We must have Recourse to God in all the Troubles of Life.
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.
We must have Recourse to God in all the Troubles of Life.
The Gospel according to St. Matthew, ix. 1-8.
“At that time Jesus entered into a boat, and passed over the water, and came into His own city. And behold they brought to Him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold some of the scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth. And Jesus, seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee: or to say, Arise and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then saith He to the man sick of the palsy), Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. And he arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God, that gave such power to men.”
We will meditate upon the gospel of the day, and we shall learn from it; 1st, to have recourse to God in all troubles of life; 2d, to occupy ourselves more with the eternal destiny of our souls than with any temporal evils. We will thence deduce the resolution: 1st, to make Our Lord the confidant of our trials, and to cast them all into His bosom; 2d, to place our eternal interests before everything that belongs to this present life.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John vi. 69).
Let us adore Our Lord Jesus Christ graciously receiving the man sick of the palsy and those who present him to Him. When we go to Him with confidence we are sure of always being graciously received. How good He is, how worthy of all our homage! He alone is the true friend of souls! Let us prostrate ourselves at His feet and pour into His heart all our feelings of gratitude.
This is the lesson given us in our gospel. As soon as Our Saviour had arrived in His city, that is to say, at Capharnaum, where He habitually resided, a man sick of the palsy was brought to Him. The house within and all around was encumbered by a crowd of people, and, in order to present the sick man to Him, no other means were available except to uncover the roof and to let down through the opening the bed on which the poor palsied man was laid. The example of such great faith therein set us teaches us to have recourse to God in all the troubles of life. It is, indeed, He alone who decrees the trials which afflict us, He alone consoles us, He alone recompenses us. He decrees them; for nothing happens in this world except by the express will or permission of Providence, and not even a hair of our head falls to the ground except by its intervention; and this Providence is always full of loving kindness. If it wounds, it gives the remedy which softens the wound; if its hand strikes, it also heals (Job v. 18). Wherefore, then, instead of having recourse to men, who can do nothing, why not have recourse to God, who can do all? Besides, He consoles us in all trials. Men, as Job says (Job xvi. 2), are only troublesome consolers; we tell them our troubles and the majority of them either do not compassionate us or do not know how to speak the words of faith which alone can console us. Let us tell our troubles to God in a fervent prayer at the foot of a crucifix or in a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and we shall return from it feeling better, strengthened and consoled. Lastly, God alone recompenses us for trials borne in a Christian manner. If we speak of our trials to creatures we often lose the merit of them; our self-love seeks to make itself pitied and admired; if we speak of them to ourselves, our nature murmurs, lays the blame on God and on man, and we derive nothing from it but a greater degree of sadness, of discontent with ourselves, and of sin. If, on the contrary, we cast our troubles into the heart of God, we sanctify them by resignation, by prayer, by the hope of eternal possessions, and the assurance that our hope will not be confounded. Let us here recognize, in the presence of God, how much harm we do ourselves by all these stories of our sufferings and our troubles which we recount to creatures.
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.
September Devotion: The Holy Cross
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
O Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957).
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