Monday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent.

On the Crowning with Thorns.

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 Crowning with Thorns.

To-day, my soul, in sorrow of spirit place before you that sad scene in our Lord’s Passion of which the Church reminds us in the third sorrowful mystery of the Rosary: the crowning with thorns. The soldiers and servants of the high priest drag our Lord, who has not yet recovered from the terribly painful scourging, on to a seat; then they place the cruel crown of thorns upon His head and drive the sharp spikes deep into His sacred temples, causing Him exquisite anguish. Look, my soul, at this picture of misery! There sits Jesus, tormented with burning thirst in consequence of the loss of blood He has sustained, still quivering from the force of the blows inflicted on Him, His flesh torn and mangled, His parched lips open, moistened only by the drops of blood slowly trickling down from His thorn-crowned brow, faint and exhausted, panting for breath.

1st. Consider that in common with all the pains our Lord endured, the crowning with thorns had in the first place an intercessory virtue. Man is in his rightful character a king, the lord of creation. But his claim to kingly dignity has become a mockery, a caricature because of sin, which made him, who is the lord of nature, its slave. It is on account of this that our Lord, the great Mediator of humanity, now figures in the character of a king whose royal majesty is but a jest and a mockery, whose diadem is an ignominious crown of thorns. In this character He pleads for mercy with His heavenly Father and seeks to move His divine heart to compassion on behalf of man, who has fallen into such deep degradation. Ponder this seriously, my soul, ponder it with grief; think how utterly you have fallen from your regal dignity; think what powerful intercession, what painful atonement is needed to regain for you the celestial crown which you have lost. Learn also of Jesus to intercede for your unhappy fellow men, and pre-eminently to be diligent in the more painful intercession consisting in mortification and self-denial.

2d. Consider that in common with all the sufferings our Lord endured, the crowning with thorns had an expiatory virtue. The thorns were not pressed into His temples merely in mockery, but to cause Him injury and pain. Think, my soul, if a single thorn which has run into your foot will cause you a sleepless night, what terrible pain must result from a crown composed entirely of sharp thorns pressed down upon the head! Thus grievously Jesus had to atone for the pride wherewith men place glittering crowns of gold upon their head, thus bitterly He had to expiate the laudatory speeches, the flatteries, the distinctions we covet so eagerly, and accept with such delight. O my soul, if ever you feel within you a tendency to pride and vanity, turn your thoughts immediately to your thorn-crowned Saviour; think of the painful atonement He made for your pride, and it is to be hoped that you will refrain from weaving a fresh crown of thorns for His aching, bleeding brow, by indulging a spirit of arrogance.

3d. Consider that in common with all His other suffering, our Lord’s crowning with thorns is an example for our encouragement. It may well be that life often appears to you hard and difficult, your state in life sad and dreary, the burden of suffering may seem to weigh upon you too heavily; but would you have your head crowned with roses when that of our Lord is pierced with thorns? In the hour of pusillanimity, of impatience, look into this mirror. Look upon the sacred countenance of your Lord; observe the profound sorrow that characterizes it. The treachery of Judas, the fall of Peter have already graven lines of inexpressible grief on those sacred features; the agony on Mount Olivet, the exhaustion produced by the terrible scourging have left their disfiguring traces on that countenance whereon the angels delight to gaze. Now it is yet more frightfully defaced by the unspeakable torture caused by the thorns, the burning pain in that sacred head. In the sight of suffering so acute, can you, my soul, murmur and complain? Do you not rather feel yourself urged to exclaim with one of the saintly daughters of St. Francis: “More suffering, O Lord, more suffering!”

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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