Monday after the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Casting of the Sellers out of the Temple.
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 the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Casting of the Sellers out of the Temple.
You have already, my soul, in the course of your meditations stood beside the crib of our Lord at Bethlehem and beneath His cross on Calvary; you have witnessed His glorious Resurrection, His Ascension into Heaven, the mission of the Holy Ghost; finally you have dwelt in thought on the memorial that after He had gone up on high He left behind for us, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Now let the public ministry of Christ, His teaching and miracles form the subject of your meditations. Accompany Him during the three years in which He journeyed throughout Palestine preaching the Gospel; and to-day first of all betake yourself to the temple at Jerusalem and witness what passes there.
1st. Consider our Lord’s zeal for the house of God. Jesus enters the house of His Father, the temple of God, the sanctuary of Israel. What meets His eye there? The forecourt is turned into a market-place; oxen and sheep, doves and lambs desecrate by their presence a spot consecrated to the service of God; the money-changers’ gold, chinking on their tables, disturbs the devotion of the worshippers; the shrill cries of buyers and sellers break the solemn silence that ought to prevail when God Himself is near. But now He is coming who declares: “The zeal of Thy house hath eaten Me up,” the Man, Christ Jesus.
Behold Him, my soul, standing there in more than human majesty and authority; in His hand He wields a scourge; His voice, uplifted in stern rebuke, is heard above the clamor of the bargaining; He overthrows the tables of the covetous money-changers and before long His Father’s house is cleared and cleansed. Thus Jesus manifests Himself at the very outset of His public career as Master in the house that is His own and His Father’s. His noble anger terrifies the cowardly traders; they give way before Him; no one dares to withstand Him. Pause, my soul, and admire on the one hand the mysterious, supernatural power our Lord exercised when He—one against many—stood forth to reprimand and chastise; and on the other hand His zeal for the house of God; ask yourself whether you are actuated by a like zeal for God’s glory, and whether it may not be that your demeanor in the temple of God, your inattention, the worldly thoughts and material interests that occupy your mind in choir, in the church, nay, that you even allow to accompany you when you go up to the altar, have not long since provoked the wrath of the Most High, called for His just chastisements.
2d. Consider that the punishment of those who profaned the temple was in reality a reproof to the high priests and guardians of the temple, whose duty it was to see that the house of God was kept holy; they felt it to be a reflection upon them, and that is why they asked: “What sign dost Thou show unto us, seeing Thou dost these things?” (St. John ii. 18.) Let this teach you two things, my soul. First that the administrator of a church, a house, the president of an association, has more duties and consequently greater responsibilities than his subordinates. If therefore you occupy a position of authority, see to it lest, while in your private life there is nothing displeasing to God, or even much that is pleasing in His sight, at the same time you may err in your public capacity through negligence, indifference, human respect, or the desire to make yourself popular, and thus incur the divine anger and provoke His retributive justice. But if you are a subject, thank God for it, congratulate yourself on being exempt from such responsibility, and do not in your ambitious heart envy your Superior the position he fills. The second lesson we may learn is this: consider that although our Lord’s censure fell indirectly upon the chief priests, yet He did not leave the cleansing of the temple to be effected by the instrumentality of His disciples, but accomplished it Himself. By this He intends to teach us that the administration of punishment belongs to God as their actual Judge or to their Superior as His representative, but not to those who are in a subordinate position. Beware then how you sit in judgment on your superiors, how you criticise and condemn their words and actions. You would do better far to leave all in humility and patience to God, who is the supreme Judge; then you will not only be at peace yourself, but you will leave others in peace.
3d. Consider what became of all the crowd of sacrificial victims, of the sheep, the doves, and of the piles of gold on the money-changers’ tables after our Lord had purified the temple of their presence. Nothing was left, save the little cords which He had formed into a scourge. Here, my soul, you see the end of all that is wrongfully possessed, of all sinful pleasures. They are all evanescent; their ultimate lot is to be destroyed and swept away, and nothing remains but the punitive scourge, the scourge fashioned out of the cords of our own sins, whereby the soul was held captive in life. By it she will be chastised after death to all eternity. Wherefore, my soul, do not wait until the Lord comes in judgment to take vengeance in His wrath and purify you who are a temple of the Holy Ghost; undertake that cleansing yourself, begin this very day; drive out the brute beasts, your unruly passions; chase away the doves, those idle, vain thoughts and desires; overthrow the tables of the money-changers, covetousness and attachment to earthly goods. For unless you yourself purify that temple, the Lord will come as a thief in the night, “whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor.” (St. Matt. iii. 12.)
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.
July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus
Virtue to practice: Simplicity, Faith, Liberty of Spirit, Cheerfulness
Almighty, and everlasting God, who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son to be the Redeemer of the world, and hast been pleased to be reconciled unto us by His Blood, grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate with solemn worship the price of our salvation, that the power thereof may here on earth keep us from all things hurtful, and the fruit of the same may gladden us forever hereafter in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers to St. Philomena
Novena to St. Philomena (from July 1st through August 10th)
Illustrious Virgin and Martyr, St. Philomena, behold me kneeling in spirit before the throne on which it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I beseech thee to intercede for me with God. From the height of thy heavenly country, deign to cast a look upon thy humble servant. Spouse of Jesus Christ, console me in my troubles, strengthen me in temptations, protect me in the dangers which surround me on every side; obtain all the graces necessary for me, especially (here mention your particular intention), and, above all, assist me at my death. Amen.
For Victory over Temptations.
O God, who dost sustain us by the merits and example of the blessed Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, mercifully grant that, strengthened in faith and charity, we may never be separated from Thee by any temptation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Growth in Virtues.
O glorious Virgin! whose glory God has been pleased to make known by singular miracles, we address ourselves to thee with entire confidence. Obtain for us that, following thy example, we may fight courageously against whatever is opposed to the reign of Jesus Christ in our heart; that we may adorn our souls with virtues like thine, particularly with that angelic purity of which thou art the perfect model; and that inflamed with the love of Jesus, we may continually walk in the way which He has marked out, to the end that we may one day partake of thy everlasting happiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns one God in perfect Trinity, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer for Purity.
O glorious Saint Philomena, who, animated by a burning love for Jesus our Savior, didst shine in Holy Church by the splendor of perfect virginity and the practice of the most heroic virtues, obtain for us of thy Divine Spouse the grace to keep ever unsullied the precious treasure of chastity and to practice with generosity the virtues of our state, that having, after thy example, walked in His footsteps during our life on earth, we may, with thee, rejoice in His glory eternally.
Saint Philomena, happy virgin, adorned with all the charm of innocence, and beautified, besides, with the purple of martyrdom, obtain for us the grace to know how to suffer all, and to sacrifice all in order to be faithful to God till death, and possess Him eternally in paradise. Amen.
For Detachment from Earthly Goods.
O Saint Philomena, faithful virgin and glorious martyr, who so courageously preferred to the visible goods of this world the invisible goods of a holy eternity, obtain for us a lively faith, an ardent charity, and a piety always increasing, in order that, faithfully serving our Lord Jesus Christ during our life, we may merit after our death the happiness of contemplating Him face to face in life eternal. Amen.
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