On the Passion of our Lord under the Figure of the Divine Seed.
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 Passion of our Lord under the Figure of the Divine Seed.
Represent to yourself, my soul, the pleasing picture placed before you in to-day’s Gospel. Behold Jesus surrounded by an attentive multitude, concerned about their eternal salvation, listening devoutly to His words; now it is the beautiful parable of the sower that they hear, who sows his seed with such various results. This Sower is our Lord Himself; even at this very moment, when He is speaking this parable, He is casting fruitful seed into the hearts of His hearers by every word He utters, and He does the same every time that He speaks to the faithful by the mouth of His representatives on earth. More especially is this the case with you, who are a Priest, a Religious, since daily, nay many times a day, He places before you His bitter Passion, thereby casting into your soul a grain of seed which might bear fruit a hundredfold, did it not fall on the hard rock or among thorns. But perhaps you will ask when and how this seed is sown in your heart so frequently? Listen and I will tell you:
1st. The seed is sown as often as Holy Mass is celebrated. The Holy Sacrifice is nothing else than the continual remembrance and renewal of the bitter Passion of Christ. At the elevation behold Him lifted up upon the cross; in the two species behold His flesh and blood, separated on the cross; at the breaking of the Host recall His departure out of this life, and in the consumption of the Sacred Elements behold His burial. Devout Christians who hear Mass piously stand with John and Magdalen beneath the cross on Calvary, their hearts full of charity and compunction. They do not find the time long, on the contrary, it is too short, so quickly does it pass while they gaze on the suffering Saviour, while they meditate upon His Passion. Wherefore accustom yourself, my soul, every time that you hear Mass, to keep our Lord’s Passion present to your mind; it will not only keep you from distractions, but it will be a divine seed, which sown in your heart in the early morning, will assuredly bear good fruit during the day. Consider further, in what way the Holy Sacrifice recalls our Lord’s Passion.
2d. You are reminded of it as often as you see or put on the sacerdotal vestments, or clothe yourself in your habit. The amice, which the Priest places on his shoulders, represents the cloth wherewith the suffering Redeemer was blindfolded, when He was buffeted on the face. The alb represents the white garment, the robe of ignominy in which He was vested by Herod’s orders. The girdle represents the cord wherewith He was bound, the maniple and stole the scourges wherewith He was beaten. Finally the chasuble, on one side of which we see the pillar of scourging, on the other the cross, represents the purple garment wherewith the soldiers in mockery clothed the patient Jesus. If you, O Priest of God, were to remember the sacred significations of the vestments while vesting for Mass, instead of allowing your thoughts to wander, or indulging in idle conversation, how differently you would say Mass, and how abundantly this seed would bear fruit! And in the same manner when, in the morning, you who are a monk put on the habit of your Order, remember that the hood (or in the case of nuns, the veil) represents the crown of thorns which the Saviour wore in expiation of your proud and evil thoughts; the habit—an object of scorn and derision to the world—resembles the robe of ignominy arrayed in which our Lord atoned for your vanity and human respect; your girdle should remind you of the cords wherewith Jesus was bound in expiation of the undue license you allow yourself, the knots representing the weals made by the scourges on His tender flesh, because of your love of ease and comfort; finally when you put on your sandals remember how Jesus traversed with bare feet the stony Way of the Cross; keep these things, I say, in remembrance and oh how differently you will go about your daily work, how plentiful will be the harvest produced during the course of the day by the seed sown in its early hours!
3d. Furthermore, this seed is sown whenever the Religious meet in choir to say their office. At these times, my soul, how sadly your thoughts are distracted; to what an extent the thorns of vain imaginations choke the seed, and prevent it from bearing fruit a hundredfold. It would be otherwise with you, if, as the Fathers suggest, you were to keep our Lord’s Passion continually before your mind. If while preparing to say matins, you would recall to your mind the night which our Lord passed in prayer and agony in the Garden of Olives, and in this spirit continued to say the Office; you would thus at prime remember how He was dragged as a malefactor from one tribunal to another; at tierce you would recall His condemnation to the death of the cross; at sext His crucifixion, and at none His death would be present to your thoughts. At vespers your imagination would picture the touching scene when the dead Christ lay on the lap of His sorrowing Mother, and finally at compline you would assist in spirit at the burial of your Lord. Were you to do this, your prayer would certainly be less subject to distractions and the seed sown in your heart would bear fruit a hundredfold.
Courage then, my soul! If hitherto this divine seed of our Lord’s Passion has been daily cast into your heart in vain; if it has not been able to strike root on the stony surface of your tepidity; if it has been choked by the thorns of worldly cares, or been devoured on the wayside of your frivolous diversions by the birds of the air, vain thoughts and idle words, consider gravely to-day what you must do henceforth, in order that it may bear fruit in you, bear fruit a hundredfold.
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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