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.
Before we accompany in our meditations the sweet Infant Jesus on His flight into Egypt, let us, my soul, in order as it were to equip ourselves for the journey we are about in spirit to undertake, devote our attention to a few truths suited to this period of fasting and penance. One of the penitential exercises enjoined on you is silence. And in order that the practise of silence may have a lasting and a salutary effect upon you, place yourself in the presence of God. Imagine yourself on a still, tranquil night gazing up to Heaven where millions of worlds move on their noiseless course, speaking to us with a mute eloquence which touches and elevates the heart, while they burn like so many lamps before the altar of the Most High, who in majestic repose, in sacred and solemn silence sits upon His throne above. And when you have formed some conception of the supreme Deity enthroned in sublime silence, keep it before your mind while you consider:
1st. That the pagan sages recognized the value of silence, and many among them on that account enjoined strict silence on their disciples for the space of some years. “Listen in silence to the words God will speak,” is a very ancient doctrine. Under the Old Dispensation when the Jews desired to hear the voice of their God, to learn His will, the high priest was accustomed to leave the noisy multitude and go without a word, without a sound into the Holy of Holies, where God spoke to him. The people of Israel listened in respectful silence to the voice of the Law-giver on Mount Sinai; Mary in her solitary chamber heard in silence from the lips of the angel the message, the design of Almighty God; Joseph and Mary in the grotto at Bethlehem awaited in speechless silence the advent of the Redeemer, and in silence no less profound the apostles, assembled in the upper room at Jerusalem, looked for the descent of the Holy Spirit. See that you, my soul, observe the silence enjoined on you faithfully and cheerfully. O what a rich compensation for the loss of the vain conversation of miserable mortals you would find, if you would listen to the voice of God and converse with Him in the sweet and sacred colloquy of the heart. Mark this well: by silence we speak with God, and he who has learnt best how to keep silence will be the one who will speak best of God in the confessional, in the pulpit, and in spiritual discourses.
2d. Consider how God speaks to you both exteriorly and interiorly. He speaks to you particularly at this season by the spiritual books you read yourself and hear read by others, the sermons you attend, etc., but that is not all: your God speaks to you interiorly also; in the silence of your heart He makes His voice heard, admonishing, warning, comforting, encouraging you. Wherefore keep silence, not exterior silence only, but interior silence as well, in order that you may be able to hear this divine voice clearly. Of what use is it if during the time of silence you do not speak with your lips, but entertain vain, idle thoughts in your heart, if you amuse yourself with worldly books likely to distract your thoughts? In that case the mouth is silent but the heart speaks, not with God indeed, with whom it ought to speak, but with the world, and the fruit of silence is lost just as entirely as if you had indulged in talking.
3d. Finally consider, in order to-day to gain a right appreciation of the advantages of silence, the words of Solomon: “He that keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from distress.” (Prov. xxi. 23.) You can attest the truth of this maxim from your own experience. Only think how often with your tongue you have inflicted a wound on your own soul, how often by some unfortunate speech you have in one moment deprived yourself of all that you had been at such pains to acquire, recollection of heart, good dispositions, union with God. Consider how often frivolous conversation has robbed you of the peace of soul which it had cost you so hard a struggle to obtain, and on the other hand think of the sweet repose in God and with God which you enjoyed during the time that you made the exercises in silence, and assuredly your love for silence will revive within you; it is your spiritual sabbath here below, and the best means of preparation for the eternal, peaceful sabbath above.
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.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of us, have mercy on us.
Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us.
Jesus, author of life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, example of virtues, have mercy on us.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our refuge, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the poor, have mercy on us.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us.
Jesus, true light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us.
Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our way and our life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, light of Confessors, have mercy on us.
Jesus, purity of Virgins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, crown of all Saints, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the neglect of Thine inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus.
By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy most divine life, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy labors, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Cross and dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let Us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who has said, Ask and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you, mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name, for Thou never failest to help and to govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast love: who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
– Raccolta 113 An indulgence of 7 years. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, for the daily and devout recitation of this litany (S. C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S. P. Ap., Jan. 2, 1933).
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. Thou art the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that Thy Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
Prayer in honor of the Holy Name
O my Jesus, Thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. Hitherto I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips.
Most holy Virgin, obtain for me the grace of invoking the name of Thy Son Jesus in all my necessities, together with thine own, my Mother Mary; but let me invoke them always with confidence and love, so that I may be able also to say to thee as did the devout Alphonsus Rodriguez: “Jesus and Mary, may I suffer for thee; may I die for thee; may I be wholly thine, and in nothing my own!” O my beloved Jesus! O Mary, my beloved Lady! give me the grace to suffer and to die for thy love. I will be no longer my own, but altogether thine; thine in life, and thine in death, when I hope by thy help to expire saying, Jesus and Mary, help me! Jesus and Mary, I recommend myself to thee; Jesus and Mary, I love thee, and I give and deliver up to thee my whole soul.
The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus de Liguori. p. 163 (Imprimatur 1927)
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