The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
On Our Lord Weeping over Jerusalem.
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.
The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
On Our Lord Weeping over Jerusalem.
In the tranquil eventide, just when the sun is sinking in the west, behold Jesus ascending the Mount of Olives. Before Him lies Jerusalem, the most beautiful, the most magnificent of all the cities of Israel. How quiet and peaceful it appears, for the noise of the busy streets, the din and turmoil of the town does not reach yonder eminence; all is still and tranquil and beautiful; the marble columns of Herod’s palace gleam and glitter in the rays of the setting sun, while the temple, proudly standing on Sion’s heights, flashes like a bright jewel set in gold. A fair and fascinating sight indeed, that city of David; Jesus gazes on it, gazes on its splendor, and weeps. Keep this scene present to your mind during your meditation.
1st. Consider how, while our Lord looked upon the city standing there in unimpaired stateliness and beauty, the thought of the graces vouchsafed to it by God, the knowledge of the awful judgments about to overtake it, were borne in so forcibly upon the loving, the compassionate heart of Jesus, that He wept over the approaching destruction of the holy city, and wept with an incomparably greater sorrow than that experienced by Jeremias on the occasion of its first destruction, and expressed by him in his Lamentations. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, over that singularly beauteous city. Grasp this thought, my soul. You also are a fair city like Jerusalem. The temple of the Holy Ghost which you became by divine consecration is more beautiful than the marble temple on Mount Sion. Your soul, arrayed in the garment of sanctifying grace, shines with greater glory than did the city of David in the red glow of the setting sun, and the dignity of a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem, which is in store for you, far exceeds the majesty of the earthly Jerusalem. Our Lord sees this beauty, this splendor, this glory appertaining to you, and He weeps. And why? It may perchance be because you are one of those . . . who are so much to be pitied, of whom St. Augustine speaks when he sorrowfully writes: “We have seen many, and have heard our fathers speak of many, whom I cannot recall to mind without trembling, who at the outset ascended up to Heaven and built their nest among the stars, then later on fell back into the abyss and became hardened in their evil ways. Those who appeared to be most exemplary have fallen to the lowest depths, and those who had eaten the Bread of Angels I have seen feasting on the husks of swine.” What is the reason of this deplorable relapse?
2d. Our Lord tells us the cause: “Because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.” (St. Luke xix. 44.) How numerous were the graces Jerusalem received from our Lord! O how many miracles it witnessed! What opportunities it had for hearing the celestial doctrine He taught! How often He had admonished and warned the faithless city, “as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, so would the Lord have gathered together thy children, but thou wouldst not; thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” And now, Jerusalem, what will avail thee thy magnificence, the gorgeous brilliance of thy marble columns? Behold, “the days shall come upon thee and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground.” (St. Luke xix. 43.) Reflect upon this, my soul. See, the Lord visited you with the fulness of His grace; . . . you are a city specially favored and privileged. If, instead of making good use of His grace, instead of laboring arduously, assiduously in the season of salvation, you are perhaps indolent and tepid, daily becoming more indifferent, oh then you have reason to fear lest your destruction be near. The loftiness of your calling, the prestige, the sanctity of your Order will profit you nothing, if you do not know “the things that are to your peace,” if you do not make fervent use of the graces conferred on you. It is not, as St. Augustine once said to the monks of the desert, the place that sanctifies us, but our good works will sanctify both the place and ourselves.
3d. Consider how the touching, the pathetic scene presented to our view in the former part of the Gospel for the day, suddenly changes to one of a strikingly different nature. The self-same Saviour who stood upon Mount Olivet, overflowing with benignity and mercy, so that He actually shed tears over the ill-fated city of Jerusalem, shortly after is seen to stand in the temple of that city, in a totally opposite character. The eyes that a little while before shed tears of compassion now flash with indignation; the countenance that on the Mount of Olives wore an expression of sorrowful pity now is lighted up with the anger of the strict Judge, as with imposing majesty. He wields the scourge and casts them that sold out of the temple with the condemnatory words: “My house is the house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves.” (St. Luke xix. 46.) My soul, our Lord still looks on you with a look of gentleness and love, He still weeps over the obduracy of Jerusalem. But if you do not soon cleanse your house from the sins that defile it, He will employ the terrors of His scourge, and because you did not know the time of your visitation, He will visit you with His just anger, and chastise you in His wrath. Even now the arm of the Lord may be uplifted to strike you. Do you know what will avert the blow? Your tears. Yes, weep, weep as Jesus did, weep those tears of contrition of which St. Ambrose says: “tears of humility, yours is the might, yours is the kingdom. You need not fear the throne of the Judge, you silence every accusation, you conquer the invincible, you prove mightier than the Almighty.”
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.
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