Thursday after the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On our Lord’s Meeting with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well.
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 after the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On our Lord’s Meeting with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s Well.
In a smiling valley between Mount Garizim and Hebal Jacob’s well is situated, on which our Lord may now be seen sitting. Wearied with His journey, He is taking a brief rest in the heat of the day. But no, even now He does not rest. His divine soul, kindled with charity towards sinners, glowing more hotly than the rays of the midday sun, thirsts for yet more labor, thirsts for the salvation of a poor, sinful Samaritan woman.
1st. Whilst Jesus is sitting beside the well, His wandering glances rest upon Samaria, the city which in its fatal blindness severed itself from the temple at Jerusalem, the place where God was worshipped in truth. What is our Lord waiting for, what is He expecting? The return of the disciples, who were gone into the city to buy meats? Oh no; He entertains desires of a very different nature; the hunger He experiences is of another order. Fiercely as the midday sun burns, His yearning for the salvation of souls is no less ardent; although His body is exhausted with fatigue, His soul cannot, will not rest until He has found another lost sheep, until He has given it to drink not of the material water out of the well, but of living water, springing up into life everlasting. It is a scene that must awaken emotion in every spectator. The Samaritan, suspecting nothing, draws near to the well, approaches the Stranger, a Jew, who is sitting there; she knows not that He is the Good Shepherd, that He has come to rescue her from eternal perdition. St. Augustine, speaking of the Saviour when He was sitting by the well, weary in body but active in spirit, consumed with zeal for souls, says: “See a hen with a brood of chickens, how worn and thin she is; her wings droop, her feathers are ruffled; her condition is typical of that of our Lord, when tired out by His labors, faint and exhausted, He sat down to rest on Jacob’s well. As the hen, engrossed with concern for the welfare of her little ones, forgets herself, forgets her own needs, so our Lord thinks not of taking food and drink, but thinks only of the soul that He would save.” Contemplate this Good Shepherd and let the sight of Him rekindle your zeal for souls. There is nothing more pleasing to God than zeal for His glory and for the salvation of souls. St. Chrysostom asserts that no service is more acceptable to Him, and St. Gregory says that the most high God regards zeal for souls with more favor than any oblation we can offer Him. And it is recorded of a saintly monk of the Franciscan Order, who had labored for many long years for the conversion of the Indians, that on his retiring to a monastery in Spain, there to lead a life of strict seclusion, whenever he prayed before the crucifix, he fancied he heard Jesus calling to him in accents of tender, loving reproach, saying: “Why hast thou left Me hanging on the cross and sought for thyself rest and solitude?” What would our Lord say to you, my soul, in regard to this?
2d. Consider with what kindness, charity and condescension our Lord received the Samaritan woman, who was a sinner, a grievous sinner. He strives to attract the wandering sheep to Himself with the voice of kindness, not of stern, that is too stern, rebuke, lest that should only scare it, and frighten it away. In the first point our Lord was set before you as a model of zeal for souls, of that zeal which every Christian ought to possess, and ought to exercise according to his state in life, by exhortation, the cure of souls, or prayer and penance for others. Now you are called upon to study His example and thence learn what the character of that zeal ought to be. “I bear them witness,” says the Apostle, “ that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” (Rom. x. 2.) Right zeal is always combined with charity and mercy and preeminently with patient forbearance. How many are zealous preachers of penance, but imitators of Jonas, who was angry because the lightning from heaven did not follow upon his preaching and destroy the city of Ninive! How many are rigorous denouncers of evil, keen champions of justice, of the law of God, of the Rule of their Order, but all the while the spirit that animates them is the same as that which led the apostles to ask: “Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them?” (St. Luke ix. 54.) St. Augustine aptly remarks on this subject: “ Consider how hotly Moses anger was kindled at the sight of the people’s transgression, so that he broke the tables of the law, written with the finger of God, which had been delivered to him with great solemnity after he had fasted forty days and forty nights. But however great his wrath may have been, he immediately returned to God, beseeching Him either to forgive the Israelites that trespass, or if not, to strike him out of the book of life. The zeal that animates the servants of God should be of this nature, causing them on the one hand to be deeply concerned on account of the offence against God, and on the other hand to feel such deep compassion for the sinner that they forthwith interpose on his behalf as mediators with God.” You compassionate those who are mentally afflicted, or dangerously sick, but the sinner is more deserving of pity than they are; remember this, and your zeal for souls will resemble that of our Lord at Jacob’s well, it will be tempered with charity.
3d. Consider that our Lord asks the Samaritan woman to give Him to drink, with the purpose of acquainting her with the spiritual thirst He felt for the salvation of her soul. It is as if He would say: Woman, I have in store for thee a living water, rich in blessings, but before I can give it thee, thou must give Me water, the water of thy tears, tears of contrition and repentance for thy sins. How often has our Lord in His sacred thirst for souls, required of you that water of compunction without which He cannot forgive you or give you to drink of His living water? How often in the season of meditation, during your spiritual reading, when listening to a sermon, on the occasion of some startling event, has this cry rung in your ears: “Give Me to drink!” (St. John iv. 7.) Quench My thirst for your salvation by following My divine inspirations. Have you obeyed that voice as readily, as promptly as the Samaritan woman did? To-day at least listen to that call, and if your meditation on the first point has inspired you with true zeal for souls, see that you display that zeal in the first place in regard to your own soul. If you are really concerned for its welfare, you will also be concerned for the welfare of others; but he who neglects his own soul, will be of but little use to the souls of others. “For,” as St. Gregory says, “he cannot kindle others who does not burn himself;” and a master of the spiritual life very justly remarks: “A man must be himself inflamed with the love of God in order to inflame the hearts of others with that same love.”
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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