On the Behavior of the Jews on the Occasion of the Cure of the Man Who Was Infirm for Thirty-Eight Years.
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 Behavior of the Jews on the Occasion of the Cure of the Man Who Was Infirm for Thirty-Eight Years.
Imagine that in the town where you live the miraculous cure of a man known to be suffering from a severe malady had been effected by an eminent servant of God. What joy this would cause in the town! O how all the inhabitants would rejoice! How much would be thought of the man of God! how he would be esteemed and beloved, for having conferred so great a benefit upon one of his fellow creatures! Yet the Jews, the Pharisees, acted quite differently when Jesus showed a similar favor to one of their sick brethren. Instead of manifesting any pleasure, they were very angry.
1st. Consider the cause of their anger it was envy of Jesus. The day on which He healed the sick man happened to be the Sabbath. When they saw him take up his bed and carry it away, their first impulse was to cry out about the desecration of the Sabbath, to inveigh against both the man who was healed and our Lord who healed him, accusing them both of sin. Now reflect upon this, my soul: These Jews, the very same men who would not scruple to raise up an ox which had fallen into a pit on the Sabbath day, were certainly not animated by zeal for the observance of the commandment; they only made it a pretext to vent their hatred and envy of Jesus. It was envy that instigated them to blame Him, and so blinded were they by that passion that they denounced a benefit, an act of charity, nay a divine work, as a profanation of the Sabbath. Here, my soul, you see the abominable nature of envy. The tongue of envy censures even the good deeds of his brother; it seeks to asperse them and if possible represent them as defective, as sinful. Do not flatter yourself that you are free from this failing, so common to mankind. Else why should you be vexed and downcast if a Brother or Sister surpasses you in virtue? why are you so anxious to discover spots on the sun? why have you always something contrary to say when you hear your neighbor praised? Thus it is that the germ of envy within your breast first begins to make itself manifest externally.
2d. Consider the reason why the Jews, and pre-eminently the Pharisees, conceived this envy of our Lord. It was because they perceived that on account of His most holy life, in which it was impossible to discover anything blameworthy, on account of His stupendous miracles He was day by day held in greater esteem, more beloved by the people, whereas their influence proportionately diminished. John, who was destitute of any feeling of envy, did indeed say: “He must increase but I must decrease” (St. John iii. 30), but the Pharisees were quite incapable of such a generous appreciation of the Redeemer’s superior greatness. They wanted to be considered as the best and most religious, hence arose their envy of every one who appeared to surpass them in this respect, and throw them into the shade. Thus we see that self-seeking, self-love is the root of envy. Look into your own heart, therefore, and see whether aught of this self-seeking lurks therein; it is a fault which, as the name implies, consists in seeking one’s own aggrandizement, one’s own will, one’s own comfort at all times and in all things; a fault which the learned Humbert calls the plague of the religious life. And it is with justice that He gives it that name, for the Religious who is possessed by it, instead of rejoicing in the progress his Brethren make, their success in their sacred ministry, is only annoyed because he has no share in it; he ignores what he ought to recognize with pleasure, and endeavors to hinder what he ought to strive to promote.
3d. Consider the disastrous consequences which this envy, this self-seeking had for the Jews. In spite of the wondrous teaching of our Lord, which they had daily an opportunity of hearing, in spite of the striking miracles of which they were eye-witnesses, they did not believe in Him. Seeing, they did not see, and hearing, they did not hear; their jealousy and self-seeking was the hindrance, and it is just the same in the case of Priests and Religious if they have these faults. Apart from the fact that they never do any good to others for the divine blessing does not rest upon what they do with a view to their own glory, not the glory of God all those things which are conducive to the spiritual profit of others only do them harm. The virtue of those around them, which edifies others, only embitters them; the perfection whereto their neighbor attains, which serves as a stimulus to others, only excites in them a secret ill-will; the word of God, proclaimed by the lips of one of their brethren with force and fire, which is to hundreds a source of solace and encouragement, awakens their jealousy and is by them unjustly criticised. Wherefore consider well, as Rodriguez exhorts us, how pernicious envy is, since by it our neighbor’s good works our ruin; and reflect to-day how you can best grapple with this abominable, this most dangerous enemy of the spiritual life, one which is, alas! But too commonly met with.
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 what ever 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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