Tag Archives: sin

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost.

On the Man Sick of the Palsy.

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 Man Sick of the Palsy.

Place vividly before your mind the affecting scene depicted by the Evangelist in to-day’s Gospel. Imagine that you see our Lord surrounded by an immense, surging multitude, see how laboriously and yet how perseveringly the four men who are carrying the man sick of the palsy endeavor to bring him into the Saviour’s presence; behold how they go up on the roof and let down the sick man with his bed by ropes, never resting until they have laid him at Jesus’ feet. Keep this scene before your eyes during your meditation.

1st. “And behold, they brought unto Him one sick of the palsy, lying on a bed.” (St. Matt. ix. 2.) This man who is sick of the palsy represents those persons to whom God sends sickness as a punishment for their sins and also for their salvation, for, as the Ven. Bede writes: “Our Lord, by granting forgiveness of sin to the sick man before healing him, gives us to understand that the greater part of our physical maladies are the consequence of sin.” Yet observe the teacher whose words we quote does not say all sicknesses are the result of sin. There are other causes for them, and he proceeds to enumerate these causes as follows: “There are five reasons for which men are visited with bodily maladies: Either to increase their merits, as in the case of Job and of the martyrs, or to keep them humble, as when the angel of Satan was sent to St. Paul (II. Cor. xii. 7) or to lead to the confession and expiation of sin, as in the instance of Mary, the sister of Moses (Num. xii.) and of the palsied man in the Gospel, or for the glory of God, like the man who was born blind (St. John ix.) or finally, bodily sickness may be the commencement in this world of the torment of the damned, as was the case with Herod (Acts xii.) and Antiochus (II. Mach. ix.).” Meditate upon this explanation given by the saint, and you will clearly perceive that bodily sickness, far from being a great evil, is often the greatest blessing and benefit from the hand of God. “A grievous sickness maketh the soul sober” (Ecclus. xxxi. 2), says the Wise Man of the Old Testament. Listen to the counsel a patriarch of the desert once gave to a sick man for his consolation: “My son,” he said, “do not let this illness trouble and afflict thee, on the contrary give God thanks for it; for if thou art no more precious than iron, it is a fire which will cleanse thee from rust and impurity, and if thou art gold, it will serve to refine and perfect thee.” And we read of St. Clare, who for twenty-eight years suffered tortures from all kinds of diseases, that when her Confessor exhorted her to be patient, she uttered these admirable words: “Since through the instrumentality of the great St. Francis I have known the grace of Jesus Christ my Redeemer, I have found no illness burdensome, no pain intolerable, no work of penance onerous.” But, you will perhaps say, suppose my sickness were the beginning of eternal punishment? Consider what follows.

2d. According to the account given by St. Mark (ch. ii. 3) there were four bearers who brought the man sick of the palsy to our Lord, of whom it is said in the Gospel: “And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: “Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.”” Here mark two things: Four bearers carried the sick man to the Physician whose help they sought. If you desire that your illness should not prove, as you dread lest it should, the beginning of eternal torment, but should rather serve to cleanse you from your sins, you must be carried to our Lord by four bearers. Your depressed and broken spirit must rouse itself to confess your misdeeds, the thought of death must be present to your mind, besides the fear of hell and the hope of everlasting salvation. These four bearers will bring you also to Jesus, to Him who can save you. The second thing to which you must pay attention is this: the Evangelist expressly says, Jesus, seeing their faith. He does not mention the faith of the sick man, but of the men who carried him thither, and for the sake of their faith relief was afforded to the sufferer. Here we see the power exercised by faith and charitable intercession on behalf of another, for, as St. Chrysostom remarks, a man often owes his cure to the faith of someone else. Wherefore, my soul, learn hence in seasons of sickness and affliction to claim the assistance of the prayers and vicarious penances of your Brethren and Sisters, for as Scripture tells us “the Lord will hear the prayers of the just.” (Prov. xv. 29.) Many a time God grants to the loving intercession of one of your Brethren on your behalf what He has denied to your own prayers. This truth is confirmed by countless instances in the pages of Holy Scripture; remember how God would have consented even to spare Sodom at Abraham’s entreaty (Gen. xviii. 22), how through Lot’s intercession He did not destroy the city of Segor (Gen. xix. 21), and how often Moses’ prayers were the means of averting evil from Israel. If therefore you are sick, either in body or in spirit, look around in the twofold manner mentioned above for the four bearers; appeal to them, and to you also it will be given to hear the consoling words: “Be of good heart,” and thus you may be assured that your sickness will not prove the commencement of your eternal damnation.

3d. Consider the beautiful, the touching example given us by the four bearers. Nothing deters them from accomplishing their object, no difficulty is too great for their charity to overcome. This charity alone enabled them impossible as it appeared on account of the vast concourse of people to reach the presence of Jesus with the sick man. They went up upon the roof of the house and let down the man sick of the palsy. “Love,” as the author of the Imitation truly says, “love feels no burden, regards not labors; it would willingly do more than it is able to do; it pleads not impossibility because it feels sure that it can and may do all things; it attains its goal where he who loves not faints and lies down.” (Imit. B. iii. ch. 5.) Would that you and all your Brethren and Sisters were animated by this love, more particularly by this charity towards your sick and suffering fellow men! It is such a natural sentiment that it seems almost incomprehensible how Christian people and pre-eminently Religious, can be devoid of it, for are we not all members of Christ’s body? Thus the Apostle expressly declares: “That the members might be mutually careful for one another; if one member suffer anything, all the members suffer with it.” (I. Cor. xii. 25.) St. Augustine adds these words which we should do well to lay to heart: “Lo, the foot treads upon a thorn. Now what is farther from the foot than the eye? It is far as to distance, but for charity it is very near. For the eye immediately looks for the thorn, the body bends down to the foot, the hand draws out that which made it smart; thus all the members are solicitous for one another and suffer one with the other.” Where this is not so ponder the fact well, my soul! the body is sick or even dead. Show that you are not dead, but full of vitality; show it to-day by performing some deed of kindness towards the sick.

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.

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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
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

ANTIPHON.

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
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

GABRIEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL.

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,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.
NOVENA IN HONOR OF S. RAPHAEL, THE ARCHANGEL.

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,
AN INDULGENCE OF THREE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day;
A PLENARY INDULGENCE, during the novena, if, truly penitent, having confessed and communicated, they pray for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

PRAYER TO S. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL.

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
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.

THE ANGEL GUARDIAN.
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.
Amen.

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:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS.
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.

NOVENA IN HONOR OF THE GUARDIAN ANGEL.

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:
AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day.
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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