On the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead.

On the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead.

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.

On the Raising of Lazarus from the Dead.

To-day represent to yourself the grand, the touching scene of which St. John places before us so affecting a picture in his gospel. These are his words: “Jesus therefore, when He saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews that were come with her weeping, groaned in the spirit and troubled Himself, and said: Where have you laid him? They say to Him: Lord, come and see.” (St. John xi. 33, 34.) The Saviour of mankind, standing before the sepulchre of His friend was touched to the heart, and He wept.

1st. Consider the words: “And Jesus wept,” (v. 35.) He wept for the same reason as that which caused Martha and Mary to weep, and the Jews who were there present. “Christ,” says Rupert, “true to His human nature condescends so far as to shed tears, mourning with those that mourn. He first pays the tribute of affection, the tears of a friend to the man whom He is about, as his God and Lord, to raise from the dead. Perhaps however, our Lord did not shed those tears so much because Lazarus was dead, as for another reason: because, for the sake of a higher and nobler object, in order to strengthen the faith of living persons, He, his divine Friend, felt Himself compelled to call back the dead man once more to the troubles and dangers of this mortal life. This was most probably the reason why Jesus wept. Besides, He participates in the grief of those to whom He had become a brother according to the flesh; altogether the scene before us is a sublime, a deeply affecting one: God the Creator stands weeping at the sepulchre of His creature.” This one sentence will afford you abundant matter for meditation. And with such an example as this before your eyes, you will certainly feel yourself urged more than ever to obey the injunction: “Be not wanting in comforting them that weep and walk with those that mourn.” (Ecclus. vii. 38.)

2d. Consider the circumstances attending the raising of Lazarus according to the narrative given us by the Evangelist St. John. He writes: “Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself cometh to the sepulchre.” (v. 38.) What, we ask, is meant by this mysterious groaning, this interior trouble our Lord experienced? Transport yourself, my soul, in spirit to the spot at that momentous instant and you will wonder no longer. Jesus is standing before the sepulchre. None can estimate the awful contrast between death and life as He can, who is the Lord of life. No eye can penetrate as His can the depths of that terrible abyss which sin has caused to yawn between heaven and earth, and no one is better acquainted with the mysteries of the tomb, the heartrending sorrows that the grave conceals both for the departed and for those who are left behind. Now, standing before the sepulchre, when the solemn moment has come, the moment of awful import which is to witness a great, an unparalleled miracle, a holy horror thrills through the sacred soul of Jesus. Watch in imagination the accomplishment of this wondrous event the raising of the dead. See how in spite of Martha’s remonstrance, the stone is rolled away, and the rigid corpse of Lazarus in which decomposition has already begun its work is revealed to the sight of all. It is a moment of horror, of breathless suspense. There our Lord stands before the tomb in the dignity of His supernatural might; His aspect is indescribably majestic; the eyes of all present are fixed on Him in eager expectancy, He opens His lips and as if an anticipation of that cry which on the last day will awaken all the dead from their graves, He utters the lordly and imperative command: “Lazarus, come forth.” And presently, we read, he that had been dead came forth, bound hands and feet with winding bands, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: “Loose him and let him go.” (v. 44.) Now, my soul, what effect does this affecting, this impressive spectacle produce on you? Can you contemplate it and after all remain cold and unmoved? Alas, if our Lord’s commanding summons, which had power to restore new life to Lazarus remains, fails to stir your heart, the grave in which you lie must indeed be a deep one.

3d. Consider the different effect which this miracle had on those who witnessed it. While the two sisters were almost beside themselves with joy and delight and wept for gladness almost as freely as before they wept for sorrow, the Jews who were present did not all share in the pious sisters joy and happiness. St. John tells us: “Many therefore of the Jews who were come to Martha and Mary, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things that Jesus had done.” (v. 45, 46.) This they did, not with a good intention, but, as Origen asserts, in order to stir up the envy and jealousy of the Pharisees; the Ven. Bede also explains the action of those Jews as representing that of certain individuals who see the good works performed by the servants of God and in consequence pursue them with their hatred and seek to calumniate them. Thus this miracle contains two truths, one consolatory and the other the reverse. The exultant joy of the two sisters who but a short time before were plunged in grief, and the faith awakened in the hearts of the Jews who before were unbelievers, will serve to remind you for your consolation of the truth that our Lord is sometimes wont to leave those whom He loves for a time overwhelmed with grief and tribulation, to work their greater gladness later on, and their salvation and that of their friends. And the behavior of the Jews who hastened to the Pharisees sets before you the appalling truth, that through persistent abuse of divine grace, through wilful or perhaps careless opposition to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, a man may go too far, so that at last the most wonderful miracles, the most startling judgments of God, even marvels of so striking a nature as the raising of the dead, produce no impression on his heart, except in as far as they render it more obdurate. May the former truth prove a comfort to you, the latter serve as a warning.

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.

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October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.


Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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