On the Gospel for the Day
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 Gospel for the Day
Imagine that you see our Lord taking leave of His disciples. They stand sorrowing around their Master, who is about to depart from them, and He, like a father speaking to his children for the last time, is giving them kind admonitions and addressing to them words of consolation and encouragement.
1st. Consider these words: “Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep but the world shall rejoice.” (St. John xvi. 20.) Herein Christ expresses the vast difference that exists amongst mankind here on earth in regard to their striving after happiness. All desire happiness, all men are of one mind in proposing this as their goal; but oh how different are the ways whereby they endeavor to attain that goal! Whilst some rejoice, others mourn; whilst some seek to reach their goal by paths hedged with roses, others follow hard and thorny roads. The king in the Canticle of Canticles looks for happiness in the embraces of his beloved spouse, whereas St. Alexius, in the same search after happiness, forsakes the bride whom his parents had chosen for him. King Crœsus, revelling in his wealth, found satisfaction in gazing upon his piles of gold, whereas St. Francis was inebriated with delight when permitted to seek happiness in the mendicant’s garb. Thus it is everywhere on earth. The votaries of the world pity those who renounce what they deem joys, and the latter regard as objects of commiseration those who surrender themselves to the fascination of those joys. What is the cause of this contrast? It lies in this one word which our Lord spoke: “A little while.”
2d. The disciples said: “What is this that He saith: a little while? we know not what He speaketh.” (v. 18.) It is just the same with ourselves. Because some amongst us do not understand this saying, they do not heed it, whilst others clearly comprehend its meaning. Some rejoice over the very things at which the others mourn. Oh grasp its import aright, my soul! “Again a little while.” All, everything upon earth lasts but a little while. The monarch rejoices in the possession of his bride; again a little while and all his delight is at an end, death comes and takes her from him. Alexius abandons his bride, he leaves his home and his parents; to what a wretched life he condemns himself! Yet “again a little while” and his sorrow is banished; it gives place to eternal happiness. If the world tries to captivate you by its pleasures and its joys, think of these words: “Again a little while”; and if on the other hand the weight of suffering and trial presses on you too heavily, then again let these same words recur to your mind: “A little while.”
3d. Finally consider what our Lord said when He spoke for the third time: “Your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” No wonder if your life as a Priest, as a Religious oftentimes seems dreary and joyless when compared to the diversions and amusements of life in the world. No wonder if sometimes you cry out with the short-sighted ones, as the author of the Imitation says: “Behold how well such a man lives, how rich he is, how great, how mighty and powerful! But fix thine eyes on heavenly goods and thou wilt see that all these temporal things are no goods at all, but are very uncertain and rather burdensome, because they are never possessed without care and fear.” (B. i. ch. 22.) So it truly is, my soul, “your sorrow shall be turned into joy, into everlasting joy.” Meditate upon this truth from our Lord’s lips; apprehend it in its full depth and meaning, and you will give God thanks that you are permitted to have sorrow here below whilst the world rejoices.
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.
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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