On the Blind Man in the Gospel for the Day.
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.
On the Blind Man in the Gospel for the Day.
Endeavor to realize vividly the scene St. Luke describes in to-day’s Gospel. On the high road near Jericho a blind man sat by the wayside begging an alms from the pilgrims journeying up to Jerusalem for the feast. When in answer to his inquiries, he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, a gleam of consolation lighted up his soul, a ray of sunshine brightened the gloom of his perpetual night. Animated by the hope of receiving from Jesus an alms more valuable than any which his fellow men could bestow, he lifted up his voice and cried aloud: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy upon me!” (St. Luke xviii. 38.)
1st. Consider the melancholy lot of the blind man. For him the sun gives no light, no stars spangle the firmament of heaven, no flowers deck the face of the earth; the sweet azure of the sky, the pleasing verdure of the meadows are lost upon him; the roseate hues of sunset, the varied tints of the rainbow, the fair forms and brilliant colors that delight the human eye do not exist for him; he is doomed to perpetual night, perpetual darkness. How pitiable is his condition! Now if mere physical blindness is so sad a calamity, you may judge, my soul, how truly deplorable is the state of the spiritually blind, of those unhappy men who do not know themselves, who deem their spiritual condition to be other than it is, better, less dangerous, happier. Such spiritual blindness is indeed a sad misfortune! It is the curse of the spiritual life, for self-knowledge is the foundation whereon the spiritual life rests. All theologians and Doctors of the Church, notably St. Augustine and St. Bernard, agree in declaring self-knowledge to be the most sublime and most useful of all sciences and indispensable to progress in the spiritual life. Consider this to-day, my soul, and ponder the wise saying of blessed Brother Giles: “Whoso does not know himself shall not be known,” that is to say he will not be known by Him who said to the foolish virgins: “I know you not.” (St. Matt, xxv. 12.)
2d. Consider how the blind man sought to be delivered out of his deplorable condition. St. Luke tells us: “He cried out, saying, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He entreats, he prays to Jesus. It is in prayer that he primarily seeks assistance. Learn from this, my soul, that in order to emerge from the sad state of spiritual blindness and attain true self-knowledge you must pray in the first place. For the celestial light of divine grace can alone dispel the darkness of our hearts. Without it no scrutiny, no examination of conscience avails aught. . . . It is only the light of divine grace that leads to such knowledge and for that grace man must ask. This is the reason why St. Augustine so often sent up this petition: “Thou art ever the same, my God! Grant that I may know Thee, that I may know myself.” And we know that St. Francis was in the habit of repeating again and again: “Who art Thou, O my God? and what am I?” As St. Bonaventure truly says: When a ray of sunshine is let into a room, one sees in the sunbeam a thousand mites of dust which were invisible before, and in like manner when the light of grace penetrates the darkness of our hearts, the soul becomes aware of the slightest imperfections and discerns a thousand defects which are not apparent to those who are not enlightened by that living light, and consequently imagine that no such deficiencies exist. Lay to heart these sound words, and in future always begin your examination of conscience, your study to obtain self-knowledge, by praying to be enlightened by divine grace.
3d. Consider that the blind mendicant would not allow himself to be deterred from crying aloud for help, although “many rebuked him, that he might hold his peace;” mark also that when, as St. Mark tells us, he came to Jesus “casting off his garment he leaped up.” (St. Mark x. 50.) Ven. Bede comments thus on this passage: “Let us imitate the example of this blind beggar. Let us by stripping off all worldly hindrances facilitate the glad elevation of the soul to God; let us hasten to the Dispenser of light, that light which only the angels and we can behold, and to which we must attain by the path of Faith.” There is nothing the devil dreads more than that we should soar aloft to God by means of self-knowledge, enlightened by the light of Faith and divine grace. That is why he rebukes the blind that they should hold their peace; that is why he lays in our way innumerable obstacles and impediments, to prevent us from entering upon that close scrutiny of our own heart which would lead to self-knowledge. Hence it is that we are beset with distractions when we examine our conscience. Hence the constant pretexts suggested to us for omitting, for postponing that task. But you, my soul, must imitate the blind man; do not let yourself be led astray; strip off, cast aside the cloak which conceals the poverty of your spiritual condition, and make a special resolution to-day to scrutinize your own heart during this Lenten-tide, and make daily progress in self-knowledge.
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.
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.
P.S. The 6th of the 6 Sundays of St. Thomas Aquinas prayers.
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