Wednesday after the Third Sunday after Pentecost. —On the Consolatory Teaching which our Lord Imparted to Nicodemus.

Wednesday after the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Consolatory Teaching which our Lord Imparted to Nicodemus.


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 Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Consolatory Teaching which our Lord Imparted to Nicodemus.

Think how destitute Nicodemus was of the science of salvation when he went to our Lord. He knew nothing about a new birth, he had not a right conception of the work of redemption, he had no idea of the goodness and kindness of God towards men that had already appeared in Christ Jesus. He, the much-respected doctor of Israel, now sits as an ignorant scholar at the feet of the new, the wonderful Teacher, come down from Heaven; listen to the comforting doctrines he hears from the lips of the divine Master.

1st. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (St. John iii. 14.) Our Lord reminds the Scribe, the doctor of Israel, well versed in the Scriptures, of the familiar story of the brazen serpent which Moses set up in the desert, in order that all who were bitten might look upon it and be healed; He explains to him the meaning of this Old Testament type; He discloses to him the consoling doctrine of the sacrifice upon the cross. Observe, my soul, that he who first of all his compatriots is made acquainted with the mystery of the cross, is the very one who at a later date will take the Saviour of mankind down from the cross. Fortunate Nicodemus! But if Nicodemus is fortunate, you, my soul, are equally so. Consider how infinite are the blessings contained in the mystery of the cross, which our Lord revealed to you as He did to Nicodemus. The Israelites who were bitten, on looking upon the serpent raised on high in the desert were healed of their wounds; and you, if in faith you look up to the cross of Calvary, meditating upon the solemn and sacred mystery of that cross, will find solace in suffering, confidence in danger, strength in conflict, remission of sin, succor at the hour of death. Wherefore give thanks to God to-day for having initiated you, as He did Nicodemus, in the consoling doctrine of the cross.

2d. Speaking to Nicodemus, our Lord went on to say: “God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life.” (v. 16.) After having made known to him the fundamental mystery, the centre and mainspring of the scheme of redemption—the death upon the cross—He proceeds to reveal to him the reason why the Son of man shall be lifted up, the object for which He will suffer and die. The love of God for man is the cause, the salvation of man the object in view. For the first time our Lord permits Nicodemus permits him alone of all the other Jews, before all the other Jews, even before His own chosen apostles, to gaze into the unfathomable, mysterious abyss of divine charity, a charity which makes the greatest of all sacrifices, that of His own, His only-begotten Son, and which has no other aim but the rescue, the eternal happiness of ungrateful, rebellious man. How deeply the heart of the Jewish Scribe must have been touched, how it must have overflowed with thankfulness and love, when he heard truths of so comforting a nature from the lips of Jesus. Imagine yourself, my soul, in Nicodemus’ place, imagine that to you our Lord reveals this mystery, and then consider this truth of infinite depth, abounding in consolation: God the Father gave His only Son out of love for me and for my salvation.

3d. “God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him.” (v. 17.) This is the third consoling truth which our Lord makes known to Nicodemus. In contradiction to the opinion entertained by the Pharisees, and which consequently Nicodemus himself had till then held, our Lord declares that He has not come to judge the world and execute vengeance, but to call all men to His grace and bring them to salvation. If in the first point we have seen how our Lord revealed to Nicodemus, as He has revealed to us, the mystery of the cross, and in the second point how He declared the cause and the object of it, He now discloses the boundless extent, the comprehensiveness of the blessings accruing from the sacrifice of the cross, the universality, the world-wide application of the work of redemption. The whole world, all mankind that is, Jews and Gentiles are to be saved, the Lord declares, since for all men He is sent. What solace these words contain! No one is excluded from the gift of grace. But observe he who would receive that gift must believe; “he that believeth on Him is not judged,” our Lord says. Lay this thought to heart. Infinite comfort is to be derived from the three truths imparted to Nicodemus, that of the death of the divine Victim upon the cross, the reason and object of that sacrifice, and the all-embracing nature of the salvation it effects. But whether you really share in the consolation these blessings bestow rests with you, since God gives you free-will. In spite of all that is done for you, you may yet be lost, if you “love darkness rather than the light.” (v. 19.)

Ask yourself, my soul, if at this moment death seized you in his inexorable clutches, of what avail would the blessed truths which our Lord revealed to Nicodemus be to you? According to the answer of your conscience form fresh resolutions to-day.


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.

(Roman Missal)

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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