Friday after the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. —On the Conduct of St. John when Our Lord Came to Him to Be Baptized.

Friday after the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany.
On the Conduct of St. John when Our Lord Came to Him to Be Baptized.

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.

Friday after the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany.
On the Conduct of St. John when Our Lord Came to Him to Be Baptized.

Picture to yourself, my soul, the indescribable delight that filled St. John the Baptist’s soul, when all at once he saw Jesus standing by the Jordan, and, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, recognized in Him the Messias. Contemplate in spirit the holy contest that ensued between Jesus and John, when our Lord asked for baptism, and the precursor, struck with awe, refused it to Him.

1st. Consider how reverence and obedience struggled for the mastery in St. John’s breast. He knew that the One who stood before him, asking baptism of him, was the promised Messias, the latchet of whose shoes he was not worthy to unloose, and how was it possible for him to baptize Him like an ordinary man, a sinner? Every feeling of reverence forbade this holy prophet to do so; he was conscious that he ought rather himself to be baptized by Jesus. Then on the other hand Jesus asked for baptism, nay, actually demanded it, and was John not bound, as a creature, to obey his Creator; was it not the duty of a servant to do his Master’s bidding? Yet how could he do in obedience what sentiments of reverence prohibited? See, my soul, men of high principle are often thus divided against themselves when a charge is laid upon them which they feel themselves unworthy to fulfil, as St. John did in this instance. It was so in the case of St. Macarius, who out of reverence refused to take Priests’ Orders; of St. Augustine, who considered himself utterly unworthy to be a bishop. With fear and trembling the saints used to approach the altar, ascend into the pulpit, take their seat in the confessional, whereas those who are imperfect eagerly press forward to undertake the work of the sacred ministry. The saints could hardly be prevailed upon to accept prominent positions in the Church, or in their Order, positions which persons with no pretensions to sanctity deemed themselves well qualified to fill. Now, my soul, if strife arises within your breast between what obedience requires and reverence seems to command, and it is a good sign when this is so how are you to decide between the rival claims? This you will learn from what follows:  

2d. “Suffer it to be so now, for so it becometh us to fulfil all justice.” (St. Matt. iii. 15.) Such is the sublime answer which Jesus gave to John in a similar case; it is just, He says, that I should humble Myself before thee, and that thou shouldst baptize Me out of obedience. On the one hand it became our Lord as the representative of the sinful race of men to perform this act of self-humiliation, and on the other, it was fitting that John should be the one to baptize Him; that the last and greatest prophet of the Old Dispensation should baptize the first and only Prophet of the New Covenant; that he who prepared the way should baptize Him who was Himself the Way, the Herald of the truth, Him who was very Truth itself.

Thus, my soul, you see the deep signification of the request Jesus made to John, a request which seemed so strange and incomprehensible to the veneration John felt for the Messias, and you also see how sorely he would have failed in his duty had he refused to obey out of feelings of reverence. Learn hence to obey in everything, and in doubtful cases always to give the preference to obedience, for thereby not only you are certain not to be wrong, but as a rule you do what is best and most useful, although, like John, you may not perceive this at first.  

3d. Consider how Jesus, by allowing John to baptize Him, performed an act of the highest humility and of obedience. The first and lowest degree of humble obedience is when a man for the love of God obeys one who is placed above him; the second degree is attained by him who yields to one who is on a par with himself; the third and most perfect degree is reached by him who submits, as Jesus did, to one who is his inferior. O humble Jesus! how Thou puttest us to shame. How many there are amongst us who will not even, like St. John, cheerfully submit to those above them, to their Superiors, while that they should rise to the second or third degree of humility is out of the question. Let us not conclude this meditation without having thought how, and when, and in regard to what we will from this day forth, mounting these three degrees of humility, do the will of our Superior in the first place, then that of our equals, and finally that of those who are inferior to ourselves.  

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.

_________________________________________________

February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)

Virtue to practice: Humility

I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ Amen. – St. Francis de Sales

An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).

_________________________________________________

Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes

O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory.
R. Amen.
V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.


Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2019. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Comments are closed.