On the Admonition Given by Our Lord to the Multitude after They Had Been Miraculously Fed.
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 Admonition Given by Our Lord to the Multitude after They Had Been Miraculously Fed.
Represent to yourself the scene depicted in the Gospel for to-day; contemplate in spirit the vast, hungry multitude which Jesus feeds with a few loaves and fishes, satisfying their needs so amply that twelve baskets are filled with the fragments of the meal, after the appetites of all are satisfied. This miracle impressed the people so profoundly that when our Lord departed after thus feeding them, they went in search of Him and gave themselves no rest until they found Him again. Our Lord, however, aware of the reasons which induced them to seek Him, said:
1st. “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting.” (St. John vi. 27.) Observe, my soul, the reproof conveyed in these words, and see whether it does not apply to you. Our Lord in no wise blames the people for seeking Him thus eagerly; He blames the motive that actuates them in so doing. Listen to the explanation St. Augustine gives of this passage: “You seek Me for the gratification of the flesh, not for the edification of the spirit. But I only fed you with the food of the body in order that, your faith being awakened by the miracle, you might seek the food whereby everlasting life is attained;” the food, as Abbot Rupert says, which imparts the strength necessary to reach the goal, eternal life. The people thought and cared only for the low gratification of the senses; for the higher, supersubstantial food they had no perception. How is it with you, my soul, in this respect? You too seek Jesus; you seek Him in prayer, in divine worship and special practices of devotion; you seek Him by means of the calling you have embraced. That is all very right. But for what reason do you seek Him? Is it not for the most part for the sake of earthly things, and were not the motives that prompted you to seek our Lord in the Priesthood or in the Religious life after all rather of a natural than of a supernatural character? Ask yourself this question seriously, in order that the answer of your conscience may guide you as to the resolutions you will form and thus you may not deserve the censure which our Lord addressed to the Jews.
2d. If by the heavenly meat which endureth unto life everlasting, we are to understand Holy Communion to be meant, observe that our Lord says: Labor for the meat, that is, strive to obtain it, and strive to good purpose. These words contain a useful lesson for ourselves. The celestial food is not like the earthly. The latter nourishes equally the indolent and the diligent, the godly and the ungodly, whereas the former, if it is to be eaten aright, to be eaten efficaciously, requires previous labor and exertion. Christ, says St. Paulinus, is the true, living Bread, the Bread of which it is not given to the slothful laborer to partake; for this Paschal Lamb must be eaten with loins girded, shoes on the feet, a staff in the hand; moreover those who eat it must be standing, not idly sitting at their ease. The most fertilizing rain is of no avail if the ground on which it falls has not previously been tilled. Do your utmost, therefore, my soul, to prepare yourself duly for this celestial aliment; “labor for this meat,” and work the works of God before you receive it, as we read in St. John’s gospel (vi. 28), works of mortification, alms deeds, prayer and meditation; and you will presently experience more fully the virtue of that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.
3d. Consider how the best and most prolonged preparation is not in itself sufficient for the worthy and effectual reception of this heavenly food, without the assistance of divine grace. “Know,” thus our Lord speaks to the devout soul in the Imitation, “that thou canst not do enough towards this preparation by the merit of what thou doest, although thou shouldst prepare thyself a whole year altogether, and think of nothing else. It is merely of My goodness and grace that thou art allowed to draw near.” (Imit. B. iv. ch. 12.) This grace must be implored of God, and the best manner of imploring it is told us by St. Gertrude in her Revelations: “We ought to address three petitions to Almighty God before approaching Holy Communion. The first is this: I beseech Thee, my heavenly Father, by the immaculate purity wherewith Mary prepared a fitting dwelling-place for Thy divine Son, that through her intercession my heart may be cleansed from every stain of sin. The second: I beseech Thee, Eternal Father, by the profound humility by which the Virgin-Mother merited to be exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, that all the deficiencies in me, owing to my negligence, may be supplied. The third: I beseech Thee, most bountiful Father in Heaven, by that inexhaustible charity whereby the Mother of our Saviour was united to God, that of the abundance of Thy grace I may receive a portion.” In these three petitions, revealed to St. Gertrude by the ever-blessed Virgin, the most worthy manner of preparation consists. Meditate upon this, and lay it well to 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.
July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Simplicity, faith, liberty of spirit, cheerfulness
Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.
100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.
“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.”
—St. Catharine of Sienna.
O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my soul to purify it.
O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my heart to inflame it.
O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my mind to enlighten it.
O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my thoughts to elevate them!
O Blood of my crucified Jesus, dwell in my every action to sanctify them; in every power and faculty of my being, that all within me may exalt Thy might, proclaim Thy benefits and publish Thy mercies!
Praises to the Precious Blood.
Glory be to Jesus!
Who in bitter pains,
Poured for me the life Blood,
From His sacred veins.
Grace and life eternal
In that Blood I find;
Blessed be His compassion,
Blessed through endless ages
Be the precious stream,
Which from endless torment
Doth the world redeem.
There the fainting spirit
Drinks of life her fill;
There, as in a fountain
Laves herself at will.
O the Blood of Christ!
It soothes the Father’s ire,
Opes the gates of heaven,
Quells eternal fire.
Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the Blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.
Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion,
Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Hell with terror trembles.
Heaven is filled with joy.
Lift ye then your voices,
Swell the mighty flood
Louder still and louder,
Praise the Precious Blood!
(100 days indulgence once a day.— Pius VII. , Oct. 1815.)
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