Our Lord Appears to the Disciples on the Seashore.
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.
Our Lord Appears to the Disciples on the Seashore.
It is early morning. A little boat is floating on the still waters of the lake of Genesareth; in it are some fishermen who have been toiling and exerting themselves all night long at their trade, but without meeting with any success; they have not caught any fish. Those men are our Lord’s disciples. Just as they have taken in their nets and are preparing to return home, all their efforts having been fruitless, our Lord appears to them on the banks of the lake, calling to them in accents of tender, loving solicitude: “Children, have you any meat?” (St. John xxi. 5.) Keep this scene before your eyes during your meditation.
1st. Our Lord does not make this inquiry of His disciples concerning food on His own behalf—He has risen from the dead, and His glorified body stands in no need of earthly aliments—it is for their sake that He asks whether they have a provision of fish. His design is to bring them, through the recognition of their own poverty and weakness, to a sense of their dependence upon Him, their Master, to show them how little they can do without Him, and then to afford them assistance and give them an abundant harvest of fishes. O most bountiful Jesus! How often dost Thou stand before us, asking something from us not for Thyself, but for our benefit. So it is with you, my soul; as He once craved a draught of water from the woman of Samaria, in order that He might give her in exchange the living water of divine grace, so ofttimes He knocks at the door of your heart by means of your Brethren and Sisters, asking from you this or that trifling act of charity, requiring of you this or that sacrifice, with the purpose of bestowing on you a great, a superabundantly great reward, provided you hear His call and obey His voice.
2d. Consider the command our Lord gives to His disciples, to cast the net out once more. What behest could have been more inopportune, more inconvenient than this? How strange, how wanting in common sense we may almost say, this suggestion must have appeared to these men, experienced as they were in their craft. They had already cleansed their nets and stowed them away carefully, and now to cast them out again seemed utterly useless, since during the livelong night, which was the proper, suitable time for fishing, they had caught nothing. In spite of this they obeyed, they submitted their apparently better judgment and did as they were bidden, and the recompense of their obedience was a draught of fishes more numerous, of larger size than any they had previously taken in the waters of the lake. Here, my soul, you see the blessing that attends upon obedience. Take example from these disciples. By obeying, by subordinating your judgment to the will of your Superior, you will gain a great reward; whereas if you throw off the yoke of obedience you will perhaps labor all night without taking a single fish in your net. Look back at your past life and ask yourself whether it does not afford confirmation of this truth.
3d. Consider that our Lord was recognized first of all by John, who said to the others in the ship: “It is the Lord.” (St. John xxi. 7.) John was the eagle that proudly soars aloft and gazes on the sun, the emblem of the contemplative and meditative life; he was also the virgin apostle. Hence we may learn what first and foremost leads to the knowledge of God, to the comprehension of the mysteries He has revealed, to the sense of His nearness, to the reception of His inspirations, of His graces. It is the contemplation of God, meditation upon the truths of revelation, a life of chastity and virginity. “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.” (St. Matt. v. 8.) If you keep your soul pure and unstained; if you consecrate yourself with chaste heart to the contemplative life; if, as far as your daily duties permit, you keep up the practice of daily meditation, then you will, like John, be the first to recognize the Lord, to feel Him near and experience His consolations, and you will gather in as rich a harvest for your spiritual life as the disciples did for their material existence on this day. But if hitherto your efforts have been devoid of success, if in fact you have labored all night long and taken nothing, examine yourself, ask yourself whether the reason is not to be found in the fact that there has been about you too little resemblance to John, the virginal apostle, the contemplative saint.
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.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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