St. Thomas of Villanova, ora pro nobis.
The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.—
On the Raising of the Widow’s Son at Naim.
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 Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.—
On the Raising of the Widow’s Son at Naim.
Represent to yourself the pathetic scene set before you in to-day’s Gospel. A mournful funeral procession is passing through the streets of Naim. Weeping bitterly the bereaved mother follows to its last resting-place the remains of her only son. A multitude of people, desirous to manifest their sympathy, but unable to render assistance or relief, accompany the bier. Just as the city gates are reached, Jesus enters, the great Worker of miracles, ready to afford succor when it seems impossible. Keep this scene before your mind during your meditation.
1st. Contemplate the dead man. The corpse is not that of an old man, nor of one who was wasted away by a long illness, it is that of a young man in his bloom, in the prime of life. Furthermore this youth is not one of a number of sons, he is not the scion of a wealthy house, richly endowed with this world’s goods and in other respects happy and prosperous; he is the only son of a poor widow, her sole support, her only treasure, in a word her all. See how ruthless death is. He has no pity on the infant in the cradle, hungry, crying for its mother. He carries off the mother and leaves the child to spend its little strength in fruitless wailing. He is not touched by the lamentations of the unhappy orphans, he takes their father from them, and anon he relentlessly plucks a fairer flower, the maiden, the youth growing up to man’s estate in the heyday of health and strength, to the infinite grief of the sorrowing parents. Reflect upon the cruelty of death, call to mind the distress and grief, the pain and tears that he causes in the world, not in order that these thoughts may have the effect of rendering you gloomy and sad, but that you may the rather rejoice, and congratulate yourself on this, that for you, as a Priest, a Religious, death no longer has this sting. He can rob you of nothing, since you possess nothing; he cannot take from you property to which your heart clings, nor relatives, for you parted from them long ago; nor life itself, for that is consecrated to God. How happy you are, my soul, in contrast to the children of the world! Yet perhaps you do not entertain these feelings in regard to death—if it is so, then be assured that you are as yet no true Priest or Religious.
2d. Contemplate the mother of the dead man, as she follows the body of her son to the grave, almost beside herself with grief and sorrow, dissolved in tears, overwhelmed with pain and affliction. How keenly she feels the loss, the great, the irreparable loss she has sustained! Jesus sees her trouble and is “moved with mercy.” (St. Luke vii. 13.) This mother is a type of our dear and faithful Mother, the Church. How bitterly she bewails the spiritual death of her children, for she knows the extent of the loss involved in such a death, the loss of an immortal soul, of a member of the Saviour’s body, of a soul redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. Accordingly she sends up her sighs to Heaven day and night, in order to move Jesus to show mercy to unhappy sinners. Many a transgressor owes his conversion to the penitential tears and prayers, to the sacrifices of his Mother the Church, which have been the means of raising him from the dead. You also are a member of this same Church, my soul. Show yourself worthy of such a mother. Take part in her sorrow, her tears, her compassionate supplications on behalf of those who are spiritually dead, unrepentant sinners. Nothing is more admirable in a Priest or the member of a Religious Order than this compassion with the sinner. St. Francis once said to his monks: “Go and seek out thieves, who albeit they are thieves, are yet our brethren; set before them the best bread that you have, invite them to dine with you in the kindest manner, and I hope by God’s grace you may win their souls.” Ask yourself how many souls you have gained by mercy, how many have you repulsed by pride and severity?
3d. Contemplate Him who raised the dead. The first words He utters are addressed to the widow: “Weep not.” Only omnipotent love can speak in this wise, says St. Gregory of Nyssa; only the love that can change mourning into joy, and death into life. How often since then has He performed this miracle! Whenever a sinner is absolved from his guilt, Jesus stays the sorrowing tears which the sinner himself has shed, or which others have shed on his account; and the sadness that filled his soul and the heart of his pious friends, the sadness he caused to the Church, to his Angel Guardian, is changed into gladness. Remember this, you who are a Priest, if you are tempted to grow impatient in the confessional. “He came near,” the Evangelist tells us, “ and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And He said, Young man, I say to thee arise. And he that was dead sat up and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother.” (v. 14, 15.) Here we have the whole process of conversion. The Redeemer first of all touches the bier with His grace—the bier signifies the habit of sin—and the bearers stand still, the transgressor at last stops in his course of sin. By the lips of His Priest our Lord then speaks the word: Arise; He calls the dead man back to life by means of the Sacrament of Penance, and then, as St. Albert says, gives the child newly re-awakened to the life of grace back to the Church, his Mother. Now when you consider all this, when you think how often our Lord has wrought and still works this miracle in you and thousands of other Christians, have you not reason to glorify God as did the people of Naim, and with a grateful heart to laud and magnify Jesus, who raised you from spiritual death? Yes, give thanks to God with your whole heart for your conversion and that of your brother, and resolve during the week on which we have entered to show your thankfulness by daily performing some act of devotion and penance on behalf of unhappy sinners.
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.
September Devotion: The Holy Cross
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
O Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957).
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.
Prayer of Pope St. Pius X
O most sweet Jesus! Who didst come into the world to give to all souls the life of Thy grace, and Who, to preserve and foster it in them, hast willed to become the daily remedy of their infirmity and their food for each day, we humbly beseech Thee through Thy Sacred Heart, burning with love for us, to pour out Thy Divine Spirit upon all souls, in order that those who, unhappily, are in mortal sin may be converted to Thee and recover the life of grace which they have lost, and that those who by Thy help are already living in this Divine life, may, when it is possible for them, approach Thy Holy Table every day; so that daily receiving in Holy Communion the antidote of their daily venial sins, and daily nourishing in themselves the life of Thy grace, thus ever purifying their souls more and more, they may at last arrive at the possession of the life of eternal happiness. Amen.
Written by Pope St. Pius X and indulgenced on the 30th of May, 1905.
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.