Third day for the Preparation of Total Consecration.
On the Name of Jesus.
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 Name of Jesus.
To-day consider briefly at the commencement of your meditation what you and thousands and millions of your fellow men feel and experience when they utter the name of Jesus. Consider how this name inspires one with holy joy, another with abject terror; how in uttering the name of Jesus one heart is kindled with the flame of ardent affection, while another melts into tears of compunction. And if your heart burns within you when you think of or call upon that sacred name, consider:
1st. The name Jesus is a precious name. This we see without difficulty, from the fact that the blessings for the world attached to this name were dearly purchased and earned, inasmuch as the price paid for them was no other than the precious blood of the eternal Son of God. As Jacob did not receive the honorable surname of Israel until he had wrestled with the angel of God, so the Son of God did not take the name of Jesus until He had shed His blood in the circumcision. That is what makes this name so precious and so dear to us. For just as a man values and delights far more in some appellation given him as a reward for his chivalrous deeds than the name that is his by birth, so although the various names which the Saviour can claim on account of the union of His human and divine nature are honorable and excellent in the eyes of men, yet none is so precious to them as the name of Jesus, which He purchased with His own blood.
You, my soul, have exchanged the name given to you for no merit of your own at the baptismal font, or which you inherited from your parents, for your name in Religion, and that was not given to you altogether without your deserving it, for to leave the world is in itself a meritorious act. On that account this name ought to be precious to you above all else; it ought to become daily more precious to you, because, as Jesus day by day through fresh acts of sacrifice, enhanced the value of the name He purchased by His first sacrifice, so you by daily acts of self-conquest can render the name given you in Religion on the occasion of your first sacrifice ever dearer to yourself and more pleasing in God’s sight.
2d. Consider that the name of Jesus is a saving name. St. Luke speaking of it says: “There is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts iv. 12.) Who can estimate aright the benefits, the saving blessings which are attached to this name! Pass in review, my soul, this day, all the favors conferred on mankind, the miracles that have been wrought, the deeds of charity performed, the conversions effected in the name of Jesus! Think how that name alone is our solace in suffering, our hope in the hour of death, our strength in temptation, our succor in danger, and light in our darkness; then fall down and adore this sacred and saving name, giving thanks to God for all the graces bestowed upon you in and through that holy name of Jesus.
3d. Consider that the name of Jesus is a sacred name. No man or angel, not the highest of the cherubim can bear this name, but God alone. From all eternity it was destined to be the name of the incarnate Son of God, and one of the celestial princes who stand before the throne of God was selected as the messenger who should first proclaim it to man. Hence you may conclude how holy and sacred is the name of Jesus. If the Jews in early times held the name of Jehovah in such reverence that no man dared to utter it except the high priest alone, and the people fell on their faces to the ground when they heard the name of God, in what profound veneration ought not you, my soul, to hold the precious and salutary name of Jesus? What has been your conduct in this respect hitherto? Ask yourself that question, and then in conclusion reflect that you too bear a hallowed name, that is, the name of a saint. You have already contemplated, in the first point of this meditation, the manner whereby you can make the name you bear precious and dear to you; now as the fruit of your meditation resolve further to render your name salutary as well, by so regulating your life and your actions that at the mere sound of your name every one who knows you will experience a feeling of respect or affection or gratitude; that by the good example you give, your name may be an occasion of edification and not of scandal to your fellow men. Strive after this to the utmost of your power, but do all in the name of Jesus.
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.
St. Stephen, ora pro nobis.
Twelfth Night Prayer for the Eighth Day of Christmas.
I thank Thee, O good Jesus, for the will which Thou hadst to save us, accepting the office with the name, of Savior; fulfill it, O Lord, effectually in me; and seeing Thou art Jesus, Esto mihi Jesus. Be to me Jesus, be my Savior.
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