Tuesday after the First Sunday in Lent.
On Our Lord’s Sweat of Blood.
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.
Tuesday after the First Sunday in Lent.
On Our Lord’s Sweat of Blood.
Let your meditation to-day be made in a peculiarly solemn and serious spirit. Imprint deeply upon your mind the image of the Saviour covered with a sweat of blood; let it awaken in you sincere contrition and profound compassion. So terrible, so awful was the anguish of soul, the deadly strife of that hour of agony, that Jesus in His distress at one time lifted up His voice in a pathetic cry; His hands were wrung and clasped tightly together; great drops of blood trickled down His pallid countenance. Can you look unmoved on your Saviour in this condition, as He stands there trembling and amazed, covered with blood, overwhelmed with horror? Now proceed to consider the threefold cause of the sweat of blood that exuded from His agonized frame.
1st. It was the dread of death which forced the sweat of blood out of His sacred body. We read that in days of yore King Ezechias, on being told by the prophet: “Give charge concerning thy house, for thou shalt die, and not live” (IV. Kings xx. 1), he turned his face, blanched with horror, to the wall, and “wept with much weeping,” although he knew that he should end his days in the royal palace, surrounded by his courtiers, who would afford him solace and render death less difficult and terrible to him. Judge then how much, how incomparably greater must have been the anguish and dread the Son of God experienced, when He heard in anticipation the sentence of death, and knew that it would be executed on the cruel cross; that He would expire between two thieves, in the place where criminals were put to death. Added to this was the consciousness that He would not be able, like King Ezechias, to meet death in regal dignity and honor, but would be condemned to die a death of obloquy, regarded as one of the worst of evil-doers, despised, abandoned by every one; nay even to be spit upon, and see a robber and murderer preferred to Him. Seeing this you will no longer wonder that our Lord’s human nature was so horrified at the prospect of such a death, that His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.
2d. Consider that it was sin in the second place that forced the blood out of our Lord’s sacred body. What an immense weight must be heaped upon a man to make the blood start from his finger-nails! Now the blood does not merely exude from His nails, but from every part of His sacred body. What then, let us ask, is the weight that presses thus sorely upon Him? St. Bernard tells us; he supposes our Lord to exclaim under the stress of agony: “The wounds caused by thy sins, man, are far more painful to Me than the wounds inflicted upon My body; My physical sufferings are by no means as hard to bear as the heavy burden of thy transgressions, which thou dost lay upon Me.” Alas! it is not only a cruel sweat that is forced out of the pores of the Saviour, agonized and groaning beneath this load, but great drops of blood. And have you, my soul, no tears to shed, no tears of compunction at the sight of His distress? Do you not hear the words that St. Bernard ascribes to the Saviour: “Stop, sinner; cease to heap so great a burden on thy Redeemer, causing Him to sweat blood, otherwise thou wilt thyself be crushed under the weight, and sink into the abyss of hell.”
3d. Consider that it was charity in the third place that forced the sweat of blood out of our Lord’s sacred body. Behold how great was our Lord’s charity to us sinners, how forcible His holy desire to suffer for the glory of God and man’s salvation; He could not wait until His divine countenance was buffeted, His delicate body torn with rods and scourges, His sacred head pierced with thorns, His hands and feet transfixed with nails, His loving heart opened with a lance, thus affording manifold means of egress to His precious blood. No, the intense ardor of that charity already drives that precious blood forth from every pore of His sacred body, causing the stream of charity, the source of man’s salvation and reconciliation with God to flow upon Olivet, before Mount Calvary is reached. Think upon the threefold origin of that sweat of blood as often as you recite that decade of the Rosary which recalls the sorrowful mystery of our Lord’s agony in the garden, and renew the resolution which to-day’s meditation suggests to you.
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.
February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice: Humility
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ Amen. – St. Francis de Sales
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a month (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).
GRANT unto us O Lord Jesus ever to imitate the example of Thy Holy Family that in the hour of our death being met by Thy Glorious Virgin Mother, with Blessed Joseph, we may be found worthy to be received by Thee into everlasting dwellings, Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
(Roman Missal.) 3 years each time; PLENARY ONCE A MONTH (usual conditions)
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst hallow domestic life by Thy ineffable virtues, do Thou grant that with the assistance of both of them, we may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family, and attain to everlasting fellowship therewith: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
(Roman Missal.) 5 years each time; PLENARY ONCE A MONTH (usual conditions)
Prayer for One’s Family.
Defend we beseech Thee, O Lord, through the intercession of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, this family from all adversity; and as in all humility we bow before Thee, with all our hearts, do Thou graciously defend us from all the snares of the enemy. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
3 years each time; PLENARY ONCE A MONTH (usual conditions)
Sweetest Jesus Who being subject as a child to Mary and Joseph at Nazareth, didst leave to children an excellent example of affection and obedience to parents, and of wondrous reverence for all men, grant, I most earnestly beg Thee, that I may strive to see Thee always and in everything, so that as I grow older in years, I may increase in Thy grace and love: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen. 300 days
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