Tag Archives: Meditations on the Life Teaching and Passion of Jesus Christ

Monday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost.

On the Prodigal Son.


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 Prodigal Son.

Suppose yourself to be a spectator of the touching scene when publicans and sinners drew near to the Good Shepherd, and with feelings of contrition pressed familiarly round Him, while the Pharisees, who were apparently just, gazed on the spectacle with malicious looks, and feelings of wrath and rage in their hearts, and said: “This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.” (St. Luke xv. 2.) Jesus, far from allowing Himself to be disconcerted, or deterred from making known His charity towards sinners, proceeds to propound, with the intention of exhibiting more clearly than ever His loving compassion, the three beautiful and consoling parables of the lost sheep, the lost groat, and the prodigal son. Let this last be the subject of your meditation to-day.

1st. Consider what our Lord says: “A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance.” (v. 11, 12.) The Fathers of the Church interpret this passage in two different ways. St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great consider it to signify the relative position of paganism and Judaism in regard to the work of redemption. By the younger son we are to understand the Gentiles, who in Babylon departed out of their Father’s house and becoming scattered amongst the nations, fell to the worship of idols. Israel, however, the elder son, remained at home with his father, that is to say, continued faithful to the one true God. Now when the younger son, the Gentiles, recognizing their misery and the heinousness of their sin, wasting away with hunger for the truth, returned with contrite hearts to their Father, who received them joyfully and lovingly, the elder, by whom the Jews are represented, was angry, and refused to hold any communication with his repentant brother. This wider, more general interpretation of the parable, which is borne out by the testimony of history, differs from the explanation given by other Fathers, amongst them St. Jerome. They give it a narrower application, as being intended to portray the relation of the sinner to the just in regard to our Redeemer. The younger son is the child of God who, mastered by passion, separates himself from his father. The elder son depicts the law-abiding Pharisees who opposed our Lord, murmuring at the charity He displayed to the prodigal son, i.e., the sinner. Finally you can apply this parable to yourself and to all transgressors. The elder son symbolizes the just man; the younger son the sinner who will no longer tarry in his father’s house, will no longer obey his father, but is desirous to spend his substance, the powers of his body and soul, in freedom and independence. Marvel at the beauty and depth of this parable and the divine teaching it contains; meditate upon the three meanings, and keeping the last before your mind proceed with your consideration of the story.

2d. “And not many days after, the younger son gathering all together, went abroad into a far country, and there wasted his substance, living riotously.” (v. 13.) This departure is indeed one to be deeply regretted. When the young man quits the paternal roof, how good and high-principled he is, how richly endowed with mental and physical gifts. How kind, how indulgent, how loving is the father whom he forsakes! What a pleasant, happy, peaceful home he abandons! And what is it for? In order to go abroad into a far country, and there squander all his money, destroy his bodily health and strength by debauchery, and ruin his splendid spiritual endowments by plunging into a vortex of sinful amusements. Meditate, my soul, on this sad course of life, and weep, not indeed for the prodigal in the parable, but for what you yourself are. Or has your conduct perhaps been more exemplary? Have you never forsaken your Father, never wasted your substance, your temporal and spiritual treasures, and especially the rich inheritance of divine grace which was your portion, in a far country, there where your soul ever felt itself an alien, in the kingdom of the evil one, far from your God? Let your conscience answer this question, and according to what that answer is, either pour out your heart in thankfulness or in contrition; at all events conceive a heartfelt compassion for those who are on the eve of becoming prodigal sons; and let your compassion for them take a practical form by interceding in prayer on their behalf or by administering a friendly rebuke to them.

3d. “And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country, and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.” (v. 14, 15.) unhappy young man, how low art thou fallen! Thou didst turn thy back on the well filled table in thy father’s house; now thou art hungry, for, as the Ven. Bede says, in that place where the father is not there is starvation. Separated from God, the soul, after she has had, contrary to her true nature, a surfeit of earthly gratifications, begins to crave for the celestial food of divine truth and grace which alone is suited to her taste and to her needs and which she has lost. Nor is this all. The young man found the mild discipline enforced in his father’s house too strict, subjection to that father’s gentle authority too onerous, he longed to be free; and now he, the free-born son of the house, has taken service with a farmer, he who once enjoyed intimate intercourse with his high-bred father and the distinguished friends of his father, now spends his days in the company of filthy swine. Here we see the lot of the sinner. He exchanges the light yoke of subservience to his God for the degrading servitude of sin; the fellowship of beauteous angels he exchanges for the companionship of foul demons. He who formerly was nourished with the holy sacraments, now with difficulty is able or rather seeks to still the pangs of hunger with the husks the swine eat, the unruly, loathsome pleasures of earth, which like the briny sea-water only increases the thirst the more one drinks it. Endeavor to realize to some extent the misery in which the prodigal son was sunk, and form suitable resolutions according as you see your own condition to approximate more or less closely to his; at any rate pray and perform acts of penance for your erring brother and sister, and speak a word of warning to them. See that you do not resemble the elder brother, who was angry instead of rejoicing when the son who was lost returned to his father’s house.


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.


October Devotion: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary.

Virtues to practice: Confidence.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.

Most glorious prince of the heavenly hosts, Archangel St. Michael, defend us in the battle and in the tremendous struggle we carry on against the Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of darkness and all evil spirits. Come to the help of man, whom God created immortal, fashioned to His own image and likeness, and rescued at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. With the great army of the holy angels fight to-day the battle of the Lord as thou didst of old fight against Lucifer, the leader of the proud, and his apostate angels, who were powerless against thee, and they had no longer a place in heaven; and that monster, the old serpent who is called the devil and Satan, that seduces the whole world, was cast into hell with his angels. But now that first enemy and homicide has regained his insolent boldness. Taking on the appearance of an angel of light, he has invaded the earth, and, with his whole train of evil spirits, he is prowling about among men, striving to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to capture, to destroy, to drag to eternal perdition the souls destined to the crown of eternal glory. That malignant dragon is pouring abroad, like a foul stream, into the souls of men of ruined intellect and corrupt heart the poison of his wickedness, the spirit of lying, of impiety and blasphemy, the pestilent breath of impurity and of all vice and iniquity. Most cunning enemies have filled with bitterness and drenched with gall the Church, the Spouse of the Lamb without spot, and have lifted impious hands against all that is most sacred in it. Even in the holy place where the See of Blessed Peter and the chair of truth was set up to enlighten the world, they have raised the abominable throne of their impiety with the iniquitous hope that the Shepherd may be stricken and the flock scattered abroad. Arise, then, unconquerable Prince, defend the people of God against the assaults of the reprobate spirits, and give them the victory. Holy Church reveres thee as its guardian and patron; it glories in thee as its defender against the malignant powers of hell; to thee God has committed the souls that are to be conveyed to the seats of the Blessed in eternal happiness. Pray, then, to the God of peace, that He may put Satan under our feet, so completely vanquished that he may no longer be able to hold men in bondage and work harm to the Church. Offer up our prayers before the Most High, so that the mercies of the Lord may prevent us, and lay hold of the dragon, the old serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and hurl him bound in chains into the abyss where he may no longer seduce the souls of men. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, fly ye hostile ranks.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered.
V. May Thy mercies, O Lord, be fulfilled in us.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.

O God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name and humbly beseech Thy clemency, that, through the intercession of the ever immaculate Virgin and our Mother Mary, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst vouchsafe to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits that are prowling about the world to the great peril of the human race and the loss of souls. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., Motu Proprio, September 25, 1888, granted to the faithful who recite the above prayer


Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in praelio,
ut non pereamus
in tremendo judicio.

Holy Archangel Michael,
defend us in battle,
that we may not perish
in the tremendous judgment.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, August 19, 1893, granted to the faithful who recite the above antiphon


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Gabriel the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 28, 1876, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of S. Raphael the archangel, with any formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority,
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.


Glorious Archangel, S. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer


Angele Dei,
qui custos es mei,
me tibi commissum pietate superna
illumina, custodi,
rege, et guberna.Amen.

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and guard,
To rule and guide.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VI., by a brief, Oct. 2, 1795, granted to all the faithful, every time that, with at least contrite heart and devotion, they shall say this prayer:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, on the feast of the holy guardian angels (Oct. 2), to those who shall have said this prayer, morning and evening, throughout the year, provided that, on the day of the feast, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church or public oratory, and pray for the Sovereign Pontiff.
The same Sovereign Pontiff, by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 11, 1796, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, at the hour of death, to all those who, during life, shall have frequently said this prayer, provided they shall have the proper dispositions.

The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius VII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, May 15, 1821, not only confirmed the above mentioned indulgences, but, moreover, granted:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, once a month, to all the faithful who shall have said it every day for a month, as above directed, on any day, when, being truly penitent, after confession and communion, they shall visit a church, and pray devoutly for the intention of his Holiness.


The Sovereign Pontiff, Pius IX., by a rescript dated at Gaeta, Jan. 5, 1849, and by another of the S. Congr. of Bishops and Regulars, Jan. 28, 1850, granted to all the faithful who, with contrite hearts, at any time during the year, devoutly make the novena in honor of the Guardian Angel, published by the Rev. Joseph M. Falcone, of the Congregation of the Missions:
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, either during the novena or upon one of the eight days immediately following, if, truly penitent, they confess and communicate, and say some prayers for the holy Church and for the Sovereign Pontiff.
By a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Nov. 26, 1876, the same Sovereign Pontiff deigned to approve that these indulgences may be gained by those who make the novena to the Guardian Angel with any other formula of prayer, provided it be approved by competent ecclesiastical authority.

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