The Third Sunday after Epiphany.
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 Third Sunday after Epiphany.
The Gospel according to St. Matthew, viii. 1-13.
“And when He was come down from the mountain great multitudes followed Him, and behold a leper came and adored Him, saying: Lord, if Thou wilt Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man, but go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them. And when He had entered into Capharnaum there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him: I will come and heal him. And the centurion making answer, said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers, and I say to this, go, and he goeth, and to another, come, and he cometh, and to my servant, do this, and he doth it. And Jesus hearing this, marvelled, and said to them that followed Him: Amen, I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth; And Jesus said to the centurion: Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. And the servant was healed at the same hour.”
Let us adore Jesus Christ as the physician of our souls, descended from heaven to cure the human race, that great sick man who lay on the ground (St. Augustine, Serm. lix. de Verb. Dom.). Let us prostrate ourselves at His feet like sick men who ask to be cured. Let us bless Him for the many cures which He performs every day in the Church. Let us put all our confidence in Him.
Jesus is the Physician of Souls.
The hideous malady of the leper of our Gospel and the paralysis which afflicted the servant of the centurion were the figure of sin, of the passions, and of the different spiritual maladies which Jesus Christ came to earth to cure. Therefore our charitable Saviour was moved with compassion for them. He touches the leper with His hand, and restores him to health. He says to the centurion: “Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee;” and at the same moment the servant is cured. Consider how well calculated these miracles of charity and of power are to inspire us with confidence in the Saviour. It does not cost Him more to cure our souls than to cure the sick who were presented to Him. On the one side He still has as much power as ever to cure us; on the other side He has as much good will as ever to do it. He desires so much to see us holy and perfect. He thirsts so much for our salvation, and He cries out to us as He did to the leper in the Gospel: “Go and show yourselves to the priests,” just as you are, with the firm resolution not to allow yourselves to fall ill again, and you shall be cured. “Come unto Me; all ye who are laden” with the weight of your miseries, “and I will refresh you;” that is to say, I will give you back your innocence and peace of heart. Thus it is our heavenly Physician wills to cure us; and if He does not do it, it is because we resist His curing us. Unhappy that we are, we do not fulfil the conditions to which He has attached our cure.
Conditions on which Jesus Christ offers us our Cure.
1st. We must know what our malady is, and we must desire sincerely and fervently to be cured of it. The leper of the Gospel was perfectly well acquainted with his malady; he knew all the circumstances attending it, its hideousness, its shame, and its danger; and he earnestly asks the Saviour to cure him. The centurion knows equally well what is the malady of his servant, he describes it in all its seriousness (Matt. viii. 6), and he conjures the Saviour to cure it. Ah! If we felt in the same way our spiritual maladies; if we understood all the gravity and all the danger of them; if we desired with an ardent desire to be delivered from them; if we earnestly begged the Saviour for grace, we should soon be cured and changed.
2d. We must accompany our prayer with a holy faith. How admirable is the faith which inspired the leper with that beautiful prayer: “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean” (Matt. viii. 2), and the centurion with that other prayer: “Only say the word and my servant shall be healed. I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers, and I say to this, go, and he goeth; to another, come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doth it” (Ibid. 8, 9). Speak in the same manner to the sickness and it will depart. Oh, how so great faith in the leper and in this officer, habituated to life in a camp, ought to cover us with confusion—we, who in a much better position are yet so far removed from it. O Lord, increase our faith (Luke xvii. 5).
3d. We must pray with humility. A great personage, a centurion humbles himself; he dares not appear before the Lord; he looks upon himself as unworthy to receive Him into his house; he prostrates himself before Him and adores Him. Why have we not these feelings of humility when we pray, above all when we repeat the words of the centurion: “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof” (Matt. viii. 8). Oh, then we should quickly be heard! God loves the humble so much, and listens so favorably to their prayers (Ps. cxii. 6; cxxxvii. 6). Let us make trial of it and we shall obtain the cure of all our miseries.
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.
P.S. 22th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!
The 4nd day of the Chair of Unity novena.
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