
In old pictures our Lord is often represented upon the cross as a king, reigning from the cross. And this is what is the most wonderful of all, that at the very moment of His deepest abasement, when in His agony He writhes like a tortured worm; when, despised as a common criminal, He hangs on the tree of shame, at that very moment Jesus is in reality the great and mighty Conqueror and Subduer of the most formidable powers, and of death, the most potent of all.
1st. Consider how our suffering Lord overcomes death, and overcomes it, paradoxical as this may appear, by His own death. In dying Himself He becomes the Victor over death, since He takes from it that which makes it most to be dreaded, its eternity. For whereas before our Lord’s Passion mankind was subject not only to temporal but also to eternal death, since His Passion death is a thing only appertaining to time, it is only a transition from mortality to immortality, from what is transitory to what is abiding, from temporal death to eternal life; at any rate, if man chooses that it should be so. And all this the great Conqueror achieved when to all appearances He was defeated by death. Apparently vanquished, He vanquished the foe; apparently subdued, He was the Subduer. Well may we marvel at the divine omnipotence and wisdom, manifested thus gloriously in our Lord’s Passion! Let us also consider by what means Jesus in His sufferings became the Conqueror over death.
2d. He overcame death inasmuch as He took from it its sting. “death, where is thy sting?” (1 Cor. xv. 55) St. Paul exclaims, and St. Bernard remarks that since our Lord suffered, death no longer has a sting; it is a gladsome and joyous thing, for now the just, looking upon the suffering Saviour, gazing upon the crucifix which represents Him, die with a song of praise on their lips, with jubilation in their heart. Death, formerly so bitter, so terrible to them, is now a sweet messenger, come to conduct them to a better life; it is to them the welcome end of an earthly existence replete with toil and sufferings; it opens to them the blissful portals of Heaven. Now they are able to say with St. Paul: “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. i. 21) for by death I gain everlasting rest, everlasting joy, everlasting felicity. By death I cease to die and begin to live. marvellous victory achieved by our suffering Lord!
3d. Consider however that it is only to the true Christian that all this applies. For as, previously to the Passion of Christ, death was a cruel enemy to the human race, an object of terror, the greatest of temporal evils, terrible even to the just, since it banished them to Limbo, so now, even subsequently to our Lord’s Passion, death is equally an object of terror to all impenitent sinners, who will not avail themselves of the privileges that the sufferings of Christ procured for them, nay, who even trample under foot His precious blood. Woe betide those unhappy sinners! They go on their way—and that is what is most deplorable of all—in spite of the triumphant victory that our Lord in His Passion gained over death—they go on their way to meet a death which for them has a sharp sting, which for them is never-ending death—just as if Jesus had never suffered and died. my soul, ask yourself, if you were to die to-day, what would death be to you? Meditate upon this, and take a serious resolve as to the manner in which you will profit by the Passion of our Lord, in order that the suffering Saviour may not have overcome death in vain for you.
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.
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).
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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