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.
In our meditations during the season of Advent we saw the unspeakable misery brought upon the human race through eating what was forbidden. Christ came in order to deliver us from the consequences of that indulgence, and fasting, the practice which is most directly opposed to it, plays an important part in His work of redemption. Contemplate your Redeemer and observe how He began His public ministry with fasting, with a fast of forty days duration, and how fasting was the accompaniment of all He did and suffered. From the time of the Last Supper until He breathed His last upon the cross, the gall which was placed to His lips, the vinegar offered to quench His thirst, were all which He had to sustain nature in the way of food or drink. And while you keep before your eyes the Saviour who fasts so austerely, consider:
1st. That fasting invests man with great dignity, inasmuch as he thereby shows himself to be superior to animal gratification, shows himself to be lord over nature. For mark this: Strictly speaking it is not only inordinate participation in food and drink that is a degradation of humanity; even the simple consumption of ordinary nourishment is more or less a humiliation to man, since it proves that he, the lord of creation, requires creatures to sustain his life; that he must, if he would preserve himself from death, daily assimilate lifeless matter. For the aliments he takes to keep him alive, whether animal or vegetable, are all dead. It was otherwise before the fall; then the consumption of food was rather a gracious condescension on the part of man to inanimate nature, which he in the form of food and drink raised to and transformed into his higher nature. But since sin came into the world, man has become subject to his lower nature; he is compelled to take food or else he would die. That there is a certain humiliation in this obligation may be gathered from the fact that when one thinks of persons for whom one entertains a great respect . . . one does not picture them to oneself at table; least of all are we inclined to connect the idea of eating with the highest of all beings, with The person of our Lord. He therefore who fasts only takes such an amount of food and drink as is absolutely necessary; he returns, as it were, to the original dignity of man. All eminent saints in whom human nature was seen in its original sanctity and supremacy fasted most rigorously.
2d. Consider that fasting imparts to man moral power of a high degree. Just as inordinate indulgence in the pleasures of the table weakens a man’s moral power, and makes him incapable of elevated thought and lofty deeds, so nothing fortifies our soul like fasting. This is easy to understand. He who has mastered the strongest and most natural impulse of his physical being, the craving for food and drink, will more easily master his other passions. An abstemious man is not apt to be guilty of serious moral delinquencies. He who is accustomed to deny himself in the enjoyment of food, a pleasure natural to him, will experience little difficulty in abstaining from other unnatural and sinful gratifications. Look at those heroes of virtue who gave practical proof of possessing the highest moral courage, did not they all fast most strictly? St. Bernard and St. Benedict, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa and St. Veronica, did not they all fast, in order to attain moral strength and fortitude?
3d. Consider that fasting helps men to become saints. How many other virtues one practises when one fasts! When you fast, you practise self-denial and temperance, you practise them in obedience to the precept of the Church or the Rule of your Order, and your obedience is actuated by motives of humility and of the love of God; moreover in fasting you perform an act of fraternal charity, inasmuch as you benefit your neighbor spiritually by the edification your good example gives him, and you benefit him physically by giving him the aliments you deny to yourself. See what a fair garland of virtue is woven round the act of sacrifice that is performed every time that you fast. Hence the saints always made use of fasting as a stepping-stone to sanctity. But here let me warn you of a danger to be avoided. St. Ambrose says: “Of what avail is it to exhaust the body with fasting, if at the same time you indulge the heart in guile and malice?” Mere abstinence from food does not render a man holy; spiritual fasting is a necessary accompaniment. Fasting must not be confined to the mortification of the palate, but extend to all the five senses; and the means to be employed in order to combine spiritual fasting with corporal fasting for the future, so as to render your period of fasting salutary to yourself and acceptable to God, must be seriously considered, and this will form a fitting conclusion to the present meditation.
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.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of us, have mercy on us.
Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us.
Jesus, author of life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, example of virtues, have mercy on us.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our refuge, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the poor, have mercy on us.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us.
Jesus, true light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us.
Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our way and our life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, light of Confessors, have mercy on us.
Jesus, purity of Virgins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, crown of all Saints, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the neglect of Thine inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus.
By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy most divine life, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy labors, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Cross and dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let Us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who has said, Ask and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you, mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name, for Thou never failest to help and to govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast love: who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
– Raccolta 113 An indulgence of 7 years. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, for the daily and devout recitation of this litany (S. C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S. P. Ap., Jan. 2, 1933).
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. Thou art the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that Thy Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
Prayer in honor of the Holy Name
O my Jesus, Thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. Hitherto I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips.
Most holy Virgin, obtain for me the grace of invoking the name of Thy Son Jesus in all my necessities, together with thine own, my Mother Mary; but let me invoke them always with confidence and love, so that I may be able also to say to thee as did the devout Alphonsus Rodriguez: “Jesus and Mary, may I suffer for thee; may I die for thee; may I be wholly thine, and in nothing my own!” O my beloved Jesus! O Mary, my beloved Lady! give me the grace to suffer and to die for thy love. I will be no longer my own, but altogether thine; thine in life, and thine in death, when I hope by thy help to expire saying, Jesus and Mary, help me! Jesus and Mary, I recommend myself to thee; Jesus and Mary, I love thee, and I give and deliver up to thee my whole soul.
The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus de Liguori. p. 163 (Imprimatur 1927)
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