Monday after Quinquagesima Sunday.

On the Reason Why Our Lord Commenced His Passion in a Garden and Did Not Take with His Eight of His Disciples.

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 Reason Why Our Lord Commenced His Passion in a Garden and Did Not Take with His Eight of His Disciples.

Contemplate your Redeemer, my soul, at the time when, together with His apostles, He reached the Garden of Olives. Darkness wraps the face of the earth, but a bright moon illumines the heavens. Jesus is very sorrowful; He announces to His dismayed disciples the dangers impending over them. Selecting three whom He will take with Him into the interior of the Garden, to the other eight He says: “ Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray.” (St. Matt. xxvi. 36.) It is a melancholy scene that is here presented to view. Already the fear and anguish of His Passion have invaded our Lord’s soul, when He parts from the disciples, who see Him go with feelings of consternation and vague forebodings of evil.

1st. Consider why Our Lord commenced His Passion in a garden. For this reason: Because it was His will to recover in a garden what had been lost in a garden, the salvation and eternal happiness of mankind. In the Garden of Eden Adam stretched out his hands to the forbidden fruit, and thereby brought himself and all his posterity into the bondage of the devil; for that cause our Lord stretches out His hands in the Garden of Olives to yield Himself as a captive to the myrmidons of the devil and thereby accomplish our redemption. In the Garden of Eden through his pride and prevarication Adam caused his own fall and that of the whole human race, and for that cause Jesus casts Himself on to the ground, into the dust in the Garden of Olives, in order by His humility to raise us who have fallen so low. Finally Jesus wills to begin in the garden that conflict whereby the glorious portals of the garden of paradise, long closed against us, were to be reopened; through His sufferings in the garden He, the sinless One, will purchase for us admittance into that celestial garden from which sinful concupiscence has excluded us. Marvel at and admire the divine wisdom, and learn hence that wherein you have sinned, therein you must do penance.

2d. Consider that it was out of consideration for their frailty that our Lord did not permit the eight apostles to accompany Him into the garden. He knew that their faith was not as strong and steadfast as that of the other apostles. It might easily have happened that the sight of their Master trembling, oppressed by fear and sadness, might have been to them an occasion of scandal, or even of falling, that they might have been led to doubt His divinity. Our Lord in His mercy desires to avoid this. Learn hence, my soul, to exercise patience and forbearance towards the weaker brethren. Above all take heed lest you give them cause to take scandal. Do not, if you are a Superior, require too much of them; learn of Jesus to distinguish between the strong and the weak, the perfect and the imperfect. And if you are a subordinate, see in like manner that you are patient with your weaker brethren; do not take umbrage if exceptions are made in their favor, if they are spared, or are permitted to do what is forbidden to others. You are not scandalized because sick people receive Holy Communion in their beds, while those who are whole have to receive it in the church and on their knees; well, in other things make the same wise distinction between the perfect and the imperfect, and you will spare yourself and others much cause for regret both in time and in eternity.

3d. Consider also that our Lord left the eight apostles outside the garden for the purpose of trying their patience. The stronger disciples have to be approved by their fortitude in conflict, the weaker by their patience; and if our Lord excludes them from participation in the mysteries of His Passion, if He shows less confidence in them than in the other greater apostles, they ought to accept this with humility, without feelings of envy or ill will. How necessary it is for you, my soul, to take example by our Lord’s disciples in this respect. If you perceive that God has endowed your brother with more talents than He has bestowed on you, that He has lavished on him greater favors than on you, that He destines him for higher things than He destines you, bear this patiently, acquiesce in it without jealousy; say not only with your lips but in the sincerity of your heart that you know yourself to be unworthy of similar privileges, and then you will by your humility be equally acceptable in God’s sight. And if you see your Superior appointing others to posts, employing them in functions from which you are excluded, bear this patiently; do not envy your brethren. Remember that St. Peter, whom our Lord took with Him into the garden, afterwards fell, while his brother Andrew, who was left outside, did not prevaricate; and although he did not enjoy the same privilege as St. James, he ranks as high as this apostle, who was one of the three chosen to accompany our Lord. Whether you have much or little, that much or little is not your own; it is God’s gift.

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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