The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Vocation of the Magi.
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.
The Vocation of the Magi.
Let us transport ourselves in spirit to the stable of Bethlehem, and let us there admire the Infant Jesus, impelled by His love to communicate to the Gentiles the blessing of His coming. A little after His birth, He sends a star to the Magi to call them to Him; He sees in them the first-fruits and the vanguard of the whole of the Gentiles who will come in their train and participate in the grace of redemption; each one of us is present to His thoughts and to His love. Let us thank Him for so much goodness; let us thank Him for such love.
Gratuity of the Vocation of the Magi.
Happy were the Magi to have been the first to be initiated into the great secret of God respecting the vocation of the Gentiles, that is to say, of every one of us. It was the belief at that time that Judea alone enjoyed the privilege of the promises made to the Messias; by means of the vocation of the Magi it was manifest that all the nations had a share in it (Eph. iii. 4-6). Then commenced to shine forth the meaning of the magnificent announcement, which promised the empire of the world to Jerusalem, that is to say, to the Church, of which this city was the type, and which invited her to look upon all her children hastening to her from Madia and Epha. Then we might say with the Church of Paris, “Bethlehem becomes to-day the cradle of the new-born Church” (Hymn of the Epiphany). But whence came this happiness to the Magi? It was not from their own merits; for without faith there is no merit; besides we do not know that they had done anything more than millions of other Gentiles; Their happiness, then; had its source in the gratuitous choice of God, Who, in calling them, consulted only His love and not their merits (Rom. ix. r6). And it is thus that He always conducts Himself at the present day with respect to ourselves. Why were we not born in paganism, in heresy, in schism, in a family possessing no religion or morals, of which there are so many, and where we should have been lost? It is to the gratuitous mercy of God that we are debtors. Wherefore, more than others, have we received a Christian education, more efficacious succors of grace, more light and more faith, more good counsels and good examples? O wholly gratuitous predilection of our God! can we ever thank Thee enough, love Thee sufficiently? Blessed be God, Who in Jesus Christ has predestined us to be His children by a decree of His own good pleasure, in order that the praise and the glory of it may be given entirely to His grace (Eph. i. 3, et seq.). Yes, my God, we confess it, if we are not lost we owe it to Thy mercy (Lam. iii. 22 ). “By the grace of God I am what I am” (I. Cor. xv. 10). May I be able to add with Thy Apostle: “His grace in me hath not been void, but I have labored more abundantly than all they”(Ibid.).
Marvellous Effects of the Vocation of the Magi.
The Magi, before the appearance of the star, lived in the darkness of paganism. . . But as soon as they had seen the star; and had listened to the grace which called them, they were converted, they left all, in order to belong entirely to Jesus Christ, and gave themselves up to grace in order to follow it with simplicity and courage. From that moment they were no longer men belonging to this world, but men who were wholly heavenly; they lived and died as saints, so that during eighteen centuries the Church has rendered them public worship, and honors them with the title of saints. The cathedral at Cologne preserves their bodies with reverence, and the faithful love to go and pray before their venerable remains. Wherefore do we not correspond as they did to our holy vocation? Wherefore are we so attached to this world? Wherefore not leave it, at least in affection, despising what it esteems, esteeming what it despises, hating what it loves, and loving what it hates? Wherefore, after so many solicitations addressed to us by grace, do we still listen to the lukewarmness which keeps us back, to the caprice which is full of change, to idleness which will not allow itself to be disturbed, and to self-love which idolizes itself? May the beautiful example of the Magi wake us at last and make us enter upon a better life.
Make the resolution: 1st, often to thank God, during the day, by frequent outbursts of love for our vocation to the faith in the person of the Magi; 2d, to lead a better life worthy of our holy vocation. We will retain as our spiritual nosegay the words of Our Lord: ‘‘You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John xv. 16).
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.
Twelfth Night Prayer for the Twelfth Day of Christmas.
O Jesus! Son of the Virgin Mary, infuse into my soul grace, wisdom, charity, chastity, and humility, that I may love Thee perfectly, praise Thee, serve Thee, and eternally rejoice and glory in Thee, with all who devoutly honor and fervently invoke Thy holy name, O Jesus.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nine Day Novena
(December 31 – January 8)
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, thou are after Jesus our only hope. O Most Holy Virgin, whose merits have raised thee high above angel choirs to the very throne of the Eternal and whose foot crushed the head of the infernal serpent, thou art strong against the enemies of our salvation. O Mother of God, thou art our Mediatrix most kind and loving. Hasten, then, to our help, and as thou didst once save thy beloved City from ravaging flames and our Country from an alien foe, do now have pity on our misery, and obtain for us the graces we beg of thee. Deliver us from the wiles of Satan, assist us in the many trials which beset our path in this valley of tears, and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death. Amen.
O Mary, Mother of God, who amid the tribulations of the world, watches over us and over the Church of thy Son, be to us and to the Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor; make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life thou may be our succor, and obtain for us [mention your request here] Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (Three times.)
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2016. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
P.S. 7th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!