The Day of Pentecost.
On the Descent of the Holy Ghost under the Form of Fiery Tongues.
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 Day of Pentecost.
On the Descent of the Holy Ghost under the Form of Fiery Tongues.
Represent to yourself, my soul, the grand, the wondrous scene when the Holy Ghost descended from above; imagine that you see the apostles and disciples of the Lord, to whom, they being all together in one place, there suddenly appeared “parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them.” (Acts ii. 3.) It is said “as it were of fire” to signify that what appeared was not actual fire, but a supernatural, spiritual fire, which, taking the semblance of separate tongues of flame, descended and rested upon the head of each individual who was present. The fact that the mission of the Holy Ghost took place under this particular form is replete with mystic meaning.
1st. Consider that in the Old Testament fire is a symbol of the Deity in His external manifestation; of His sanctity and immateriality; of His outward action in purifying and enlightening, as well as in testing and consuming. It was one and the self-same divine fire that appeared in the bush as a flame and did not burn it; that was laid upon the lips of the prophet Isaias and cleansed them, and which, typified by the sacrificial fire under the Old Dispensation, was perpetually kept alive upon the altar of burnt offering. This spiritual fire parted itself into flames assuming the form of tongues to signify that it came from the Eternal Word, and its mission was to endow the apostles with power to preach the Word, to publish His doctrine to the whole world in purity of speech calculated to inflame charity, to kindle the heart. Oh how mysterious, how profound in meaning are these symbols of God and of His Church, yet the world in its ignorance and depravity does but mock at and despise them!
2d. Consider what St. Luke records our Lord to have said: “I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?” (St. Luke xii. 49.) The Holy Ghost thus sent down from above in the form of fire is the embodiment of charity of which we read that it is stronger than death. This charity is an all-consuming, all-conquering, all-devouring fire. St. Bonaventure thus speaks of it: “The Holy Ghost is a fire that inflames the affections, enlightens the understanding, kindles the will.” Again, St. Antony of Padua says: “The heart which is enkindled by the Holy Ghost cannot possibly be burnt by the fire of adversity or scorched by the flame of the temptations of the evil one, for the celestial fire of the Holy Ghost counteracts the flame of malign concupiscence.” Ponder, my soul, on the words of these two great teachers of the seraphic Order; and if our Lord on this day casts fire on the earth, and wills that it be kindled, oh why is not your heart inflamed by it? Ask yourself this question, ask it seriously, that Pentecost may not fail to be a season of grace for you.
3d. Consider the Apostle’s words: “Our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebr. xii. 29.) Fire consumes all corrupt matter; it consumes what is impure in anything, what is hurtful; it refines gold and separates it from the dross. St. Antony says: “Just as fire burns, purifies, warms, illumines, so the Holy Ghost burns up, destroys sin in the soul, cleanses the heart, banishes sloth, enlightens the ignorant mind.” Reflect upon this truth. For alas! how numerous are our sins and transgressions! Our hearts are sullied by corrupt propensities and thus they are unfitted for sweet union and communion with God. Who will cleanse us? The consuming fire of the Holy Ghost. As it once descended upon the sinful world, burning, purifying, enlightening, so it acts upon each individual soul on which it falls and which it kindles. Wherefore open wide your heart, to admit that devouring element, that mystic, spiritual fire, in order that by it you may be cleansed and refined; and repeat more fervently than ever the prayer: Come Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
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 my 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).
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.
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide’, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide’, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
Prayers in Time of Calamity
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