On the Last Supper.
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 Last Supper.
It is night, the greatest, most memorable night since that whereon Jesus Christ was born into the world. Now for the last time our Lord gathers His apostles around Him, in order to celebrate the Last Supper with them. Deep gravity, a chastened sadness marks His features and those of His apostles. He knows, and they have a presentiment of what is about to happen, hence the solemnity, the seriousness that pervades the guest chamber where the Last Supper is to be held. Imagine, my soul, that you are present in that solemn assembly; gaze in spirit on your Lord and the twelve apostles who surround Him; observe the pensive, sorrowful expression of every countenance.
1st. Consider how our Lord performs an act of humility as a prelude to the great work of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, and the commencement of His Passion. As the initial act of His public ministry, His baptism, was an act of humility, so is also that whereby He inaugurates His sacerdotal work, the washing of His disciples feet. How pregnant with instruction is this for you, my soul! Only contemplate your Saviour; imprint on your mind the touching scene of the washing of feet, and reflect upon it. Consider that He to whom God the Father gave all power in heaven and on earth, He whose sublimity and grandeur fills angels with amazement, kneels on the ground like a slave and washes His disciples feet; and this service of love is rendered to those who, before many hours have passed, will forsake and deny Him in the most dastardly and disgraceful manner. Picture to yourself your Lord kneeling before Judas, who purposes to betray Him; imagine that you hear Him say to the unhappy traitor: “Behold Me prostrate at thy feet; if thou hast any cause for complaint against Me, tell Me what it is and I will make amends to thee. I wash thee with water now; I am willing to wash thy soul to-morrow in My blood, if only thou wilt desist from thy evil design.” Does not this charity stir your soul within you; is not your heart kindled with love to this most loving Jesus; will you not, witnessing such humility on His part, from the bottom of your heart renounce your pride, your haughty and imperious bearing towards your Brethren, your Sisters in religion?
2d. Consider the institution of the Blessed Sacrament and its signification. Look upon your Redeemer at this moment: A supernatural light rests upon His sacred countenance, His voice assumes a tone of the tenderest love and at the same time of deep solemnity, as He pronounces the words of sublime mystery whereby the miracle of transubstantiation is accomplished. O how immeasurable was the importance of that act, performed amid the silence of that solemn night, how vast its importance for our Lord Himself, for His apostles, for the whole Church! For our Lord the Last Supper was a marriage-feast, the inauguration of His Passion and death; in it He gave a pledge that on the morrow He would suffer death for the world’s salvation; for this flesh which He then gave to His apostles to eat was the flesh of the sacrificial Victim; this blood, of which He bade them drink, was the blood that was to be shed on the altar of the cross. Thus the sacrifice of the cross was offered beforehand on the night in question, in a mystic and spiritual manner; it was accomplished in will; in the Last Supper the sacrifice of the cross was anticipated, just as in the holy Mass it is commemorated and perpetuated. For the apostles the Last Supper was of the very highest importance, inasmuch as they, receiving Holy Communion for the first time, were admitted to the most intimate union with Christ; and if that same night, in the confusion and bewilderment of their minds during the time of their Master’s Passion and death they still remained true to Him at heart, it was because He had taken up His dwelling in their hearts by Holy Communion. Finally, for the Church the great importance of the Last Supper consists in this, that our Lord, in the New Testament that He made in the cenacle at Jerusalem, bequeathed to her her choicest treasure and chief riches. The adorable Sacrament of the Altar, which Jesus left as a legacy to His Church, is the vital principle of her being. It is her heart, of which every Mass that is celebrated is a pulsation, sending her lifeblood, the blood of Jesus Christ, into every vein, imparting to every member of her body life, growth, and well-being. Hence it may be said that in a certain sense the Church was founded on Holy Thursday—at any rate the principle of life was given her. What abundant matter for attentive meditation this subject affords us!
3d. Consider the persons who partook of this Last Supper. They were the twelve apostles. Alas! when our Lord gave them Holy Communion, sorrow must have filled His heart, for this first administration of Holy Communion was an earnest of the treatment that He would receive in the Sacrament of the Altar for all time. Four classes of communicants are represented by these twelve disciples. Judas received Communion unworthily, and our Lord saw prospectively the countless sacrileges which would be committed in the future. Woe betide the wretched Judas! Even while at table he has already crucified his Lord, maltreated His sacred body, sacrilegiously shed His precious blood. Peter is typical of the second class of communicants. He did, it is true, receive Communion worthily, but very soon after fell into sin, and alas! how many imitators has he had since that day! A third class is represented by the nine other apostles. They too communicated worthily, but without much spiritual profit, for that self-same night in their cowardly fear they abandoned their Master and fled, although they did not go so far as to betray or deny Him. How many, think you, have done the same in subsequent times? Finally, John symbolizes the fourth class of communicants. He was the only one who received Holy Communion worthily and with due profit; he alone was faithful to his Lord; he alone followed Him to Calvary; he alone stood beneath His cross. It was not the first of the apostles, it was the most humble, the most loving of Christ’s chosen band, who thus communicated and whom the Christian should propose to himself as his model. To which of these four classes do you, my soul, belong?
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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