The Third Sunday in Lent.

On the Devil that Was Dumb.

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 Devil that Was Dumb.

Can you, my soul, imagine a case more melancholy, more pitiable than that of the hapless individual of whom we read in the Gospel for to-day, who was possessed by a devil? In consequence of this possession the unfortunate man had lost the use of speech; he was blind, as St. Matthew tells us (ch. xii. 22), and to fill up the measure of his affliction, he was, as St. Chrysostom asserts, at the same time deaf. Realize as far as you can the deplorable condition of this man, blind, deaf and dumb, and when you are fully impressed with his misery remind yourself that he is typical of the sinner who, possessed by a dumb devil, will not confess his sins.

1st. Consider the blindness of the sinner. The devil has taken up his abode in that man’s heart as in a strong citadel; he has closed the doors by which he might be driven out, for he darkens the interior sight of the man to prevent him from discerning his spiritual state, the danger of eternal damnation that hangs over him. Consequently he does not feel his need of help, of deliverance out of his perilous situation. Alas, what an appalling condition! Such sinners are like a man who walks blindfolded along a narrow plank laid over a deep abyss, or they may be compared to one who, prostrated by a violent attack of fever, considers himself nevertheless to be quite well, and will not take any remedies, so that there is no hope of saving his life. My soul, guard against this blindness by diligent and thorough examination of your conscience, and ever remember the maxim: “Better judge thyself than be judged by God.”

2d. Consider that he is dumb. The sinner may possibly be aware of his lamentable condition; he may feel the stings of conscience, but a devil that is dumb dwells within his heart and holds his tongue bound, so that either he does not confess his sins at all, or he passes over in silence one or more; or again, he accuses himself in general in terms so vague, indefinite and insincere, that the Confessor cannot form a correct idea of his spiritual state. To compass this end Satan employs all manner of pretexts. He deludes the sinner into thinking that he has done all that is necessary, or he suggests that he should speak more explicitly later on to a wiser, more experienced Priest, or that he should make a clean conscience in his next general confession.

O fatal delusion! Is it not madness to know that one is sick, sick unto death, and yet refuse to see the physician who could effect a cure? Is it not madness to conceal your hurt, and suffer twice as much as you need because you are ashamed to speak of it? As St. Gregory says, sores that are not open are by far the most painful, for if the matter that collects and festers is discharged from the wound it affords great relief to the sufferer. Likewise in the case of the sinner who, being possessed of a dumb devil, will not confess his sins; the pangs of conscience become ever more acute, more torturing; it is with him as with one who is unwell, who constantly feels sick, and can find no alleviation until he has been thoroughly purged from the ill-humors that cause the nausea. That is just what the sinner will not do. Beware, my soul, of harboring the dumb devil! The Psalmist says: “Because I was silent my bones grew old.” (Ps. xxxi. 3.) Wherefore do not keep silence, but make a full confession and your soul shall live.

3d. Consider his deafness. If a sinner such as has been described perseveres for any length of time in his culpable, fatal reticence, the devil that is dumb deprives him of the sense of hearing. Then however often the warning voice of conscience speaks, however loudly and persistently the exhortations of Confessors, of Preachers, of Superiors knock at the closed door of his obdurate heart, however often God sends severe afflictions to rouse him from his apathy, all is in vain. He hears those appeals no more than the deaf man hears the peal of thunder. In his blindness and deafness he speeds headlong to the abyss of hell. O unhappy mortal! Alas! my soul, how sad to think that not a few of those who at this season are invited by the Good Shepherd to listen to His voice when they fulfil the Easter precept, are and will remain under the influence of this dumb devil. Pray for them, pray for them during the present week; undertake some voluntary act of penance, offer the Holy Sacrifice with the intention that Jesus will of His tender mercy drive out this terrible devil that is dumb from those who are about to make their Easter confession.

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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