On Mortal Sin as the Chief Hindrance to the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.
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 Mortal Sin as the Chief Hindrance to the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.
Every one knows the exertions people make when a distinguished guest is expected to visit them; the whole house is, so to speak, turned upside down; every part is carefully cleaned and decorated afresh, in order to provide a perfectly clean and bright apartment for the reception of the expected visitor. Now there is no greater Guest, none more illustrious than He whom you are to entertain within your heart next Sunday. Ought you not to apply yourself with the utmost solicitude to the work of cleansing your house, and before all, to remove the impurity which chiefly disfigures the temple, the dwelling of the Holy Ghost? That to which we refer is mortal sin. In order that you may form a due conception of the vast importance of thoroughly purifying your house from this defilement, let it be the subject of your meditation to-day.
1st. Consider the words of the Wise Man in the Old Testament: “Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins.” (Wisd. i. 4.) According to St. Thomas, by wisdom is here meant the gift of the Holy Ghost and also the Giver, the Holy Ghost Himself. Thus we are told that the Holy Ghost never enters into a soul that is malicious, whose will is evil and perverse, corrupted by mortal sin. Mortal sin is like a heavy sepulchral stone laid upon the tomb of the soul, which bars the entrance to the reanimating, life-giving Spirit; it is the crust of ice which forms over the unhappy soul, and prevents the warm sunshine of the Holy Ghost from penetrating and melting it. However much you pray, however much you fast, even if you chastise yourself to blood, all is in vain. You must first remove that stone, you must first melt that coating of ice in the fire of penance, in the warm breeze of contrition, otherwise the coming of the Holy Ghost will be profitless as far as you are concerned.
2d. Consider how the patriarch Noe once sent forth a dove out of the ark, but she soon returned to him, not finding where her foot might rest. Before the dove, Noe had sent out a raven; that however had not returned to him, as being an unclean bird it could easily settle upon a dead body. But the dove in her purity disdained so foul a resting-place and preferred to fly back to Noe into the ark. Here, my soul, you have a beautiful emblem of the Holy Ghost. He, the third Person of the Godhead, the celestial Dove, will not rest upon carrion. He will not, that is, come to dwell within a soul of one who is in a state of spiritual decomposition through mortal sin, for such a one is to Him an abomination, He holds him in abhorrence. Ponder this carefully. Alas! it may be that the heavenly Dove hovers anxiously about you; already you hear His wings fluttering near you, you feel that grace is at hand. O rise up forthwith! Cleanse yourself at once from mortal sin, that the Holy Ghost may meet with no impediment when He comes to take up His abode within your heart.
3d. In order more fully to appreciate and estimate aright the abhorrence with which the soul of one who is in a state of mortal sin inspires the Holy Ghost, consider how the sight of the remains of the Empress Isabella, whose face and figure, in life so attractive and lovely, were by death rendered in so short a space of time repulsive and hideous to the last degree, filled St. Francis Borgia with such disgust and loathing for the world that he abandoned it immediately. If that was the effect produced upon the saint, what must be the disgust and abhorrence wherewith the Holy Ghost regards the soul that is dead, decomposed by mortal sin? If one single mortal sin changed the most beauteous and brilliant of the angels into a hideous devil, how repugnant to the Holy Ghost must be the sight of a soul stained with mortal sin. No wonder that He will not take up His dwelling in a temple thus defiled. Purify yourself therefore, my soul, and if you have already undergone this cleansing process, and need it not yourself, then be instant in prayer; send up your petitions to Heaven on behalf of the souls under your care; exhort, preach, labor in the sacred ministry; undertake voluntary mortifications in order that a goodly number of your fellow Christians may at the approaching Whitsuntide cleanse their souls from that whereby the Holy Spirit is most forcibly withstood, mortal sin.
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).
Prayer to the Holy Ghost.
O HOLY SPIRIT, divine spirit of light and love, I consecrate to Thee my understanding, heart and will, my whole being for time and for eternity. May my understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations, and to the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible Guide; may my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbour; may my will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, to whom with the FATHER and Thee be honour and glory for ever. Amen.
300 Days, once a day.
Pius X, June 5, 1908.
Novena for Pentecost.
i. Seven Years and Seven Quarantines, each day.
ii. Plenary, once during the Novena, Feast or Octave.
This Novena may be made publicly or privately, and the same Indulgences are granted for special prayers said every day during the Octave. Any prayers to the HOLY GHOST may be used.
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