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On Preparation for the Coming of the Holy Ghost.
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 Sunday before Pentecost.
On Preparation for the Coming of the Holy Ghost.
Transport yourself in imagination to the chamber where the apostles are wont to assemble in Jerusalem, and see how the disciples, subsequently to their Lord’s Ascension, await the coming of the Comforter promised to them by the Saviour in devout recollection and retirement.
1st. Consider the ignorance, the instability, the timidity the apostles displayed before the advent of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord Himself previous to His departure told them: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” (St. John xvi. 12.) In what a cowardly manner they behaved during our Lord’s Passion, and what timidity they displayed after their Master’s death, for St. John expressly states that the doors were shut where the disciples were gathered together, “for fear of the Jews.” (ch. xx. 19.) And only think, these apostles, who were as yet so ignorant and uninformed about many things, who were as yet so fearful and fainthearted, were destined to preach the Gospel to the whole world, to shed their blood and lay down their lives for their Master’s cause, and go forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Supernatural assistance was indeed requisite for them, and most necessary also was it that they should prepare themselves to receive that assistance.
2d. Consider how our Lord Himself made known His desire that such preparation should be made, by expressly commanding them “that they should not depart from Jerusalem but should wait for the promise of the Father.” (Acts i. 4.) Thus in accordance with our Lord’s will they were to remain in the city and wait, that is to say, prepare themselves for the coming of the Holy Ghost. They were to wait, to persevere in believing, confident anticipation of the promised Comforter, that by this hopeful anticipation their faith might be increased and their longing become more intense, for as St. John Chrysostom remarks, their desire ought indeed to be great if they were to receive the great grace which the Holy Ghost would confer on them. Just as it was God the Father’s will that the whole world should wait so long in expectation of the advent of His Son, and by this waiting their hope and longing for the promised Redeemer should wax ever greater and greater, so the Son of God with the same object required His disciples in like manner to await the coming of the Holy Ghost. If it was so needful for the disciples to prepare for the descent of the Holy Spirit and our Lord expressly commanded that such preparation should be made, does not this command apply to you also?
3d. Consider whether you are not in altogether the same condition as were the apostles. Think in how many matters connected with your salvation you are still so pusillanimous in adversity, so weak in temptation, so timid in the confession of your faith, so easily deterred from the conscientious observance of the rule of your Order or the duties of your sacred ministry, and this merely from motives of worldly prudence, earthly considerations, from human respect and the desire of the favor of man! Therefore you too need power from on high, and in order to merit it, remain, according to Christ’s behest, in the city of Jerusalem; keep during this week in your quiet cell; stay there in holy solitude and seclusion; shut the doors of your heart out of fear, out of a just and salutary fear of the enemies of your salvation who seek to prevent you from making due preparation for the holy festival of Pentecost. Before you rise from your meditation to-day, consider not in a general manner but in detail when, where, and how you will pass this week waiting in anticipation of the coming of the Holy Ghost; for the more perfect the preparation you make, the greater will be the graces granted you on the festival of Pentecost.
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.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)
The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.
Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).
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