Saint Augustine, ora pro nobis.
The Advantages of Persecution: Eighth Beatitude.
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 Advantages of Persecution: Eighth Beatitude.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.—ST. MATT. V.
Jesus is about to pronounce the next and last Beatitude. Let us pay attention to His words: Blessed are they that suffer for justice’ sake.
Fill us with Thy Spirit, O Jesus, so that if our devotion to Thyself draw down upon us the world’s disapproval, or any kind of persecution, we may esteem ourselves happy to suffer for justice’ sake.
It is a great privilege to suffer in the cause of God.
To convince ourselves of this fact, we have but to consider the way in which our Lord enlarged upon this last Beatitude: Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My Sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven. It is to His faithful ones Jesus thus addresses Himself; to those whose holy lives condemn the world’s irreligion and profanity. If we are such, we must expect to meet with persecution from the enemies of our Lord: The servant is not above His Master: If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you, He said. We should therefore prepare ourselves for this, knowing that we shall not escape tribulation; and that we are expected, by Him Who has forewarned us of it, to suffer according to the Will of God. Saint Chrysostom affirms that to be permitted to endure unjust persecution is the highest of all favours; and that the crown to be won through it, will be the most brilliant of all the heavenly crowns. What honour can be greater than to be associated with the holy Apostles, and other Martyrs and Confessors, in suffering for love of their Master and ours? A bond of union is established between us and them by this means. When bound in prison, and when in the midst of cruel torments, they praised God for permitting that they should be persecuted wrongfully for His Name’s sake. Do we shrink from such trials of our faith and love? If we are so cowardly, it is surely because we forget that the opportunity is presented to us of winning, not only the favour but the thanks of our Master. If doing well, you suffer patiently, this is thanksworthy before God.
In what the happiness of those who suffer for justice’ sake further consists.
In saying that it will prove a happiness to suffer for Him, Jesus gives us the reason of this: that the Kingdom of Heaven will be the reward of these trials. And is not such a prize sufficient to excite our emulation? But there is yet another recompense to be enjoyed even in this life, that is, the resemblance which will be formed between ourselves and the Saint of saints, together with the privilege of testifying our devotedness to Him. Jesus multiplies indeed the proofs of His love for such as suffer in His cause, and increases in them the desire to labour and endure in the face of obstacles, in the midst of opposition. “Humiliation and persecution form a nourishment little relished by the many; but it pleased our Master-—why do we not like it better?” asks an old writer. Let us seek to know, why we do not like it better. If we are true Christians, ought not the world to be crucified to us, and we crucified to the world? If it were entirely so, we should (as Saint Francis de Sales says) “bear our little persecutions with more patience; satisfied that they are most salutary in their effects—those of strengthening and confirming us in virtue—and that it is in many ways good for us to suffer contempt, and unjust reproaches. These serve to raise a barrier against vanity and pride, which otherwise might take possession of the garden of our soul, and cause the plants of piety to perish.” But shall we be accounted worthy to suffer persecution as the Saints have suffered, if we cannot bear to be misunderstood in the slightest degree?—to be rebuked without cause?—to be slighted or wronged by those from whom, perhaps, we may expect different treatment? Can we then be accounted worthy? No, not yet!
I adore Thee, O Lord Jesus, as the Strength of the Martyrs, and the Source of courage in all those who suffer for love of Thy holy Name. Bestow on me also both strength and courage, that I may never shrink from confessing Thee, although by so doing I incur the enmity of Thy persecutors—the world and the devil. Make me ready and willing to endure humiliation, opposition, and persecution, even unto death, rather than forsake Thy cause. And let me offer Thee proofs of my desire to suffer for love of Thee, by bearing well the lesser trials and temptations of my every-day life.
Gladly to endure unjust treatment for the love of God.
Thought for the Day.
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Soul of Christ.
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.
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).
Prayer to Saint Joseph Calasanctius, Confessor.
Saint Joseph Calasanctius, protector of youth, great servant of Our Lord, who didst work such marvels in their behalf; thou who, having made thyself a mirror for them of burning charity, of unwearied patience, of deep humility, of angelic purity and of every other heroic virtue, by a holy example, by words full of the Spirit of God, didst inspire them to flee dangerous occasions, to hate sin, to detest vicious courses, and to love piety and devotion, and thus didst guide countless souls to Heaven; thou who didst obtain for them the visible benediction of the Child Jesus and His holy Mother, obtain the like for us, thy humble and devoted servants; obtain for us a lasting hatred for sin, victory in the midst of temptation, and help in time of danger, so that, by living in the perfect observance of the law of God, we may attain to eternal salvation. Amen.
An indulgence of 300 days.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this prayer is said with devotion every day for a month (Leo XIII, Audience, October 19, 1897; S. P. Ap., April 12, 1932 and June 12, 1949.).
A Mother’s Prayer to St. Augustine for her Children.
O God, Who enlightened St. Augustine by Thy grace, and inflamed him with Thy love in the midst of the darkness and miseries of a life of sin, have mercy likewise on my poor soul and upon those of my children and relatives! Pardon our ingratitude, our disobedience, our want of reverence, our indifference, finally, all the offenses of which we have ever been guilty against Thy Holy Name. We acknowledge that there is in this world no pain or punishment so severe as that which we deserve; therefore, full of dread of what is in store for us, we invoke the intercession of Thy holy servant Augustine, so inflamed with love of Thee!
O holy penitent Augustine, seraph of divine love, unspeakable miracle of Divine Mercy, obtain for us from God a true, perfect, and heartfelt sorrow for our sins, a devout and constant love of God, a love that triumphs over all difficulties, temptations, and tribulations, a wise and unremitting fervor in the observances of the divine Commandments and the fulfillment of our duties! Assist us especially in the training of our children. Behold to how many dangers their virtue and innocence are exposed in the world! See how numerous are the snares and deceits prepared for the ruin of their souls by the flesh, and through the words and example of evil and worldly-minded men! If they do not receive extraordinary help, how can they withstand such allurements? O great St. Augustine, take them under your protection! To our efforts in their behalf, join your intercession for them with God.
Exert all your influence and, with the compassion of your loving heart, intercede with the Most Holy Trinity for them. Permit not that our children, sanctified in the waters of Baptism, should through mortal sin be banished from the presence of God and suffer eternal punishment. Preserve them from the greatest of all evils here below, namely, that of denying the love of Jesus Christ, through affection to some creature or the fear of some misfortune. No, O great St. Augustine! Rather let them and us, their parents, die in the grace of God, than live to offend Him mortally! This favor we implore through your intercession, O holy son of a sainted mother, you who gladly receive and graciously hear the prayers of a mother! I confidently hope that you have already heard my petitions, and that you will obtain for me a favorable answer from God! Amen.
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