The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Conduct to Be Pursued towards One Whom We Have Offended.
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.
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Conduct to Be Pursued towards One Whom We Have Offended.
To-day’s Gospel places before your eyes the divine Teacher, Himself the pattern of fraternal charity, of charity towards one’s neighbor, that is ready to forgive one’s enemies, now emphatically urging upon us to refrain from indulging any feeling, however slight, of antipathy towards our neighbor. Listen to the admonition He gives us:
1st. “If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee; leave there thy offering before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.” (St. Matt. v. 23, 24.) Such is the heavenly teaching presented to us; every word is a rich mine of matter for our meditation. Hence you learn that you may only venture to approach God, you can only dare to offer Him an oblation, if your charity towards your Brethren, your Sisters, is pure and undisturbed. For, as St. Chrysostom says, unity and concord are more pleasing to God than sacrifice; that is to say, as long as there is any strife amongst the faithful, their oblation will not be accepted. God is therefore willing to set aside His own glory; He would rather forego the oblation which is His due than tolerate any breach of brotherly love and fellowship. Consider this attentively, my soul, and take heed lest you go up to the altar, lest you receive Communion with feelings of animosity in your heart. For this reason avoid those trifling faults in your intercourse with others which are in themselves but a slight breach of charity, and yet too often take all the sweet consolation from your Communion, and deprive you of the fruit it would otherwise produce in you. Such little offences against charity are sneers and sarcastic speeches; they are, as St. Albert asserts, the sure sign of a corrupt heart, just as unpleasant breath is the sign that the digestive organs are out of order. Moreover the same may be said of that spirit of contradiction which incites a man to dispute about the most insignificant things, and defend his own opinion with an insistency and pertinacity that would lead one to suppose a kingdom to be at stake. “Contend not in words,” is the counsel the Apostle gives to Timothy; again he says: “The servant of the Lord must not wrangle, but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient.” (II. Tim. ii. 14, 24.)
2d. Consider the express command our Lord lays on the one who has offended: “Go first to be reconciled to thy brother.” This reconciliation must be in proportion to and of the nature of the preceding offence. If you have offended in thought, be reconciled in thought; if you have offended in word, be reconciled in words; if you have offended by some act, be reconciled in act, for the penance whereby a sin is expiated ought to be of the same nature as the sin. Therefore if you have quarrelled with your brother, if there is any thing between him and you, do not wait long, for postponement only renders the matter more difficult; make friends with him as soon as ever you can, so that the sun may not go down upon your anger. Remember, too, that in being the first to hold out the hand of reconciliation, an excellent opportunity is offered you to practise the virtue of humility, that pearl of all virtues, of which St. Bonaventure justly says that through humility alone can the offence against charity be repaired. It requires a victory over self, but the happiness that you will subsequently experience outweighs a hundredfold the slight effort which this self-conquest costs you.
3d. Consider the punishment of those who will not be reconciled, which our Lord announces in these words: “Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes, whilst thou art in the way with him, lest perhaps the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer and thou be cast into prison.” (v. 25.) According to St. Augustine, the adversary here spoken of is the law of God, which, by prohibiting enmity and contention, is at variance with our evil propensities. Submit to this adversary; obey this commandment whilst you are still in the way, that is, while there is yet time, before the end of this mortal existence, for were you to depart out of this life and death may overtake you at any moment without having been reconciled, woe betide you. Then your adversary, the divine law which you have violated, would deliver you to God, your Judge, and He would give you over to the officer, to Satan, who would cast you into the prison of hell. “Let not therefore the sun go down upon your anger.” (Eph. iv. 26.) You do not know whether you will see the light of another day, and if not, if you were to die unreconciled, what would become of you? Christ tells you in the words quoted above. Lay them to heart.
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.
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2019. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.