Thursday in Easter Week.
Our Lord Appears to Peter after His Resurrection.
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.
Thursday in Easter Week.
Our Lord Appears to Peter after His Resurrection.
Endeavor to realize the keen sorrow and contrition of the prince of apostles during the days that witnessed our Lord’s Passion. His tortured heart was at one time overwhelmed with a storm of anguish and distress on account of the sad fate of his beloved Master; then again a tempest of grief swept over his soul, at the thought that he had denied that Master, and by his denial had added to and aggravated His sufferings. And now Christ was really dead and laid in the grave without his ever having had an opportunity of throwing himself at His feet in an agony of sorrow and repentance and hearing from His lips words of pardon and forgiveness. Night had of a truth closed in upon the apostle’s soul, a night dark as the grave; yet suddenly a star of hope rises, the sorrowing penitent sees a ray of light amid the gloom; the tidings are brought him: the Lord is risen from the dead.
1st. Immediately Peter hastens to the sepulchre to ascertain for himself whether this announcement is true, and perhaps, as he hopes, even to see the risen Saviour with his own eyes. But his wish is not to be fulfilled so speedily. He does indeed find the grave to be empty, he finds that the body of Jesus is no longer there, but he does not see his beloved Master in person. Yet Mary, the Virgin-Mother, has already seen Him; He has also shown Himself to Mary Magdalen the penitent, and even the other women have beheld Him. How is it that Peter, the greatest, the chief of the apostles, is not yet privileged to enjoy that signal happiness? We need not search long for the reason. By their fidelity, their love, the sympathy they evinced for their crucified Lord, Mary and Magdalen and the devout women deserved to see their risen Lord sooner than the apostle who denied all knowledge of Him. Ponder that, my soul, and remember whenever our Lord delays to come to you with His consolations, His grace, His succor, if He does not impart them to you as soon as He does to others, seek the primary cause in yourself; ask yourself seriously whether you have acted so as to deserve that the Lord should draw near to you in His compassion and loving kindness; whether you have been as faithful to Him in the days of prosperity as you would have Him be to you in the season of adversity.
2d. Consider with what feelings Peter stood in our Lord’s presence when the latter actually appeared to him. Must he not have fallen at the feet of his risen Master, overcome by an excess of contrition and grief? confessing his fault with floods of tears and earnestly imploring pardon? Must he not have acknowledged himself to be quite unworthy that our Lord should condescend to appear to him? Must he not for ever afterwards with warmest gratitude have remembered the extreme kindness wherewith Jesus in His charity received the disciple who had denied Him? Reflect, my soul, on your part whether such should not be the sentiments animating your heart whenever our Lord appears to you with His grace, especially in Holy Communion; whether you also like this apostle ought not to weep over the sins which have rendered you unworthy that our Lord should visit you; whether you ought not to acknowledge and confess in all humility that you are far more deserving of the just chastisements of your God than of His pardoning love.
3d. Consider that Peter immediately hastened to seek out his fellow apostles, to proclaim to them the joyful tidings of Christ’s resurrection and thereby to confirm their faith, as our Lord commissioned him to do. This is one characteristic of holy, magnanimous souls, that they do not desire jealously to keep the graces, the consolations wherewith God favors them all for themselves; they feel urged to share them with others; they long for nothing more ardently than to lead many, nay, all their brethren to Christ, that they too may rejoice in His graces and His blessings. As there is no saint who does not prize his own soul above everything else, so there is no saint who does not love the souls of others as he loves his own. Is it so with you? Are you like Peter, who hastens to give joy to others and to confirm them in the faith?
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 joy of Eastertide, 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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