On Our Lord’s Passion As a Victory over the Devil.
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 the Devil.
To-day, my soul, place before you the extraordinary restlessness and incessant activity Satan displays in his endeavors by one means or another to rid himself of Jesus, his formidable opponent, whom he tried in vain by his temptations in the desert to rob of all power to injure him. See how he incites Judas to act the traitor, how he stirs up the hatred of the Pharisees, how he deludes the common people and instigates them to wild fanaticism. And when at last the blows of the hammer resound, and the tortured Saviour is nailed to the cross, see the contemptuous, triumphant sneer with which the malicious foe exults over what he supposes to be his victory. Satan little thinks at that moment that he is the one who is defeated, that the blows struck at the Lamb of God are the destruction of his own dominion. And yet so it is. Jesus is in truth become through His Passion a Conqueror over hell as He is over death.
1st. Consider that through His sufferings our Lord undermines the foundations of Satan’s kingdom, sin. It is sin that made Satan the Prince of this world; it is upon sin that he has built up his vast kingdom. Destroy these foundations, and the whole proud edifice he has reared upon them will fall to pieces. And now observe how the blood of Jesus Christ, shed in His Passion, takes away the sins of the world. One single drop would have sufficed to redeem the whole world from guilt; but it is not one drop alone that is shed—this atoning blood flows in streams; it is shed, not once, but repeatedly, so that in this super abundant source of grace every sinner—past, present, and future—may cleanse himself from his iniquities and thereby break the fetters wherewith Satan held him in bondage. Yet the complete overthrow of the kingdom of the devil was not all that our Lord accomplished through His Passion; He did still more.
2d. Consider how since our Lord’s Passion and in virtue of His cross Satan has been more and more thrust out of this world, in fulfilment of the words spoken by our Lord shortly before the commencement of His Passion: “Now shall the Prince of this world be cast out.” (St. John xii. 31.) Yes verily, in virtue of the suffering of the crucified Redeemer, the mighty foe was cast out of the hearts of the heathen, banished from their temples, to give place to the cross which was raised over them. Pursued step by step, thrust out of one place after another by the disciples of our Lord, the great enemy of mankind finds himself at last expelled in the name of the Crucified from the bodies of those men in whom he sought to affect a lodgment when put to flight. And if in some places he yet to a certain extent holds sway, as soon as the cross, the emblem of our Lord’s Passion, is set up there, and the holy Mass, the perpetual commemoration and renewal of that Passion, is celebrated there, his dominion must give way to the dominion of Christ. what a glorious victory is this! A victory too, and this is the most remarkable feature in it, gained over the devil in consequence of his own exertions to elude it.
3d. Consider finally this observation of St. Augustine: The evil spirits are like snappish dogs which are chained up and therefore cannot hurt any one except those who of their own free will go within reach of their teeth. The devil, who attempted to overcome the holy virgin Justina, was forced to acknowledge that he had no power to harm those who were faithful servants of Christ. O my soul, lay this truth to heart: The divine Conqueror on the cross rendered the devil powerless to harm you. He chained up the dogs of hell. If you are so madly foolish as of your own accord to put your hand into their jaws, you will have no one but yourself to blame if you are mortally bitten. Alas! there are thousands of such demented beings, for whom Christ has defeated the devil in vain, who give themselves up into the power of one whose might is destroyed, who allow themselves to be captured by one who is himself a captive! Ask yourself, my soul, if, after all, you are not one of these persons. God grant that the meditation you have made to-day on this subject may be instrumental in opening your eyes, and that by contemplation of the sublime Victor over the powers of hell you may be admonished to follow more faithfully than you have hitherto done the exhortation of the apostle: “Resist the devil and he will fly from you.” (St. James iv. 7.)
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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