Thursday after the Second Sunday in Lent.

On our Lord in the House of Caiphas.

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 in the House of Caiphas.

Behold Jesus arraigned before the chief council. Look, my soul, at the countenances of the men who arrogate to themselves the right to judge Him; deceitfulness and rage are written on every one of them; see with what cold contempt Caiphas treats the Saviour standing before him in dignified silence, conscious of His innocence, an Angel of light in the presence of the Spirit of darkness. When at last our Lord opens His lips and acknowledges Himself to be the Son of God, imagine the outburst of savage fury, the angry outcries of the whole assembly; see how Caiphas rends his garments and exclaims: “You have heard the blasphemy, what think you?” (St. Mark xiv. 64.)

1st. Consider the base deceit of our Lord’s enemies. They conceal their hatred and envy under the cloak of zeal for God’s glory. They stigmatize the pronouncement of divine truth as blasphemy, and proceed to pass sentence of death upon Jesus as if the honor of the Most High demanded it. They use God’s name to cover their crime. What unheard of impiety! Yet how often do we see this done; the enemies of our Lord have at all times decreed the destruction of the Church, condemned our Lord to death under the pretext of zeal for God and for the cause of religion. And if you are sincere with yourself, my soul, ask your heart if you have not many a time under the mask of anxiety for God’s glory, for the interests of the Church or of your Order, vented on your neighbor sentiments long concealed of anger and aversion. Ask yourself whether you have not been guilty of uncharitable judgments and detraction, making it appear all the time as if you were acting solely for the sake of truth. Not without good reason did the Psalmist say: Omnis homo mendax, “Every man is a liar” (Ps. cxv. 2); man lies to himself more frequently, more willingly than to any one else, deluding himself with the belief that he is doing for God what he is only doing to serve his own selfish ends.

2d. Consider how shamefully the servants, imitating their masters, treat our Lord. They lead Him away out of the judgment hall to the prison, and there they begin—the mere thought of it is too horrible—to spit in His face. How awful an outrage! Consider what God is and what man is, and you will indeed shudder at it. Man spits in the face of his God, he spits in that countenance whereon the angels gaze in reverential awe, on that countenance which the whole world will one day behold with trembling, when it is revealed in all its terrible majesty. What are you most horrified at, my soul, the treatment our Lord received at the hands of His judges, or at that of their minions?

3d. Consider that it is in the high priest’s house that our Lord is thus maltreated; there it is that He, the High Priest for ever, is so brutally used. Alas! how often Jesus suffers insults from the quarter where one would least expect it, in a house that is actually consecrated to His service! One is not surprised if our Lord is outraged and mishandled in the camp of His enemies, but if He is thus served in the house of His friends, in the sanctuary of God, in a community of Priests or Religious who are supposed to be devoted to the divine service, how doubly painful must this be to the Sacred Heart of Jesus! Now ask yourself seriously, my soul, how often you may perhaps yourself have in a spiritual sense spit in your Lord’s face; how often you have sullied your soul, made in the image of God, by grievous sin. O believe me, mortal sin is far more abhorrent, disgusting in God’s sight than the filthy spittle of the high priest’s servants. Up then, my soul, cleanse your countenance—the image of God,—from this impurity.

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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