Twelfth Station.—Jesus dies on the Cross.-Part II.
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.
Twelfth Station.—Jesus dies on the Cross.-Part II.
“Being disciples of Christ crucified, with Him we must fight and conquer,
1. In the tribulations of this life.
(a) Sufferings are our portion in this life; for since sin has found entrance into the world, it brought that sad heritage in its train. That this earth is no longer the fair garden into which our first parents entered, the paradise full of bright and beautiful sights which God permitted them to enjoy is well known to us all. That it is a vale of tears where pleasure is always attended by pain, is too evident to us children of men. The first act of the babe that leaves its mother’s womb, is to utter a feeble wail, as if already conscious that it must shed many tears on its journey through life. And when man lies on his death-bed, ah! when do his lips part in laughter? he sighs, moans and groans, while bitter tears flow from his breaking eyes. Ah! how many sufferings and tribulations there are in the world! How many suffer the greatest poverty all their life! Great is the number of diseases, and scarcely a day passes on which we are not overtaken by a greater or less indisposition. How many cares and difficulties are connected with the duties of our state of life! Heat and cold, hunger and thirst, fatigue and night-watches, and accompanying all these are many disquietudes and vexations. Job indeed spoke truly when he said: “Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries.”—Job 14: I.
(b) How should we act in the midst of these sufferings and tribulations? Should we lose patience and courage, and despondently murmur against God? Ah! no, that would be wrong and sinful. Though the cross laid upon us may seem almost too heavy, we must bear it with resignation; “for patience is necessary for us; that, doing the will of God, we may receive the promise.”—Heb. 10: 36. In the days of tribulation let us arm ourselves with the weapon of patience, and beg our divine Saviour through the pains He endured for love of us on the cross, to grant us resignation to His holy will; and let us carry the cross with constancy as long as it pleases Him, remembering the words of St. James: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love Him.”—I : 12.
2. In the injuries and offences which are offered to us by our fellow-men.
(a) It costs a struggle to suffer patiently and to grant an entire pardon to those who offend us, for it is repugnant to our self-love which abhors the thought of yielding and forgiving. But as Christians it is our strict duty to love all men, even our enemies and those who offend us, and to return them good for evil. Our divine Lord emphatically says: “But I say to you: Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.”—Matt. 5: 44. We also know well that it is vain for us to expect forgiveness of God, unless we forgive from our heart: “If you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your sins.” And we daily pray: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.” We would be guilty of falsehood before God, if we refused to forgive those who offend us, and would, as it were, demand of Him to refuse His forgiveness to us.
(b) To forgive our enemies and those who offend us entails frequently a hard struggle; nature revolts against it, but if we have a good will, with the grace of God, which He is always most willing to give, we shall overcome nature and conquer. Consider the many Christians who have won this victory. St. Stephen, that holy youth, first flower of martyrdom in the garden of the Church, prayed for his murderers in the moment of death: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”—Acts 7: 59. St. Francis of Sales was grossly insulted by two men, but so far from being angry he cast himself on his knees and humbly asked their pardon, though he had in no way injured or offended them. With such admirable examples before you, you should say with St. Augustine: “If these could do it, why not I?” Courage then. Wage a ceaseless war against all temptations of hatred and ill-will, and consider what a glorious recompense is awaiting you, if you check every desire of revenge and cultivate kindness towards those who offend you, for Christ assures us: “Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake; rejoice and be exceedingly glad, because your reward is very great in heaven.”—Matt. 5: 12.
3. In the disconsolate state of mind.
(a) “This state,” says St. Alphonsus, “is the most sensitive and is the severest pain which a pious Christian can suffer in this world.” As long as he is favored with divine consolation, no affliction grieves him; derision, contempt, pains, privations and persecutions are rather welcomed by him because they afford him an opportunity of making a sacrifice to his Redeemer and of becoming conformable to him. But to feel that his heart is an arid waste, where he can discover no flower of fervor, to know that the bright sunshine of holy desires no longer illumines it, and to realize that there is no consolation for him in any religious exercise, not even in Holy Communion, is a trial very difficult to bear. Still more wretched is he when he thinks that God has abandoned him and will no longer acknowledge him as His child. Thus St. Francis of Sales when seventeen years old was tempted by the terrible thought that God, from all eternity, had decreed to condemn him to hell, and that, do what he might, he could not escape this terrible fate. This temptation lasted all through one weary month, till it pleased God to lift the cloud from his soul through the intercession of Mary. We read similar incidents in the life of St. Theresa, St. Rose of Lima, St. Margaret of Cortona and of many other Saints. As a rule, God generally visits with interior sufferings those who aspire to higher perfection and often withdraws His consolation from them for a time.
(b) Now, if God should find it expedient to let you taste a few drops of the bitter chalice, which Jesus and many Saints had to drink, do not lose courage, arm yourself and fight manfully, and you will come forth victorious from the contest. Arm yourself with humility, acknowledge and confess that the chastisement is on account of your sins, but too well merited; arm yourself with courage and confidence in the conviction that God will not abandon you; arm yourself with prayer by continuing your exercises of devotion, though you should feel no devotion; and, finally, arm yourself with sincerity by candidly disclosing the state of your soul to your confessor and doing what he prescribes for you.
Therefore, go forth to battle with courage and prove yourselves worthy soldiers of Christ, who on the cross won so glorious a victory over His pains, over His enemies, and over His abandonment. Should sufferings and tribulations overwhelm you, do not despond, put your confidence in God and full of resignation pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” If you are offended, let no thought of hatred and revenge arise in you, but forgive, as God, also, has forgiven you. Should you be deprived of sensible devotion and become disconsolate in the exercise of your religious duties, resign yourself to the will of God and serve Him with equal fidelity in good as well as in evil days. Blessed are you, if you thus fight and conquer, you shall triumph with your crucified Redeemer for ever in heaven. Amen.
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.
March Devotion: St. Joseph
Virtue to practice: Mortification
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and, imploring 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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