Wednesday after the Third Sunday after Pentecost.

Wednesday after the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Consolatory Teaching which our Lord Imparted to Nicodemus.

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.

Wednesday after the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Consolatory Teaching which our Lord Imparted to Nicodemus.

Think how destitute Nicodemus was of the science of salvation when he went to our Lord. He knew nothing about a new birth, he had not a right conception of the work of redemption, he had no idea of the goodness and kindness of God towards men that had already appeared in Christ Jesus. He, the much-respected doctor of Israel, now sits as an ignorant scholar at the feet of the new, the wonderful Teacher, come down from Heaven; listen to the comforting doctrines he hears from the lips of the divine Master.

1st. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (St. John iii. 14.) Our Lord reminds the Scribe, the doctor of Israel, well versed in the Scriptures, of the familiar story of the brazen serpent which Moses set up in the desert, in order that all who were bitten might look upon it and be healed; He explains to him the meaning of this Old Testament type; He discloses to him the consoling doctrine of the sacrifice upon the cross. Observe, my soul, that he who first of all his compatriots is made acquainted with the mystery of the cross, is the very one who at a later date will take the Saviour of mankind down from the cross. Fortunate Nicodemus! But if Nicodemus is fortunate, you, my soul, are equally so. Consider how infinite are the blessings contained in the mystery of the cross, which our Lord revealed to you as He did to Nicodemus. The Israelites who were bitten, on looking upon the serpent raised on high in the desert were healed of their wounds; and you, if in faith you look up to the cross of Calvary, meditating upon the solemn and sacred mystery of that cross, will find solace in suffering, confidence in danger, strength in conflict, remission of sin, succor at the hour of death. Wherefore give thanks to God to-day for having initiated you, as He did Nicodemus, in the consoling doctrine of the cross.

2d. Speaking to Nicodemus, our Lord went on to say: “God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life.” (v. 16.) After having made known to him the fundamental mystery, the centre and mainspring of the scheme of redemption—the death upon the cross—He proceeds to reveal to him the reason why the Son of man shall be lifted up, the object for which He will suffer and die. The love of God for man is the cause, the salvation of man the object in view. For the first time our Lord permits Nicodemus permits him alone of all the other Jews, before all the other Jews, even before His own chosen apostles, to gaze into the unfathomable, mysterious abyss of divine charity, a charity which makes the greatest of all sacrifices, that of His own, His only-begotten Son, and which has no other aim but the rescue, the eternal happiness of ungrateful, rebellious man. How deeply the heart of the Jewish Scribe must have been touched, how it must have overflowed with thankfulness and love, when he heard truths of so comforting a nature from the lips of Jesus. Imagine yourself, my soul, in Nicodemus’ place, imagine that to you our Lord reveals this mystery, and then consider this truth of infinite depth, abounding in consolation: God the Father gave His only Son out of love for me and for my salvation.

3d. “God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him.” (v. 17.) This is the third consoling truth which our Lord makes known to Nicodemus. In contradiction to the opinion entertained by the Pharisees, and which consequently Nicodemus himself had till then held, our Lord declares that He has not come to judge the world and execute vengeance, but to call all men to His grace and bring them to salvation. If in the first point we have seen how our Lord revealed to Nicodemus, as He has revealed to us, the mystery of the cross, and in the second point how He declared the cause and the object of it, He now discloses the boundless extent, the comprehensiveness of the blessings accruing from the sacrifice of the cross, the universality, the world-wide application of the work of redemption. The whole world, all mankind that is, Jews and Gentiles are to be saved, the Lord declares, since for all men He is sent. What solace these words contain! No one is excluded from the gift of grace. But observe he who would receive that gift must believe; “he that believeth on Him is not judged,” our Lord says. Lay this thought to heart. Infinite comfort is to be derived from the three truths imparted to Nicodemus, that of the death of the divine Victim upon the cross, the reason and object of that sacrifice, and the all-embracing nature of the salvation it effects. But whether you really share in the consolation these blessings bestow rests with you, since God gives you free-will. In spite of all that is done for you, you may yet be lost, if you “love darkness rather than the light.” (v. 19.)

Ask yourself, my soul, if at this moment death seized you in his inexorable clutches, of what avail would the blessed truths which our Lord revealed to Nicodemus be to you? According to the answer of your conscience form fresh resolutions to-day.

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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June Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Virtue to practice: Obedience, piety, dutifulness

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I place all my trust in Thee!
Jesus meek and humble of heart,
make my heart like unto Thine!

O Jesu! Creator of the world,
Of all mankind Redeemer blest,
True God of God, in Whom we see
Thy Father’s image clear expressed!

Thee, Saviour, love alone constrained
To make our mortal flesh Thine own,
And, as a second Adam, come
For the first Adam to atone.

That selfsame love which made the sky,
Which made the sea and stars, and earth,
Took pity on our misery,
And broke the bondage of our birth.

O Jesus! in Thy Heart divine
May that same love for ever glow!
Forever mercy to mankind
From that exhaustless fountain flow!

For this the Sacred Heart was pierced,
And both with blood and water ran –
To cleanse us from the stains of guilt,
And be the hope and strength of man.

Jesu, to Thee be glory given,
Who from Thy Heart dost grace outpour,
To Father and to Paraclete
Be endless praise for evermore. Amen.

An indulgence of 5 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, If this hymn is devoutly recited every day for a month (S.P.Ap., March 12, 1936). (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957)

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Act of Perfect Contrition
Oh my God! I am heartily sorry
for having offended Thee and
I detest all my sins because
I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell;
But most of all because I have offended Thee, My God,

Who art all-good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
To confess my sins, to do penance,
And to amend my life. Amen.

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Prayers in Time of Calamity
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