On the Blessed Virgin As Our Instructress in Regard to the Devout Reception of Holy Communion.
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 Blessed Virgin As Our Instructress in Regard to the Devout Reception of Holy Communion.
Picture to yourself to-day the most pure, the most holy Virgin, at the moment when, present in the assembly of the Christians who have met together for divine worship after her Son’s ascension, she receives Holy Communion. What a beautiful sight for those who were privileged to behold the immaculate Virgin when she received anew the body of her Son under the appearance of bread! Words cannot describe her devotion, her fervor, her love on her reunion with her divine Child. If at such seasons the countenances of the saints have been seen to glow with joy and rapture, as if they had already entered upon the glorified state, how ardent must have been the flame of devotion, how bright the fire of love that illumined the features of the Blessed Virgin at the time of Holy Communion. Contemplate her in imagination while you meditate upon her perfections.
1st. Consider the faith wherewith she received Holy Communion. Think how lively, how firm must have been the faith that animated her when the Archangel Gabriel announced to her the incomprehensible mystery of the incarnation of Jesus Christ; how that faith was increased and strengthened by the miraculous birth of our Lord; how it was heightened and intensified day by day as she watched the growth of the divine Child, until it ultimately reached its climax when she stood beneath the cross. Then the most signal proof was given of the magnitude, the force of that faith, since not even the appalling sight of the crucified Redeemer, stripped of His garments, covered with wounds, satiated with insults and reproaches, forsaken by God and man, could cause her belief in His divinity, His majesty, His sublime dignity, to waver for a single moment. By this you may form some estimate of the faith wherewith Mary approached the Most Holy Sacrament. Kindle your feeble taper, I beseech you, at the bright, clear flame of her faith, for the amount of devotion experienced at the time of Holy Communion mainly depends on the fervor of the act of faith which is previously made.
2d. Consider the hope and confidence wherewith Mary received Holy Communion. The virtue of the act of hope that we make rests principally on our desire for Him from whom we hope to receive help and grace, and in whom we put our trust. Consequently the more fully our confidence is placed in Christ, the more ardently shall we long to be united with Him. But who can depict the yearning of Mary’s heart, her loving desire once more to receive her, beloved Child, the Child who was conceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost, to whom she gave birth, whom she nurtured and brought up, whom she lost in so painful a manner by the death of the cross, to receive Him anew, not this time to be clasped in her maternal arms, but to dwell within her heart, a heart consumed with the fire of love. The longing that Mary felt was in fact the same as that wherewith on Christmas Eve she anticipated the nativity of the wondrous Infant, as that wherewith she sought the divine Child for three days in the streets of Jerusalem, as that wherewith, standing beside the sepulchre, she awaited the moment of His glorious resurrection. Oh kindle your cold heart at Mary’s glowing heart, and before every Communion awaken within your soul the warmest desire to receive your Lord, resting all your hope, all your trust on Him, for on this depends to a great extent the grace imparted in Holy Communion. This we may learn from the example of the saints, for whom it was the source of countless graces but who on their part approached the Blessed Sacrament, enkindled, burning with desire, with intense longing for the Lord they loved. To what object is your hope, the yearning of your soul directed?
3d. Consider the love wherewith Mary received Holy Communion. It may confidently be asserted that no created being ever clung to Jesus with an affection in any way equal to that of Mary. From the very outset how pure and steady was the flame of divine charity burning within the heart of that immaculate Virgin, conceived without the stain of original sin which renders man God’s enemy; how hotly the sacred fire of charity glowed within her breast, for it was with no ordinary affection, but with a mother’s tender love that she embraced the holy Child, who was at one and the same time her God and the Son of her womb.
Meditate deeply to-day, my soul, on this love that Mary felt; always think of her for a few moments before you go to Communion, in order that your cold heart may be kindled by some spark of her great charity, and pray in the words of Thomas a Kempis: “Lord my God, my Creator, and my Redeemer, I desire to receive Thee this day with such affection, reverence, praise and honor, with such gratitude, worthiness and love, with such faith, hope and purity as Thy most holy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary received Thee and longed for Thee.” (Imit. B. iv. ch. 17.)
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.
June Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Virtues to practice: Obedience, piety, dutifulness
DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART.
CONSIDERATIONS.—Jesus-Christ desires that we should often visit Him in His Holy Temple, either in person or in spirit. He is the King of heaven, the Sovereign Master of the universe, and nevertheless His happiness is to be on earth with men. His love for them brings Him down from heaven to visit them. He is really present, body and soul, in the Blessed Eucharist, as on a throne of grace, to receive our homage and load us with His favors. Let us at least desire to visit Him often. Good intentions are of the same value in the sight of God as actions, when we cannot perform the latter. We are looked upon, by the One Who reads all hearts, as having done what we would do, were we able, when we make up for the deficiency by good desires.
Prayer.—O Sacred Heart of my God! send me not from Thee as I deserve; but be still the sure asylum and salutary source whither I shall go to partake of the abundant waters that will efface my offences. Yes, O Sacred Heart, I detest with all my heart my indifference, my ingratitude, and all the sins of which I am guilty in Thy sight.
Be loved everywhere the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (100 days indulgence.)
PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART.
Jesus! Creator of the world,
Of all mankind Redeemer blest,
True God of God, in Whom we see
Thy Father’s image clear expressed!
Thee, Saviour, love alone constrained
To make our mortal flesh Thine own,
And, as a second Adam, come
For the first Adam to atone.
That selfsame love which made the sky,
Which made the sea and stars, and earth,
Took pity on our misery,
And broke the bondage of our birth.
O Jesus! in Thy Heart divine
May that same love for ever glow!
Forever mercy to mankind
From that exhaustless fountain flow!
For this the Sacred Heart was pierced,
And both with blood and water ran –
To cleanse us from the stains of guilt,
And be the hope and strength of man.
Jesus, to Thee be glory given,
Who from Thy Heart dost grace outpour,
To Father and to Paraclete
Be endless praise for evermore. Amen.
An indulgence of 5 years. A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, If this hymn is devoutly recited every day for a month (S.P.Ap., March 12, 1936). (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957)
Prayer to the Holy Ghost.
O HOLY SPIRIT, divine spirit of light and love, I consecrate to Thee my understanding, heart and will, my whole being for time and for eternity. May my understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations, and to the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible Guide; may my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbour; may my will be ever conformed to the Divine Will, and may my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, to whom with the FATHER and Thee be honour and glory for ever. Amen.
300 Days, once a day.
Pius X, June 5, 1908.
Novena for Pentecost.
i. Seven Years and Seven Quarantines, each day.
ii. Plenary, once during the Novena, Feast or Octave.
This Novena may be made publicly or privately, and the same Indulgences are granted for special prayers said every day during the Octave. Any prayers to the HOLY GHOST may be used.
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