Friday after Sexagesima Sunday.—On the Last Supper.

Friday after Sexagesima Sunday.
On the Last Supper.

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 Sexagesima Sunday.
On the Last Supper.

It is night, the greatest, most memorable night since that whereon Jesus Christ was born into the world. Now for the last time our Lord gathers His apostles around Him, in order to celebrate the Last Supper with them. Deep gravity, a chastened sadness marks His features and those of His apostles. He knows, and they have a presentiment of what is about to happen, hence the solemnity, the seriousness that pervades the guest chamber where the Last Supper is to be held. Imagine, my soul, that you are present in that solemn assembly; gaze in spirit on your Lord and the twelve apostles who surround Him; observe the pensive, sorrowful expression of every countenance.

1st. Consider how our Lord performs an act of humility as a prelude to the great work of the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, and the commencement of His Passion. As the initial act of His public ministry, His baptism, was an act of humility, so is also that whereby He inaugurates His sacerdotal work, the washing of His disciples feet. How pregnant with instruction is this for you, my soul! Only contemplate your Saviour; imprint on your mind the touching scene of the washing of feet, and reflect upon it. Consider that He to whom God the Father gave all power in heaven and on earth, He whose sublimity and grandeur fills angels with amazement, kneels on the ground like a slave and washes His disciples feet; and this service of love is rendered to those who, before many hours have passed, will forsake and deny Him in the most dastardly and disgraceful manner. Picture to yourself your Lord kneeling before Judas, who purposes to betray Him; imagine that you hear Him say to the unhappy traitor: “Behold Me prostrate at thy feet; if thou hast any cause for complaint against Me, tell Me what it is and I will make amends to thee. I wash thee with water now; I am willing to wash thy soul to-morrow in My blood, if only thou wilt desist from thy evil design.” Does not this charity stir your soul within you; is not your heart kindled with love to this most loving Jesus; will you not, witnessing such humility on His part, from the bottom of your heart renounce your pride, your haughty and imperious bearing towards your Brethren, your Sisters in religion?

2d. Consider the institution of the Blessed Sacrament and its signification. Look upon your Redeemer at this moment: A supernatural light rests upon His sacred countenance, His voice assumes a tone of the tenderest love and at the same time of deep solemnity, as He pronounces the words of sublime mystery whereby the miracle of transubstantiation is accomplished. O how immeasurable was the importance of that act, performed amid the silence of that solemn night, how vast its importance for our Lord Himself, for His apostles, for the whole Church! For our Lord the Last Supper was a marriage-feast, the inauguration of His Passion and death; in it He gave a pledge that on the morrow He would suffer death for the world’s salvation; for this flesh which He then gave to His apostles to eat was the flesh of the sacrificial Victim; this blood, of which He bade them drink, was the blood that was to be shed on the altar of the cross. Thus the sacrifice of the cross was offered beforehand on the night in question, in a mystic and spiritual manner; it was accomplished in will; in the Last Supper the sacrifice of the cross was anticipated, just as in the holy Mass it is commemorated and perpetuated. For the apostles the Last Supper was of the very highest importance, inasmuch as they, receiving Holy Communion for the first time, were admitted to the most intimate union with Christ; and if that same night, in the confusion and bewilderment of their minds during the time of their Master’s Passion and death they still remained true to Him at heart, it was because He had taken up His dwelling in their hearts by Holy Communion. Finally, for the Church the great importance of the Last Supper consists in this, that our Lord, in the New Testament that He made in the cenacle at Jerusalem, bequeathed to her her choicest treasure and chief riches. The adorable Sacrament of the Altar, which Jesus left as a legacy to His Church, is the vital principle of her being. It is her heart, of which every Mass that is celebrated is a pulsation, sending her lifeblood, the blood of Jesus Christ, into every vein, imparting to every member of her body life, growth, and well-being. Hence it may be said that in a certain sense the Church was founded on Holy Thursday at any rate the principle of life was given her. What abundant matter for attentive meditation this subject affords us!

3d. Consider the persons who partook of this Last Supper. They were the twelve apostles. Alas! when our Lord gave them Holy Communion, sorrow must have filled His heart, for this first administration of Holy Communion was an earnest of the treatment that He would receive in the Sacrament of the Altar for all time. Four classes of communicants are represented by these twelve disciples. Judas received Communion unworthily, and our Lord saw prospectively the countless sacrileges which would be committed in the future. Woe betide the wretched Judas! Even while at table he has already crucified his Lord, maltreated His sacred body, sacrilegiously shed His precious blood. Peter is typical of the second class of communicants. He did, it is true, receive Communion worthily, but very soon after fell into sin, and alas! how many imitators has he had since that day! A third class is represented by the nine other apostles. They too communicated worthily, but without much spiritual profit, for that self-same night in their cowardly fear they abandoned their Master and fled, although they did not go so far as to betray or deny Him. How many, think you, have done the same in subsequent times? Finally, John symbolizes the fourth class of communicants. He was the only one who received Holy Communion worthily and with due profit; he alone was faithful to his Lord; he alone followed Him to Calvary; he alone stood beneath His cross. It was not the first of the apostles, it was the most humble, the most loving of Christ’s chosen band, who thus communicated and whom the Christian should propose to himself as his model. To which of these four classes do you, my soul, belong?

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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March Devotion: St. Joseph

Virtue to practice: Mortification

Litany of St. Joseph

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, 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.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious Son of David, pray for us.
Splendour of patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Watchful Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most pure, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most couragious, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of all who labor, pray for us.
Glory of family life, pray for us.
Preserver of virgins, pray for us.
Mainstay of families, pray for us.
Solace of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He hath made him master of His house,
R. And ruler of all His possessions.

Let us Pray.

O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph

(This prayer was said to be founded in the 50 A.D. In the 1500′s it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. According to oral tradition, whoever reads this prayer, hears it, or carries it, will not fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor will they be defeated in battle.)

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.

Good St. Joseph protect us, protect the holy Church.

O good and kind St. Joseph guide us in the way of perfection.

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