On Pride as a 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 Pride as a Hindrance to the Profitable Celebration of Pentecost.
The Mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was with the apostles at the time when they were preparing in silence and seclusion for the coming of the Holy Ghost. From her, the lowly handmaid of the Lord, who precisely on account of her humility was chosen to be the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, we may learn that if the coming of the Holy Spirit is to be fruitful in graces for us, it appertains above all to our preparation for that coming to banish all kind of pride from the heart, for pride resists the Holy Spirit.
1st. Consider how the Holy Spirit descended with His grace upon Saul, an unassuming husbandman, when Samuel the prophet anointed him king of Israel. But as soon as Saul had grown arrogant, and was envious of David because of his reputation, and even in his pride of heart wilfully disobeyed the commandment of God, the Holy Spirit departed from him, and an evil spirit, a spirit of melancholy, took possession of him. Unhappily there are many who follow in Saul’s footsteps. How many men have kept themselves free from the servitude of vice, how many have perhaps for years led a life of the strictest penance, have practised austerities and mortifications, and suddenly, when they seemed to have attained the summit of perfection, they have fallen, and fallen so deeply! What was the cause of this? Conquered by pride, they lost the Holy Spirit and His sanctifying grace, and all the exertions and efforts of a whole life went for nothing. Thus let it be remembered that the Holy Spirit departs from the proud.
2d. Consider further that He does not come to the haughty. Only think how full of people Jerusalem was at the time of Pentecost, and yet the Holy Spirit who descended to earth as a rushing, mighty wind came but to a few men, came only to the poor, insignificant, humble apostles, not to the high priests, not to the proud Pharisees, not to the haughty Scribes. St. James teaches us that the Holy Spirit only distils the dew of His grace upon the hearts of the humble. (Ch. iv. 6.) It is in valleys and low-lying meadows that we see the fertilizing waters flow down and congregate. St. Augustine says that humility attracts God to the soul, while pride does the contrary. God is great, he adds, God is on high; if thou abase thyself He will condescend to come down to thee, but if thou liftest up thyself, He will fly from thee. “The humble soul,” St. Bonaventure remarks, “is open to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit; it is as susceptible of His gracious influences as melted wax is of the impression stamped upon it.” When Joseph made a banquet for his brethren, the best portions were sent to Benjamin, the youngest and the least among them. Ask yourself whether you most resemble the humble Benjamin or the haughty Saul?
3d. Consider how easily pride creeps into the human heart. Almost all men are more or less infected with this sin. The sin of pride even made its entrance into Heaven: it thrust itself up to the steps of the throne of the Most High, it brought about the fall of the highest of the celestial spirits. “The other vices,” St. Augustine says, “only accompany sinful actions, but we have to be on our guard against pride even in the performance of good actions.” How many have risen as on eagles wings and attained a lofty height of virtue and suddenly through pride fallen down and become blind bats! We read of a hermit who walked unhurt over red-hot embers, and a thought of pride having on that account insinuated itself into his heart, he fell from the paths of virtue wherein he had attained great eminence and became the prey of the lowest vices. Be warned by these lessons, and this very day scrutinize the inmost recesses of your heart; observe when and in what manner you most frequently yield to this most dangerous sin; form a rule for yourself that you may know how you can best combat it every day, and especially implore the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost to create in you a humble heart.
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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