On the Gospel for the Day.
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 Gospel for the Day.
Place before your eyes the divine Teacher, dispensing the Bread of Life to the attentive multitude. Amongst many other truths new to His hearers, equally deep in meaning and profitable to salvation, He addresses to them this admonition conveyed in the solemn words taken from the Gospel for the day: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the covering of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them.” (St. Matt. vii. 15, 16.)
1st. Consider that our Lord, speaking of the false prophets, those men, that is, who seek to mislead Christian people in matters pertaining to faith and morals, tells us three things concerning them: First, that they outwardly bear the semblance of sheep; secondly, that they are inwardly “ravening wolves,” and thirdly, that in spite of all their hypocrisy and dissimulation they may yet be known by their fruits. Consider, my soul, in your meditation these three points in succession, that false prophets at all times and in all places make their appearance under the guise of sheep; that is to say, they outwardly simulate the simplicity and innocence of a lamb, they overflow apparently with meekness, patience, charity, and the like virtues, whilst in reality they resemble ravening wolves, their hearts being full of hatred, dissension, pride and covetousness; and like wolves they are ever on the watch to destroy your innocence, your faith, your peace of mind. Outwardly a sheep, inwardly a wolf, that is their distinctive mark. Yet however thick the sheepskin in which they wrap themselves may be, one thing infallibly reveals their true nature, and that is their fruits. Therefore, my soul, before you place confidence in one who calls himself a “prophet,” look first what are the fruits of his teaching, of his guidance, and before you act upon the principles he lays down for you, ascertain first what are the practical fruits produced in daily life by his teaching, his maxims, and you will then be safe against deception. For you know that the Apostle in his Epistle to the Galatians (ch. v.) enumerates for your instruction the fruits of the evil as well as of the good tree, in the following passage: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcraft, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continence, and chastity.” Where you doubt, my soul, apply this test the Apostle gives you.
2d. Consider our Lord’s words: “By their fruits you shall know them” in regard to yourself, and ask yourself whether your tree produces the good or the evil fruits specified in the words we have quoted. Where are the fruits, the good fruits, which do not consist in the applause and favor of those around you, but in the improvement of your life? Perhaps after all, the tree is not a good one; after all, its root will be found to be eaten away by ambition and self-love; the worm of vanity and jealousy will have gnawed out the heart of fruits otherwise good and sound. Or you may be placed in the garden of a holy Order. Many fine trees stand and in time past have stood therein laden with numerous and excellent fruits! And if your tree, standing amongst them, is almost destitute of fruit, or produces only sour and worm eaten ones, what is the reason of this? Is not every tree equally well watered, equally well tended? Do not all the trees alike enjoy the same sunshine, the same dew of divine grace? Do you receive Holy Communion less often, have you fewer opportunities of spiritual profit than your fellow Religious? Surely not. Alas! we can only conclude that you are not a good tree. Examine yourself seriously on this point, and see that this very day by the use of the sacraments you cease to be a “wild” tree, being “grafted” into the good tree, and the result will be apparent in the excellent fruit you will bear.
3d. Consider our Lord’s closing words: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be cut down and shall be cast into the fire.” (St. Matt. vii. 19.) You may perhaps at present stand a stately tree in the garden of the Lord, occupying the best situation, your foliage thick and luxuriant – the honors and pleasures you enjoy – but what does all this profit you? Sooner or later Death will come and cut down the proud tree, and the Judge, finding no fruit upon it, will cast it into everlasting fire. Impress this truth deeply upon your heart, and take serious, definite resolutions; form for yourself, so to speak, a plan of campaign; determine how you will act from henceforth with the result of producing fruit, good fruit; and with this end in view follow the counsel which an eminent master of the spiritual life gave to his disciples: He told them that the famous painter Apelles never allowed a single day to pass without painting something; however engrossed he was with business, he put it aside with this accustomed apology: “I have not taken my brush in my hand to-day.” Thus he became a great artist. Now let not us, my soul, permit a day to pass without having put our hand to the work, without having made some progress in virtue, in mortification. Do this, and when you retire to rest at night ask yourself always what has been the fruit of the past 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.
July Devotion: The Precious Blood of Jesus
Virtue to practice: Simplicity, Faith, Liberty of Spirit, Cheerfulness
Prayers in honor of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus.
Most merciful Jesus, lover of souls! I pray Thee, by the agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony, and who are to die this day. Amen.
Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.
100 days indul.—Pius IX., Feb. 1850.
“May Thy Blood, shed for us, O Lord Jesus Christ, obtain for me the remission of all my sins, my negligences, my ignorance; may It strengthen, increase and preserve within me, Faith, Hope, Charity, Grace, and every virtue, may It bring me to everlasting life; may It deliver the souls of my parents and of all those for whom I am bound to pray.” —St. Catharine of Sienna.
Almighty, and everlasting God, who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son to be the Redeemer of the world, and hast been pleased to be reconciled unto us by His Blood, grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate with solemn worship the price of our salvation, that the power thereof may here on earth keep us from all things hurtful, and the fruit of the same may gladden us forever hereafter in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayers to St. Philomena
Novena to St. Philomena (from July 1st through August 10th)
Illustrious Virgin and Martyr, St. Philomena, behold me kneeling in spirit before the throne on which it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I beseech thee to intercede for me with God. From the height of thy heavenly country, deign to cast a look upon thy humble servant. Spouse of Jesus Christ, console me in my troubles, strengthen me in temptations, protect me in the dangers which surround me on every side; obtain all the graces necessary for me, especially (here mention your particular intention), and, above all, assist me at my death. Amen.
For Victory over Temptations.
O God, who dost sustain us by the merits and example of the blessed Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, mercifully grant that, strengthened in faith and charity, we may never be separated from Thee by any temptation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For Growth in Virtues.
O glorious Virgin! whose glory God has been pleased to make known by singular miracles, we address ourselves to thee with entire confidence. Obtain for us that, following thy example, we may fight courageously against whatever is opposed to the reign of Jesus Christ in our heart; that we may adorn our souls with virtues like thine, particularly with that angelic purity of which thou art the perfect model; and that inflamed with the love of Jesus, we may continually walk in the way which He has marked out, to the end that we may one day partake of thy everlasting happiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns one God in perfect Trinity, for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer for Purity.
O glorious Saint Philomena, who, animated by a burning love for Jesus our Savior, didst shine in Holy Church by the splendor of perfect virginity and the practice of the most heroic virtues, obtain for us of thy Divine Spouse the grace to keep ever unsullied the precious treasure of chastity and to practice with generosity the virtues of our state, that having, after thy example, walked in His footsteps during our life on earth, we may, with thee, rejoice in His glory eternally.
Saint Philomena, happy virgin, adorned with all the charm of innocence, and beautified, besides, with the purple of martyrdom, obtain for us the grace to know how to suffer all, and to sacrifice all in order to be faithful to God till death, and possess Him eternally in paradise.
For Detachment from Earthly Goods.
O Saint Philomena, faithful virgin and glorious martyr, who so courageously preferred to the visible goods of this world the invisible goods of a holy eternity, obtain for us a lively faith, an ardent charity, and a piety always increasing, in order that, faithfully serving our Lord Jesus Christ during our life, we may merit after our death the happiness of contemplating Him face to face in life eternal. Amen.
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.
Prayers in Time of Calamity
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