Wednesday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent.
On the Ecce Homo.
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.
Wednesday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent.
On the Ecce Homo.
To-day, my soul, place before your eyes and impress deeply upon your mind the pathetic picture of the Ecce Homo, which appeals alike to Heaven and earth for compassion. Pilate brings the Saviour forth out of the hall of scourging, displays Him to the people, and, himself moved to pity, exclaims: “Ecce Homo”; “Behold the Man!” as if to say: Is it possible that you have no mercy for one in so deplorable a condition? Imagine that you are standing among the crowd of onlookers, and that you see before you the heartrending sight presented by our Lord at this period of His Passion. How overwhelming are the thoughts that crowd in upon you!
1st. Consider Pilate’s words: Ecce Homo—“Behold the Man!” for they are addressed to you. Yes, behold Him, look upon this Man. Look upon Him as He stands there, wearing the purple garment, His body torn and mangled, unable to lift up His aching head crowned with thorns and bathed in blood, holding the reed-sceptre in His hands, bound though they still are, the personification of infinite grief and meekness, of sorrow and love, a blood stained shadow of His former self, presented thus to the angry clamor of the priests and the people, a picture of misery, but yet a mirror in which one must dread to look. Gaze upon it, my soul, and your conscience will tell you what you see there. You will see your vanity, which our Lord expiated by the contempt He endured, your idleness and love of ease, which He expiated by His wounds and blood-shedding, your covetousness which He expiated when stripped of His garments and in desolation. And if your cold heart is not moved by the words you hear a pagan exclaim, listen to the voice of Jesus Himself.
2d. Consider that our Lord also addresses to you the same words: Ecce Homo. Behold Me in My human nature, who am at the same time your God and your Creator, and think to what a condition My love for you has reduced Me. In My Godhead, in the form of God I was the joy and delight of angels; now for love of you I have taken upon Me the form of a leper, an outcast. Enthroned in Heaven I received the homage of millions of celestial spirits, who cried “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Sabaoth;” now for your sake I stand here bound with cords, spit upon, reviled, like the lowest criminal on the face of the earth. In the realms of bliss, with infinite felicity I ruled over the choirs of cherubim and seraphim; now behold Me, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow; behold My bleeding brow, My lacerated members, My eyes suffused with tears of anguish; for love of you I have become this pitiable object, and alas! this I must remain, for your sins will not allow Me to find rest. Can you, my soul, still gaze upon this touching sight, this Ecce Homo, without melting your cold, your sin-stained heart by hot tears of contrition?
3d. Consider lastly that our Lord cries to His heavenly Father: Ecce Homo—“Behold the Man!” Look down, Eternal Father, look down from heaven above upon Thy Son, in whom Thou art well pleased. Behold the countenance which Thou didst illuminate with a ray of celestial glory upon Mount Thabor, now defiled with blood and spittle; behold My body which then shone resplendent as the midday sun, now become a mass of wounds. Behold, My Father, the deplorable figure Thy Son presents, standing here wretched and forsaken, crushed under foot as a worm; behold this picture of misery and be moved to compassion by the sight, that for the sake of this one Man Thou mayst have pity on the others, and for the sake of My countenance thus disfigured and defaced Thou mayst in Thy mercy renew the face of the sinful earth. How affecting is this petition which our Lord presents to His heavenly Father accompanied by tears of blood! Rise up, my soul, unite your supplications to those of the divine Intercessor; unite your tears, your sufferings, to His, and offer them to God the Father, beseeching Him that for the sake of this one Man, whom you have to-day been contemplating in His Passion, He will have compassion upon the whole sinful race of mankind.
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.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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