Faith – 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.
Faith – continued.
“He hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”(1 Peter ii. 9).
When Columbus and his companions after a long voyage at last reached land, and disembarked in America for the first time, they at that moment certainly believed in the New World. They believed in it because they had seen it with their eyes and trodden it with their feet. They trusted the evidence of their senses. But Columbus himself had been already long and firmly convinced of the reality of its existence. What had convinced him? Had any one told him of it? No one. The possibility of such a thing had barely been surmised. Columbus from his own observations had drawn his conclusions. He had seen some strange flotsam brought in by the westerly wind to the shores of Europe, pieces of wood curiously carved and of a kind hitherto unknown. The sea could not have produced these, he reasoned to himself; the unfamiliar wood must be the product of some far-off undiscovered country whose inhabitants have done the carving. In this way, pondering over these pieces of wood, he found evidence to persuade him of the existence of America, just as when we see smoke ascending from a chimney we feel sure there is a fire burning inside, although we have not seen it. But to continue: Columbus with his companions returned to Europe to the court of King Ferdinand, and there, to the amazement of all who heard them, they told of the wonderful country they had discovered on the other side of the ocean, and of the strange varieties of plants, animals, and men they had found there. Now, did Ferdinand and his court really credit all this? Certainly they did. On what grounds did they credit it! They had not, like Christopher and his companions, seen it with their own eyes, nor had they proved, as he had done, the likelihood of its existence by their own logical reasoning. Not at all. Then why did they assume that it was all true? Because Columbus, who was an honorable and conscientious man, bore witness to it with his companions. So Columbus, we observe, had believed in America before seeing it because he had found evidence of its existence; his companions believed because they had beheld it with their own eyes; and Ferdinand and his court believed simply on the testimony of Columbus.
Now I am able to show you exactly in what Faith consists. In a strict and proper sense we have faith only when we accept as true something we have neither seen for ourselves, nor deduced from our own observations; in other words, when we hold something to be true which another person has told us, and indeed because he has told us. This kind of knowledge which we get by relying on the word of some one else, figures very largely, more largely indeed than any other, in the sum total of human learning. All that we know of the past, of distant countries and people, rests on faith. How could children be educated unless they accepted as true what their parents tell them? How would pupils ever learn who refused to believe the word of their teacher? How could history be written if we did not admit the credibility of earlier chroniclers? How could a judge come to a decision unless he trusted the testimony given by witnesses under oath?
I am saying, then, that one kind of human knowledge consists in believing what trustworthy people have told us. Here we have faith in the secular sense of the word. Faith in the Christian sense consists in our believing what the Lord God has said or revealed to us. And surely if it be in the nature of things to believe what people worthy of confidence tell us, how much more firmly, more uncompromisingly, more unswervingly, may we believe what God tells us. For God knows all things. He is the very truth, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. It is on the eternal truth and infallible veracity of God and on His infinite holiness that we found our faith in all that He tells us. Faith, therefore, “is a theological virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed.”
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).
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