Monday after the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.
On Jesus’ Visit to Martha’s House.
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.
Monday after the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.
On Jesus’ Visit to Martha’s House.
Fix your eyes in imagination on the pleasing scene which St. Luke depicts in his gospel (ch. x. 38-42.) He shows us Jesus present as a Guest, a divine Guest, in the house where the two pious sisters of Lazarus live. At the Lord’s feet Mary is seated, Mary the contemplative, whose soul delights in recollection and reflection; with holy eagerness she hangs on the lips of the divine Teacher, whilst Martha, who is fully occupied, draws near and complains that her sister affords her no assistance in preparing a repast for their beloved and honored Guest. Let this scene be present to your mind during your meditation.
1st. Both these sisters love Jesus, both respect Him, both seek to show Him every attention, each however in her own way; Mary by remaining quietly seated at the Master’s feet, Martha by busying herself in preparing a suitable entertainment for Him. Our Lord praises Mary’s part, but Martha is not to be blamed, for without her there would have been nothing to set before Jesus. Thus these two sisters represent the two states, the contemplative and the active life. Both are good in themselves and can exist in harmony side by side. You of all others, who are a Priest, a Religious, a Christian aspiring to perfection, ought to combine these two modes of life; you ought to be active, without thereby losing, amid the pressure of the occupations of your calling, the spirit of meditation and contemplation; whilst on the other hand, you ought to devote yourself to mental prayer without allowing this to interfere in any way with the due performance of the duties of your state or the salvation of souls. St. Francis, our seraphic Father, lays great stress upon this in his exhortations. He declaims in forcible terms against those who, neglecting mental prayer and meditation, give themselves up to external works and secular studies; yet, on the other hand, when he observed that a certain Brother devoted his time too exclusively to contemplation, he at once said to him: “Brother, the other monks have received from God the gift of mental prayer in a far higher degree than thou hast; it is therefore only fitting that thou shouldst serve in the kitchen, or mind the door, so as to give them more opportunity for the exercise of that gift.” How is it with you, reader? Perhaps you are careless in respect to both of these conditions; examine yourself on this point before proceeding further.
2d. Consider Jesus words: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things.” (St. Luke x. 41.) Consider that our Lord does not tell Martha that she ought not to prepare a repast for Him, He does not blame her for employing herself in that manner; He blames the undue solicitude she displays, and particularly for being “troubled about many things.” In the active life, St. Gregory says, we must beware of excessive anxiety, and whilst performing our work, must look up with a tranquil heart to God, to whom all actions should be consecrated. Here we have the solution of the problem how to combine the two states of life. Pursue your avocations, be actively employed, but see that you do not thereby lose your serenity, the spirit of recollection, the constant remembrance of God’s presence. Cassian, speaking of the anchorites and hermits of bygone times, says that they did not desist from contemplation even while they were at work, and when their hands were busily employed after the fashion of Martha, their hearts were occupied, like Mary, in the exercises of the spiritual life. And when St. John Climacus once asked a Brother how it was that he who had to cook for nine hundred monks every day was yet seen to be always recollected and frequently to shed tears of devotion, the Brother replied: “ I keep constantly before my mind that I am serving God and not man, and my tears are due to this, that the sight of the large fire in the kitchen reminds me of the fire that never will be quenched.” My soul, are you thus serene and recollected amid your occupations? Listen once more to our Lord’s words: “Martha, Martha, thou art troubled about many things.”
3d. Consider that Jesus said: “Mary hath chosen the best part.” He who is Eternal Truth has thus by His own lips declared that to be the best and most perfect state which is symbolized by Mary, the contemplative life. For this a very special vocation is required, and happy those on whom that precious gift is bestowed! It is described by Brother Giles, the favorite disciple of our Seraphic Father, in the following manner: “It is a divine flame, a fervor of devotion inspired by the Holy Ghost, a rapture, an elevation of the mind, which in mental prayer is inebriated with ineffable delight in the enjoyment of the divine sweetness; it is a calm, a happy, a joyful posture of the soul, wherein the soul, fascinated and enraptured, is absorbed in wondering admiration of divine things.” Wherefore prize highly this inestimable gift, and in as far as is possible, cultivate mental prayer; at least once in the day withdraw from all your Martha-like avocations, and sit with Mary in tranquil meditation at Jesus feet; for as He said to Martha: “but one thing is necessary.” Apply this_admonition to yourself.
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.
August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary
Virtue to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things
O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.
An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901).
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.
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2021. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.