On the End of Man. – 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.
On the End of Man. – continued.
“The third day He rose again from the dead”
Moreover, the final end of man can not be found on earth, for, if it were, then it would consist in some one or other of the good things of this world. Now what is it that this world has to offer us? Treasures, riches, possessions—the lust of the eyes. Comfort, pleasure, amusement—the lust of the flesh. Honors, distinctions, a great name—the pride of life. Let us pile all these things together—although as a rule the pursuit of one of them will be found to exclude the others—but even taking them all together, could they form our true and final end? I say no, they could not, and I hope to prove this conclusively. The real end of man must be such, that not only a few, but the greater number of mankind may be able to reach it. Very well, then; suppose the competition to begin. Suppose every one to give himself up to the pursuit of wealth, of money, and money’s equivalents. What is the result? A few millionaires; but from the beginning to the end of the world the majority of men will have to scramble every day for the crust of bread which keeps the wolf from the door. Suppose them all to run after pleasure and enjoyment. A few may secure it, but what of the sick, the suffering, the dying? They can not possibly attain their end if it consist in the joys of this earth. Suppose every one to join in the race for worldly honors. How many are successful enough to be recognized and acknowledged by the world, to have a monument raised to them, to live in history? Only a few, a very few. Take a palpable illustration of this. How many thousands or even hundreds of thousands have lived during the last two or three hundred years in my own native town, and have been buried perhaps in the same cemetery? What do we know about them? Did they amass great earthly treasure? No. Were they even able to live lives of pleasure? Quite the contrary. Did any of them make a great name? We should be hard put to it to recall a single one from amongst them were their names not carved upon their tombstones or their mortuary cards posted at the church door. Clearly, then, if the end of man consists in earthly happiness, in the treasures, joys, and honors of the world, we must admit that our forefathers—most of them, at all events—did not attain that end, that they lived in vain. But if we open an old newspaper and read that “so and so died on such and such a day, of such and such a year, fortified with all the sacraments of the Church,” then we must allow that all the same he did attain that end. For through death he has reached the goal he hoped for, which was to dwell, beyond earth and time, with God for all eternity. This is an end which can be attained by all, provided they are men of good will.
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.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2018. 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.