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Monday in the Fourth Week of Lent


Martyrology - 20th of March

The transferred feast from the 19th March.

In Judea, holy Joseph, the husband of the most Blessed Virgin Mary. The Supreme Pontiff Pius IX., in answer to the wish and request of the whole Catholic world, declared him Patron of the universal Church.

Upon the 20th day of March, were born into the better life:

In England, holy Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, who from his childhood until his death shone with holy works and miraculous signs, [in the year 687.]

In Judea, holy Joachim, father of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. We keep his feast upon the Lord's day within the octave of the Assumption of the same Blessed Virgin Mary.

In Asia, holy Archippus, the fellowsoldier of the blessed Apostle Paul, of whom the same Apostle doth make mention in his Epistles unto Philemon and unto the Colossians. [Archippus is called by St. Ambrose, Bishop of the Colossians.]

In Syria, the holy martyrs Paul, Cyril, Eugene, and four others.

On the same day, the holy martyrs Photina of Samaria and her sons Joseph and Victor, also Sebastian the general, Anatolius, Photius, Photis, Parasceve, and Cyriaca, sisters, who all confessed Christ and obtained martyrdom.

At Amisus, in Paphlagonia, the seven holy women, Alexandra, Claudia, Euphrasia, Matrona, Juliana, Euphemia, and Theodosia, who were slain for confessing the faith, and to whom were added afterward Derphuta and her sister, [about the year 300.]

At Apollonia, holy Nicetas, Bishop of that see, who was driven into banishment for the honouring of holy images, and there gave up the ghost, [eighth century.]

At the monastery of Fontenelle, holy Wolfran, Bishop of Sens, who resigned his see, and died famous for miracles, [in the year 720.]

At Sienna, in Tuscany, blessed Ambrose, of the Order of Friars Preachers, famous for his holiness, his preachments, and his miracles, [in the year 1286.]

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

R. Thanks be to God

St Joseph

From the Second Sermon on Luke i:26 of St Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux.

What and what manner of man the blessed Joseph was, we may gather from that title wherewith, albeit only as a deputy, God deemed him fit to be honoured he was both called, and supposed to be the Father of God. We may gather it from his very name, which, being interpreted, signifieth Increase. Remember likewise that great Patriarch who was sold into Egypt, and know that the Husband of Mary not only received his name, but inherited his purity, and was likened to him in innocence and in grace.

If then, that Joseph that was sold by his brethren through envy, and was brought down to Egypt, was a type of Christ sold by a disciple, and handed over to the Gentiles, the other Joseph flying from the envy of Herod carried Christ into Egypt. That first Joseph kept loyal to his master, and would not carnally know his master’s wife; that second Joseph knew that the Lady, the Mother of his Lord, was a virgin, and he himself remained faithfully virgin toward her. To that first Joseph it was given to know dark things in interpreting of dreams; to the second Joseph it was given in sleep to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

The first Joseph laid by bread, not for himself, but for all people; the second Joseph received into his keeping that Living Bread Which came down from heaven, not for him only, but for the whole world. We cannot doubt but that that Joseph was good and faithful to whom was espoused the Mother of the Saviour. Yea, I say, he was a faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord appointed to be the comfort of His own Mother, the keeper of His own Body, and the only and trusty helper in the Eternal Counsels.


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 my 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 . I complete my meditation by saying:

Evening Prayer


Monday in the Fourth Week: The Evil Sin Causes us

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will tomorrow resume our meditation upon the motives for contrition, and we shall see: first, the ill that venial sin does us; second, the still, greater evil that mortal sin occasions us. We will then make the resolution: first, to hold in horror our slightest faults, and to keep ourselves in a very humble state before God for having committed any during the course of our life; second, to fly from them as from a pestilence, from the least occasion of sin, to mistrust ourselves, to watch and pray never again to fall into them. We will retain as our spiritual nosegay the words of the publican: “O God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke xviii:13).

Meditation for the Morning

Let us adore Our Lord Jesus Christ covered with wounds and nailed to the cross for our sins. Our crimes are His executioners, and we are His murderers. O God, my victim, I adore and I love Thee. I deplore my pride, which has crowned Thee with thorns, my effeminacy, which has torn Thy limbs, my love of independence, which has nailed Thee to the cross. O divine crucified Jesus, form within my heart the hatred of sin, of that evil which is so great that it could be repaired only by Thy death, and make me to understand the evils which it causes myself.

The evils which venial sin causes us

It would be impossible to express what all the evils are which venial sin causes us. In the next life, if it be not expiated, it will retard the joys of paradise perhaps during long years, and will cost us terrible chastisement. Even after it has been expiated, it will deprive us throughout eternity of the degree of glory and happiness to which an act of the contrary virtue would have elevated us. In this life it cools the friendship of God and diminishes His graces, those graces, nevertheless, so necessary to our weakness; it diminishes our faith and our appreciation of eternal truths; it takes from our soul the tender love of piety, the joys of the Holy Spirit, the delights of innocence; it enfeebles the will, it moulds it little by little to evil, it stifles remorse, dissipates watchfulness, and thence leads to great falls, which are always the consequence of relaxation. Lastly, when it is converted into a habit, it reduces the soul to a state worse than death: to lukewarmness (Rev. iii:16). For this frightful state has for its fundamental character the habit of venial faults. Therefore St Teresa tells us that God one day caused her to see the place she would have occupied in hell if she had yielded to a temptation of vanity. O my God, how terrible then is venial sin! And yet I fear it so little, I commit it so easily! O my Lord, inspire me with an everlasting horror for it!

The evils mortal sin occasions us

First, it takes from us the friendship of God and leaves us a prey to His hatred. Before the fall we were the cherished children of God, His temple, and the objects of His complaisance. We raised to heaven eyes full of confidence, and we saw there a father whose thoughts were full of nothing but love and goodness towards us. But after having committed sin, how great was the change, and what unhappiness was ours! Slaves and the haunt of the devil, children of wrath, and objects of malediction, there is no longer for us anything in heaven, if we are not converted, but a severe judge whose thunder threatens us. Alas! little though we may reflect upon it, how unhappy we are under the weight of the thought, I have incurred the hatred of God!

Second, sin takes from us peace of heart and leaves us remorse. Whilst we were innocent, we were happy; calm reigned within us, and a sweet and amiable piety reflected outwardly the happiness of a pure heart. But with sin peace disappeared, and gave up its place to distress, to remorse, to anxiety, to the agitation of the conscience, which turns in all directions and everywhere finds nothing but unhappiness. For, O Lord, Thou hast made us for Thee, and outside Thee is neither peace nor happiness.

Third, sin takes from us all our merits and leaves us naked and indigent. If a man had lived sixty centuries, and at each moment had merited as much as all the saints taken together, a single mortal sin destroys everything, takes from the soul all its merits (Lam. i:10), and renders it incapable of meriting anything fresh as long as it remains under its empire.

Fourth, sin takes from us heaven and leaves us hell. As long as we are in a state of sin, we can no longer aspire either to the beautiful thrones on which we ought to be seated, or to the crowns which ought to encircle our foreheads, or to the enchanting society of the angels and saints, of Mary, of the holy humanity of Jesus Christ, or to the possession of God. The only portion which remains to us is hell. Devils present themselves before God, asking of Him permission to cast the sinners into it (Matt. xxii:28). What a position, great God! I am only one step removed from hell! Is it not for me that the thunder rumbles? Oh, how foolhardy and imprudent I am! Pardon, my God, mercy! I deplore my sin, I detest it with my whole soul!

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.


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