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Thursday in the Fourth Week of Lent


Martyrology - 23rd of March

Upon the 23rd day of March, were born into the better life:

In Africa, the holy martyrs Victorian, Pro-consul of Carthage, and two brethren from Aquae Regiae, also two merchants, both named Frumentius, all in the persecution by the Vandals, were, [as writeth the African, Victor, Bishop of Utica] on account of the steadfastness of their Catholic confession, put to the most grievous torments under the Arian king Hunneric, and gloriously crowned, [in the year 484.]

Likewise in Africa, the holy martyr Faithful there also holy Felix and twenty others.

At Caesarea, in Palestine, the holy martyrs Nicon, [a Neapolitan,] and ninety-nine others. [All suffered at Taormina, in Sicily, under Decius.]

Also the holy martyrs Domitius, [a native of Phrygia,] Pelagia, Aquila, Eparchius, and Theodosia, [under Julian the Apostate.]

At Lima, [in the year 1606,] in the kingdom of Peru, holy Turibius, Archbishop of that see, by whose work the faith and discipline of the church were spread abroad in America.

At Antioch, the holy Priest Theodulus.

At Caesarea, the holy Confessor Julian.

In Campania, the holy monk Benedict, who was shut up by the Goths in a glowing furnace, but upon the morrow was found unhurt, [in the year 550.]

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 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


Thursday in the Fourth Week: Satisfaction

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will meditate tomorrow upon the third part of the Sacrament of Penance, which is satisfaction, and we shall see: first, its importance; second, its extent; third, the manner in which to acquit ourselves of it. We will then make the resolution: first, to perform our penance always as soon as possible after confession, accom- panying it with a great desire to become better; second, cheerfully to suffer all the crosses which Providence sends us, and to add to it some voluntary mortifications, for example, in our meals, our curiosity or the desire of our eyes, our personal comforts, etc. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of the Council of Trent: “The whole of the Christian life ought to be a perpetual penance.

Meditation for the Morning

Let us adore Jesus Christ satisfying for our sins, and with this object in view, embracing a life of suffering. He is born in extreme poverty, He lives a life of continual labour, and He dies in the most cruel torments. O admirable model of penance! beautiful example for those who, animated by zeal for the justice of God against themselves, desire fully to satisfy Him for their sins!

The importance of satisfaction, even after the sin is pardoned

Every sin deserves a penalty, every injury a reparation. Our sin deserved eternal punishment; by the Sacra- ment of Penance God changes it into a temporal penalty. Thou dost pardon, Lord, the sinner who confesses his sin, says St Augustine, but on condition that he will punish himself for it. And what can be more just? Is it right that the Innocent, that the Man-God should suffer the most cruel of deaths for sin, and that the guilty should receive the price of His death without taking part in the expiation? St Paul did not think so when he said, “Fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ” (Coloss. i:24). “If we suffer with Him we may be also glorified with Him” (Rom. viii:17). The Church is of the same opinion when she calls penance a laborious baptism, which justifies the soul only on the condition that many tears are shed and much penance endured (Cone. Trid. Sess. xiv c. xi). Thus God pardons in His goodness, but in His justice He requires a satisfaction. Satisfaction performed by man is incapable, through its own merit, of sat- isfying His justice, but in His goodness He authorises man to take advantage of the satisfactory works of the Saviour, by uniting them with His, and thereby appropriating to Himself their infinite value. In this man ner justice and goodness are fully satisfied. Let us admire and bless this marvellous arrangement of divine wisdom.

The extent of the satisfaction due to pardoned sin

If the penance imposed by the confessor is, generally speaking, very slight, it is only from a fear of discour- aging the penitent by requiring more; but in reality a very different satisfaction is due. We owe to God, says Tertullian, a penance which shall be a compensation, and, as it were, an abridgement of everlasting fires. And the Council of Trent adds that the whole of the Christian life ought to be a perpetual penance. If God pardoned Adam and David, it was only on condition that they should be punished with dreadful penalties: the one in himself and in all his posterity; the other in his person and in his people. The saints, after having received pardon, did not on that account the less devote themselves during their whole life to austere penance; lastly, the just in purgatory, although God pardons them, are not the less obliged to suffer torments compared with which all the sufferings of life are slight. O justice of God, how severe thou art, and what enemies we are of ourselves in performing so little penance in this world!

The manner of satisfying God for our sins.

First, we must scrupulously perform the penance imposed by the confessor. Particular graces are attached to it, inasmuch as it is an integral part of the sacrament; and, on the other side, to omit it would be to mutilate the sacrament and thereby wound Jesus Christ. To retard it would be to diminish the merit of it, which would enable us to lead a better life; it would be to diminish the merit in question by the venial sins which we should commit in the interval; it would even be to lose it entirely if, during the interval, we were to fall into mortal sin. Lastly, it would be to fail as regards the object of the penance, since it is often given us as a preservation against a relapse, or a remedy for our sin, or as a means of sanctifying certain feast days.

Second, we must receive this penance with respect and submission, as being imposed upon us by Jesus Christ in the person of His minister; looking upon it as being infinitely below what our sins deserve, and accomplishing it devoutly with a great desire to lead a better life, and with sorrow for the past.

Third, to this sacramental penance we must unite the endurance of all the difficulties of our position or state of life, all the infirmities of our bodies, the trying temperature of the seasons, the various disagreeable circumstances of life, the defects of our neighbour, accepting all these crosses in a spirit of penance, and often saying to ourselves: What is this in comparison with hell, where I have deserved to burn forever and ever?

Fourth, we must, in the same spirit of penance, refuse to listen to the demands made upon us by our effeminacy and sensuality; we must renounce dangerous amusements, and such as are useless or too much prolonged, the satisfaction of curiosity, of self-will, of self-love, of our temperament; we must find our pleasure in doing our duty and deprive ourselves of the rest, saying with that holy penitent who was asked to join in parties of pleasure, of the table, and of the play: “I leave all that to righteous souls; as for me who have sinned and am in danger of sinning again, my portion is to sigh and to perform penance” (St. Pacian, ap. Baron.). Do we put in practice these various ways of satisfying the divine justice?

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.


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