On the Reason Why Our Lord Took the Three Apostles with Him into the Garden of Olives.
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 Took the Three Apostles with Him into the Garden of Olives.
To-day picture to yourself our Lord entering the Garden of Olives with Peter, James and John. It is a solemn moment. The three chosen apostles already see their Master overwhelmed with sorrow and sadness; already on His countenance, usually expressive of heavenly peace, they see signs of fear and dread, of anguish and horror; now, and this is yet more terrible, they are to behold their Master in His hour of deepest abasement. What is the reason of this? Why are these three apostles chosen for this rather than the others?
1st. Consider that the apostles who are with their Master on Olivet are the same who were with Him on Thabor. They who beheld the Lord in His glorification must now behold Him in His humiliation. This is the way God is wont to deal with His servants. He invariably visits those with greater tribulations to whom He has previously given greater graces and consolations. Wherefore if you experience extraordinary sweetness and consolation in prayer, special ease in obedience to God’s commandments and the observance of your Rule, if you can bear trials and sufferings with unusual cheerfulness, then prepare yourself; soon this Thabor will be exchanged for Olivet. Consider that, as St. Gregory says, those persons expose themselves to bitter disappointment who imagine all difficulties are overcome because they experience sweetness, fervor and devotion in the service of God, although they are but beginners; they ought on the contrary to consider that such marks of God’s favor are but the caresses He bestows on children, who will soon be subjected to severer discipline, and weaned from the love of the world. At first a gardener waters young plants freely; when they have grown stronger he does so less often.
2d. Consider that the apostles who went with our Lord on to Mount Olivet were those whom He loved most. Peter was the one He had chosen as the rock on which His Church was to be founded; John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and James was the first who was to receive the crown of glory. These were the three who were to go with Him to Olivet, who were to witness His agony. Learn from this, my soul, learn that it is a mark of singular favor and special love on God’s part, if He takes us with Him on to Olivet, if He sends us sufferings and afflictions. Perhaps at the outset of your spiritual life, after your conversion or when first you were admitted into the Priesthood, or entered a Religious Order, you were apparently the object of God’s particular favor, you were privileged to enjoy His special loving-kindness. How fervent you then were in prayer, how zealous in the service of God! Now all is changed. Do not let this disquiet you. God does not love you less because you are more frequently assailed by temptation, more visited by tribulations than you were formerly. “My brethren, count it all joy when you shall fall into divers temptations,” so says St. James, (i. 2.) We read of a hermit who when delivered from a temptation that had long tormented him, seemed quite sorrowful, and addressed to God this loving complaint: “Thou dost not deem me worthy, Lord, to suffer something for love of Thee.” Wherefore, my soul, consider it to be a signal mark of God’s love and favor when He takes you with Him on to Olivet.
3d. Consider that you must remain upon Mount Olivet with the three apostles: that is, withstand the assaults, the temptations of the evil one; bear the trials and troubles of life as St. Peter, with steadfast faith, and confidence that is firm as a rock. However high the waves of the stormy ocean of temptation rise, as long as you do not lose confidence you will not sink. Armed with this faith show yourself to be like James, whose name signifies “champion.” As long as you maintain the fight, as long as you struggle with your foe, he will not prevail against you. The victory will be yours when your opponent lays down his arms, and gives up the contest. Remember that, my soul. This thought will be a great support to you: As long as I fight, as long as I resist temptation, I shall not be defeated. Yet one thing more: you must fight like John, the meaning of whose name is the gift or grace of God. Do not trust to your own power and strength, or you will fall as did Peter. But if you fight in and with the grace of God you will be invincible; and while the self-confident Peter has to weep bitter tears over his unhappy fall, you will be able to follow our Lord with the humble-minded John from Olivet to Calvary.
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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