On the Prayer of Our Lord in the Garden.
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 Prayer of Our Lord in the Garden.
Imagine that you behold your Saviour in prayer on the Mount of Olives. His sacred countenance wears the ashy hues of death, the cold sweat of agony bedews His brow, His hands are convulsively clasped together, His eyes are raised in earnest, painfully earnest entreaty to Heaven, and His pale lips move in fervent supplication. Meditate upon the prayer He utters.
1st. Consider that it is in the most complete abandonment that our Lord prays. It is night, dark night. Jesus is quite alone; His disciples are asleep, His loving Mother is not there, and His heavenly Father, the last refuge of the desolate Saviour, turns a deaf ear to His petition. Nay more, the divine nature of our Lord, which till then had been His unfailing support, now withdraws itself to such an extent that His human soul, thrown in upon itself, is immersed in an ocean of sorrow, anguish and dismay. Now in this state of supreme desolation, of complete dereliction He has recourse to prayer. Learn hence, my soul, what it behooves you to do in seasons, in hours of utter loneliness, of aridity; when you are in that condition of utmost misery when one is deserted by man and apparently forsaken by God. You must pray, continue to pray, even under such circumstances of difficulty as those of our Lord on Mount Olivet. A prayer of this nature is well pleasing to God, oftentimes more acceptable to His ear than a Te Deum of thanksgiving in your happier days. He listens with satisfaction if amid your direst distress and desolation you pray in the words of the Imitation: “Father, always to be honored, the hour is come that Thy servant should be outwardly oppressed. Lord, I am not worthy of Thy consolation and therefore justly dost Thou deal with me when Thou leavest me poor and wretched.” Be assured, my soul, that a prayer such as this is carried up on high by the angels of God in their golden censers.
2d. Consider that our Lord prays perseveringly and patiently. Already He has twice besought His heavenly Father, besought Him more fervently, more earnestly than any man upon earth ever did. Yet His Father does not listen to His petition. Jesus does not grow faint; He perseveres in His supplication, praying a third time; and when again His prayer is not heard, He does not murmur, He does not regret the prayers which have proved useless; no, He calmly and resignedly adds: “Not My will, but Thine be done.” (St. Luke xxii. 42.) What a useful lesson you may here learn from our Lord’s example. If He, God’s beloved Son, must ask three times for the fulfilment of His prayer, and does so without a trace of annoyance or impatience, why are you so despondent if your prayers are not immediately granted, why are you so wanting in patience and steadfastness? Can it be expected that God should hear you, a sinner, rather than His own only-be gotten Son? Wherefore pray more fervently, more perseveringly than heretofore, and you will soon have less reason to complain that your petitions are unheeded.
3d. Consider that our Lord’s prayer is not granted by His heavenly Father. O great and wondrous mystery! Never did a prayer so perfect, so powerful ascend to Heaven; never was it uttered by the lips of one dearer and more precious to the heart of the Most High, and that prayer is the very one God does not grant. What is the reason of this? Because otherwise you, sinner, would have been lost. How incomprehensible is the love of God! For the sake of a miserable sinner He will not hear the petition of His own Son; for the sake of a guilty criminal He turns a deaf ear to the pathetic entreaties of the most holy of the dwellers upon earth. With such a proof of charity before your eyes, can you any longer doubt that God, who for your sake would not grant our Lord’s prayer, has your greater good in view when He, as is sometimes the case, refuses to listen to your supplication? From this day forth cease to complain when this happens; nay, rather do more, imitate your dear Lord, and sometimes on Thursdays, for instance, when we recall the agony in the garden give up of your own free will the fulfilment of some desire which you have much at heart for the conversion of sinners or for the souls in purgatory.
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.
February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice: Humility
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘Who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ Amen. – St. Francis de Sales
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a month (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).
Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory.
V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
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