Wednesday after the Second Sunday after Easter.

On the Different Ways in which our Lord Appeared after His Resurrection, and the Significance of these Apparitions.

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 Different Ways in which our Lord Appeared after His Resurrection, and the Significance of these Apparitions.

After His resurrection our Lord remained upon earth for forty days. This was truly a season of grace for the apostles, to whom our Lord frequently appeared, at one time to console and cheer them, at another to instruct them, or again for the purpose of bestowing upon them some special favor. Imagine the disciples joyful and happy frame of mind during those forty days; think of the holy longing, the eager expectation wherewith they waited for their Lord to appear to them again after each of His gracious visits.

1st. Consider that our Lord only appeared now and again to His beloved disciples, and that He appeared to some more often than to others, according to the needs of each individual. John was privileged to behold the risen Saviour more frequently than Thomas, and to the seventy disciples He appeared less often than to the apostles. Our Lord is accustomed always to act thus. He visits devout souls more or less often in a spiritual manner, with His consolations and His grace, to enlighten them and fortify them, just as it seems right to His divine bounty, or as the needs of the soul in question require; or again the number of His visits is proportioned to the greater or less intensity of her desire and her longing for the presence of the heavenly Bridegroom. Ponder this last reason more particularly. You long for all manner of things, you wish for the various pleasures and diversions, you seek the honors and possessions of this world; it seldom occurs to you to aspire after heavenly things, to seek the things that are above. Not until you find that your earthly desires are not gratified, not until you feel a dreary void within your breast, do you begin to long for your Lord. Wonder not in such a case that His first visits are to souls whose yearning has always been for Him, or those at any rate who have begun to look eagerly for His coming much earlier, not so late as you have done.

2d. Consider that our Lord usually appeared without warning to the apostles, at a time when they were not expecting Him; observe also how short His visits were, how quickly He departed from them, and oftentimes at the very moment when they were deriving the most pleasure from His presence amongst them. Here, my soul, you see one of the peculiar characteristics of our Lord’s visitations. He visits with His grace souls who are consecrated to Him when they least expect Him, while on the other hand He holds aloof from them when they are waiting and longing for Him with eager impatience. And when at length He permits the soul to be sensible of His divine consolations, to feel them near and to rejoice in them, suddenly, at the moment when she thinks to enjoy them in their fulness, He departs, leaving the soul desolate and cold which but an instant before was filled with consolation and glowed with the fire of divine charity. Perfect satisfaction can never be our portion here below, nor can real repose be attained on earth. Remember this and resign yourself to the will of God. “Seek true peace,” our Lord says to you in the words of the Imitation, “not on earth but in heaven. Thou wouldst already be in the glorious liberty of the children of God; but thine hour has not yet come; rather there is yet another time, a time of war, and toil, and trial.” (B. iii. ch. 49.) Learn therefore to be content if the Lord visits you as He did His disciples, at rare intervals and for a brief moment only.

3d. Consider that the risen Saviour appeared to His disciples at different times, in different places and under different circumstances. To Magdalen He appeared near His sepulchre, to Cleophas on the road to Emmaus; John saw Him on the day of His resurrection, Thomas eight days later; He appeared to the eleven apostles while they sat at meat, to the seven apostles when they were out on the lake fishing. In like manner our Lord favors you with His gracious visits at divers seasons, now when you are at prayer, again when you are at work. Sometimes you are sensible of extraordinary devotion on an ordinary week-day, while, contrary to your expectations, the great festivals have left you cold and dry; at one time you will experience the fire of divine charity during your meditation; at another time while you are pursuing the most lowly avocations either within or without the cloister. “The Spirit breatheth where He will.” Take heed therefore, my soul, to be ready at all times to receive the inspirations of divine grace; walk continually in the presence of God and see that whether you are at prayer or at work, whether you eat or drink or take your rest, you keep your heart fixed upon God and are always prepared to welcome Him as your Guest. But if you feel scant consolation and little delight at the time of His divine visitations, you have yourself to blame; it is because you did not hasten to open the door when our Lord knocked for admission into your heart; because your thoughts were so distracted by other things that you did not hear Him calling to you.

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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May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty

O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.

A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)

The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.

Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).

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