On the Blind Man in the Gospel for the Day.
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 Blind Man in the Gospel for the Day.
Endeavor to realize vividly the scene St. Luke describes in to-day’s Gospel. On the high road near Jericho a blind man sat by the wayside begging an alms from the pilgrims journeying up to Jerusalem for the feast. When in answer to his inquiries, he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, a gleam of consolation lighted up his soul, a ray of sunshine brightened the gloom of his perpetual night. Animated by the hope of receiving from Jesus an alms more valuable than any which his fellow men could bestow, he lifted up his voice and cried aloud: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy upon me!” (St. Luke xviii. 38.)
1st. Consider the melancholy lot of the blind man. For him the sun gives no light, no stars spangle the firmament of heaven, no flowers deck the face of the earth; the sweet azure of the sky, the pleasing verdure of the meadows are lost upon him; the roseate hues of sunset, the varied tints of the rainbow, the fair forms and brilliant colors that delight the human eye do not exist for him; he is doomed to perpetual night, perpetual darkness. How pitiable is his condition! Now if mere physical blindness is so sad a calamity, you may judge, my soul, how truly deplorable is the state of the spiritually blind, of those unhappy men who do not know themselves, who deem their spiritual condition to be other than it is, better, less dangerous, happier. Such spiritual blindness is indeed a sad misfortune! It is the curse of the spiritual life, for self-knowledge is the foundation whereon the spiritual life rests. All theologians and Doctors of the Church, notably St. Augustine and St. Bernard, agree in declaring self-knowledge to be the most sublime and most useful of all sciences and indispensable to progress in the spiritual life. Consider this to-day, my soul, and ponder the wise saying of blessed Brother Giles: “Whoso does not know himself shall not be known,” that is to say he will not be known by Him who said to the foolish virgins: “I know you not.” (St. Matt, xxv. 12.)
2d. Consider how the blind man sought to be delivered out of his deplorable condition. St. Luke tells us: “He cried out, saying, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He entreats, he prays to Jesus. It is in prayer that he primarily seeks assistance. Learn from this, my soul, that in order to emerge from the sad state of spiritual blindness and attain true self-knowledge you must pray in the first place. For the celestial light of divine grace can alone dispel the darkness of our hearts. Without it no scrutiny, no examination of conscience avails aught. Remember the well-known adage, inscribed on a heathen temple of old, Nosce te ipsum, Know thyself. And yet none of the heathen possessed that self-knowledge! It is only the light of divine grace that leads to such knowledge and for that grace man must ask. This is the reason why St. Augustine so often sent up this petition: “Thou art ever the same, O my God! Grant that I may know Thee, that I may know myself.” And we know that St. Francis was in the habit of repeating again and again: “Who art Thou, my God? and what am I?” As St. Bonaventure truly says: When a ray of sunshine is let into a room, one sees in the sunbeam a thousand mites of dust which were invisible before, and in like manner when the light of grace penetrates the darkness of our hearts, the soul becomes aware of the slightest imperfections and discerns a thousand defects which are not apparent to those who are not enlightened by that living light, and consequently imagine that no such deficiencies exist. Lay to heart these sound words, and in future always begin your examination of conscience, your study to obtain self-knowledge, by praying to be enlightened by divine grace.
3d. Consider that the blind mendicant would not allow himself to be deterred from crying aloud for help, although “many rebuked him, that he might hold his peace;” mark also that when, as St. Mark tells us, he came to Jesus “casting off his garment he leaped up.” (St. Mark x. 50.) Ven. Bede comments thus on this passage: “Let us imitate the example of this blind beggar. Let us by stripping off all worldly hindrances facilitate the glad elevation of the soul to God; let us hasten to the Dispenser of light, that light which only the angels and we can behold, and to which we must attain by the path of Faith.” There is nothing the devil dreads more than that we should soar aloft to God by means of self-knowledge, enlightened by the light of Faith and divine grace. That is why he rebukes the blind that they should hold their peace; that is why he lays in our way innumerable obstacles and impediments, to prevent us from entering upon that close scrutiny of our own heart which would lead to self-knowledge. Hence it is that we are beset with distractions when we examine our conscience. Hence the constant pretexts suggested to us for omitting, for postponing that task. But you, my soul, must imitate the blind man; do not let yourself be led astray; strip off, cast aside the cloak which conceals the poverty of your spiritual condition, and make a special resolution to-day to scrutinize your own heart during this Lenten-tide, and make daily progress in self-knowledge.
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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