Saturday after the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.—The Soldier of Christ.
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.
Saturday after the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.—The Soldier of Christ.
He that shall lose his life for My sake shall save it. (Luke ix, 24.)
Consider firstly that every true Christian should be a soldier of Jesus Christ. He must combat either as the martyrs did against tyrants, as the Doctors of the Church did against errors, or as all the faithful must do against the desires of the flesh and the assaults of the evil one. You may think that these three kinds of combat do not concern you, but it is not so. For if it be not always necessary to be in action, it is always necessary to be prepared for the fight. For this reason the Apostle St. Paul does not say fight but labour. Labour as a good soldier of Christ. (2 Tim. ii, 3.) Soldiers are not idle in time of peace.
Application. Though perhaps not liable now to be persecuted by tyrants, yet you must imitate the martyrs of Christ by preparation, by keeping alive in yourself the faith as much as if you had to defend it before a public tribunal. Despise life, hate and mortify your body, even as if you were about to give it up into the hands of the executioner. But if you are set upon the love of ease, if you cherish too delicately your body, how can you boast of being a soldier of Christ?
Affections and Resolutions. If armies in camp should stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. If a battle should rise up against me, in this will I be confident. (Ps. xxvi, 3.)
Consider secondly that it may never be yours to fight against errors as did the Doctors of the Church. All the same, as a soldier of Christ you should be prepared and well instructed in your religion. Thus you will be able to fight against the many false maxims which are heard even among Christian people against the truths and practice of the gospel, as for example that it is shameful to forgive your enemies, to be too yielding, to control yourself, to humble yourself, and similar principles.
Application. Can you profess yourself to be a soldier of Christ, and yet not show yourself ready to disapprove of and to condemn such errors, which are spread by the followers of the world against the gospel truths taught by Jesus Christ? Labour as a good soldier of Christ.
Affections and Resolutions. Give me understanding, and I will search Thy law; and I will keep it with my whole heart. Lead me into the path of Thy commandments; for this same I have desired. (Ps. cxviii, 34, 35.)
Consider thirdly that you have not only to fight against your evil inclinations, that are allied to the devil, when they assault you, but that if there is a little truce, you have to stand like a true soldier, always with your arms in your hand. When you think yourself most secure, then must you stand most of all on your guard. For God sometimes allows you to be assaulted most fiercely in order to punish you for your negligence. Actual fighting is never absolutely continuous and uninterrupted for any soldier, but the bearing of labour is always so.
Application. In order then to comport yourself as a good soldier, you must not fight as a mercenary whose only aim is his pay. You have voluntarily entered the service of your King, having the one aim, whilst fighting against the enemies of God, to please Him alone. He watches from heaven how His faithful follower bears himself in his dangers: that he may please Him to Whom he hath engaged himself. (2 Tim. ii, 4.)
Affections and Resolutions. I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength: Praising, I will call upon the Lord: and I shall be saved from my enemies. (Ps. xvii, 2, 4.)
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.
Of Works done out of Charity.
He does much who loves much.
He does much that does well what he does.
He does well who regards rather the common good than his own will.
That seems often to be charity which is rather natural affection; because our own natural inclination, self-will, hope of retribution, desire of our own interest, will seldom be wanting.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch XV pt II.
August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary
Virtue to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things
O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.
An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901).
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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