Sts. Cosmas and Damian (Martyrs), orate pro nobis.
Friday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
On Our Lord’s Painful Passage from the Mount of Olives to the House of Annas.
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.
Friday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
On Our Lord’s Painful Passage from the Mount of Olives to the House of Annas.
It is night. A band of executioners and soldiers, issuing from the Garden of Olives, with Jesus in their midst, wend their way by the light of torches through the gloomy vale of Cedron. Unseen by man, a number of angels accompany that melancholy procession; angels who compassionate the Redeemer, now under arrest, and grieve over the ingratitude of men who treat their Creator, their Redeemer, like a captured criminal. The powers of hell on the other hand are triumphant, and incite the executioners to the practice of yet greater cruelty. Keep this sad procession, the saddest which the world has witnessed for thousands of years, before your eyes during the time of your meditation.
1st. Consider what a painful way this was for our Lord. Before He had recovered from the utter prostration and frightful exhaustion consequent upon the terrible conflict of His soul upon Gethsemane, the awful anguish and bloody sweat upon Mount Olivet, He is hurried away by the executioners and dragged by them as a lamb to the slaughter. The servants of the high priest vent all their malice and ill-will on their unhappy prisoner; they drag Him, following them with bare feet along the rough, uneven path, over stones and through mud; they drag Him first one way, then another, paying no heed to His bleeding feet, His deadly exhaustion, His frequent falls; O my poor, persecuted, weary Saviour! How ashamed I am of the sloth, the reluctance, the contemptible weakness I display when my calling compels me to go on a toilsome journey, to undertake an onerous task. Henceforth I will under such circumstances call to mind the painful way my Saviour trod.
2d. Consider that it was also a path of ignominy for our Lord. Only think, He, the Holiest of the holy, He, the King of Heaven, is dragged to Jerusalem at midnight, fettered and bound with muddy cords, surrounded by the lowest rabble like a common thief, as if He were a robber and murderer. What a contrast this nocturnal entry of our Lord into the city of David, covered with contempt, affords to His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. Then those who accompanied Him carried palm-branches in their hands as a token of His victory, now those who are with Him carry lances and spears as a sign of His defeat and signal disgrace. Then a thousand voices were raised to laud and magnify Him, now the dregs of the people deride Him and blaspheme. Then all Jerusalem flocked together to meet Him, with jubilant shouts greeting Him as their King, the Son of David; now He enters Sion’s city alone, forsaken even by His own disciples, a prisoner, contemned and maltreated. What a path of ignominy was this which my Saviour trod! How ashamed I feel, beholding what He endured, of my dastardly cowardice and delicacy, which lead me anxiously to avoid everything that is likely to expose me to any kind of humiliation, scorn, contempt or ridicule, whilst with the greatest eagerness, the most jealous zeal I follow and delight in those paths which lead to honor and distinction. From henceforward, my soul, think of the ignominious way your Saviour trod, whenever your calling or your conscience obliges you to do something which may be humiliating for you, and render you despicable in the eyes of men.
3d. Consider that what enhanced the difficulty and added to the bitterness of our Lord’s painful journey to the house of His judge, was the ingratitude and infidelity of men. When He went about in Jerusalem working miracles and healing the sick, so dense a crowd thronged around Him that it was no easy matter to get near Him. When He fed the hungry multitude in the wilderness the people flocked after Him desirous to make Him their King. But when He was dragged through the streets of Jerusalem bound and fettered, no one was found to accompany Him, He had not a single adherent, all abandoned Him, even His apostles went away from Him. Consider the thanklessness, the unfaithfulness of men, impress it upon your mind, that for the future you may build less on human praise, trust less to human promises of fidelity, count less upon human gratitude than heretofore. As long as you are prosperous, and all goes well with you, you will have many friends; as long as you tickle their ears and flatter them with promises of good fortune you will not lack admirers; but if a dark page is turned, or if you brace yourself to tell them the truth, or if adversity overtakes you, how quickly all your adherents fall away from you! Wherefore lay to heart the invaluable admonitions of the Imitation: “Trust not to friends, for men will sooner forget thee than thou dost think.” (B. i. ch. 23.) “I find all to be infirm and unstable what ever I behold out of Thee, my Lord God. For neither will many friends avail me, nor strong helpers bring me succor, nor wise counsel give a useful answer, unless Thou Thyself stand by me; help, strengthen, cheer, teach and keep me.” (B. iii. ch. 59.)
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.
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