Thursday after the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Conversion of St. Mary Magdalen.
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.
Thursday after the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
On the Conversion of St. Mary Magdalen.
Imagine that you see our Lord sitting at table in the house of one of the Pharisees, partaking of the banquet to which He had been invited. He is in the company of several Pharisees, who, though perhaps outwardly most friendly towards Him, are at heart malicious and crafty, and on the watch to discover something about their fellow Guest at which exception may be taken. Keep this scene before your eyes during your meditation.
1st. Observe that Jesus is present at this repast in compliance with the Pharisees invitation, not so much for the purpose of partaking of material food as for the purpose of dispensing spiritual nourishment; not so much with the intention of appeasing His natural hunger and thirst as in order to satisfy His supernatural hunger and thirst for the salvation and sanctification of unhappy sinners. The Pharisees on their part, in inviting our Lord to be their guest, were actuated less by motives of kindness and friendship than by the desire of profiting by this opportunity to observe His conduct more narrowly. From this incident, my soul, two things may be learnt: Do not readily accept invitations to worldly festivities and banquets, and if, as is often the case, you cannot decline them, only accept them as Jesus did, from the highest motives, for the sake of promoting the salvation of souls and of giving edification by your modesty and temperance, and your exemplary conversation. The second lesson to be learnt is this: The persons with whom you are brought into contact will observe you as closely as the Pharisees did our Lord, and here we may quote the words of Rodriguez: “In a man of the world,” he says, “such is the low tone that prevails, a venial sin, or even in some cases a mortal sin is hardly remarked upon, but in a Religious, a beloved and favored child of God, the slightest stain strikes the eye. An attempt to put himself into prominence, a surly word, which would attract no notice in the case of seculars, is severely blamed in a Religious and often gives great scandal.” Reflect upon this fact and make a special resolution for the guidance of your own conduct.
2d. Consider the appearance of St. Mary Magdalen on the scene. “While they were sitting at meat, behold a woman that was in the city, when she knew that Jesus was at meat in the Pharisees house, went thither.” (St. Luke vii. 37.) What an unwonted step to take! A young lady, of good family but of dissolute life, goes to the house of a Pharisee who is outwardly most godly and of strictest morality. She approaches the Holiest of the holy, One whom no man could convict of sin, and in the presence of all the guests—she long accustomed to be the object of admiration, flattery, homage—acknowledges herself to be a sinner and sheds tears of compunction. She throws herself on the ground before Him who is the source and fount of compassion, in order, as St. Gregory remarks, to cleanse herself from the stain of her hideous impurity. She blushes not thus to humiliate herself in the sight of so many onlookers, for the intensity of her inward shame makes her count as nothing any outward shame and humiliation she may bring on herself. Meditate upon this, my soul; lay to heart both Magdalen’s example and St. Gregory’s comments on her conduct, and beware of false shame which may close your lips and deter you from sincerely confessing your fault, even in the tribunal of penance, especially if you have sinned be it in only the remotest and slightest degree. For, as St. Bonaventure writes, however trifling small offences against chastity may appear, we must be careful not to omit to mention them in confession. Such omissions have often been the germ of serious misdeeds, and the perdition of many souls may be traced to that source. Beware of this false shame, be open and outspoken, even more so than is requisite for the validity of confession, for this self-humiliation and conquest of pride is not unfrequently the means of overcoming the temptations of the flesh.
3d. Consider how sincere and thorough was Magdalen’s conversion. She was not satisfied with this public, humiliating acknowledgment of her sin. “Standing behind,” St. Luke tells us, “at His feet, she began to wash His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” (v. 38.) Here again St. Gregory remarks: “With her eyes she had looked after the things of earth; now she humbles them by penance, for she weeps. Her hair had been elaborately dressed to enhance her charms; now with it she wipes away the tears she has shed. With the lips that uttered proud and boastful words she now kisses our Lord’s feet. The ointment formerly employed to impart fragrance to her person is now turned to a laudable instead of a reprehensible use. All the enjoyments in which she revelled are given up, her vices are changed into virtues, and by penance she atones for her past guilt, and sacrifices to God those things by which she had offended Him.”
Look into this mirror, my soul, and do penance in those matters wherein you have transgressed. It is for the sake of becoming a penitent that you left the world. Formerly you imposed no restraint on your senses; see that now you hold them in check; formerly, immersed in pleasures, you were dissipated and distracted; now recollect yourself in silence and seclusion; formerly you took delight in the enjoyment of good things, in rest and indolence; now apply yourself to mortification and labor; formerly you were, like the Magdalen, in sin; now become like to her in penance. “O wondrous spectacle!” cries the great Father of the Church, “whose heart will prove so hard, so stony, as not to be softened by the tears of this penitent sinner, not to be melted by them to compunction!” The saint could not believe such obduracy of heart to be possible; my soul, see that you do not prove him to have been mistaken in that belief.
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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