The Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost.

On the Unmerciful Servant in the Gospel for To-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 Unmerciful Servant in the Gospel for To-day.

We are told that Peter put this question to our Lord: “Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me and I forgive him? till seven times?” (St. Matt, xviii. 21.) That appeared to the apostle to be going as far as possible in the way of conciliation. Our Lord viewed it otherwise. He was not satisfied with forgiving seven times only, He required it to be till seventy times seven; and in order to make this sublime precept of Christianity intelligible to the disciples, He related to them the parable of the unmerciful servant. Listen to this parable as it comes from our Lord’s lips, and meditate upon it.

1st. Consider the magnitude of the debt owed by the servant. The Evangelist says: “The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a king who would take an account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account one was brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents.” (v. 23, 24.) The Jewish talent was equal to about nineteen hundred dollars of our money (this was written in 1900 so multiply the 1900 $1 by $32.60 to get the amount in 2021 – $61,940), and the servant owed ten thousand of those talents (in 2013 $’s – $61,940,000). You are amazed at the enormous amount of that servant’s debt, but you do not think how your own debt is mounting up. You have lived twenty or thirty years perhaps, or even sixty or eighty. You can count the years of your age, but are you able to count up the thoughts and words of one single year? Yet according to our Lord’s own dictum you will have to give an account of every word. Can you reckon up the good inspirations, the graces you have received in the course of one year only? Yet you will have to give an account of all those graces. Every moment of your life is a gift from God; how many of those gifts have you misused by employing them in the service of sin, by living in sin? If you have to give an account of all this to your Lord, will your debt be found to be much less than that of the servant in the parable? And shall you be much better off than he was, since our Lord proceeds to say that “he had not wherewith to pay”? Have you anything wherewith to pay? Do not all that you are, all that you have, your body and soul, your goods and chattels already belong to God, independently of this debt? O miserable man! Nothing remains to you but to fall on your knees like the servant in the Gospel and implore the Lord: “Have patience with me.” How many times have you already proffered that petition, and how often has it been true of you what Jesus says: “The lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him that debt.” (v. 27.) But you continue to contract fresh debts, forgetting that even God’s mercy and patience will come to an end at last.

2d. Consider the extreme unmercifulness of the servant. “But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence; and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay me what thou owest. And his fellow servant falling down besought him, saying: Have patience with me and I will pay thee all. And he would not, but went and cast him into prison till he paid the debt.” (v. 28- 30.) Represent to yourself once again the unmerciful servant when, trembling and quaking with apprehension, he is on his knees before his master, beseeching him to have patience for the payment of the enormous debt, and then behold that same servant face to face with his debtor. You will be roused to anger and indignation at such an excessive want of compassion. His conduct will appear incomprehensible, almost incredible in your eyes. And yet, perhaps, you greatly resemble that servant. How often in the Sacrament of Penance you have prayed: Lord have patience with me! And the Lord has had compassion, and forgiven you all your debt. But alas! when you go forth from the presence of that merciful Lord, when you leave the confessional, when you rise up from the holy table, there meets you a fellow servant, one who has done you a slight wrong, who has said a few thoughtless words about you, who has committed some unkind act in your regard. What is his debt compared with yours? What are a hundred pence not as much as twenty dollars compared with ten thousand talents? What is it to offend a man, a sinner, compared with offending, as you have done, the triune God? And yet while the Creator of Heaven and earth forgives you, who are but dust and ashes, all your debt, and by His kindness preserves you from the eternal prison of hell, you lay hands on your debtor, you throttle him, not indeed with your hands, but with your tongue and in your heart. You demand complete compensation, a humble apology, and God knows what else, otherwise you will not forgive him! Are you not ashamed of showing indignation at the unmerciful servant in the Gospel? Ought you not rather to lay to heart the words our Lord added: “Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt because thou besoughtest Me; shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?” (v. 32, 33.)

3d. Consider the punishment of the unmerciful servant. The Evangelist tells us: “And his lord being angry delivered him to the torturers until he paid all his debt.” (v. 34.) The unfortunate man had already obtained forgiveness, he had received remission of all his debt, and now he had lost all through his love of revenge. His own unmercifulness was the means of casting him into the self-same prison from which his lord’s mercifulness had kept him. Weigh this well, my soul. No forgiveness, no absolution, no sacrifice, no prayer avails you aught as long as you cherish enmity and revenge in your heart. He who will not forgive shall not be forgiven. He who is unmerciful like the wicked servant, shall be punished as he was. Hence the Apostle admonishes us: “Let all bitterness and anger and indignation and clamor and blasphemy be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ.” (Eph. iv. 32.) Delay not a single day to follow the apostolic admonition; follow it even in trifles, such as are called antipathies or susceptibilities, for your spiritual progress depends to no small extent on this. Nay more, listen to what St. Basil says on this subject: Just as no one ought to entertain a strong predilection for one individual, because that is apt to have undesirable results, so it is not right to allow oneself to take a great dislike to any one, as that, too, may be productive of the worst consequences. For as Christ requires us to love the Brethren as a mark of being His disciples, it follows as a matter of course that those who do not love their Brethren are not the disciples of Christ, are not true Religious.

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.

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October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.


Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
PRAYER
.

Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.
Amen.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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PRAYER IN HONOR OF THE NORTH AMERICAN MARTYRS

O GOD, Who by the preaching and the blood of Thy Blessed Martyrs, John and Isaac and their Companions, didst consecrate the first fruits of the faith in the vast regions of North America, graciously grant that by their intercession the flourishing harvest of Christians may be everywhere and always increased. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son Who liveth and reigneth in union with the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

PRAYER OF PETITION

O GOD, Who didst inflame the hearts of Thy Blessed Martyrs with an admirable zeal for the salvation of souls, grant me, I beseech Thee (here make your request), so that the favors obtained through their intercession may make manifest before men the power and the glory of Thy Name. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary. Glory be to the Father.

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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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Prayers in Time of Calamity
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