The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
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 Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
The lessons in today’s office are taken from the book of Job as often as this Sunday is the 1st or 2nd of September. This pious and wealthy personage of the land of Hus, endowed at first with every blessing, found himself suddenly overwhelmed with the most frightful calamities which mortal man can endure.
To summarize the Scripture narrative, Satan presented himself one day, before God, and said: “I have gone round about the earth, and walked through it, and have seen how Thous hast protected Job and his house and all that he possesses. But stretch forth Thy hand a little, and touch all that he hath: and see if he will not curse Thee to Thy face. Then the Lord said to Satan, Behold all that he hath is in thy hand; only spare his life.”
And very soon Job had lost his flocks, his goods and his family, while he himself was stricken by Satan with “a very grievous” ulcer, from the “sole of the foot even to the top of his head”.
Bearing in mind Satan’s malice, the Church makes us ask that we may be defended “against all the attacks of the evil one” (Secret). His is the kingdom of death, and if almighty God allowed him his way, he would rob all beings of the life they possess. St Paul speaks of an affliction from which he suffered as “an angel of Satan sent to buffet me”. And as we read in Holy Scripture, it was the devil who reduced Job to such a state that the holy man could cry: “Hell is my house” and I have made my bed in darkness. I have said to rottenness ‘Thou art my father; to worms my mother and sister.’ My flesh is consumed like a worm-eaten garment and my bones cleave to my skin.”
Further, the Church applies to the dead the pressing appeal which Job made on this occasion to his friends. “Have pity upon me, you at least my friends, for the hand of the Lord hath stricken me.” But his call met with no response and Job turns towards God and cries with a firm hope: “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I myself shall see and my eyes shall behold and not another. This my hope is laid up in my bosom.”
Job also describes the joy with which he will one day hear the voice of God calling him to a new life: “Thou shalt call me and I will answer Thee; to the work of Thy hands Thou wilt reach out Thy right hand.”
“And the Lord accepted the face of Job… And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before… And the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning.”
The Church, of which Job is a type, prays that “it may be cleansed and fortified by Him” (Collect). In the psalm at the Introit she cries: “Bow down Thy ear, O Lord, to me and hear me: Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to Thee all day. Give joy to the soul of Thy servant; for to Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul.”
And at the Offertory: “With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and He had regard to me; and He heard my prayer and He put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God.”
This “canticle” is the song of Christian souls risen again to the life of grace. “It is good to give praise to the Lord; and to sing to Thy name, O most High… To show forth Thy mercy” (Gradual). “For the Lord is a great God, and a great King over all the earth” (Alleluia).
The Epistle, taken from St. Paul, is entirely devoted to the supernatural life, which the Holy Ghost, who was given to the Church at Pentecost, bestows upon or restores to souls. “If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”, in other words, let us be humble, gently charitable to the fallen, remembering how weak we ourselves are and that before the sovereign Judge we shall have to bear the weight of our own faults. Let us “communicate” generously of our temporal goods to those who instruct us in God’s life-giving word, never slackening our efforts, for God does not allow Himself to be mocked with impunity.
The harvest we shall reap at death will correspond to the seed we have sown in life; let us sow works full of the supernatural spirit and we shall reap eternal life. Let us never fail in doing good, and let us avoid the works of the flesh such as lack of charity, pride, avarice and lust; for those who commit sin are dead to the life of grace and will reap only corruption. In short let us escape from death and live a truly risen life.
The Gospel supplies similar teaching in relating the raising of the widow’s son at Naim. Our Lord, seeing the mother’s grief, is touched with compassion. Going up to the body and touching it, He says: “Young man, I say to thee arise,” and immediately “he that was dead sat up and began to speak.” And all present “glorified God, saying: ‘A great prophet is risen up amongst us, and God hath visited His people’.”
The Word in becoming flesh, has drawn near to souls lying in the death of sin, and moved by the tears of our mother, the Church, has raised them to the life of grace; and in the Eucharist, He has placed in their bodies a germ of life, that they may rise again at the last day (Communion). “In soul and in body, O Lord may we be ruled by the power working within us of the heavenly gift Thou hast vouchsafed to us; that the graces flowing therefrom and not the impulses of nature may inspire all our actions” (Postcommunion).
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.
September Devotion: The Holy Cross.
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days
Invocation of St. Thomas Aquinas to the Cross.
Crux mihi certa salus.
Crux est quam semper adoro.
Crux Domini mecum.
Crux mihi refugium.
The cross is my sure salvation.
The cross I ever adore.
The cross of my Lord is with me.
The cross is my refuge.
His Holiness, Pope Pius IX., by an autograph rescript, June 21, 1874, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall say these prayers, drawn up in the form of a cross by the Angelic Doctor, S. Thomas Aquinas: AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
Adoramus te, sanctissime Domine Jesu Christe, benedicimus tibi; quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore Thee, O most blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, we bless Thee; because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of indulgences, March 4, 1882, granted to all the faithful who, with at least contrite heart and devotion, shall recite this ejaculation: AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
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.
Prayers in Time of Calamity
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