Fidelity of the Magi to Grace.
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.
Fidelity of the Magi to Grace.
Let us adore Jesus Christ sending from within His crib His star and His grace to the Magi; the one to speak to their eyes, and the other to their hearts. Let us admire their fidelity in answering the appeal of grace, and let us propose to ourselves to imitate them.
The Fidelity of the Magi was Prompt.
As soon as they had seen the miraculous star, they left without hesitating, without putting off until the next day, without saying, we will go. We saw, they said, and we have come. Once on their way, they did not go astray either to the left or to the right; they went straight to where grace called them. Are we equally prompt in obeying the inspirations of grace, the good advice or the good examples which are given us? Do we not put off until another time the reformation of our faults, forming projects for the future, and executing none of them? Do we not halt on the road through a continual alternative of good and evil, of amendment and backsliding?
The Fidelity of the Magi was Generous.
Their departure was attended with the greatest obstacles. They were kings, if tradition may be believed; how could they abandon their kingdom? They were wise men of the East, some say; how could they compromise their reputation by a step which public opi1iion would tax with folly? Then, the star was going to conduct them into a distant and unknown country. What fatigue to surmount! what risks to run! what dangers to traverse! But nothing stops these generous travellers. When we love, and when we have given up ourselves wholly to God, we go forward without reasoning. They, therefore, set off on their road, and, after a long journey, they arrived at Jerusalem. There they encounter another obstacle, the star disappears. It is not in the midst of the world that we find the grace which guides us. They did not then any longer know where to find the Messias they were seeking. At the same time, they were not discouraged. When we do not know, we ask advice. They inquired, therefore, publicly, and even at the court of Herod, where was the Messias, King of the Jews, who had just been born (Matt. ii. 2 ). How superior was their courage to all human respect, and even to fear of the suspicious and cruel king who reigned in Jerusalem! The synagogue, interrogated by Herod on this question, answered that Bethlehem was the place of His birth. Immediately the Magi resume their travels to the little town which has been indicated to them, and continue their journey until they have found Jesus. Thus acts the generous soul; it goes to God in spite of all obstacles; it knows how to bear privation, discomfort, and suffering in the performance of duty, and does not care for what is said; it wills God alone and its own perfection and counts all the rest as nothing.
The Fidelity of the Magi was Fervent.
Who can say with how much delight they made this holy journey, how they spoke to each other of the happiness which awaited them at the end of it, how they animated each other, how they anticipated, by holy desires, the moment of prostrating themselves before the new-born God; how, during the disappearance of the star, they kept up their courage, a beautiful example of fervent souls, who do not allow themselves to be cast down by trials, who remain firm in the midst of darkness and the privation of sensible enjoyments? Who can imagine, how, on seeing the star again, their hearts revived and were inflamed (Matt. ii. 10). Is it thus that we welcome grace, when its light offers itself to us? Oh, if we but knew how to appreciate it (John iv. 10.) Lastly, our thrice-happy travellers arrive at the crib; and there, far from their fervor being disconcerted or cooled at the sight of so poor a place, of so poor a woman, of such poor swaddling-clothes, they are overcome with stupor before such greatness brought low, so much splendor hidden, so much majesty diminished; they prostrate themselves with their faces on the ground, and they adore (Matt. ii. II). What pious homage is contained in this adoration, what respect, what love, what joy, what astonishment, what praise, and what offerings! Oh, what beautiful models for us in our prayers, or before the Blessed Sacrament!
Make the resolution: 1st, to obey with promptitude, with generosity and fervor, all the inspirations of grace; 2d, we will remain often in spirit before the crib, uniting our praise with their homage, our adoration and our love with their adoration and their love. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the very words of the pious kings: “We have seen His star in the East, and are come to adore Him” (Matt. ii. 2 ).
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.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor Nine Day Novena
(December 31 – January 8)
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, thou are after Jesus our only hope. O Most Holy Virgin, whose merits have raised thee high above angel choirs to the very throne of the Eternal and whose foot crushed the head of the infernal serpent, thou art strong against the enemies of our salvation. O Mother of God, thou art our Mediatrix most kind and loving. Hasten, then, to our help, and as thou didst once save thy beloved City from ravaging flames and our Country from an alien foe, do now have pity on our misery, and obtain for us the graces we beg of thee. Deliver us from the wiles of Satan, assist us in the many trials which beset our path in this valley of tears, and be to us truly Our Lady of Prompt Succor now and especially at the hour of our death. Amen.
O Mary, Mother of God, who amid the tribulations of the world, watches over us and over the Church of thy Son, be to us and to the Church, truly, Our Lady of Prompt Succor; make haste to help us in all our necessities, that in this fleeting life thou may be our succor, and obtain for us [mention your request here] Help us to gain life everlasting through the merits of Jesus, thy Son, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us. (Three times.)
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P.S. 9th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!