Twelve Meditations and Intercessions for Good Friday

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(1) Jesus the Lamb of God

BEHOLD the Lamb of God, behold Him who taketh away the sins of the world. So spoke St. John Baptist, when he saw our Lord coming to him. And in so speaking, he did but appeal to that title under which our Lord was known from the beginning. Just Abel showed forth his faith in Him by offering of the firstlings of his flock. Abraham, in place of his son Isaac whom God spared, offered the like for a sacrifice. The Israelites were enjoined to sacrifice once a year, at Easter time, a lamb—one lamb for each family, a lamb without blemish—to be eaten whole, all but the blood, which was sprinkled, as their protection, about their house doors. The Prophet Isaias speaks of our Lord under the same {174} image: "He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearers" (liii. 7); and all this because "He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins; ... by His bruises we are healed" (liii. 5). And in like manner the Holy Evangelist St. John, in the visions of the Apocalypse, thus speaks of Him: "I saw, … (Apoc. v. 6), and behold a lamb standing as it were slain;" and then he saw all the blessed "fall down before the Lamb," ... (verses 8, 9), and they sung a new canticle saying, "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God in Thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation" (verse 9) ... Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction" (verse 12).

This is Jesus Christ, who when darkness, sin, guilt and misery had overspread the earth, came down from Heaven, took our nature upon Him, and shed His precious blood upon the Cross for all men.

Let us pray for all pagan nations, that they may be converted.

O Lord Jesus Christ, O King of the whole world, O Hope and Expectation of all nations, O Thou who hast bought all men for Thy own at the price of Thy most precious blood, look down in pity upon all races who are spread over the wide earth, and impart to them the knowledge of Thy truth. Remember, O Lord, Thy own most bitter sufferings of soul and body in Thy betrayal, Thy passion and Thy crucifixion, and have mercy upon their souls. Behold, {175} O Lord, but a portion of mankind has heard of Thy Name—but a portion even professes to adore Thee—and yet thousands upon thousands in the East and the West, in the North and the South, hour after hour, as each hour comes, are dropping away from this life into eternity. Remember, O my dear Lord, and lay it to heart, that to the dishonour of Thy name, and to the triumph of Thine enemies, fresh victims are choking up the infernal pit, and are taking up their dwelling there for ever. Listen to the intercessions of Thy Saints, let Thy Mother plead with Thee, let not the prayers of Holy Church Thy Spouse be offered up in vain. Impute not to the poor heathen their many sins, but visit the earth quickly and give all men to know, to believe, and to serve Thee, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, who with the Father, etc. {176}

(2) Jesus the Son of David

OUR Lord asked the Pharisees, saying, "What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto Him, The Son of David." For so the Prophet Isaias had foretold; "there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse;" Jesse was the father of David, the King of the Jews—and by "rod" or plant is meant the Blessed Virgin; "there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root" (Isaias xi. 1); by the flower of the plant is meant our Lord the son of the Blessed Mary. "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him" (verse 2); this the Holy Ghost did at His Baptism. And Jeremias says: "Behold the days come, and I will raise up to David a just Branch, and a King shall reign, and shall be wise, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In those days Juda shall be saved ... and this is the name that they shall call Him—the Lord our Just One" (Jeremias xxiii. 5-6). Hence the Jews when disputing whether our Lord were the Christ, said, "Doth not the Scripture say, that Christ cometh out of the seed of David?" (John vii. 42).

It was the glory of the Jews that the promised Saviour, the Christ, the Sacrifice and Propitiation of the whole human race, the Almighty Liberator, was to be of their race and country—yet, dreadful to say, {177} when He came, they rejected Him, they put Him to death. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John i. 11). And as they rejected Him, He rejected them. They put Him to death, and He gave them up to their enemies, who burned up their city Jerusalem, cast them out of their country, and they have been a wandering people ever since.

Let us pray for the Jewish nation, that they may turn to their Lord and God whom they have crucified.

O seed of Abraham, O Son of David, O Adonai and leader of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in the burning bush, and didst on Mount Sinai deliver to him Thy Law; O Key of David, and sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and no one shutteth, who shuttest and no one openeth; visit not, O dear Lord, the sins of the fathers upon the children, continue not Thy wrath for ever, but spare this poor nation, which was once so high in Thy sight, and now hath fallen so low. O remember not those old Priests and Scribes, the Pharisees and Sadducees, remember not Annas and Caiphas, Judas, and the insane multitude who cried out "Crucify Him." In wrath remember mercy. Forgive their obstinacy and forgive their impenitence—forgive their blindness to things spiritual, and their avowed love of this world and its enjoyments. Touch their hearts and give them true faith and repentance. Have mercy, O Jesus, on Thy own brethren—have mercy on the countrymen of Thy Mother, of St. {178} Joseph, of Thy Apostles, of St. Paul, of Thy great Saints Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David. O Lord, hear: O Lord, be appeased: O Lord, hearken and do (Dan. ix. 19): delay not for Thine own sake, O my God, for Thy Name was once named upon the city Jerusalem and Thy people. {179}

(3) Jesus the Lord of Grace

WHEN our Lord rejected His own countrymen, the Jews, who had rejected Him, He chose other nations instead of them. Thus the Holy Evangelist, after saying, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John i. 11-13), adds, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His name: who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." That is, so that men believed in Him, whatever was their race or country, He made them His sons and gave them the gifts of grace and the promise of heaven. He had warned the Jews of this, before their time of grace was over. "I say unto you," He said, "that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matt. xxi. 43). And hence St. Paul, His great Apostle, when he found the Jews would not listen to Him, when they "gainsaid and blasphemed," shook his garments (Acts xviii. 6) and said, "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles." And if God cast off His own people, the Jews, so, much more, will He cast off any other people who cast off Him. Hence the same St. Paul says, "If some of the branches (Rom. xi. 17-21) (that {180} is, the Jews) be broken (off), and thou (that is, a man of some other nation) art ingrafted in them (instead), and art made partaker of the root and of the fatness of the olive tree; boast not ... Because of unbelief they were broken off; but thou standest by faith; be not high-minded, but fear. For, if God hath not spared the natural branches, fear lest He spare not thee." This misery has happened to this country, to our own England; God chose it and blessed it for near a thousand years; it rebelled, lost faith, and He cast it off out of His Church.

Let us pray for the recovery of our own country England to the faith and the Church of Christ.

O Sapientia, O Wisdom who hast issued out of the mouth of the Highest, and reachest in Thy Providence from the beginning to the end of all things, and disposest all things in sweetness and in strength, it was by Thy unmerited grace, we acknowledge it, O Lord, that this country of ours was so many centuries ago brought into the true fold, and gifted with the knowledge of Thy Truth and the grace of Thy Sacraments. Alas! how things have changed since then! The people was small then and of little account; now it stands highest among the nations of the earth. Then it was obscure and poor—now it has amazing wealth and pre-eminent power; but then it was great in Thy sight, and now on the contrary it is little, for it has lost Thee. O my God, what doth it profit, though we gain the whole world and lose our own souls? or what exchange shall we give for our souls? Wilt Thou forget, O Lord, {181} what by Thy grace we once were, before we turned from Thee? Wilt Thou not listen to all our Saints and Martyrs who are now reigning with Thee and are ever interceding for us? O, look not upon our haughtiness and pride; look not upon our contempt of truths invisible; look not upon our impurity; but look upon Thy own merits; look upon the wounds in Thy hands; look upon Thy past mercies towards us; and, in spite of our wilfulness, subdue our hearts to Thee, O Saviour of men, and renew Thy work in the midst of the years, in the amidst of the years re-establish Thou it. {182}

(4) Jesus the Author and Finisher of Faith

ST. PAUL tells us to "look on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith." Faith is the first step towards salvation, and without it we have no hope. For St. Paul says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." It is a divine light; by it we are brought out of darkness into sunshine; by it, instead of groping, we are able to see our way towards heaven. Moreover, it is a great gift, which comes from above, and which we cannot obtain except from Him who is the object of it. He, our Lord Jesus Himself, and He alone, gives us the grace to believe in Him. Hence the Holy Apostle calls Him the author of our faith—and He finishes and perfects it also—from first to last it is altogether from Him. Therefore it was that our Lord said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark ix. 22-23). And hence the poor man to whom He spoke, who believed indeed already, but still feebly, made answer—"crying out with tears, I do believe, Lord; help Thou my unbelief." Hence, too, on another occasion, the Apostles said to our Lord, "Increase our faith" (Luke xvii. 5). And St. Paul draws out fully the whole matter when he reminds his converts, "And you (hath He raised), when you were dead in your offences and sins, wherein in time past you walked, according to the course of this world, ... in {183} which we all conversed in time past, ... and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest; but God (who is rich in mercy), for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together in Christ ... By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God" (Ephesians ii. 1-8).

Let us pray for all the scorners, scoffers, and unbelievers, all false teachers and opposers of the truth, who are to be found in this land.

O Lord Jesus Christ, upon the Cross Thou didst say: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And this surely, O my God, is the condition of vast multitudes among us now; they know not what they might have known, or they have forgotten what once they knew. They deny that there is a God, but they know not what they are doing. They laugh at the joys of heaven and the pains of hell, but they know not what they are doing. They renounce all faith in Thee, the Saviour of man, they despise Thy Word and Sacraments, they revile and slander Thy Holy Church and her Priests, but they know not what they are doing. They mislead the wandering, they frighten the weak, they corrupt the young, but they know not what they do. Others, again, have a wish to be religious, but mistake error for truth—they go after fancies of their own, and they seduce others and keep them from Thee. They know not what they are doing, but Thou canst make them know. O Lord, we urge Thee by Thy own dear {184} words, "Lord and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Teach them now, open their eyes here, before the future comes; give them faith in what they must see hereafter, if they will not believe in it here. Give them full and saving faith here; destroy their dreadful delusions, and give them to drink of that living water, which whoso hath shall not thirst again. {185}

(5) Jesus the Lord of Armies

AMONG the visions which the beloved disciple St. John was given to see, and which he has recorded in his Apocalypse, one was that of our Lord as the commander and leader of the hosts of the Saints in their warfare with the world. "I saw," he says, "and behold a white horse, and He that sat on him had a bow, and there was a crown given Him; and He went forth conquering that He might conquer" (Apoc. vi. 2). And again, "I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and with justice doth He judge and fight" (Apoc. xix. 11) … "And he was clothed with a garment, sprinkled with blood, and His Name is called, The Word of God. And the armies that are in heaven followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean" (verse 13). Such is the Captain of the Lord's Host, and such are His soldiers. He and they ride on white horses, which means, that their cause is innocent, and upright and pure. Warriors of this world wage unjust wars, but our Almighty Leader fights for a heavenly cause and with heavenly weapons—and in like manner His soldiers fight the good fight of faith; they fight against their and their Master's three great enemies, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. He is covered with blood, but it is His own {186} blood, which He shed for our redemption. And His followers are red with blood, but still again it is His blood, for it is written "they have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Apoc. vii. 14). And again He and they are certain of victory because it is said "He went forth conquering that He might conquer" (Apoc. vi. 2). So let us say with the Psalmist "Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Thou most mighty … Because of truth and meekness and justice Thy right hand shall conduct Thee wonderfully" (Psalm xliv. 4-5).

Let us pray for the whole Church Militant here upon earth.

O Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the root of David, who fightest the good fight, and hast called on all men to join Thee, give Thy courage and strength to all Thy soldiers over the whole earth, who are fighting under the standard of Thy Cross. Give grace to every one in his own place to fight Thy battle well. Be with Thy missionaries in pagan lands, put right words into their mouths, prosper their labours, and sustain them under their sufferings with Thy consolations, and carry them on, even through torment and blood (if it be necessary), to their reward in heaven. Give the grace of wisdom to those in high station, that they may neither yield to fear, nor be seduced by flattery. Make them prudent as serpents, and simple as doves. Give Thy blessing to all preachers and teachers, that they may speak Thy words and persuade their hearers to love Thee. Be with all faithful servants of Thine, whether in low {187} station or in high, who mix in the world; instruct them how to speak and how to act every hour of the day, so as to preserve their own souls from evil and to do good to their companions and associates. Teach us, one and all, to live in thy presence and to see Thee, our Great Leader and Thy Cross—and thus to fight valiantly and to overcome, that at the last we may sit down with Thee in Thy Throne, as Thou also hast overcome and art set down with Thy Father in His Throne. {188}

(6) Jesus the Only Begotten Son

JESUS is the only Son of the only Father—as it is said in the Creed, "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty," and then "and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord." And so He Himself says in the Gospel, "As the Father hath life in Himself, so He hath given to the Son also to have life in Himself" (John v. 26). And He said to the man whom He cured of blindness, "Dost thou believe in the Son of God? It is He that talketh with thee" (John ix. 35-37). And St. John the Evangelist says, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father" (John i. 14). And St. John Baptist says, "The Father loveth the Son and He hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting" (John iii. 35, 36). And St. Paul says, "There is one body and one Spirit—as ye are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all" (Eph. iv. 4-6).

Thus Almighty God has set up all things in unity—and therefore His Holy Church in a special way, as the Creed again says, "One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church." It is His wise and gracious will that His followers should not follow their own way, and form many bodies, but one. This was the meaning of the mystery of His garment at the time of His {189} crucifixion, which "was without seam, woven from the top throughout" (John xix. 23). And therefore was it that the soldiers were not allowed to break His sacred limbs, for like the Jewish Easter Lamb not a bone of Him was to be broken.

Let us pray for the unity of the Church and the reconciliation and peace of all Christians.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who, when Thou wast about to suffer, didst pray for Thy disciples to the end of time that they might all be one, as Thou art in the Father, and the Father in Thee, look down in pity on the manifold divisions among those who profess Thy faith, and heal the many wounds which the pride of man and the craft of Satan have inflicted upon Thy people. Break down the walls of separation which divide one party and denomination of Christians from another. Look with compassion on the souls who have been born in one or other of these various communions which not Thou, but man hath made. Set free the prisoners from these unauthorised forms of worship, and bring them all into that one communion which thou didst set up in the beginning, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Teach all men that the see of St. Peter, the Holy Church of Rome, is the foundation, centre, and instrument of unity. Open their hearts to the long-forgotten truth that our Holy Father, the Pope, is thy Vicar and Representative; and that in obeying Him in matters of religion, they are obeying Thee, so that as there is but one holy company in heaven above, so likewise there may be but one communion, confessing and glorifying Thy holy Name here below. {190}

(7) Jesus the Eternal King

OUR Lord was called Jesus, when He took flesh of the Blessed Virgin. The Angel Gabriel said to her, "Behold, thou shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name Jesus." But, though He then gained a new name, He had existed from eternity; He never was not—He never had a beginning—and His true name, therefore, is the Eternal King. He ever reigned with His Father and the Holy Ghost, three Persons, one God. And hence, shortly before His crucifixion, He said, "Glorify Thou Me, O Father, with Thyself, with the glory which I had, before the world was, with Thee" (John xvii. 5). He Who was the Eternal King in heaven, came to be King, and Lord, and Lawgiver, and Judge upon earth. Hence the prophet Isaias says, foretelling His coming, A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder; and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace" (Isaias ix. 6). And when He left the world, He left His power behind Him, and divided it among His followers. He gave one portion of His power to one, another to another. He gave the fulness of His power to St. Peter, and to his successors, who, in consequence, are His vicars and representatives—so that, as the Father sent the {191} Son, so the Son has sent St. Peter. But not only St. Peter and the other Apostles, but all bishops and prelates in Holy Church, all pastors of souls, all Christian kings have power from Him, and stand to us in His place.

Let us pray for our Holy Father the Pope, and all Rulers in the Church.

O Emmanuel, God with us, who art the Light that enlighteneth all men, who from the time when Thou camest upon earth, hast never left it to itself, who, after teaching Thy Apostles, gave them to teach others to succeed them, and didst especially leave St. Peter and his successors, Bishops of Rome, to take Thy place towards us, and to guide and rule us in Thy stead age after age, till the end come; Thou hast sent grievous trials for many years upon the Holy See of Rome. We believe and confess, O Lord, without any hesitation at all, that Thou hast promised a continuous duration to Thy Church while the world lasts—and we confess before Thee, that we are in no doubt or trouble whatever, we have not a shadow of misgiving as to the permanence and the spiritual well-being either of Thy Church itself or of its rulers. Nor do we know what is best for Thy Church, and for the interests of the Catholic faith, and for the Pope, or the bishops throughout the world at this time. We leave the event entirely to Thee; we do so without any anxiety, knowing that everything must turn to the prosperity of Thy ransomed possession, even though things may look {192} threatening for a season. Only we earnestly entreat that Thou wouldest give Thy own servant and representative, the Pope Leo, true wisdom and courage, and fortitude, and the consolations of Thy grace in this life, and a glorious immortal crown in the life to come. {193}

(8) Jesus the Beginning of the New Creation

OUR Lord Jesus Christ is said by His Almighty power to have begun a new creation, and to be Himself the first fruit and work of it. Mankind were lost in sin, and were thereby, not only not heirs of heaven, but the slaves of the Evil one. Therefore He who made Adam in the beginning resolved in His mercy to make a new Adam, and by a further ineffable condescension determined that that new Adam should be Himself. And therefore, by His holy Prophet Isaias, He announced before He came, "Behold I create new heavens and a new earth" (Isaias lxv. 17). On the other hand St. Paul calls Him "The image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature" (Col. i. 15). And St. John calls Him "the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God" (Apoc. iii. 14). The Creator came as if He were a creature, because He took upon Him a created nature—and as, at the first, Eve was formed out of the side of Adam, so now, when He hung on the cross, though not a bone of Him was broken, his side was pierced, and out of it came the grace, represented by the blood and the water, out of which His bride and spouse, His Holy Church, was made. And thus all the sanctity of all portions of that Holy Church is derived {194} from Him as a beginning; and He feeds us with His Divine Flesh in the Holy Eucharist, in order to spread within us, in the hearts of all of us, the blessed leaven of the New Creation. All the wisdom of the Doctors, and the courage and endurance of the Martyrs, and the purity of Virgins, and the zeal of Preachers, and the humility and mortification of religious men, is from Him, as the beginning of the new and heavenly creation of God.

Let us pray for all ranks and conditions of men in Thy Holy Church.

O Lord, who art called the Branch, the Orient, the Splendour of the eternal light, and the Sun of Justice, who art that Tree, of whom Thy beloved disciple speaks as the Tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, and its leaves for the healing of the nations, give Thy grace and blessing on all those various states and conditions in Thy Holy Church, which have sprung from Thee and live in Thy Life. Give to all Bishops the gifts of knowledge, discernment, prudence, and love. Give to all priests to be humble, tender, and pure; give to all pastors of Thy flock to be zealous, vigilant, and unworldly; give to all religious bodies to act up to their rule, to be simple and without guile, and to set their hearts upon invisible things and them only. Grant to fathers of families to recollect that they will have hereafter to give account of the souls of their children; grant to all husbands to be tender and true; to all wives to be obedient and patient; grant to all children to be {195} docile; to all young people to be chaste; to all the aged to be fervent in spirit; to all who are engaged in business, to be honest and unselfish; and to all of us the necessary graces of faith, hope, charity, and contrition. {196}

(9) Jesus the Lover of Souls

THE inspired writer says, "Thou hast mercy upon all, because Thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men for the sake of repentance. For Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made … And how could anything endure, if Thou wouldst not? or be preserved, if not called by Thee? But Thou sparest all, because they are Thine, O Lord, who lovest souls" (Wisdom xi. 24-27). This is what brought Him from Heaven, and gave Him the Name of Jesus—for the Angel said to St. Joseph about Mary, "She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. i. 21). It was His great love for souls and compassion for sinners which drew Him from Heaven. Why did He consent to veil His glory in mortal flesh, except that He desired so much to save those who had gone astray and lost all hope of salvation." Hence He says Himself, "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Matt. xvii. 11, Luke xix. 10). Rather than that we should perish, He did all that even omnipotence could do consistently with its holy Attributes, for He gave Himself. And He loves each of us so much that He has died for each one as fully and absolutely as if there were no one else for Him {197} to die for. He is our best friend, our True Father, the only real Lover of our souls—He takes all means to make us love Him in return, and He refuses us nothing if we do.

Let us pray for the conversion of all sinners.

O Lord, "who didst give Thyself for us, that Thou mightest redeem us from all iniquity, and mightest cleanse to Thyself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works," look upon Thy baptized, look on the multitude of those who once were Thine and have gone from Thee. Ah, for how short a time do they keep Thy grace in their hearts, how soon do they fall off from Thee, with what difficulty do they return; and even, though they repent and come to penance, yet how soon, in the words of Scripture, doth the dog return to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. O my God, save us all from the seven deadly sins, and rescue those who have been made captive by them. Convert all sinners—bring judgments down upon them, if there is no other way of reclaiming them. Touch the hearts of all proud men, wrathful, revengeful men; of the obstinate, of the self-relying, of the envious, of the slanderer, of the hater of goodness and truth; of the slothful and torpid; of all gluttons and drunkards; of the covetous and unmerciful; of all licentious talkers; of all who indulge in impure thoughts, words, or deeds. Make them understand that they are going straight to hell, and save them from themselves and from Satan. {198}

(10) Jesus our Guide and Guardian

THERE are men who think that God is so great that He disdains to look down upon us, our doings and our fortunes. But He who did not find it beneath His Majesty to make us, does not think it beneath Him to observe and to visit us. He says Himself in the Gospel: "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows." He determined from all eternity that He would create us. He settled our whole fortune—and, if He did not absolutely decree to bring us to heaven, it is because we have free will, and by the very constitution of our nature He has put it in part out of His own power, for we must do our part, if to heaven we attain. But He has done every thing short of this. He died for us all upon the Cross, that, if it were possible to save us, we might be saved. And He calls upon us lovingly, begging us to accept the benefit of His meritorious and most Precious Blood. And those who trust Him He takes under His special protection. He marks out their whole life for them; He appoints all that happens to them; He guides them in such way as to secure their salvation; He gives them just so much of health, of wealth, of friends, as {199} is best for them; He afflicts them only when it is for their good; He is never angry with them. He measures out just that number of years which is good for them; and He appoints the hour of their death in such a way as to secure their perseverance up to it.

Let us pray for ourselves and for all our needs.

O my Lord and Saviour, in Thy arms I am safe; keep me and I have nothing to fear; give me up and I have nothing to hope for. I know not what will come upon me before I die. I know nothing about the future, but I rely upon Thee. I pray Thee to give me what is good for me; I pray Thee to take from me whatever may imperil my salvation; I pray Thee not to make me rich, I pray Thee not to make me very poor; but I leave it all to Thee, because Thou knowest and I do not. If Thou bringest pain or sorrow on me, give me grace to bear it well—keep me from fretfulness and selfishness. If Thou givest me health and strength and success in this world, keep me ever on my guard lest these great gifts carry me away from Thee. O Thou who didst die on the Cross for me, even for me, sinner as I am, give me to know Thee, to believe on Thee, to love Thee, to serve Thee; ever to aim at setting forth Thy glory; to live to and for Thee; to set a good example to all around me; give me to die just at that time and in that way which is most for Thy glory, and best for my salvation. {200}

(11) Jesus Son of Mary

WHEN our Lord came upon earth, He might have created a fresh body for Himself out of nothing—or He might have formed a body for Himself out of the earth, as He formed Adam. But He preferred to be born, as other men are born, of a human mother. Why did He do so? He did so to put honour on all those earthly relations and connections which are ours by nature; and to teach us that, though He has begun a new creation, He does not wish us to cast off the old creation, as far as it is not sinful. Hence it is our duty to love and honour our parents, to be affectionate to our brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, wives, not only not less, but even more, than it was man's duty before our Lord came on earth. As we become better Christians, more consistent and zealous servants of Jesus, we shall become only more and more anxious for the good of all around us—our kindred, our friends, our acquaintances, our neighbours, our superiors, our inferiors, our masters, our employers. And this we shall do from the recollection how our Lord loved His Mother. He loves her still in heaven with a special love. He refuses her nothing. We then on earth must feel a tender solicitude for all our relations, all our friends, all whom we know or have dealings with. And moreover, we must love not only those who love {201} us, but those who hate us or injure us, that we may imitate Him, who not only was loving to His Mother, but even suffered Judas, the traitor, to kiss Him, and prayed for His murderers on the cross.

Let us pray God for our relations, friends, well wishers, and enemies, living and dead.

O Jesus, son of Mary, whom Mary followed to the Cross when Thy disciples fled, and who didst bear her tenderly in mind in the midst of Thy sufferings, even in Thy last words, who didst commit her to Thy best beloved disciple, saying to her, "Woman, behold thy son," and to him, "Behold thy Mother," we, after Thy pattern, would pray for all who are near and dear to us, and we beg Thy grace to do so continually. We beg Thee to bring them all into the light of Thy truth, or to keep them in Thy truth if they already know it, and to keep them in a state of grace, and to give them the gift of perseverance. We thus pray for our parents, for our fathers and our mothers, for our children, for every one of them, for our brothers and sisters, for every one of our brothers, for every one of our sisters, for our cousins and all our kindred, for our friends, and our father's friends, for all our old friends, for our dear and intimate friends, for our teachers, for our pupils, for our masters and employers, for our servants or subordinates, for our associates and work-fellows, for our neighbours, for our superiors and rulers; for those who wish us well, for those who wish us ill; for our enemies; for our {202} rivals; for our injurers and for our slanderers. And not only for the living, but for the dead, who have died in the grace of God, that He may shorten their time of expiation, and admit them into His presence above. {203}

(12) Jesus our Daily Sacrifice

OUR Lord not only offered Himself as a Sacrifice on the Cross, but He makes Himself a perpetual, a daily sacrifice, to the end of time. In the Holy Mass that One Sacrifice on the Cross once offered is renewed, continued, applied to our benefit. He seems to say, My Cross was raised up 1800 years ago, and only for a few hours—and very few of my servants were present there—but I intend to bring millions into my Church. For their sakes then I will perpetuate my Sacrifice, that each of them may be as though they had severally been present on Calvary. I will offer Myself up day by day to the Father, that every one of my followers may have the opportunity to offer his petitions to Him, sanctified and recommended by the all-meritorious virtue of my Passion. Thus I will be a Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedech—My priests shall stand at the Altar—but not they, but I rather, will offer. I will not let them offer mere bread and wine, but I myself will be present upon the Altar instead, and I will offer up myself invisibly, while they perform the outward rite. And thus the Lamb that was slain once for all, though He is ascended on high, ever remains a victim from His miraculous presence in Holy Mass under the figure and appearance of mere earthly and visible symbols. {204}

Let us pray for all who day by day have calls upon us.

My Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast given me this great gift, that I am allowed, not only to pray for myself, but to intercede for others in Thy Holy Mass. Therefore, O Lord, I pray Thee to give all grace and blessing upon this town and every inhabitant of it—upon the Catholic Church in it, for our Bishop, and his clergy, and for all Catholic places of worship and their congregations. I pray Thee to bless and prosper all the good works and efforts of all priests, religious, and pious Catholics—I pray for all the sick, all the suffering, all the poor, all the oppressed—I pray for all prisoners—I pray for all evil doers. I pray for all ranks in the community—I pray for the Queen and Royal Family—for the Houses of Parliament—for the judges and magistrates—for all our soldiers—for all who defend us in ships—I pray for all who are in peril and danger. I pray for all who have benefited me, befriended me, or aided me. I pray for all who have asked my prayers—I pray for all whom I have forgotten. Bring us all after the troubles of this life into the haven of peace, and reunite us all together for ever, O my dear Lord, in Thy glorious heavenly kingdom [Note 2]. {205}

Prayer for the Faithful Departed

O GOD of the Spirits of all flesh, O Jesu, Lover of souls, we recommend unto Thee the souls of all those Thy servants, who have departed with the sign of faith and sleep the sleep of peace. We beseech Thee, O Lord and Saviour, that, as in Thy mercy to them Thou becamest man, so now Thou wouldest hasten the time, and admit them to Thy presence above. Remember, O Lord, that they are Thy creatures, not made by strange gods, but by Thee, the only Living and True God; for there is no other God but Thou, and none that can equal Thy works. Let their souls rejoice in Thy light, and impute not to them their former iniquities, which they committed through the violence of passion, or the corrupt habits of their fallen nature. For, although they have sinned, yet they always firmly believed in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and before they died, they reconciled themselves to Thee by true contrition and the Sacraments of Thy Church.

O Gracious Lord, we beseech Thee, remember not against them the sins of their youth and their ignorances; but according to Thy great mercy, be mindful of them in Thy heavenly glory. May the heavens be opened to them, and the Angels rejoice with them. May the Archangel St. Michael conduct {206} them to Thee. May Thy holy Angels come forth to meet them, and carry them to the city of the heavenly Jerusalem. May St. Peter, to whom Thou gavest the keys of the kingdom of heaven, receive them. May St. Paul, the vessel of election, stand by them. May St. John, the beloved disciple, who had the revelation of the secrets of heaven, intercede for them. May all the Holy Apostles, who received from Thee the power of binding and loosing, pray for them. May all the Saints and elect of God, who in this world suffered torments for Thy Name, befriend them; that, being freed from the prison beneath, they may be admitted into the glories of that kingdom, where with the Father and the Holy Ghost Thou livest and reignest one God, world without end.

Come to their assistance, all ye Saints of God; gain for them deliverance from their place of punishment; meet them, all ye Angels; receive these holy souls, and present them before the Lord. Eternal rest give to them, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine on them.

May they rest in peace. Amen [Note 3].

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Notes

1. Add two more Prayers—for Catholic Schools and for the Dead, and leave out the Introductions of Prefaces, and you will have fourteen Devotions for the Via Crucis.—J. H. N.

The Prayer for Catholic Schools has not yet been found. For the prayer for the Dead vide p. 205.—W. N.
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2. Vide footnote, p. 173 [Note 1].
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3. The Prayer for Catholic Schools has not yet been found. Vide footnote on p. 173 [Note 1].—W. N.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
Copyright 2007 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. All rights reserved.