Thursday after Quinquagesima Sunday.

On the Exhortation to Pray that our Lord Gave to His Disciples in 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 Exhortation to Pray that our Lord Gave to His Disciples in the Garden of Olives.

The fear and sadness experienced by our Lord during His agony became so overwhelming that He could no longer bear it alone. He looked around for help and for relief, and returned to His apostles to obtain it. But He finds them also oppressed by a similar sadness—how can they afford Him succor and solace? Can the blind lead the blind? Thus He stands there, the suffering Saviour, abandoned and alone, destitute of all help, of all comfort. Picture Him to yourself, my soul, at this moment, and then see to what means He resorts to obtain deliverance. “Pray” He says to His disciples. We see then that He enjoins on them to have recourse to prayer. Why does He do this?

1st. Consider that prayer is the best consolation. This is the lesson Jesus would teach us on the Mount of Olives. When we need real consolation, when all earthly assistance fails us, when there is no one to support or raise us up, there yet remains for us one, and that a sure means of consolation, of assistance, of deliverance, and that is prayer. How often you have by your own experience proved this to be true, how often have you seen it exemplified in the life of the saints! And yet if agony such as our Lord endured in the Garden of Olives overwhelms you, if sorrow and heaviness oppress you, you seek help first from the world; you endeavor to find consolation in idle conversation, solace in empty amusements; you look for help—and of course look in vain—from man; last of all, when perhaps it is too late, it occurs to you to have recourse to prayer. Learn from our Lord’s example to turn at once for consolation to the source whence it is most readily obtained, and that is in prayer.

2d. Consider that our Lord does not exhort His disciples to pray that they may be exempted from the assaults of temptation, but that they may not enter into temptation, i.e., succumb to it. (St. Matt. xxvi. 41.) For temptations and afflictions are often more beneficial than prejudicial, particularly if they come from God. They keep us vigilant, they make us humble, they increase our merit and purify our souls as fire refines gold. For this reason do not beseech Almighty God to spare you all conflicts and trials, for that would be the same as if a soldier were to hope that he might never meet with an opportunity to use his weapons, to test his mettle; but rather pray that when sufferings and afflictions overtake you, you may not fall beneath them. Above all pray most earnestly when the season of trial has actually come. The cause of your falling so often in temptation is because you are ready enough to use your arms before the day of battle comes, but then when they are really needed, you let your hands drop by your side in faint-hearted despondency. What folly it would be to take up your arms and put yourself on the defensive before ever any sign of the enemy could be descried in the distance, and then, when the foe is really at your doors, to make no use of them. Yet this is what you do; in seasons of tranquillity and peace you will perhaps pray long and fervently that you may not have to engage in battle; but why when prayer is most needed, in seasons of warfare and unrest, do you not pray with equal fervor, equal persistence that you may be enabled to stand in the day of battle?

3d. Consider that our Lord enjoins vigilance upon His apostles at the same time that He exhorts them to pray. “Watch with Me,” He says, “and pray.” Be watchful at prayer, not drowsy and faint-hearted. Remember, my soul, how wondrous is the power of prayer. The prayer of Elias called down rain from heaven, the prayer of Eliseus raised the dead to life, the prayer of the penitent thief saved him from hell. But if prayer is to have power it must be mighty in itself, full of fire, full of life; you must watch in prayer; be vigilant and alert, not like one half asleep, who mutters he knows not what. Has your prayer hitherto been such as this? Learn to-day, my soul, to pray at the right time, to pray for the right things, to pray in the right manner, and thus follow the injunction Jesus Christ gave to His disciples better than they did: “Watch ye and pray.”

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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March Devotion: St. Joseph

Virtue to practice: Mortification

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious Son of David, pray for us.
Splendour of patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Watchful Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most pure, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most couragious, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of all who labor, pray for us.
Glory of family life, pray for us.
Preserver of virgins, pray for us.
Mainstay of families, pray for us.
Solace of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He hath made him master of His house,
R. And ruler of all His possessions.

Let us Pray.

O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph

(This prayer was said to be founded in the 50 A.D. In the 1500′s it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. According to oral tradition, whoever reads this prayer, hears it, or carries it, will not fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor will they be defeated in battle.)

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.

Good St. Joseph protect us, protect the holy Church.

O good and kind St. Joseph guide us in the way of perfection.

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