Martyrology - 21st of March
Upon the 21st day of March, were born to the better life:
At Monte Cassino, the holy Abbot Benedict, who restored Monasticism in the West, when it was almost fallen away, and wonderfully spread it, [in the year 543.] Blessed Pope Gregory hath written his life, which was rendered glorious by his graces and miracles.
At Alexandria, are commemorated those holy martyrs who were massacred when the Arians and Gentiles broke into the churches on Good Friday, under the Emperor Constantius and the Prefect Philagrius.
On the same day, [in the end of fourth century,] the holy martyrs Philemon and Domninus.
At Catanae holy Birillus, who was ordained Bishop of that see by the blessed Apostle Peter, and after he had converted many Gentiles to the faith fell asleep in peace in extreme old age.
At Alexandria, the blessed Hermit Serapion, Bishop of Thmuis, a man of great power, who was driven into exile by the rage of the Arians, and there passed away to be ever with the Lord.
In the country of Lyon, holy Lupicinus, Abbot [of Laucorme, in the Jura,] whose life was made illustrious by the fame of his holiness and miracles, [in the year 480.]
And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God
Hagiography - St Benedict
21 March: St Benedict
Benedict was born of a noble family at Norcia, about the year of our Lord 480, and studied letters at Rome. Desiring to give himself altogether to Christ Jesus, he betook himself to a very deep cave at the place now called Subiaco. In this place he lay hid for three years, unknown to all except the monk Romanus, by means of whom he received the necessaries of life. While he was in the cave at Subiaco, the devil one day assailed him with an extraordinary storm of impure temptation, and to get it under, he rolled himself in brambles till his whole body was lacerated, and the sting of pain drove out the sallies of lust. At last the fame of his holiness spread itself abroad from the desert, and some monks came to him for guidance, but the looseness of their lives was such that they could not bear his exhortations, and they plotted together to poison him in his drink. When they gave him the cup, he made the sign of the Cross over it, whereupon it immediately broke, and Benedict left that monastery, and retired to a desert place alone.
Neverthless his disciples followed him daily, and for them he built twelve monasteries, and set holy laws to govern them. Afterwards he went to Cassino, and brake the image of Apollo which was still worshipped there, overturned the altar, and burnt the groves. There, in the year 529, he built the Church of St Martin and the little chapel of St John; and instilled Christianity into the townspeople and inhabitants. He grew in the grace of God day by day, so that being endowed with the spirit of prophecy he foretold things to come. When Totila, King of the Goths, heard of it, and would see whether it really were so, he sent his Spatharius before him, with the kingly ensigns and attendance, and feigning himself to be Totila. But as soon as Benedict saw him he said: My son, put off that which thou wearest, for it is not thine. To Totila himself he foretold that he would go to Rome, would cross the sea, and would die after nine years.
Some months before he departed this life, Benedict forewarned his disciples on what day he was to die; and he ordered his grave to be opened six days before he was carried to it. On the sixth day, being the 21st of March, in the year 543, he would be carried into the Church, where he received the Eucharist, and then, in the arms of his disciples, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, and wrapt in prayer, he gave up the ghost. Two monks saw his soul rising to heaven, clothed in a most precious garment, and surrounded with lights, and One of a most glorious and awful aspect standing above, Whom they heard saying This is the way whereby Benedict, the beloved of the Lord, goeth up to heaven.
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:
Ask the Prayers of the Blessed Virgin, your Guardian Angel, and your Patron Saint.
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 angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
℟ And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
℣ Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
℟ Be it done unto me according to thy word.
℣ And the Word was made flesh.
℟ And dwelt among us.
℣ 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.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Come, O Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
Place Yourself in the Presence of God and Humbly Adore Him.
O my God, I present myself before Thee at the end of an other day, to offer Thee anew the homage of my heart. I humbly adore Thee, my Creator, my Redeemer, and my Judge! I believe in Thee, because Thou art Truth itself; I hope in Thee, because Thou art faithful to Thy promises; I love Thee with my whole heart, because Thou art infinitely worthy of being loved; and for Thy sake I love my neighbour as myself.
Return Thanks to God for All His Mercies.
Enable me, O my God, to return Thee thanks as I ought for all Thine inestimable blessings and favours. Thou hast thought of me and loved me from all eternity; Thou hast formed me out of nothing; Thou hast delivered up Thy beloved Son to the ignominious death of the cross for my redemption; Thou hast made me a member of Thy holy Church; Thou hast preserved me from falling into the abyss of eternal misery, when my sins had provoked Thee to punish me; Thou hast graciously continued to spare me, even though I have not ceased to offend Thee. What return, O my God, can I make for Thy innumerable blessings, and particularly for the favours of this day? O all ye saints and angels, unite with me in praising the God of mercies, who is so bountiful to so unworthy a creature.
The Lord’s Prayer...The Hail Mary...The Apostles’ Creed...
Ask of God Light to Discover the Sins Committed this Day.
O my God, sovereign judge of men, who desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he should be converted and saved, enlighten my mind, that I may know the sins which I have this day committed in thought, word, or deed, and give me the grace of true contrition.
Here Examine your Conscience; then Say:
O my God, I heartily repent and am grieved that I have offended Thee, because Thou art infinitely good and sin is infinitely displeasing to Thee. I humbly ask of Thee mercy and pardon, through the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. I resolve, by the assistance of Thy grace, to do penance for my sins, and I will endeavour never more to offend Thee.
I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary, ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, and to you, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me. May Almighty God have mercy upon us, and forgive us our sins, and bring us unto life everlasting. Amen.
May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins. Amen.
Pray for the Church of Christ.
O God, hear my prayers on behalf of our Holy. Father Pope N., our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, I beseech Thee, the whole Catholic Church, and convert all heretics and unbelievers.
Pray for the Living and for the Faithful Departed.
Pour down Thy blessings, O Lord, upon all my friends, relations, and acquaintances, and upon my enemies, if I have any. Help the poor and sick, and those who are in their last agony. O God of mercy and goodness, have compassion on the souls of the faithful in purgatory; put an end to their sufferings, and grant to them eternal light, rest, and happiness. Amen.
Commend Yourself to God, to the Blessed Virgin, and the Saints.
Bless, O Lord, the repose I am about to take, that, my bodily strength being renewed, I may be the better enabled to serve Thee. O blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of mercy, pray for me that I may be preserved this night from all evil, whether of body or soul. Blessed St. Joseph, and all ye saints and angels of Paradise, especially my guardian angel and my chosen patron, watch over me. I commend myself to your protection now and always. Amen.
Preparation for Meditation
At this point I will read the paragraph in the daily meditation from Hamon’s meditation of the next day entitled “Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation” and, if applicable, “Summary of the Meditation for the Feast...”
This will allow me to be passively thinking about, during the coming night, the meditation, and the points of the meditation, I will be doing in the morning, during my morning prayer.
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us. Christ, 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, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us. Holy Mother of God, pray for us. Holy virgin of virgins, ...
Mother of Christ, ...
Mother of divine grace, ...
Mother most pure, ...
Mother most chaste, ...
Mother inviolate, ...
Mother undefiled, ...
Mother most amiable, ...
Mother most admirable, ...
Mother of our Creator, ...
Mother of our Saviour, ...
Virgin most prudent. ...
Virgin most venerable, ...
Virgin most renowned, ...
Virgin most powerful, ...
Virgin most merciful, ...
Virgin most faithful, ...
Mirror of justice, ... Seat of wisdom, ...
Cause of our joy, ...
Spiritual vessel, ...
Vessel of honour, ... Singular vessel of devotion, ...
Mystical rose, ... Tower of David, ... Tower of ivory, ... House of gold, ... Ark of the covenant, ... Gate of heaven, ... Morning star, ... Health of the sick, ... Refuge of sinners, ... Comforter of the afflicted, ... Help of Christians, ... Queen of angels, ... Queen of patriarchs, ... Queen of prophets, ... Queen of apostles, ... Queen of martyrs, ... Queen of confessors, ... Queen of virgins, ... Queen of all saints, ... Queen conceived without original sin. ... Queen of the most holy rosary, ... Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. 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.
Tuesday in the Fourth Week: A Firm Resolve
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will meditate tomorrow upon the firm resolution which forms the essential character of contrition; and we shall see: first, what is the nature and the absolute necessity of it; second, what are its characteristics. We will then make the resolution: first, to avoid carefully all occasions of sin; second, not to neglect any means of becoming better, whatever sacrifice it may cost us, or whatever violence we must do ourselves; and we will retain as our spiritual nosegay the words of the Psalmist: “I have sworn, and am determined, to keep the judgments of Thy justice” (Ps. cxviii:106).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the Spirit of God inspiring the saints of the Old and the New Testament with a firm resolution, as energetic as it was constant, to lead a perfect life. David exclaims: I have sworn to hate sin; I hold it in abomination. I have said it; I am resolved. The right hand of the Most High has worked this change in me (Ps. cxviii:163; Ps. lxxvi:11). St Peter allows two inexhaustible fountains of tears to flow from his eyes, and makes amends for his faults by a life devoted to God; Magdalene changes her profane fires into a furnace of love; the martyrs take with them to the scaffold a firm resolution not to betray their faith; St Ignatius and St Francis Xavier renounce the world and its glory in order to give themselves wholly to the care of their own salvation. Let us praise the Holy Spirit who caused these great souls to make such sublime resolutions, and let us, with this object in view, render Him all our homage.
The nature and necessity of a firm resolution
A firm resolution, very different from those feeble wishes of which hell is full, of those sterile desires which leave us always in the same state, is an energetic determination, a decided resolution to change our life, at no matter what cost; to be henceforth solidly virtuous, however disagreeable it may be to us; to do ourselves great violence, and to immolate many of our repugnances. The soul, after having made this firm resolution, does not say, I should be very glad never again to fall, but it says energetically, I will not; it is my decision; and if I could begin again, I would rather lose all and suffer all things than to commit the fault of which I have been guilty. It is, lastly, a determination like that which a worldly man makes, not to do such or such a thing which would compromise his fortune, his honour, his liberty, his life. A firm resolution, understood in this manner, is inherent to contrition, and is part of it, because regret for the past necessarily makes the will determine to act in an opposite manner. The motives of the one are essentially the motives of the other; so that without a firm resolution there cannot be true contrition, and consequently neither sacrament nor justification. God will not remit sin excepting in proportion as we are resolved not to fall into it again, and it would be committing a fresh offence against Him to say, I accuse myself and I repent, when in the bottom of our hearts we have an inclination to renew our fault if the occasion should present itself, says Lactantius. Let us here examine ourselves as to how many confessions we have made during our lives without any serious resolution, without any fixed determination to correct ourselves, or else should we be still what we are?
Characteristics and signs of a firm resolution
A firm resolution ought, like contrition, to be: first, universal; that is to say, to extend to all sins, at least to mortal ones, without exception. With God it is all or nothing (James ii:10); but it ought to apply, above all, to habitual faults; that is to say, to the faults for which the heart has an affection, which makes it fall easily and without great resistance, which even leads it to seek occasions for it. Therein lies the true peril of the soul; the weak side of the place we have to defend against the devil. There, consequently, ought we principally to bring our firm resolution to bear.
Second, a firm resolution ought to be supreme; that is to say, it ought to be superior to all attachments to the extent of breaking them off, to all difficulties up to the point of conquering them, if the service of God requires us to do so. God ought to take the first place; it is His right.
Third, a firm resolution ought to be practical; that is to say, it ought to descend from a general resolution to the means of attaining the end we propose to ourselves. The first means is prayer, that channel of grace without which we can do nothing; the second is vigilance over what we say or do, or what we hear or see, over our thoughts, our intentions, our most frequent faults, above all, our ruling passion; and this vigilance ought to have in view, as its principal object, the separating ourselves from all occasions of sin and of punishing ourselves after each fall. The third means is mortification, which alone can bring back our evil nature beneath the rule of order, enable it to maintain recollection, and make passion die by refusing it that which flatters it.
Fourth, a firm resolution ought to be persevering. It amounts to nothing to will to do what is right during a certain time; we must will to do it always. He who refuses to God a single moment of his life cannot please Him (St Prosper), unless he return to Him. Let us examine whether our firm resolution
has these four characteristics.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.