The Conduct of Herod.
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 Conduct of Herod.
Let us adore Jesus Christ bringing peace and happiness to men of good will (Luke ii. 14 ), and leaving to His enemies trouble and wretchedness (Is. lvii. 21). Let us thank Him for His goodness towards His own, and let us admire His justice towards those who disown Him.
The Disquiet of Herod on Hearing of the Birth of the Messias.
This birth was doubtless the happiest of events for the earth; and the tidings of it had rejoiced the hearts of the Magi. Herod appreciated it in a very different manner. When, with the simplicity and candor of an upright soul, the Magi came to announce to him this great event, and to ask him where the Saviour, so long expected, had been born, the monarch was troubled, he was disquieted for his crown, and all Jerusalem was troubled with him. Thus all hearts which are under the influence of a passion are troubled. If we are but blamed, if we are humiliated, if our desires meet with opposition, or if we only fear something similar, if we but imagine ourselves not to be sufficiently esteemed, it is enough; we are troubled and sad; we cannot bear our pride, our vanity, the love of our own ease ever to be interfered with, nor even that they should be touched with the fingers’ end. There is no peace or happiness except for him who, freed from all attachment, has no ties here below (III. Imit. xxxi. 1). Let us beg of God to enable us well to understand this important truth.
Hypocrisy of Herod.
“Herod,” says Holy Writ, “privately calling the Wise Men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them, and sending them into Bethlehem said, Go and diligently inquire after the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, that I also may come and adore Him” (Matt. ii. 7, 8). It was thus that under the false guise of respect and piety this hypocritical prince hid his design of putting to death the Divine Child. Such hypocrisy as this revolts us; it is in fact abominable both to God and man. Hypocrisy is a lie in action, blasting human dignity, and worthy of all contempt. However, shameful as is this vice, it is more common than we think; for those are hypocrites who assume the semblance of virtue without caring to possess the reality, who behave themselves in secret quite differently from what they do in public, who think more about hiding their faults than of eradicating them. Now, is not this the history of many persons, and perhaps of ourselves? Those are hypocrites who speak in one way and act in another; who sacrifice sincerity to self-love; who speak evil of themselves in order to incite others to speak well of them and to affirm the contrary of what they assert. Now, do we not recognize ourselves under these characteristics also? Lastly, those are hypocrites who are wanting in integrity in their conduct and their language, who make use of dissimulation and duplicity, and even easily allow themselves to utter falsehoods. Now, does not all this often happen to ourselves? Oh, how great is the number of hypocrites and how few souls there are who are really upright and sincere, who love frankness above all things, even when it is purchased at the expense of their self-love. How few there are of whom we can say, as of Nathaniel, “Behold an Israelite, indeed, in whom there is no guile” (John i. 47), no equivocation, who is always simple and upright, always a friend of truth!
The Deception of Herod Well Deserved.
The wicked can do nothing against God; the omnipotent Master knows well how to turn their plots to their own confusion, and to the greatest possible good to His elect. Thus He turned to naught the impious plans of Herod, by commanding the Magi to return to their own country by another way and Joseph to fly into Egypt with the Child. If Herod caused the children of Bethlehem to be massacred, the massacre only gave new saints to heaven, and delivered up the tyrant to the execration of all future ages. Thus will it be always with those who persecute Jesus Christ in His Church or in His members. Let us trust in God, without ever allowing ourselves to be cast down by the temporary triumph of our enemies. In the strife of Satan against the saints God will always have the last word and will finish by gaining the upper hand. He permits us to be attacked, only to give us opportunity for the exhibition of the most splendid virtues.
Make the resolution: 1st, to attach our hearts to God alone, and always to go straight to Him without turning aside and without dissimulation; 2d, to confide in His providence in all events. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the maxim of the Holy Spirit: “A perverse heart is abominable to the Lord: and His will is in them that walk sincerely” (Prov. xi. 20).
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.
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
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P.S. 15th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!