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Saturday after Septuagesima


Martyrology -11th February

On the morrow we keep the feast of the holy Confessor Gilbert, founder of the Order of Sempringham, of whom mention hath been made upon the 4th day of this present month of February. Likewise on the morrow we keep the feast of the Seven holy Founders of the Order of Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who after great hardship of life, famous for works and wonders, died a death precious in the sight of the Lord, upon Monte Senario, in Tuscany. The same spirit of brotherhood had made them one in life, the veneration of the people had not divided them in death, and Leo XIII enrolled their names together among those of the Saints.

Upon the same 11th day of February, were born into the better life:

In Africa, [in the year 304,] the holy martyrs the Priest Saturninus, Dativus, Felix, Ampelius, and their Companions, who were taken by the soldiers in the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian when they came together in one, as the use is, to hold the Lord's Supper, and suffered under the proconsul Anolinus.

In Numidia are commemorated many holy martyrs who were arrested, [in the year 303 or 304,] in the persecution aforesaid, and for as much as they would not obey the edict of the Emperor to give up the Scriptures of God, they were put to grievous torments and slain.

At Adrianople, the holy martyrs Lucius, Bishop [of Adrianople,] and his Companions. He suffered much from the Arians under the Emperor Constantius, and finished his testimony in chains, [in the year 348.] The others were some of the nobler of the citizens who were condemned to death by Count Philagrius because they refused to receive the Arians who had been then condemned in the Council of Sardica.

At Lyon, [in the year 608,] the holy martyr Desiderius, Bishop of Vienne, [in Gaul.]

At Ravenna, [about the year 170,] the holy Confessor Calocerus, Bishop of that see.

At Milan, [in the year 449,] the holy Lazarus, Bishop of that see.

At Capua, [in the year 450,] holy Castrensis, Bishop of that see.

At the village of Landon, [in the year 507,] holy Severinus, Abbot of the monastery of St Maurice, at whose prayers the servant of God, King Clovis, was healed of a long malady.

In Egypt, [about the middle of the fourth century,] the holy monk Jonah, renowned for his graces.

And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God


Morning Prayer

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Place Yourself in the Presence of God, and adore His holy Name.

Most holy and adorable Trinity, one God in three Persons, I believe that Thou art here present: I adore Thee with the deepest humility, and render to Thee, with my whole heart, the homage which is due to Thy sovereign majesty.

An Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.

An Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

An Act of Love

O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

Thank God for All Favours and Offer Yourself to Him.

O my God, I most humbly thank Thee for all the favours Thou hast bestowed upon me up to the present moment. I give Thee thanks from the bottom of my heart that Thou hast created me after Thine own image and likeness, that Thou hast redeemed me by the precious blood of Thy dear Son, and that Thou hast preserved me and brought me safe to the beginning of another day. I offer to Thee, O Lord, my whole being, and in particular all my thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings of this day. I consecrate them all to the glory of Thy name, beseeching Thee that through the infinite merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour they may all find acceptance in Thy sight. May Thy divine love animate them, and may they all tend to Thy greater glory.

Resolve to Avoid Sin and to Practice Virtue.

Adorable Jesus, my Saviour and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve and will endeavour this day to imitate Thy example, to be, like Thee, mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and resigned. I will redouble my efforts that I may not fall this day into any of those sins which I have heretofore committed (here name any besetting sin), and which I sincerely desire to forsake.

Ask God for the Necessary Graces.

O my God, Thou knowest my poverty and weakness, and that I am unable to do anything good without Thee; deny me not, O God, the help of Thy grace; proportion it to my necessities; give me strength to avoid anything evil which Thou forbiddest, and to practise the good which Thou hast commanded; and enable me to bear patiently all the trials which it may please Thee to send me.

The Lord’s Prayer... The Hail Mary... The Apostles’ Creed...

At this point, please go to the relevant text of Fr Hamon’s Meditation. Once I have read and meditated on the text, and its various points.

Ask the Prayers of the Blessed Virgin, your Guardian Angel, and your Patron Saint.

I complete my meditation by saying:

Holy Virgin, Mother of God, my Mother and Patroness, I place myself under thy protection, I throw myself with confidence into the arms of thy compassion. Be to me, O Mother of mercy,my refuge in distress, my consolation under suffering, my advocate with thy adorable Son, now and at the hour of my death.

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.

O great Saint whose name I bear, protect me, pray for me, that like thee I may serve God faithfully on earth, and glorify Him eternally with thee in heaven. Amen.

Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 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, ... Jesus, Son of the living God, ... Jesus, splendour of the Father, ... Jesus, brightness of eternal light, ... Jesus, king of glory, ... Jesus, sun of justice, ... Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary, ... Jesus, most amiable, ... Jesus, most admirable, ... Jesus, mighty God, ... Jesus, father of the world to come, ... Jesus, angel of great council, ... Jesus, most powerful, ... Jesus, most patient, ... Jesus, most obedient, ... Jesus, meek and humble of heart, ... Jesus, lover of chastity ... Jesus, lover of us, ... Jesus, God of peace, ... Jesus, author of life, ... Jesus, model of virtues, ... Jesus, zealous for souls, ... Jesus, our God, ... Jesus, our refuge, ... Jesus, father of the poor, ... Jesus, treasure of the faithful, ... Jesus, good shepherd, ... Jesus, true light, ... Jesus, eternal wisdom, ... Jesus, infinite goodness, ... Jesus, our way and our life, ... Jesus, joy of angels, ... Jesus, king of patriarchs, ... Jesus, master of apostles, ... Jesus, teacher of evangelists, ... Jesus, strength of martyrs, ... Jesus, light of confessors, ... Jesus, purity of virgins, ... Jesus, crown of all saints, ...

Be merciful, Spare us, O Jesus. Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus.

From all evil, Jesus, deliver us. From all sin, Jesus, deliver us. From Thy wrath, ... From the snares of the devil, ... From the spirit of fornication, ... From everlasting death, ... From the neglect of Thy inspirations, ... Through the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, ... Through Thy nativity, ... Through Thine infancy, ... Through Thy most divine life, ... Through Thy labours, ... Through Thine agony and passion, ... Through Thy cross and dereliction, ...Through Thy faintness and weariness, ... Through Thy death and burial, ... Through Thy resurrection, ... Through Thine ascension, ... Through Thy joys, ... Through Thy glory, ...

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, Graciously 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 hast said: Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; grant, we beseech Thee, unto us who ask, the gift of Thy most divine love, that we may ever love Thee with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease from showing forth Thy praise. Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name; for Thou never failest to govern those whom Thoudost solidly establish in Thy love. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

The Angelus

℣ The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

℟ And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.

Hail, Mary...

℣ Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

℟ Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Hail, Mary...

℣ And the Word was made flesh.

℟ And dwelt among us.

Hail, Mary...

℣ Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

℟ That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord! Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Evening Prayer

Saturday after Septuagesima: The Small Number of the Elect

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will meditate tomorrow on the last word of the gospel of last Sunday: “Many are called, but few are chosen;” and we will consider: first, why there are so few of the elect; second, what we have to do in order to belong to this small number. We will then make the resolution: first, never to allow ourselves to be influenced by the example of the majority, but, on the contrary, to ask ourselves what the saints would have done in similar circumstances, what they would have said, what they would have thought, and thereby to rule our own conduct; second, to lay to heart the affair of our sanctification, and to pursue it with this sentiment in our heart: I will be a saint. We will retain as our spiritual nosegay the words of the gospel, “Many are called, but few are chosen.

Meditation for the Morning

Let us adore Our Saviour pronouncing those terrible words, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Let us admire the sentiments of His heart at that thought, He who so loves men that He desires to save them all; and the prospect of so many souls who will abuse His mission, His passion, and His death, His sacraments, and all the means of salvation which He destines for them, all these things cut Him to the heart so as to make Him cry out in the Garden of Olives: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death” (Matt. xxvi:38). Let us thank Him for the love He bears us, and let us promise to console Him by living the life of the elect.

First Point

Why there are so few of the elect

If there are so few of the elect it is not owing to God, it is owing to man; it is because:

First, the majority do not think seriously of their salvation, and are determined not to think of it. To think of earthly things, well and good, it pleases them; but to think of what they will become when they leave this life, that is just what they cannot bear even to be made to think of. Similar to the labourers in our gospel, instead of working in the precious vineyard, the culture of which is confided to them, that is to say, their souls, they lose time in going from place to place; in talking about trifles and things that are taking place; they occupy themselves with nothing but earthly affairs, and they do not know how to raise their eyes to heaven. In order that they should be saved, it would be necessary that God should save them without their concurrence. Now St Augustine has said: God, who created us without our aid, will not save us without our concurrence.

Second, there are few of the elect, because many, even though they may think of it, dare not resolve for good and all to lead the life which saves. Cowardice stops them, holiness frightens them, the holiness which is so beautiful, which is the secret of happiness upon earth as it is in heaven. They limit themselves to saying; I would wish to be a saint, the elect of God, with the mental reservation that it will not cost me any sacrifice. They never say resolutely: It is decided, it is a fixed determination on my part. I will be a saint, and I shall be. With them it is but a feeble, cowardly will possessing no energy; one of those powerless and sterile desires of which hell is full, one of those half-wills of the idle who are killed by desires (Ps. xxi:25), who will and will not, who say to themselves: “There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets” (Prov. xxii:13); he will devour me. Now it is not thus that we save ourselves. In order to succeed, we must fix this project firmly in our head, take it to heart, pursue it diligently, saying to ourselves and often repeating it: I will be saved, I will, whatever it may cost me; I will, whatever may be said and whatever may be thought of me. Let us examine ourselves by these signs as to whether we are of the number of the elect.

Second Point

What we have to do in order to be of the number of the elect

First, we must avoid the wide road in which the majority walk, and follow the narrow way where but few are found. For since it is the majority who are lost, we cannot hope to save ourselves in living like the majority, but rather in living like the few; that is to say, in not allowing ourselves to be carried away by the habits and customs of the world, and never losing sight of the fact that even amongst Catholics there are but few Christians, whether in the town or in the country.

Second, we must always have present to our mind the signs by which the wide road is distinguished from the narrow, in order not to confound the one with the other. In practice, the wide road is recognised by this sign, that men will not put themselves out of their way, but will live at ease and without constraint; consequently they think that it is sufficient to avoid gross vices and not to do harm to anyone. They do not in the least aspire to be saints, but leave others to do so; it is enough to live as do the common herd. They do the least which is possible for their salvation, choosing in religion just what pleases them and leaving the remainder on one side. They certainly propose to live better later on, but the moment never arrives. The narrow way, on the contrary, is recognised by these signs, that men fight therein against their inclinations and their passions, above all against their besetting sin; that they perform their duty, cost what it may; that they renounce themselves; that they mortify themselves; that they bear their cross; that they watch over their hearts and over their senses. That seems hard, but the practice is full of sweetness.

Third, we must labour for our salvation with courage and confidence. Why should I not do what so many others have done before me? The man who has a resolute will can do everything with the help of grace, which is never refused to him who asks for it. The soldier to fulfil his duty, the merchant to make his fortune, the labourer to gain his livelihood, impose many more cares and sacrifices upon themselves than are demanded by religion. That the man can be saved who wills to be, is an article of faith. Let us examine ourselves upon these principles as to the way in which we walk. Are we not content to live like the great majority, to follow our own ease without constraint, to take in religion just what pleases us, to leave the rest on one side? Do we aspire to imitate the saints and the little number of the elect?

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.


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