Monday after Quinquagesima Sunday. —On the Reason Why Our Lord Commenced His Passion in a Garden and Did Not Take with Him Eight of His Disciples.

Monday after Quinquagesima Sunday.
On the Reason Why Our Lord Commenced His Passion in a Garden and Did Not Take with Him Eight of His Disciples.

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 Quinquagesima Sunday.
On the Reason Why Our Lord Commenced His Passion in a Garden and Did Not Take with Him Eight of His Disciples.

Contemplate your Redeemer, my soul, at the time when, together with His apostles, He reached the Garden of Olives. Darkness wraps the face of the earth, but a bright moon illumines the heavens. Jesus is very sorrowful; He announces to His dismayed disciples the dangers impending over them. Selecting three whom He will take with Him into the interior of the Garden, to the other eight He says: “Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray.” (St. Matt. xxvi. 36.) It is a melancholy scene that is here presented to view. Already the fear and anguish of His Passion have invaded our Lord’s soul, when He parts from the disciples, who see Him go with feelings of consternation and vague forebodings of evil.

1st. Consider why Our Lord commenced His Passion in a garden. For this reason: Because it was His will to recover in a garden what had been lost in a garden, the salvation and eternal happiness of mankind. In the Garden of Eden Adam stretched out his hands to the forbidden fruit, and thereby brought himself and all his posterity into the bondage of the devil; for that cause our Lord stretches out His hands in the Garden of Olives to yield Himself as a captive to the myrmidons of the devil and thereby accomplish our redemption. In the Garden of Eden through his pride and prevarication Adam caused his own fall and that of the whole human race, and for that cause Jesus casts Himself on to the ground, into the dust in the Garden of Olives, in order by His humility to raise us who have fallen so low. Finally Jesus wills to begin in the garden that conflict whereby the glorious portals of the garden of paradise, long closed against us, were to be reopened; through His sufferings in the garden He, the sinless One, will purchase for us admittance into that celestial garden from which sinful concupiscence has excluded us. Marvel at and admire the divine wisdom, and learn hence that wherein you have sinned, therein you must do penance.

2d. Consider that it was out of consideration for their frailty that our Lord did not permit the eight apostles to accompany Him into the garden. He knew that their faith was not as strong and steadfast as that of the other apostles. It might easily have happened that the sight of their Master trembling, oppressed by fear and sadness, might have been to them an occasion of scandal, or even of falling, that they might have been led to doubt His divinity. Our Lord in His mercy desires to avoid this. Learn hence, my soul, to exercise patience and forbearance towards the weaker brethren. Above all take heed lest you give them cause to take scandal. Do not, if you are a Superior, require too much of them; learn of Jesus to distinguish between the strong and the weak, the perfect and the imperfect. And if you are a subordinate, see in like manner that you are patient with your weaker brethren; do not take umbrage if exceptions are made in their favor, if they are spared, or are permitted to do what is forbidden to others. You are not scandalized because sick people receive Holy Communion in their beds, while those who are whole have to receive it in the church and on their knees; well, in other things make the same wise distinction between the perfect and the imperfect, and you will spare yourself and others much cause for regret both in time and in eternity.

3d. Consider also that our Lord left the eight apostles outside the garden for the purpose of trying their patience. The stronger disciples have to be approved by their fortitude in conflict, the weaker by their patience; and if our Lord excludes them from participation in the mysteries of His Passion, if He shows less confidence in them than in the other greater apostles, they ought to accept this with humility, without feelings of envy or ill will. How necessary it is for you, my soul, to take example by our Lord’s disciples in this respect. If you perceive that God has endowed your brother with more talents than He has bestowed on you, that He has lavished on him greater favors than on you, that He destines him for higher things than He destines you, bear this patiently, acquiesce in it without jealousy; say not only with your lips but in the sincerity of your heart that you know yourself to be unworthy of similar privileges, and then you will by your humility be equally acceptable in God’s sight. And if you see your Superior appointing others to posts, employing them in functions from which you are excluded, bear this patiently; do not envy your brethren. Remember that St. Peter, whom our Lord took with Him into the garden, afterwards fell, while his brother Andrew, who was left outside, did not prevaricate; and although he did not enjoy the same privilege as St. James, he ranks as high as this apostle, who was one of the three chosen to accompany our Lord. Whether you have much or little, that much or little is not your own; it is God’s gift.

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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