*e Of the Ascension of the Lord, and of His last appearance
BLESS Thee, and give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory, Maker of Heaven and earth, Lord of Angels, and Saviour of men, Who abhorrest the proud, and comfortest the humble: I bless Thee and give thanks to Thee for having on this day— in the sight of Thy disciples, with joyful countenance, and with Thy glorious Body clad with light as with a garment, amid the songs of angels, with the voice of the trumpet and with a merry noise, by the power of Thy own might—ascended in triumph far above the heavens in all their vastness, above the starry firmament, above the Cherubim and the Seraphim, above the glory of the Angels, and the most exalted of created things. I bless and thank Thee for that, after having overcome the prince of this world, Thou didst open the way of life and glory to the friends, whom Thou hadst chosen and united to Thee, whom Thou hadst called out of the world, and to whom Thou hadst given strength to follow Thee along the rough way of the Cross.
0 Lord, my God, how excellent is Thy Name in all the world! O King of Heaven, how glorious was Thy return to the Kingdom of Thy Father! With what great honour and glory wast Thou crowned above all Thy Saints, and how worthy wast Thou of being made to sit at the Right Hand of Thy Father, because Thou didst deliver Thy Soul to death, and didst vouchsafe to die for the ungodly, in order that Thou mightest give life to Thy people, and mightest make them sit down with Thee at Thy table in Thy Kingdom—prepared for them before the foundation of the world, not because of their own merits or virtues, but for Thy mercies' sake alone, and of Thy unbounded love and pity. How surpassing is the dignity of man's estate, in that our nature, taken into the Person of God, should be placed above every creature in Heaven and on earth. Right and meet therefore is it, that at Thy Name, O most sweet Jesus, all creatures, whether in Heaven, or on earth, or in Hell, should in thanksgiving and bounden duty of praise fall down and bow the knee; should adore Thy glorious Presence; should kiss the footstool of Thy Feet; and should praise and magnify Thy glorious and Holy Name above all things, world without end.
1 praise and magnify Thee for Thy gracious visitation of, and last appearance to, Thy disciples as they were sitting assembled together in the Room of the Last Supper, conversing devoutly about Thee, and wishing above everything to see Thee again. Glad indeed were they when, during the meal, Thou didst come to them for their special comfort. Whenever they came together for meals or friendly intercourse the first thing they did was to speak together about God, and the Kingdom of God, about peace and charity, about godly living and the salvation of souls. The care and thought they gave to the meat and drink to be set before them was less and only secondary. Having all things in common, they had no craving for special or dainty dishes. The community life of holy men is ample and sufficient; but those who wish to have things specially for themselves are seldom inwardly content, and lose the good that comes of having things in common.
Especially do I praise Thee, most exalted and everlasting King, for so lovingly sharing the life of those poor Apostles of Thine instead of choosing for thy companions kings and chief priests, and men rich in this world's goods. To such as these Thou and Thy disciples, whom Thou hadst chosen out of the world, and hadst kept from associating with evil men, were objects of hate.
Thanks then be to Thee for having before Thy Ascension into Heaven visited and encouraged Thy poor and faint-hearted disciples, who were being left to battle with the waves of this troublesome world. Thou didst reveal to them many heavenly secrets concerning things past and future, in order that, having been comforted by Thy words, they might not give way under the stress of the afflictions which they would have to endure for Thy Name's sake.
I praise and glorify Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Teachermore excellent than all Doctors of Divinity, for every word which, whether in plain or obscure language, Thou didst speak to Thy disciples and to the multitudes; for Thy many most beautiful and deep parables; for thy simple teaching suited always to the capacity of thy hearers; for Thy true interpretation and clear exposition of the Divine utterances in the books of Moses and of the Prophets, who bore true witness to Thee, concerning all those holy works and glorious miracles which Thou didst work while dwelling amongst men, and didst command to be afterwards proclaimed throughout the world.
I praise, and with all the powers of my soul I bless Thee, O most loving Christ Jesus, eternal Shepherd, for Thy tender care of Thy poor and humble flock, surrounded as it was by wicked men, which on this day Thou didst visit and fill with joy and gladness in that Upper Room. After instructing them, and upbraiding them with the stubbornness of their unbelief, Thou didst lead them forth outside the walls of Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, in order that they might behold with their own eyes Thy Ascension in all Thy Majesty into the glory of Thy Father in Heaven—fit consummation of Thy long pilgrimage upon earth, and of Thy work of righteousness and perfect obedience, now fully complete. There, then, in the presence also of Thy most holy Mother, of Mary Magdalene, and of the other women and disciples who were so dear to Thee, Thou didst once more, in the abundance of Thy love, speak to them profitable words concerning the Kingdom of God, contempt of the world, expectation of grace to be given them, and the coming to them of the Holy Ghost not many days after; restraining the while the over-curious questioning of some of them about the end of the world, a matter which was none of theirs.
Having spoken thus, having blessed them with Thy sacred Hands, and having bidden them farewell, Thou wast taken up, by the Power of God, in Thy glorified Body, to the Heaven of Heavens, at whose threshold an innumerable company of saints and angels and of all the inhabitants of heaven (patriarchs and prophets and holy men of old, whom Thou hadst mightily delivered from the power of Hell and made to dwell for ever in a Paradise of delight) came forth to meet Thee, singing and rejoicing together with pipes and harps. Amid all these glorious and rejoicing crowds of holy ones Thou didst mount, joyfully, openly, mightily, and sublimely, to that kingly and highly exalted Throne in the Heavens, which from all eternity had of right been set apart for Thee alone.
I praise Thee, and from the bottom of my heart I thank Thee, Thou only begotten Son of God, for that heavenly and enduring blessing with which Thou didst bless Thy most holy Mother and all Thy holy Apostles and other disciples gathered together on the summit of the Mount of Olives. There didst Thou stand, and there, as it is reported, hast Thou left, for a memorial of Thy Name, holy footprints of Thy Feet impressed upon the soil.
Wherefore now upon my bended knees I adore, I praise, and I humbly worship Thee, my Lord, King of Glory, kissing the Holy Rood, and making the sign of the cross upon the earth or on the floor, in remembrance of Thy love, and for the comfort of my heart in this my exile here below. I rejoice with Thee, O my God, in all, and for all Thy Saints on account of the surpassing joy of this day's festival; for never before was the like seen or heard of in heaven or upon earth—man's nature raised to the Right Hand of the Father, in Majesty everlasting.
mt Of the appearance of Angels in white garments
BLESS and praise Thee, O most sweet Jesus Christ, and on this holy day devoutly do I thank Thee for having (after Thy departure from the Apostles and Thy entrance with the Angels into Heaven) sent two Angels clad in white, messengers of the Court of Heaven, to comfort Thy bereaved ones who were looking up after Thee into Heaven, but were unable to follow Thee. "Ye men of Galilee," they said to them, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to Heaven? Why marvel you at this astounding miracle, the like of which was never seen? With God all things are possible; God, made Man, has gone up with a shout, even as in the psalm it was foretold of Him. Be it yours therefore to carry the tidings, and to bear witness, to others, of the things which you have heard and seen, even as it was commanded you. This Jesus Who is taken upfront you into Heaven, shall so come as you have seen Him going into Heaven. But He Who till now, in order that He might lead to the realms above those who humbly followed Him upon earth, here showed Himself to you as One meek and lowly, will then come in great power and glory to judge the living and the dead."
O my Jesus, Whom I love above all things, remember, I beseech Thee, in Thy glory, me, poor sinner that I am. Remember and have mercy on me, left a stranger and an exile in this vale of tears, mourning and weeping amid the many temptations and troubles of this present life, which so often keep back my heart from thinking of the joys of Heaven. Draw me, then, after Thee, O most blessed Jesus, so that, unable as I am to follow Thee with my bodily feet, I may at least go after Thee in spirit, by the path of holy desire and burning love. All unworthy, all unable, as I am, to behold Thee in the unfathomableness of Thy Divine Majesty, give me grace to follow the example of humility which in Thy Human Nature Thou didst set me.
O blessed sight, to behold God face to face, as He is in Himself, as He is even now perfectly seen in Heaven by the Angels and all the Saints. And now I know of a truth that never can all my desires be satisfied or set at rest by any earthly good. That can only be when I am united to Thee, my God, in Heaven, and am purged from all that is evil. But for this it was that Thou didst go before me to the Father, to prepare the way and a place where I may dwell with Thee; and to obtain for me, by the scars of Thy Wounds, the pardon of my sins, that so I may have great confidence before Thee, both in this life and in that which is to come, by reason of the abundance of Thy mercies, the all-sufficiency of Thy merits, and the assistance of the prayers of all the Saints and Angels.
Ah, good Jesus, forsake me not! Thou Who in the power of Thy might hast wrought great marvels, Thou art my love, and that which my soul longs for; Thou art my Saviour and Redeemer, my hope from my youth up, my expectation, and that in which I place all my trust even unto old age. Thanking Thee from the bottom of my heart for all Thy benefits, I will, with all Thy Saints, love Thee and praise Thee above all things, all the days of my pilgrimage and of my exile here on earth.
And now, O my soul, go back with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with His Apostles, from the Mount of Olives to the City of Jerusalem, there to seek peace of heart and rest from all the cares of the world. Go up with them to that large Upper Room, where the Passover of the old Law was superseded by the institution of the adorable Sacrament of the Body of Christ, there ordained and given to the Apostles. Recollect thyself therefore; remain quietly alone and in silence; wait upon God in prayers and devout meditation, and so prepare thyself, against the approaching feast of Pentecost, for receiving, as did the Apostles, with a fervent heart the Holy Spirit of God. They took no thought of earthly comfort, but awaited, in the privacy of that Upper Room, the new pledge of love to be sent by Christ from Heaven. Call to mind meanwhile the good gifts of God from the beginning of the world until now, and chiefly occupy thyself in conferring with the Blessed Virgin Mary about the Incarnation of Christ: think over all the sayings and doings of Jesus her Son, as recorded in the Gospels, from the day of His Birth to the day of His Glorious Ascension to the Father; and remember that even then He did not abandon His Mother who was so dear to Him, but specially left her to be the comforter of the faint-hearted, and to confirm in the faith the Apostles and the rest of the faithful; for she it was who knew more fully and more exactly than anyone else the works and the miracles which Jesus had wrought upon earth.
(H Of the sending of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Christ at the Feast of Pentecost
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, kind Comforter of the sorrowful, most sweet Visitor of the sick, most powerful Helper of those in trouble, for Thy true and faithful promise of Divine gifts to be sent down from Thy Home in Heaven, and from the Father of Lights. I thank Thee for Thy inestimable bounty, and for the wondrous outpouring of the multiform grace of the Holy Spirit upon Thy disciples gathered together in Jerusalem. They were assembled in the Upper Room, praying and waiting anxiously for the consolation of the Holy Ghost from Heaven: they were not thinking about the things of this life; but, like devout monks dwelling apart from the tumult of the world, in quietude and silence, they had cast all earthly cares out of their minds, and with their hearts fixed upon those joys which last for ever, they were preparing themselves by fervent prayer for receiving yet fuller gifts of grace.
I praise and glorify Thee, O most glorious Jesus Christ, King of the Holy Angels, for the right joyous festival of this day, and for the benediction and hallowing year by year by the Priest (in the power of the Holy Ghost) of the sacred Font, in which those who are baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity are cleansed from all their sins, become partakers of everlasting life, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit are made meet to be accounted heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, and fellow-citizens of the Angels.
I praise and glorify Thee for having adorned this most holy day with many miracles and signs and gifts, and for having commanded it to be for ever observed by the faithful with joyous devotion. It was on this day that in old time the Law was given by Moses upon Mount Sinai to Thy people Israel, when they had been delivered from the heavy yoke of bondage, and had come forth from the land of Egypt to sacrifice to Thee in the Wilderness, where Thou gavest them for food sweet manna from Heaven. And it was for the perpetual remembrance of this deliverance that Thou didst command a special sacrifice of thanksgiving to be year by year offered to Thee of the newly gathered fruits of the harvest.
But now, under the New Covenant, after Thou hadst with great power ascended into Heaven far above all Angels, Thou didst with yet fuller grace and bounty distinguish, bless, and consecrate this holy day; and in place of sweet manna Thou didst send, by a visible sign from Heaven, the Holy Ghost upon Thy Apostles—with a loud noise, fiery tongues appearing upon each of them—in order that inwardly they might be inflamed with love, and outwardly might be ready and eloquent of speech, so as boldly to proclaim, as the Holy Spirit inspired them and gave them utterance, all the mighty works which in the land of the Jews Thou hadst wrought for our Salvation. Very many indeed were they, and such as to men were impossible; but to God all things are possible and easy. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by the famous Prophet Isaias, saying: "The law shall come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Never before had such marvels been heard of as those of this day, when all at once so many faithful men and women received the Holy Ghost by a visible sign, that is, by tongues of fire; prophesied so that all could understand; interpreted Holy Scripture,and spoke the languages of all nations; when men unversed in books or letters were, in the school of God, at once and perfectly instructed by the Holy Ghost, and besides receiving so much knowledge, were also made illustrious by working many miracles and prodigies.
How wondrous and beyond description is the power of the Holy Spirit! He makes all whom He visits, and into whom He enters, zealous and learned, humble and devout, joyous and strong. Learning comes at once where the Holy Spirit is the inward Teacher, revealing the secret things of God even to babes, as seems to Him expedient for their salvation and for the good of others. Especially does He teach His own disciples and secret friends to despise the world, not to set their minds on high things, but ever to condescend to things that are lowly; to think meanly of themselves; to avoid distractions; to take count of their faults and to bewail them; to amend speedily, and humbly and unreservedly to confess, whatever is on their conscience and disturbs them, as being contrary to the working of the Holy Ghost, and so needing confession, no matter how small or trivial a thing men may think it to be.
mi A Prayer of thanksgiving to Christ for His Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Mission of the Holy Ghost with a fuller bestowal of gifts
MOST sweet Lord Jesus Christ, Who desirest my everlasting Salvation, I, a man poor and weak, and undeserving of any comfort or any good thing, would bless Thee; and, together with Thy Saints and Thy Elect, would glorify for ever Thy most Holy Name.
Chiefly do I thank Thee for having, of Thy great love and pity, willed to become man for me, to take my nature upon Thee, outside the course of nature to be conceived by the Holy Ghost, and to be miraculously born of Mary, a pure Virgin; to be suckled and nourished; to be circumcised; and to be presented in the Temple, in order that Thou mightest cleanse me from every impurity of mind and body, and mightest teach me to live soberly, righteously and chastely all my days.
Still more, and every day and hour of my life, do I thank Thee for Thy most holy and most bitter Passion; for it was for me that Thou didst vouchsafe to suffer, to be crucified, to die and to be buried, in order that by Thy sinless Death Thou mightest deliver me from everlasting death, and mightest by Thy example strengthen me to be patient under adversity.
Further, with a heart full of joy, do I thank
Thee for having, for my consolation, risen on the
third day from the Tomb, and given great joy to
Thy disciples by appearing to them in the Upper Room when the doors were shut; doing this that I may not despair in any tribulation of my own, or when any harm or danger befalls me, but may trust in Thee for deliverance from my present trouble, and may have a sure hope of being at the last day raised by Thee, together with Thy elect, to everlasting life.
Yet again do I most devoutly thank Thee, rejoicing with them, not only with my lips, but from the bottom of my heart, for that august procession of Thine to Bethania, and for Thy glorious Ascension into Heaven, in the presence of Thy holy Mother, and of others Thy disciples. Thou didst go before to prepare for me a place with Thee; and to open to me by Thy Passion and Thy Cross the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven, where with the Angels Thou now livest and reignest in the everlasting glory of Thy Father, until such time as Thou shalt return at the end of the world to judge both the living and the dead. This it was which was taught us by the two holy Angels clothed in white garments (a symbol of the joy of this sacred Feast) who at that time appeared to Thy disciples, as they were looking up after Thee to heaven. Oh how blessed were the eyes which were found worthy to behold Thee in the Flesh; and how blessed were the ears which heard Thee speaking of the Kingdom of God, than which nothing can be found more delightful to hear about, nothing more blessed to enjoy!
It was for me that Thou didst ascend into the highest Heavens, above the Angels in their serried ranks, to that place where dwell those blessed ones who even now reign with Thee in Thy excellent Glory. Thou didst thither ascend, in order that all my hope might be set on things above, and might be lifted up to Thee, instead of being fixed on things earthly, and seeking its delight in them. Apart from God there is nothing which is not empty and transient, worthless and of no account. Everything which keeps me back from God, and stands in the way of devout prayer and meditation upon heavenly things, is to be spurned and put aside.
I beseech Thee, therefore, O most loving Jesus, King of everlasting glory, that in the Kingdom of Thy Father Thou wouldst remember me, the least of all Thy servants, and wouldst send to me now from Heaven the Holy Ghost the Paraclete, to be my true Comforter, and to give me renewed zeal and a larger outpouring of spiritual gifts. Amen.
me Prayer concerning the gifts of the Holy Ghost against divers diseases of the soul
POME, O Holy Spirit, come with all Thy gifts, and drive far from me Satan, who with his vile imaginations so often harasses me in my prayers and devout meditations. Come, Thou most sweet South wind, blow through the garden of my heart with the hottest fire of Thy love, and root out from it every fleshly lust, that so, moistened with a shower of tears of true contrition for my sins, the spices of my thankfulness may flow forth at the sweet remembrance of all Thy mercies and favours. Come Thou, of Comforters the best, and lift me out of the abyss of black despondency by shedding upon me the glow of inward joy, and giving me the hope of everlasting rest after my present short-lived care. Help me to overcome weariness of mind by speaking to me in hymns and psalms. Give me, O God, the shield of patience as a defence against feelings of anger. As a cure for the swellings of pride inspire me with the fear of death and of Hell; for who is there that can help fearing the power of Thy wrath, and that punishment which lasts for ever? Keep me from vaingloriousness by making me to realize my own weaknesses and the strong points of others. Make me to shun idle gossip by teaching me to keep silence. Keep me from wanton laughter by making me sad, and drawing tears from my eyes; for it is better to weep bitterly than to laugh about nothing. When my eyes are curious and wandering, bring before them the image of Jesus crucified for me. That I may not care for fine clothes make me to think of the loathsomeness of worms. As a cure for the lusts of the flesh open to my view the graves of the dead. Cure me of the love of wine by setting before me the gall and vinegar of Christ. Instead of the idle rumours of the world make me to hear words of God. Against long stories close my ears, so that poison may not find a hole to get in at.
To keep me from going about in the shops and streets, bind my hands and my feet with the chain of the fear of Thee, that I may not fall into divers temptations. Keep me from despondency and from feeling weary of my life by the grace of Thy holy unction. Keep me from being suspicious of others by teaching me to. esteem my neighbour better than myself. Give me grace to submit to wrong done to me, and to abstain from taking revenge for it, lest in Heaven I should lose the crown of glory promised to those who suffer persecution. As a remedy for the various diseases of my soul give me the healing potions of Thy virtues, and the flowers of holy Doctors. Give me grace to overcome evil habits by curbing, for the sake of everlasting life, my natural impulses. When I find my work press heavily upon me, enable me to regain my peace of mind by devout prayer. When everything seems to be going wrong with me, keep me, O Holy Spirit, Thou present help in trouble, from losing heart by giving me a sure trust in Thee, in Thy surpassing love, and in the merits of the Saints. Amen.
m€ A prayer concerning the cheerful praise of the Angels in Heaven, and for obtaining the grace of devotion in the Divine Office
HOLY Spirit, the Paraclete, of all teachers the wisest, of all physicians the most perfect, with one word and in a single moment Thou canst make the ignorant wise, and canst perfectly heal all infirmities whether of body or of soul. Mercifully assist me, I beseech Thee, everywhere and always; and in my prayers, in my meditations, and when I am singing or reading, graciously pour into my heart the spirit of true devotion, so that I may be able to say my Hours, as I should wish, with devotion and attention; for without Thee all prayer must be fruitless and unworthy of being heard by God, and without Thee I can do no good thing. Whereinsoever, therefore, I fall short by reason of my infirmity, do Thou supply for me by Thy grace. Against the terrors of the night, and the temptations of the devil, grant me the gift of faith, and defend me with the sign of the Holy Cross as with an impregnable shield, that the cruel enemy, who here and everywhere lays snares for my soul, may not prevail against me. When I weary of the long night vigils, or of the Lessons, longer perhaps than usual, give me grace to remember how great are the rewards in heaven which I have now a chance of gaining. When the days of abstinence from food and drink are many, give me the power to fast, and good health to enable me to carry on my work; give me pardon for the sins which I have committed, keep me from falling into them again, relieve me from the punishment they have deserved, and give me a good hope of everlasting happiness with the elect in the Kingdom of God. When I am dull and lazy during the recital of the Divine Office, rouse me by the words of David inspired by the Holy Ghost, sung to the music of psaltery and harp; and disclose to me the manna which underlies the dry letter of the words, and the precious spices which are stored in a casket of small account. Many secret things, rightly hidden from the lazy and the inattentive, are plainly to be seen by him who prays devoutly and meditates thoughtfully. If at Matins I am drowsy, pluck me smartly by the ear, that I may lose no time in waking to hear what the Lord would say to me in the Holy Scripture which is being read, and in the hymns and canticles which are being sung; that so my heart may be lifted up to my God in Heaven, and I may forget those things which are being done on earth.
Keep me from a sluggish habit of body, and open the ear of my heart, that so with my mind as in a trance I may be permitted by Thy all-sufficient help, to behold the secret things of Heaven, and to hear the voices of the holy Angels devoutly hymning and praising God seated upon the Throne of the Majesty on high. Oh that I were one of them in Heaven, and could join them in their song of, "Holy, Holy, Holy.'" They never tire, they never cease to sing their Maker's praise; and because they are full of the Holy Ghost they are on fire with love, they glitter like snow in its whiteness, they give forth sweet scent like spices, their chant is joyful, smooth and sweet. They intone evenly; they join in heartily; they keep time; they sing with voices full of love; the joy on their countenances is pleasant to behold; they are, as it were, beside themselves in God.
Who could grow weary or fall asleep in choir, if he kept constantly in mind the blessed and exceeding joy of the Angels in Heaven? Who would not be kept wide awake by the resonance of those celestial organs, and the harmony of those numberless musicians, singing as with one voice, "Holy, Holy, Holy, for ever and ever, world without end"? And when the very doors of heaven shake upon their hinges with the ringing shout of Angels, shall worms of earth be silent? When the very stones of the heavenly temple cry aloud, and the nine celestial Orders shout to God for joy, shall monks and nuns fall asleep? Even the sun and moon serve God by giving forth their light, and will ye sleep? God forbid! "Awake, ye just," says blessed Paul, "and sin not." Be ashamed, then, of falling asleep, of being lazy; let there be no hurry, no discord, but with all reverence and devotion stand in your places and sing to the glory of God; offer with one accord the sacrifices of joyous shouts of thankfulness. The praise of joyful lips is well-pleasing to God, provided that, for the outward part, the voices are as one, and for the inward part, the minds are pure and attentive. That which at a feast gives most pleasure, that which to a musical entertainment gives most sweetness, is harmony of voice, cheerfulness of countenance, and honesty of life.
How delightful and how sacred is that Congregation wherein the Holy Ghost is present as Master, and among the brethren are found love in the heart, truth on the lips, dutifulness in the work, and peace everywhere; no dissimulation, no fear of being deceived. Such an one is a perfect brotherhood, one which can never be disturbed by quarrels, can never be discouraged in its work, can never be overcome by misfortune, "because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost"; and He is given to the humble, to the contrite, to the needy, to the gentle, to the peace-makers, and to those who, whether by day or by night, are ready for every good work and the praise of God. These are the works of the Holy Ghost, Who to this day worketh in his faithful ones many good works, " dividing to every one according as He will;" if only they prepare themselves for receiving His grace, and keep diligent watch over their hearts in every thought and act. A great and arduous task it is to keep the heart from wandering in prayer, and to fix the mind upon God in meditation. But though our spirit often plays us false, is led astray of evil, and inclines to vanity; yet the Holy Ghost comes back to us, reproves our heart, makes it contrite, wounds it, anoints it, and heals it. He Himself teaches us, and He enlightens us; He humbles us by our daily shortcomings; He raises us up again by inward consolations; He waters our heart by frequent prayer, and cleanses it by bitter groanings.
O God the Holy Ghost, .the Sanctifier, the Ruler, and the Guardian of the faithful; Absolver of sinners, Restorer of innocence, and Comforter of the sorrowful; O merciful and gracious Lord Paraclete, most loving Comforter of the fainthearted, ever, I beseech Thee, turn that which is evil in me into good, and that which is good into that which is better; turn my mourning into joy; my wandering feet into the right path; my ignorance into knowledge of the truth; my lukewarmness into zeal; my fear into love; all my material good into a spiritual gift; all my earthly desires into heavenly; all that is transient into that which lasts for ever; everything human into that which is Divine; everything created and finite into that sovereign, infinite, and immeasurable Good, Which Thou Thyself art, O my God, and my Saviour.
O my God, my true and everlasting Salvation, keep me, I pray Thee, from present wrong-doing; forgive me that which is past; and deliver me from the perils which may beset me in the time to come, by a large outpouring upon me of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which on this day Thou didst shed forth into the hearts of the Apostles, blessing them abundantly, and sending them forth to preach Thy Word among all nations. Amen.
mi Of the preaching of the Apostles, and the spreading of the most Holy Name of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world, for the Salvation of men
BLESS Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, most highly exalted Son of God, Blessed for ever above all the Saints, because on this day, when the Holy Spirit, Whom Thou hadst sent into the world, had come visibly in the form of fire, the hearts of the faithful were invisibly so inflamed with the love and praise of Thy Holy Name, that without delay that Holy Name, exalted by the Father far above all holy names, was fearlessly and publicly preached, praised, spread abroad, and magnified by Thy blessed Apostles; was openly proclaimed before all the people in Jerusalem, and among all nations; and went on from day to day being more and more exalted, honoured, and adored.
And then, as the number of the disciples increased, so great devotion and brotherly love was kindled among the faithful, that they were one in the belief of their minds and in the kindliness of their actions. True love for God made them all of one heart and soul; none of them sought his own things but those of Jesus Christ; and in the holy primitive Church, gathered together in the Holy Ghost, all property was held in common. So great also was the joy, peace, and concord among them that no one said that anything which he possessed was his own, but every one was glad to have all things in common for God's sake, and to distribute to those who were in need. This holy and heavenly mode of life was learnt in the first instance by the holy Apostles from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself; thereafter they were careful to observe it; and they continued so to do throughout their lives, which they ended by dying for the Faith of Jesus Christ.
I praise and bless Thee, Holy Father, Almighty Everlasting God, together with Thy Only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, for all Thy benefits and spiritual gifts, which of old Thou didst bestow upon Thy chosen friends, and upon the holy Patriarchs and Prophets. Long ages since, Thou didst reveal to them through the Holy Ghost, both by words and by signs, the secret things of Thy Wisdom, and the judgements of Thy Mouth, and chiefly the mystery of Thy Incarnation. But after Thy coming, O loving Jesus, Thou didst fulfil and make plain in Thy Own Life many of the hidden things ot Scripture, and didst expound others of them more fully— still, however, lovingly postponing till after the mission of the Holy Ghost those things which mere babes in Christ were not able to receive. And further—what is still more wonderful and praiseworthy—Thou didst of a sudden inflame with the fire of the Holy Ghost the untutored minds of the Apostles, and didst perfectly instruct the hearts of those whomThou hadst drawn away from earthly vanities, and who were devoted to Thee; making them wiser than the wise of this world, and giving them strength to convert the whole world.
I praise and glorify Thee, most illustrious Jesus Christ, Enlightener and Restorer of the entire human race, for the conversion and gathering together of much people, belonging to many nations and speaking divers tongues, whom Thou hast brought out of various parts of the world into the unity of the Catholic faith and of the Apostles' Doctrine, causing them to join in praising Thy most sweet and Holy Name in hymns and psalms and spiritual songs (thus most devoutly celebrating this sacred festival of the Holy Ghost) in all places and churches, and in convents of Religious of all the different Orders. At this great festival, in the hearing of the common people, and of princes and nobles, are recited in Church the many wonderful things which were done in days of old—works which from the beginning of the world were wrought upon earth by the Holy Ghost for the salvation of those who believe, and which He will never cease to work until the day of judgement shall come: for "if God be for us, who is against us?" And so it is that in the psalm the Holy Ghost exhorts all the faithful, saying: " In the Churches bless ye God the Lord, from the fountains of Israel. There is Benjamin, a youth, in ecstasy of mind," beholding, that is to say, the things of Heaven, and forsaking all things that are earthly.
Blessed are those servants whose feet are swift to join in praising God; who rejoice in taking part with the Angels in blessing His Holy Name. Blessed are they who despise the things that are without, and turn with all their heart to God; that so they may receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, and may be enabled to overcome all carnal affections, and to resist their ghostly enemy; for greater and stronger for good are the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, than is the power of the wicked one for evil.
O most good and loving Jesus, I bless and praise Thee for the abundant grace and wisdom which Thou didst bestow upon Thy Apostles, thus enabling them to preach Thy Word boldly before all the dwellers in Jerusalem and Samaria, and even unto the ends of the earth; and especially do I bless and praise Thee for Thy gift of constancy and singleness of heart, which kept them steadfast in the faith in spite of persecution from city to city, and caused them to rejoice in suffering reproach for Thy Name's sake, in being thrown into prison, in being scourged, in being tormented with hunger, in having to undergo punishment of many kinds. All these things seemed to them small and of no account in comparison with the crown of everlasting Life, and the greatness of the glory which were laid up for them, even as blessed Paul says: "The sufferings of this time are not worthy to he compared with the glory to come, that shall he revealed in us."
Which glory, O most loving Jesus, Son of the Living God, of Thy most tender mercy, by the immeasurable grace of the Holy Spirit, and through the glorious intercessions of all Thy Saints (which are so pleasing to Thee), after the sad and perilous struggles of this my present life are ended, to me do Thou vouchsafe to grant—
Who livest and reignest with the Father and the same Holy Spirit, God in Three Persons, One in Essence, Co-equal in Glory, for ever and ever, world without end. Amen.