Consideration on Jesus Crucified.
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.
Consideration on Jesus Crucified.
Vide bonitatem Dei. Contemplate, O my soul, the goodness of your God in JESUS crucified! The Father sacrifices His only-begotten Son, and the Only-begotten sacrifices Himself for your salvation. A single drop of that blood was enough to save you; but His goodness prompts Him to pour it all out to the very last drop. He had, besides, imprisonment, blows, spitting, scourges, a crown of thorns, nails, blasphemies, wormwood, and gall. He loved more than all, and for this reason He was the most vile and most despised of all.
Vide severitatem Dei. Consider, my soul, the justice of thy God in JESUS crucified. How came the Son of God to be condemned to death, and to a death so ignominious? It was for the sins of the world. But the sins are not His. Still that does not signify; He, if He has taken them upon His shoulders, has paid for them. But He is innocence and sanctity itself. That does not signify; He is guilty of the sins of others, and this is enough to cause Him to be crucified. But He is the Only-begotten of the Father. That does not signify; He assumes the character of a sinner, so He dies between the thieves, He dies abandoned in fine by His Father, He dies like a criminal! What an execrable monster, what a barbarous and pitiless butcher is sin!
Vide bonitatem et severitatem Dei. Learn from hence, my soul, two great truths for yourself. Great need have you to say that your salvation is a thing of much importance, if the Son of God came to His death for its sake upon a cross. But woe to you if you are damned! If by the Divine justice the most innocent JESUS Christ was so scourged for the sins of others, how will you be dealt with in hell for sins, your own, so many in number, and committed with such great malice! O divine blood shed for my sins, obtain for me the pardon of my sins, O crucified JESUS, save me!
A bloodstained man, full of enormous crimes, was earnestly entreated by his wife (Aur. t. 2, p. 266) to fast on Saturday in honour of MARY, and to recite an “Ave Maria” to her when he fell in with any image of her, since he was not disposed to bring himself down to penance. He did so, perhaps more to please his wife than for any thing else; nevertheless from this devotion his felicity took its beginning. One day, on a journey, he entered into a church to refresh himself from the heat; he saw an image of MARY, and, without much devotion, he said an “Ave Maria.” As he drew back, he perceived that the infant JESUS, who was in the arms of His holy Mother, was wounded all over, and bathed in blood: he shuddered at such a sight, and turning to the Virgin, he said, “Who has ill-treated your Son in this way?” “You,” replied she, “with your sins have wounded the Son of God and my Son.” At these words, this man began to weep exceedingly, and prayed the Virgin, with many sobs, to obtain his pardon. But the holy Infant shewed no wish to hear His Mother’s prayers. Then the Virgin redoubled her entreaty, and said, “But what can be denied to MARY?” She received the grace, and said to him: “Kiss the wounds of my Son.” He, all trembling, and with many tears, approached to kiss them, and he seemed to see that upon this act the infant’s wounds were healed by his contrition. This done, he went out of the church, and also out of the world, since, by common consent, he and his wife both retired to take to a religious life.
ACT OF HOMAGE.
Say often in the day, “Christ is crucified, I am greatly blessed!”
“Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.”
“Write on my heart’s most secret core
The five dear Wounds that JESUS bore.”
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.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
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