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.
“All scripture inspired of God is profitable to teach” (2 Tim. iii. 16).
WE HAVE seen that faith in the Christian sense is a theological virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which God has revealed. God’s revelations to man were made under the Old Law through the patriarchs and prophets, and under the New Law through Jesus Christ and His apostles. But the age of the patriarchs and the prophets, the days of Christ and His apostles, have long since past away. Whole centuries, and even many centuries, have elapsed since then. Where are we now to look if we want to find God’s revelation, or in other words, how shall we be able to know the things which we must believe? I answer that divine revelation is contained partly in the Bible, and partly in the teaching of tradition. Hence, it reaches us through two channels; that portion which is written comes to us through Holy Scripture, and, on the other hand, those truths not recorded in writing are preserved for us by the verbally transmitted traditions of the Church.
In our discourse to-day we will concern our selves only with Holy Scripture, and under the guidance of the Holy Ghost we will consider,
I. What Holy Scripture is.
II. How is it divided?
What, then, is Holy Scripture? By Holy Scripture we mean those books which have been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and which are recognized by the Church as containing the word of God.
The Holy Scripture, therefore, is not a single book written in one and the same language, by one individual author. No, it is made up of a multitude of books, and of books differing very widely in character. Some are by Moses, some by Samuel, David, and Solomon, and other different prophets and their disciples. From this great diversity it is apparent that these different books can neither have been written at the same time, nor in the same country, nor in the same tongue. The earliest book of Holy Scripture, namely, Genesis, the first book of Moses, was written more than fifteen hundred years before Christ; and the last, the Apocalypse of St. John, was composed nearly a hundred years after Christ; so that from first to last we get a period of sixteen hundred years. Most of the Old Testament was originally in Hebrew, and the greater part of the New Testament was written in Greek. The contents of these different books are very various. Some relate Bible history, others consist of proverbs and sayings, others contain canticles, warnings, and admonitions; some are concerned with the past, others again with the future. So we have a number of books, written by different people, in various places and languages, and very unlike each other as to their size and contents. But, you will ask, why should they all be classed together, be treated as making up one whole, and called the Book of Books, the Holy Bible? They are bound up as one and the same volume, read and expounded as one. Why? Because although so different they are in one particular all the same. Pre-eminent among all books that exist or ever have existed, or ever will exist, written by men for men, and in human language, still they are to be distinguished from all others, because they are the outcome of the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The holy men who wrote them were inspired to do so by the Holy Spirit, who enlightened and instructed them in what they wrote, and who preserved them from all error. These books are really divine in the fullest sense of the word, for they have their origin in the mind of God. If I were to take a lad and urge him to write something, and egg him on, and if into the bargain I were to sketch out for him what he was to write, and then to stay by him, to save him from any possible mistakes, the document when finished, although in the boy’s handwriting, would in reality be my work.
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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