The Fourth Sunday after Easter.

On the Spirit of Truth Whom Our Lord Promises us in the Gospel for To-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 Spirit of Truth Whom Our Lord Promises us in the Gospel for To-day.

Represent to yourself the grief the apostles felt after our Lord had announced to them that the time had come for Him to depart from them; and how a new source of consolation was immediately opened to them, how fresh consolation inundated their souls, when our Lord promised to send another Comforter who should abide with them forever, the Spirit of truth.

1st. Our Lord calls this Holy Spirit preeminently a Paraclete, a Comforter. He is indeed most truly a Comforter, for all that the personal presence of Jesus effected, all the anticipated loss of which the apostles lamented so keenly, is continually produced within our hearts by the operation of the Holy Spirit. As our Lord was in the first instance, so now the Holy Spirit is our Teacher who initiates us into the truths of Christ; He is now the Light who enlightens and kindles our hearts; the Holy Spirit is the Comforter of the afflicted, exactly as our Lord was, and like Him again, He is the strength of the weak. St. Bernard, speaking of the holy Paraclete, says: “He gives to the faithful the pledge of salvation, the light of knowledge, the fortitude of the spiritual life. That which is impossible to nature, becomes possible and even easy with the assistance of His grace.” The apostles were the first to discover by their own experience that the Holy Spirit who was promised to them was in very truth a Paraclete, for they who previous to His coming were so weak, so pusillanimous, so wavering, were, after they had received the Holy Ghost, strong, courageous, and so steadfast in faith as to become immovable pillars of the Church. If this change has not taken place in you, my soul, examine yourself, ask yourself whether this is not due to your having sought another comforter, not the Holy Ghost.

2d. Consider that in to-day’s Gospel our Lord speaks of the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of truth. As Satan is the father and fosterer of lies, so the Holy Ghost is the Author, the Promoter of truth. He is the Teacher of the pure unadulterated truth, who cannot deceive; He instructs us in the matters of our salvation, and as the sun’s rays dispel the mists, so His light banishes the clouds of ignorance and error. It is His office to impart the right knowledge of divine things and the mysteries of the faith, and to give a right understanding of the Holy Scriptures. What would become of our Church without this Spirit of truth? what would have become of ourselves, exposed as we are to the subtle, deceitful, incessant attacks of the spirit of darkness and falsehood? How could we have withstood them? Whence comes so much error, so many transgressions and scandals? They arise hence: because the great bulk of mankind and you perhaps amongst the number instead of being led by the Spirit of truth, allow themselves to be guided by the lying, deceitful, treacherous spirit of the world, the spirit of the carnal man, the spirit of self-love. Make a resolution not to take a single step in the future in matters concerning your salvation, without having previously implored our Lord to grant you the Spirit of truth whom He to-day promises to us. Do this, and you will soon find your faults and failings to be fewer, your mistakes less frequent.

3d. Consider that our Lord says further of this Spirit: “The Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive.” (St. John xiv. 17.) By the world is here meant idle, voluptuous, sinful men. In reference to such persons St. Gregory writes: “The Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts the desire for invisible, supernatural riches; thus since the heart of worldlings only cares for visible, temporal possessions, the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit; for the more eagerly the desires of the earthly-minded crave for those things that are external and visible, the more unfit they become to receive the Holy Spirit.” Ponder this, my soul. Scrutinize your own heart to-day; ask yourself whither your longings tend and perhaps you may discover the reason why you have kept the feast of Pentecost for so many years without perceiving the action of the Holy Ghost within you; and you may perhaps be more likely to make it your earnest endeavor that it may be otherwise with you when you celebrate the approaching day of Pentecost.

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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