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Saturday after Sexagesima


Martyrology -18th February

Upon the 18th day of February, were born into the better life:

At Jerusalem, the blessed martyr Simeon, Bishop of that holy city [from the year 46 to the year 107.] This is he of whom it is recorded that he was the son of Cleophas and the kinsman of the Saviour according to the flesh. He was ordained Bishop of Jerusalem next after James, the brother of the Lord. In the persecution under Trajan he was put to many torments and suffered martyrdom, and the judge and all men marvelled to see with how great boldness and firmness he endured the grievous torment of the cross at his great age, for he was an hundred and twenty years old.

At Ostia, the holy brethren Maximus and Claudius, and Praeperdigna, the wife of Claudius, and their two sons, Alexander and Cutias, all martyrs, [in the year 295.] They were a very noble race, and by command of the Emperor Diocletian they were arrested and sent into exile, then they were consumed with fire, and so offered a sacrifice of sweet savour unto God himself. Their relics were cast into the river, but the Christians sought for them and buried them hard by the city.

In Africa, the holy martyrs Lucius, Sylvan, Rutulus, Classicus, Secundinus, Fructulus, and Maximus.

At Constantinople, [in the year 449,] holy Flavian, Bishop of that see, who, because he defended the Catholic faith at Ephesus, was assailed by the followers of the wicked Dioscorus with cuffs and kicks, and sent into exile, where he died after three days.

At Toledo, [in the year 631,] the holy Confessor Helladius, Bishop of that see.

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 Thou dost 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 Sexagesima: Spiritual Reading

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will meditate tomorrow upon spiritual reading, and we shall see: first, what is the excellence of it; second, how we must perform it. We will then make the resolution: first, to be exact in reading every day some spiritual book, and in order that we may do so, to fix the precise time in our rule of life; second, to derive from this reading, as we do in meditation, practical resolutions suited to render us better. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words which history recounts of St Ephrem: “He reproduced in his actions the pages he had read” (Ennodius, in Vita S. Ephrem).

Meditation for the Morning

Let us adore the providence of God, who by means of spiritual books makes us enjoy the conversations of the saints, their counsels, and their experience, and thus gives us a share in the lights and the good sentiments with which the Holy Spirit favoured them during their lives. Let us thank His goodness for the great advantages which this kind of reading offers us.

The excellence of spiritual reading

All the saints have esteemed this practice as one of the most important in regard to the spiritual life. St Paul exhorts Timothy to it. “Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine” (I Tim. iv:13), he writes to him. St Jerome recommends the same practice to Nepotian. “Every day” he says, “be faithful to the reading of some good book.” In order to understand the importance of this advice, let us represent to ourselves a great monarch, who, wishing to introduce to his court one of his subjects who is a stranger to the customs of this new abode, deputes to instruct him some of his principal officers. With what zeal ought not the favoured subject to listen to the advice of the envoys of the prince! Now, spiritual books are precisely these envoys whom God sends us to correct in us what is incompatible with the life of heaven, and to render us worthy to take our place among the angels and saints. The reading of their writings makes these men of God, so worthy of all our respect, live again, in order to instruct us. We need not envy the happiness of their contemporaries; they speak to us by their writings as though they lived with us, and by a happy charm, by a divine enchantment, we enjoy them and their precious intercourse, with this difference: that in some ways we gain more by reading their writings than by listening to their discourses. Because, first, sermons are forgotten and cannot be recalled to memory, whilst, on the other hand, we can always have recourse to the books which contain what we have read; second, preaching passes away like a flash of lightning, and it is difficult to meditate upon it; but books remain before our eyes as long as we like, and we have leisure to meditate upon them in all their parts, to incorporate them, and to change them into our own proper substance; third, in listening to preaching, we only pass quickly before the sacred fire, and we have hardly time to warm ourselves at it; when reading, we remain as long as we like before the divine fire, we can be penetrated and heated by it as long as we like; fourth, when listening to sermons we often apply to others what we hear, without thinking of applying it to ourselves; when we are reading, on the contrary, alone with our book, we apply holy truths much better to ourselves; fifth, a book descends into practical details which are not always in keeping with the more elevated style of a sermon.

Hence it is that spiritual reading has changed so many sinners into saints. Witness the two courtiers of the Emperor Theodosius, who were converted by reading the life of St Anthony; and St Ignatius, who was converted by reading the Lives of the Saints. Witness, lastly, the experience of every day: a good reading well performed raises up the discouraged soul, consoles the desolate soul, encourages the languishing soul, fortifies the weak, makes the frivolous recollected, heats the cold and tepid, perfects the just, to such a degree that whoever is faithful to his daily reading sustains himself and advances in piety, and whoever is negligent in it goes back. Is it thus that we esteem spiritual reading? Are we faithful to it every day? Have we a time set apart for this exercise?

The manner of reading properly spiritual books

In order that this kind of reading should produce all its fruit in the soul, the book must, first, be well chosen. It ought not to be a scientific book, nor a book difficult to understand, nor an amusing and curious book, because that would distract the mind, and would dry up the heart. It ought to be a pious book, exact and solid in doctrine, suited to show us, as in a mirror, our duties and our failings. Such are: Rodriguez’ Christian Perfection, The Imitation of Jesus Christ, The Spiritual Combat; the various works of Father de Grenade; St Francis de Sales’ Introduction to a Devout Life, his Spiritual Colloquies, his True and Solid Piety; Lombez’ Interior Peace. Such are also the Lives of the Saints, of St Vincent de Paul, of St Francis de Sales, of St Ignatius, of St Francis Xavier, of St Aloysius. Are these our books for spiritual reading?

Second, the book being thus chosen, we must not read it either from curiosity, for that would be to fail in the object we have in view in reading it, and would close our heart to the operations of grace; nor for the sake of the beauties of its style, for that would be to imitate the fool who eats the leaves of the tree and leaves its fruit. We must read with the object and with the great desire to become better, to love and serve God better, and better to fulfil all our duties. Is this the object of our reading? Third, the intention being thus laid down, we must, before beginning to read, recollect ourselves before God in order to dispose ourselves to listen to His voice, and we must pray to Him to speak to our heart (I Sam. i:9–10). Then we read quietly, appreciating and weighing what we read; pausing at passages where we are touched and as long as we are touched; applying what we read to ourselves, and deducting from it resolutions to reform such and such a particular defect in our life, according to what we read. By reading thus, we read little, but we read well, because we reflect much. Is it thus that we perform our spiritual readings?

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.


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