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.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by our word, or by our epistle” (2 Thess. ii. 14).
The answer to our second question—why must the teaching of tradition be believed as fully and firmly as that of Holy Scripture—is not hard to find. On what grounds do we believe the Scriptures? Is it on account of their being in writing? Not in the least, but because they are the word of God. Well, if tradition be also God’s word it must be believed just as firmly as what is written. This reason is so simple, yet so forcible, that for many hundreds of years the authority of tradition was never called into question. It was not until the sixteenth century that the great schism arose, the leaders of which, however much they contradicted each other on other subjects, agreed in rejecting tradition. Christians were to believe what the Bible taught, and everything for which they could not find chapter and verse they were free to put aside as the invention of man. Sacraments, dogma, instruction, or teaching not to be found in the Bible they threw over. The propounders of this heresy by acting in this way remind one of the man who declared the only necessary part of his house to be the bricks, so he proceeded to get rid of the windows and doors, to tear off the roof, and remove the staircase, till the house at last became uninhabitable and fell in.
Further than this, this teaching contradicts:
(a) History. From when do we consider the Church dates its existence? It might be said to have sprung into life when our Saviour chose His twelve apostles, or when He called Peter to be the head of it. Any one who looks upon these dates as being too early must admit it at the latest to have been in existence at Pentecost, when St. Peter preached and converted and baptized 3,000 souls. I think there can be no doubt that the first congregation founded and taught by St. Peter possessed the truth in all its fulness and purity. Now did these early Christians accept only what they found in the Scriptures? Think well over your answer; remember not a word of the New Testament had then been written, neither Gospels nor Epistles. Is it not obvious that they must have believed more than was written in the Bible? Is it not abundantly clear that they accepted everything the apostles taught them, and we know how many congregations were founded, how many nations were converted, how deeply the Christian faith had taken root before the New Testament came to be written. The early Christians believed on the authority of tradition, and whoever denies it contradicts
(b) The apostles and our Saviour Himself. What mandate would Christ have given to the apostles if He had meant the Christian religion to rest only on His written word? Would He not have charged them: “Write, write down everything that you hear Me say or that you see Me do. Copy it scores and hundreds of scores of times, and circulate it throughout all the nations of the world; everything you record in writing is to be believed, but what you only deliver by word of mouth is to be thrown to the winds.” But our Lord did not say one syllable of all this, on the contrary: “Go ye and teach all nations. . . . Go ye into the whole world and teach all creatures. . . .” Their mission was to teach and to preach, and this was the sense in which the apostles themselves interpreted Our Lord’s words; they went forth into the world and one and all conscientiously labored to accomplish the task set them. Now, if their mission was to write and carefully preserve a record of what they had seen and heard, then six of them at any rate made no attempt whatever to fulfill it, for not one syllable of theirs is to be found in Scripture. Of the six others of whom we do find a record, we can only say they did their work in a very half-hearted manner. What St. Jude wrote would not fill more than a medium-sized sheet of paper; St. Peter wrote but two epistles, St. James but one. Can this be regarded as a fulfilment of their life’s 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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