On the Gospel for the 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 Gospel for the Day.
Represent to yourself, my soul, the householder depicted in to-day’s Gospel; see how he goes out at different hours of the day, looking about him on the marketplace and in the streets of the city, and wherever he finds a man standing idle, sending him into his vineyard to work there for the wages agreed upon. And when you have impressed upon your mind the scene thus placed before you by the parable, proceed to consider its spiritual meaning.
1st. Consider the work in the vineyard. The householder who goes out to hire laborers is God, our heavenly Father. The vineyard is His holy Church. The laborers hired at various hours of the day are those who are called to the Faith of Christ, and you are one of these. You too have the grace of this vocation, therefore forget not what St. Paschasius bids us bear in mind: We are not sent into this vineyard to be idle, but to work, each one according to his capabilities. To this rule there are no exceptions: Rich and poor, young and old, the healthy and the sick, the blind and the lame, each and all can and must work. And what is the work that they are to do? The saint tells us: The work we have to do is in our own souls, by mortifying our evil passions, subduing our sinful desires, rooting out sin and planting virtues. This is the work we are called to do in the vineyard; to dig it, to dress the soil, to plant it and cultivate the fruit; this is the work God has given you to do. Examine yourself, my soul; see how you have hitherto acquitted yourself of your duty; make a careful survey of the produce of your toil, the fruit you have gathered as the result of your labor in that vineyard.
2d. Consider the reward of your labor. Observe how God, in order to prevent you from becoming discouraged in the arduous work of tilling the ground of your heart, from feeling your daily mortifications and spiritual conflicts to be onerous and irksome, promises to recompense you for your labor. The laborers He has engaged are not to work for nothing; they are to receive the penny agreed upon as their wages. This penny is eternal felicity. That, as the pious Dionysius the Carthusian says, is the day’s wages for which we work day by day, and which God pays every day to the soul when it departs out of this world. Meditate attentively to-day, my soul, on this penny; contemplate in spirit the beauty, the joy, the glory of the Heaven which is promised you, and imprint that fair picture so deeply upon your mind that if the burden and heats of the day should press all too heavily upon you, the remembrance of the recompense laid up for you may serve to console and strengthen you, just as hired laborers cheerfully bear heat and cold, thirst and toil during the day because they look to receive the wages due to them at its close. And what are their wages? A few cents. What is that in comparison to the remuneration to which you can look forward?
3d. Consider the end of the labor. Turn again to the pleasant scene depicted in the parable, when the sun is sinking in the west, and the tired workman wipes the sweat from his brow, while the householder comes to give to each man his wages, wherewith to procure refreshment and recreation after his hard day’s work. How welcome to the industrious laborer are the evening hours when day is done! How welcome to the devout Christian is the evening at the close of life’s long day! happy indeed shall we be when once we have entered upon eternal rest, when the heavenly Householder pays for temporal labor in eternal coin; when tribulation, tears, persecution, hunger, and thirst, heat and cold are altogether ended, to be followed by everlasting joy, everlasting felicity! Does not the bliss of this one evening, Christian, far outweigh the suffering of the burden and heats of the day? But mark this, and retain it in your memory as the fruit of to-day’s meditation: The evening is only pleasurable to the diligent workman. If you would have a happy day succeed to the evening of life, you must work right diligently in the vineyard of the Lord. If you are indolent, and do not work for the wages God offered you, deeming them insufficient, as did the discontented servant, if you only work for the sake of gaining applause, of satisfying your own passions, woe betide you, for in that case the evening of your life will not be followed by a bright and joyous day in Heaven, but by the eternal night of hell.
Wherefore labor diligently: labor in a right way before the dark night comes, and ask yourself in what special manner you shall employ yourself during the season of Lent in the vineyard of the Lord.
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.
The 4th of the 6 Sundays of St. Thomas Aquinas prayers.
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