On St. Peter’s Repentance.
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 St. Peter’s Repentance.
To-day, my soul, fix your attention on that most affecting scene which was enacted in the high priest’s palace after Peter’s denial of our Lord. Just at that moment Jesus was conducted across the court, and He turned His pale, sorrowful countenance towards the apostle, looking at him with a pained and yet most affectionate expression. When Peter sees his Master, sees how pathetically, how pitifully He looks at him, a sense of his guilt, the consciousness of his crime overwhelms him. He had sinned against Jesus, his afflicted Lord, now subjected to such terrible suffering; he had actually denied Him. Now the knowledge of this is borne in upon the unhappy apostle in all its force, and almost beside himself with grief, he hurries from the spot in the bitterness of his repentance.
1st. Consider this point: Peter leaves the court where he had been standing, he quits the scene of his sin. That was the first step in the path of penance. He will not stay a single second longer in the place where he had fallen so deeply; not a moment longer will he tarry in the company of those persons who were the cause of this fall. Here you see the first fruit of repentance, and also the first condition of penance. Fly from danger, fly every occasion of sin. Nothing else is of any avail. No tears of penitence, no practices of penance are of any use unless you cut yourself off previously from the occasion of sin, unless you forcibly tear yourself away from intercourse with those who lead you to sin, unless you avoid all that tempts you to sin. And mark this also, my soul you must immediately act as Peter did; all delay is dangerous, it is a link wherewith the devil binds you afresh to the sin which you may perhaps deeply bewail.
2d. Consider furthermore that Peter withdraws into solitude. His fault is committed amid the tumult of the world, whilst he sojourns amongst his fellow men; his penance is begun in solitude far from the busy world. There in calm seclusion his storm-tossed, shipwrecked soul will be once more at rest. There he will come to himself, he will come to the knowledge of God, and labor uninterruptedly at the task of healing the sore wound his soul has sustained. Hence learn that flight from the world, flight into solitude is the second condition of true penance. Withdraw from the turmoil of human society, where your heart will never find repose and self-knowledge. As the author of the Imitation says: “In silence and quiet the devout soul finds floods of tears with which she may wash and cleanse herself every night, that she may become the more familiar with her Creator the further she lives from all worldly tumult.” (Im. B. i. ch. 20.) Of this you see an exemplification in Peter. In the noisy court he sins, in the lonely place he sheds tears.
3d. Consider how he begins to weep bitterly. His tears flow freely, not tears evoked by fear of punishment, but by contrition and love, which will cleanse his soul from the stain of the sins he has committed. Nor was it on that night only that Peter wept; every time he heard a cock crow, those penitential tears gushed forth afresh in expiation, so that according to the ancient tradition, two deep furrows on his cheeks marked their course. See that you also, my soul, mourn for your sins with a like bitter grief. You are, it is true, more or less safeguarded from them by God’s mercy since you entered the Religious state, or since your conversion, but never forget that you are a penitent; this remembrance will make all that is hard in your state light and easy, all that is bitter, sweet; it will enable you to bear hardships and humiliations more readily, and if the stream of your contrite tears should dry up, then apply yourself to the contemplation of your suffering Lord, of Jesus persecuted and afflicted; see how He looks at you as He once looked upon Peter, with the same sorrowful, appealing expression, pained by your many, your countless transgressions and misdeeds committed in spite of the many graces you have received and assuredly tears of sincere compunction will again flow from your eyes.
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.
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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