The Undervaluation and Neglect of the Soul – pt. 7 continued.
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 Undervaluation and Neglect of the Soul – pt. 7 continued.
Poor disconsolate Jerome! What did he leave undone, if by any means he might procure some faint assurance to his soul in this great business? In what tangled forests, in what gloomy caves, did he go and bury himself! What a sharp conflict he maintained, even to his old age, against the lusts of his flesh! And yet, in what terms did he describe his state? “Defiled with the pollutions of sin, I toil night and day in fear of having to pay the uttermost farthing.” A holy Gregory, a holy Bernard —in what groans and bitter sighs did they not give vent to their feelings! And a holy Augustine—how he shook within him, when he said, “I dread the everlasting fire! I dread the everlasting fire!” All the love, which glowed so warmly in his heart toward God, was still unable to deliver him from this fear. But come, come with me, to that frightful grotto of hermits, which, on account of the bitter pains, endured by all its inmates, obtained the name of “the penitent’s prison,” when it might have been more truly entitled “the convert’s Hell.” There, what was left undone to appease the indignation of God? Some remained all night erect praying to heaven, some on their knees, some profoundly inclined; but most, with their hands tied behind their backs, like criminals, kept their eyes constantly on the ground, as being unworthy to look up to heaven. Others sat upon the earth, covered with ashes; and, keeping their faces hid on their knees, they “made mourning as for an only son.” That is, they mourned over their souls as they would have over the body of a most dear friend. Some struck their breasts, some tore their hair; others seemed to find their only comfort in looking at the putrefaction of their flesh which their austerities had produced. Who spoke there of joy, of jesting, of pleasantry? Mercy, clemency, compassion, pardon; these were the only words which were heard in these caverns; if indeed any words could be heard amid the sobs and groans which overpowered all other sounds. Here fasts were long and rigorous, and sleep was short; they took absolutely no care for their bodies. You might have seen some gasping with intense thirst, their tongues hanging out like those of dogs, dry and parched. Some exposed themselves unprotected to the midnight cold of winter, others plunged into ice and snow; and those who had not sufficient courage for such things begged the Superior that he would keep them loaded with heavy chains, not merely for one day, but for their whole lives, till they should be taken out to burial. But why do I speak of burial? for there were many who entreated that not even this mercy should be shown them; but that their bodies, even while yet warm, should be thrown out for the crows or the dogs; and their desires were often granted, and for their complete dishonor, not even a single psalm or prayer was read over their corpses.
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.
Of the Confession of our own Infirmity, and of the Miseries of this life.
V. Let others seek, instead of Thee, whatever else they please; nothing else doth please me, or shall please me, but Thou, my God, my hope, my eternal salvation.
I will not hold my peace, nor cease to pray, till Thy grace returns, and Thou speak to me interiorly.– Imitation of Christ Bk III, Ch XXI.
March Devotion: St. Joseph
Virtue to practice: Mortification
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and, implored the help of thy thrice-holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou was united to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength. Most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us most lovely father, all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.
An indulgence of 3 years.
An indulgence of 7 years during the month of October, when said after the recitation of the Rosary and on any Wednesday throughout the year. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, If this prayer is devoutly said daily (Leo Xiii, Encyclical Aug. 15, 1889; S.C. Ind., Sept. 21, 1889; S.P.Ap., May 17, 1927; Dec. 13, 1935; and March 10, 1941). (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957) .
Litany of St. Joseph
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious son of David, pray for us.
Light of the patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Watchful defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most chaste, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most valiant, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of workmen, pray for us.
Glory of domestic life, pray for us.
Guardian of virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of families, pray for us.
Solace of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
He hath made him master of His house,
And ruler of all His possessions.
Let us Pray.
O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother, grant that as we venerate him as our protector on earth, we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in Heaven, Thou Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph
(This prayer was said to be founded in the 50 A.D. In the 1500’s it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. According to oral tradition, whoever reads this prayer, hears it, or carries it, will not fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor will they be defeated in battle.)
O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph for a Happy Death
O Glorious St. Joseph, behold I choose thee today for my special patron in life and at the hour of my death. Preserve and increase in me the spirit of prayer and fervor in the service of God. Remove far from me every kind of sin; obtain for me that my death may not come upon me unawares, but that I may have time to confess my sins sacramentally and to bewail them with a most perfect understanding and a most sincere and perfect contrition, in order that I may breathe forth my soul in the hands of Jesus and Mary. Amen.
Help us, St. Joseph, in our earthly strife, ever to lead a pure and holy life.
300 days indulgence.
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