Monday after the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany. —On the Importance of Our Lord’s Baptism in Regard to Our Faith.

Monday after the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
On the Importance of Our Lord’s Baptism in Regard to Our Faith.

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.

Monday after the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
On the Importance of Our Lord’s Baptism in Regard to Our Faith.

To-day you are invited once more to place the whole sublime spectacle of our Lord’s baptism before your mental sight. Picture to yourself the tranquilly-flowing river Jordan, on whose banks a figure stands that commands our respect; it is John the Baptist, who has just administered baptism to the Son of God. See how the Holy Spirit descends upon our Lord, at that moment resplendent with celestial glory; listen to the voice of the Eternal Father sounding from on high. How sacred, how grand a picture is this, and how replete it is with meaning of importance for our Faith!

1st. Consider that at His baptism Christ is proved to be the Son of the living God. To this, the principal article of our Faith, we have no less a witness than God the Father Himself, whose voice is heard from Heaven, saying: “This is My Son” (St. Matt. iii. 17), as if He would declare to the whole world: This man, to all appearance nothing but an ordinary man, capable of suffering and subject to death; this man who out of humility is baptized as if He were a sinner is My Son, and that not merely in virtue of His baptism, not merely by adoption, but begotten by Me before all ages. What an all-powerful testimony is this! The testimony not of an erring mortal, but of God who cannot err, the God who is Truth eternal. He bears witness that Christ is the Son of God. Does not this strengthen your faith? But there is more yet to come.

2d. Consider that at our Lord’s baptism the whole work of redemption, the basis on which our faith rests, received a solemn sanction from God. Observe that He did not merely say: “This is My Son;” He said, “This is My beloved Son;” Him whom I love and have ever loved above all creatures; Him in whom I have had pleasure from all eternity, and for whose sake I shall have pleasure in mankind whom He has redeemed. Now if the Father is well pleased in His Son, He is also well pleased in His work, the work of our redemption to which on this day the Father gives His sanction, and not the Father alone but the Holy Ghost also, Who, descending upon the Son, imprints His divine seal upon His work. The vast signification of our Lord’s baptism becomes yet more evident if we proceed to consider a third point in this mystery.

3d. At this baptism of our Lord the sublime mystery of the Holy Trinity was openly revealed for the first time since the creation of the world. At the commencement of the work of creation, this truth was revealed, although in a much more obscure manner, since it was the will of the Father that the world should be made; the Son carried out that will of the Father by the word He spoke: Let it be made; and the Holy Spirit, moving over the waters, completed the work of the Father and the Son. And so at the beginning of the spiritual new-creation of the world, at the outset of the work of its redemption, the most Holy Trinity manifest themselves anew, and more clearly than before. The voice of the Father is distinctly heard, in whose counsels the redemption of man was decreed from all eternity; the Son appears in a visible form in the Jordan, on the eve of commencing, in stern reality, the work of that redemption; and the Holy Spirit, to whom it belongs to carry on that redemption until the end of time, hovers over the waters of the river Jordan, as He once moved over the face of the waters when the earth was but just created. Impress deeply upon your mind, my soul, the vast meaning attaching to the fact of Christ’s baptism; it is a strong confirmation of your faith. In conclusion, however, remember that you too have been baptized, that to you also the mystery of the most Holy Trinity was then revealed, that it was given you to believe that mystery, and the same divine voice said of you:  “This is My beloved son.” Have you retained that character? Is God still well pleased in you? Ask yourself this question, and according to the answer your heart returns, make your resolutions for the future.

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.

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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).

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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.


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