Tuesday after the First Sunday in Lent.

On Our Lord’s Sweat of Blood.

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 Our Lord’s Sweat of Blood.

Let your meditation to-day be made in a peculiarly solemn and serious spirit. Imprint deeply upon your mind the image of the Saviour covered with a sweat of blood; let it awaken in you sincere contrition and profound compassion. So terrible, so awful was the anguish of soul, the deadly strife of that hour of agony, that Jesus in His distress at one time lifted up His voice in a pathetic cry; His hands were wrung and clasped tightly together; great drops of blood trickled down His pallid countenance. Can you look unmoved on your Saviour in this condition, as He stands there trembling and amazed, covered with blood, overwhelmed with horror? Now proceed to consider the threefold cause of the sweat of blood that exuded from His agonized frame.

1st. It was the dread of death which forced the sweat of blood out of His sacred body. We read that in days of yore King Ezechias, on being told by the prophet: “Give charge concerning thy house, for thou shalt die, and not live” (IV. Kings xx. 1), he turned his face, blanched with horror, to the wall, and “wept with much weeping,” although he knew that he should end his days in the royal palace, surrounded by his courtiers, who would afford him solace and render death less difficult and terrible to him. Judge then how much, how incomparably greater must have been the anguish and dread the Son of God experienced, when He heard in anticipation the sentence of death, and knew that it would be executed on the cruel cross; that He would expire between two thieves, in the place where criminals were put to death. Added to this was the consciousness that He would not be able, like King Ezechias, to meet death in regal dignity and honor, but would be condemned to die a death of obloquy, regarded as one of the worst of evil-doers, despised, abandoned by every one; nay even to be spit upon, and see a robber and murderer preferred to Him. Seeing this you will no longer wonder that our Lord’s human nature was so horrified at the prospect of such a death, that His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.

2d. Consider that it was sin in the second place that forced the blood out of our Lord’s sacred body. What an immense weight must be heaped upon a man to make the blood start from his finger-nails! Now the blood does not merely exude from His nails, but from every part of His sacred body. What then, let us ask, is the weight that presses thus sorely upon Him? St. Bernard tells us; he supposes our Lord to exclaim under the stress of agony: “The wounds caused by thy sins, man, are far more painful to Me than the wounds inflicted upon My body; My physical sufferings are by no means as hard to bear as the heavy burden of thy transgressions, which thou dost lay upon Me.” Alas! it is not only a cruel sweat that is forced out of the pores of the Saviour, agonized and groaning beneath this load, but great drops of blood. And have you, my soul, no tears to shed, no tears of compunction at the sight of His distress? Do you not hear the words that St. Bernard ascribes to the Saviour: “Stop, sinner; cease to heap so great a burden on thy Redeemer, causing Him to sweat blood, otherwise thou wilt thyself be crushed under the weight, and sink into the abyss of hell.”

3d. Consider that it was charity in the third place that forced the sweat of blood out of our Lord’s sacred body. Behold how great was our Lord s charity to us sinners, how forcible His holy desire to suffer for the glory of God and man’s salvation; He could not wait until His divine countenance was buffeted, His delicate body torn with rods and scourges, His sacred head pierced with thorns, His hands and feet transfixed with nails, His loving heart opened with a lance, thus affording manifold means of egress to His precious blood. No, the intense ardor of that charity already drives that precious blood forth from every pore of His sacred body, causing the stream of charity, the source of man’s salvation and reconciliation with God to flow upon Olivet, before Mount Calvary is reached. Think upon the threefold origin of that sweat of blood as often as you recite that decade of the Rosary which recalls the sorrowful mystery of our Lord’s agony in the garden, and renew the resolution which to-day’s meditation suggests to you.

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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