Thursday after the First Sunday in Lent.

On the Power of the Words Our Lord Spoke: “I Am He.”

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 Power of the Words Our Lord Spoke: “I Am He.”

As on a gloomy day a gleam of sunshine may often be seen to break through the heavy clouds, so in the midst of our Lord’s sufferings, in the hour of His deepest abasement, His divine nature, His divine majesty and power occasionally made itself manifest. Thus it was on the Mount of Olives. Prostrated by intense mental and physical pain, exhausted to death, behold Him standing in the presence of a goodly band of armed men, and see how at the simple words: “I am He” (St. John xviii. 5), those stalwart soldiers fall to the ground. There they lie prone, feeble and impotent at the feet of the Individual they have been sent to apprehend. Represent to yourself this bright spot which you come upon so unexpectedly in the sombre picture of our Lord’s Passion.

1st. Consider these words of St. Augustine: If Christ acted thus when He allowed Himself to be judged by the ungodly, what will He do when He is Himself the judge of the whole world? If He displays His infinite power when He is about to submit to the penalty of death, how astounding will be the might He reveals when He appears as the sovereign Ruler of Heaven and earth? Think, my soul, if those gentle words from our Lord’s lips: “I am He,” terrified His enemies to such an extent that they fell to the earth, although the words were spoken for their benefit, imagine the horror that will overwhelm them when one day they hear His voice, the voice of their Judge pronouncing the sentence of their condemnation. St. Jerome asserts that when our Lord said to the executioners: “I am He,” a gleam of such fiery brightness flashed out of His eyes that they fell to earth as if struck by lightning. What then, think you, will be the effect produced by those flashes of fire, when on the judgment day our Lord’s countenance is lit up with holy wrath, when His eye falls upon the ungodly, striking them as with a fiery bolt, when His voice sounds on their ears like the rolling thunder? In anticipation of the judgment to come, my soul, cast yourself down upon your face now, but do not let this be done by compulsion, as in the case of the servants on the Mount of Olives, but voluntarily, as a sign of sincere contrition and of repentance for your sins; for now Jesus speaks to you with the utmost mildness, saying: “I am He, I am He who has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

2d. In order that you may experience less difficulty in responding to the call of grace, consider the effect these words: “I am He,” will produce upon the ungodly on the day of judgment. Picture to yourself the Saviour in that terrible moment when He turns His countenance kindled with just anger, His eyes flashing fire, the eyes of an angry Judge upon His enemies on the left hand, as if He would annihilate them with a glance; think with what unutterable terror—terror far greater than that which seized upon the soldiers in the Garden of Olives—they will hear the words: “I am He. I am He, your almighty Judge; I am He, the God of vengeance; I have come to judge you, to condemn you to eternal perdition. I am He who fills heaven and earth, aye, and hell too with the sound of My voice, to summon angels, men and devils to appear before My tribunal. I am He who will launch at you these awful words to your everlasting woe: Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.” (St. Matt. xxv. 41.) Alas, my soul, how unhappy is the fate of the ungodly; those who in their lifetime have, like the soldiers and servants of the chief priests, bound our Lord, scourged, mocked, and crucified Him, will, struck by these terrible words: “I am He,” fall headlong, not to the ground only, but into the abyss of hell!

3d. Consider the effect these same words will have for the just. We read in the Gospel that once when the disciples one dark and stormy night were tossing in a boat in the midst of the sea they were alarmed by seeing a figure which they thought to be an apparition walking upon the waves; it was Jesus, who spoke to them, saying: “It is I, fear ye not.” (St. Matt. xiv. 27.) Thus, my soul, the just will also be filled with apprehension when, on the last day, they see the Judge of the living and the dead coming on the clouds of heaven; but oh how soon they will be tranquillized by hearing that word of omnipotence: “I am He, fear ye not!” I am He, your God and your Father, for whom you have struggled, suffered and striven; I am He who recompenses every cup of water which you have given to your brother man; I am He with whom you shall be to-day in the kingdom of My Father. words of amazing solace! Would you not, my soul, hear them addressed to you? Ask yourself this day which meaning they would have for you, if you were this very hour called to appear before the judgment seat of God, and according to the answer of your conscience form your resolutions.

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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