The Annunciation by Giovanni Lanfranco

The Annunciation by Giovanni Lanfranco

                  FIRST WEDNESDAY

                      MEDITATION IV                

The Word was made Man in the Fullness of Time.

Ubi venit plenitude temporis misit Deus Filium suum.

When the fullness of time was come, God sent His Son. Gal. 4: 4

Consider that God allowed four thousand years to pass, after the transgression of Adam, before he sent his Son upon earth to redeem the world. And in the mean time, oh, what fatal darkness reigned upon the earth! The true God was not known or adored, except in one small corner of the world. Idolatry reigned everywhere; so that devils and beasts and stones were adored as gods.

But let us admire in this the divine Wisdom: he deferred the coming of the Redeemer in order to render his advent more welcome to man, in order that the malice of sin might be better known, as well as the necessity of a remedy and the grace of the Saviour. If Jesus Christ had come into the world immediately after the fall of Adam, the greatness of this favor would have been but slightly appreciated. Let us therefore thank the goodness of God for having sent us into the world after the great work of redemption was accomplished. Behold, the happy time is come which was called the fullness of time: When the fullness of time was come, God sent his Son, . . . that he might redeem them that were under the law.

It is called fullness, on account of the fullness of grace which the Son of God came to communicate to men by the redemption of the world. Behold the angel who is sent as ambassador into the town of Nazareth to announce to the Virgin Mary the coming of the Word, who desires to become incarnate in her womb. The angel salutes her, calls her full of grace and blessed among women. The humble Virgin, chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God, is troubled at these praises on account of her great humility: but the angel encourages her, and tells her that she has found grace with God; that is to say, that grace which brought peace between God and man, and the reparation of the ruin caused by sin. He then tells her that she must give her Son the name of Saviour: Thou shalt call his name Jesus; and that this her Son is the very Son of God, who is to redeem the world, and thus to reign over the hearts of men. Behold, at last Mary consents to be the Mother of such a Son: Be it unto me according to Thy word. And the eternal Word takes flesh and becomes man: And the Word was made flesh.

Let us thank this Son, and let us also thank his Mother, who, in consenting to be the mother of such a Son, consented also to be the Mother of our salvation, and Mother also of sorrows, accepting at that time the deep abyss of sorrows that it would cost her to be the Mother of a Son who was to come into the world to suffer and die for man.


            Affections and Prayers

O divine Word, become man for me, though I behold Thee thus humbled and become a little infant in the womb of Mary, yet I confess and acknowledge Thee for my Lord and King, but a king of love. My dearest Saviour, since Thou hast come down upon earth and clothed Thyself with our miserable flesh, in order to reign over our hearts, I beseech Thee come and establish Thy reign in my heart also, which was once, alas, ruled over by Thine enemies, but is now, I hope, Thine, as I desire that it may be always Thine, and that from this day forth Thou mayest be its only Lord: Rule Thou in the midst of Thy enemies. Other kings reign by the strength of arms, but Thou comest to reign by the power of love; and therefore, Thou dost not come with regal pomp, nor clothed in purple and gold, nor adorned with sceptre and crown, nor surrounded by armies of soldiers. Thou comest into the world to be born in a stable, poor, forsaken, placed in a manger on a little straw, because thus Thou wouldst begin to reign in our hearts. Ah, my infant King, how could I so often rebel against Thee, and live so long Thy enemy, deprived of Thy grace, when, to oblige me to love Thee, Thou hast put off Thy divine majesty, and hast humbled Thyself even to appearing, first, as a babe in a cave; then as a servant in a shop; then as a criminal on a cross? Oh, happy me, if, now that I have been freed (as I hope) from the slavery of Satan, I allow myself forever to be governed by Thee and by Thy love! O Jesus, my King, who art so amiable and so loving to our souls, take possession, I pray Thee, of mine; I give it entirely to Thee; accept it, that it may serve Thee forever, but serve Thee only for love. Thy majesty deserves to be feared, but Thy goodness still more deserves to be loved. Thou art my King, and shalt be always the only object of my love; and the only fear I shall have will be the fear of displeasing Thee. This is what I hope. Do Thou help me with Thy grace. O Mary, our dear Lady! it is for thee to obtain for me that I may be faithful to this beloved King of my soul.





Scourging of Christ - Passion of Our Lord


                      OF ADVENT

         By St. Alphonsus Liguori    

                  MEDITATION III

                   FIRST TUESDAY   

        The Love of God for Men

Sic Deus dilexit mundum, ut Filium suum unigenitum daret.

God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son. – St. John 3:16

Consider that the eternal Father, in giving us his Son for a Redeemer, for victim and price of our ransom, could not have given us stronger motives for hope and love, to inspire us with confidence, and to oblige us to love him. In giving us His Son (says St. Augustine), he could give us nothing more. He desires that we should avail ourselves of this immense gift in order to gain for ourselves eternal salvation, and every grace that we want; whilst in Jesus we find all that we can desire; we find light, strength, peace, confidence, love, and eternal glory; for Jesus Christ is a gift which contains all the gifts that we can seek for or desire. How hath He not also, with Him, given us all things? God having given us his beloved only-begotten Son, who is the fountain and treasure of all good, who need fear that he should deny us any favor that we ask of him ? Christ Jesus is of God made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption. God hath given him to us in order that be might be to us ignorant and blind creatures light and wisdom, wherewith to walk in the way of salvation; in order that to us who are deserving of hell he might be justice, enabling us to aspire to paradise; that to us sinners he might be sanctification, to obtain for us holiness; that, finally, to us slaves of the devil he might be a ransom to purchase for us the liberty of the sons of God. In short, the Apostle says that with Jesus Christ we have been enriched with every good gift and every grace, if we ask it through his merits: In all things you are made rich in Him, . . . so that nothing is wanting to you in any grace.

And this gift which God has made us of his Son is a gift to each one of us; for he hath given him entirely to each of us, as if he had given him to each one alone, so that every one of us may say: Jesus is all mine; his body is mine; his blood is mine; his life is mine; his sorrows, his death, his merits, are all mine. Wherefore St. Paul said, He loved me and delivered Himself for me. And every one may say the same thing: My Redeemer has loved me; and for the love that he bore me he hath given himself entirely to me.

The Good Shepherd by Luca Giordano

The Good Shepherd by Luca Giordano

              Affections and Prayers

Eternal God! who could ever have given us this treasure of infinite value, but Thou, who art a God of infinite love? O my Creator, what more couldst Thou have done to give us confidence in Thy mercy, and to put us under an obligation of loving Thee? O Lord, I have repaid Thee with ingratitude; but Thou hast said, To them that love God all things work together unto good. Therefore, notwithstanding the great number and the enormity of my sins, I will not despair of Thy bounty; rather let my transgressions serve to humble me the more whenever I meet with any insult; other insults and humiliations does he deserve who has had the temerity to offend Thy divine majesty. I wish that my sins may serve to reconcile me the more to the crosses which Thou shalt send me, that I may be more diligent to serve and honor Thee, in order to compensate for the injuries I have committed against Thee. O my God! I will always remember the displeasure I have caused Thee, in order that I may the more exalt Thy mercy, and be inflamed with love for Thee, who hast brought me back when I was flying from Thee, and who hast done me so much good after I had behaved so ill to Thee. I trust, O Lord ! that Thou hast already forgiven me. I repent, and will always repent, of the outrages I have committed against Thee. I will endeavor to please Thee by making compensation by my love for the ingratitude I have shown Thee; but I depend upon Thee to help me; from Thee I hope to obtain the grace to fulfill this my desire. O my God! for Thy Glory s sake, vouchsafe to grant that, as I have offended Thee much, I may also love Thee much. My God, my God, how can I ever leave off loving Thee, and separate myself again from Thy love! O Mary, my queen! do thou assist me; thou knowest my weakness; grant that I may have recourse to thee whenever the devil tries to separate me from God. My Mother, my hope, do thou help me.




                        OF ADVENT

           By St. Alphonsus Liguori    

                      MEDITATION II

                      FIRST TUESDAY     

Grandeur of the Mystery of Incarnation

           Et verbum caro factum est.

And the Word was made flesh.  John I: 14

Our Lord sent St. Augustine to write upon the heart of St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi the words, And the Word was made flesh. Oh, let us also pray the Lord to enlighten our minds, and to make us understand what an excess and what a miracle of love this is, that the eternal Word, the Son of God, should have become man for the love of us. The holy Church is struck with awe at the contemplation of this great mystery: I considered Thy works and was afraid? If God had created a thousand other worlds, a thousand times greater and more beautiful than the present, it is certain that this work would be infinitely less grand than the incarnation of the Word: He hath showed might in His arm. To execute the great work of the Incarnation, it required all the omnipotence and in finite wisdom of God, in order to unite human nature to a divine person, and that a divine person should so humble himself as to take upon him human nature. Thus God became man, and man became God; and hence, the divinity of the Word being united to the soul and body of Jesus Christ, all the actions of this Man-God became divine: his prayers were divine, his sufferings divine, his infant cries divine, his tears divine, his steps divine, his members divine, his very blood divine, which became, as it were, a fountain of health to wash out all our sins, and a sacrifice of infinite value to appease the justice of the Father, who was justly offended with men.

And who, then, are these men? Miserable, ungrateful, and rebellious creatures. And yet for these God becomes man; subjects himself to human miseries; suffers and dies to save these unworthy sinners: He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. O holy faith! If faith did not assure us of it, who would believe that a God of infinite majesty should abase himself so far as to become a worm like us, in order to save us at the cost of so much suffering and disgrace, and of so cruel and shameful a death?

O grace! O power of love! cries St. Bernard. O grace, which men could not even have imagined, if God himself had not thought of granting it to us! O divine love, which can never be fathomed! O mercy! O in finite charity, worthy only of an infinite bounty!

                Affections and Prayers

O soul, O body, O blood of my Jesus! I adore you and thank you; you are my hope; you are the price paid to save me from hell, which I have so often merited. O my God! what a miserable and hopeless life would await me in eternity, if Thou, my Redeemer, hadst not thought of saving me by Thy sufferings and death! But how is it that souls, redeemed by Thee with so much love, knowing all this, can live without loving Thee, and can despise the grace which Thou hast acquired for them with so much suffering? And did not I also know all this? How, then, could I offend Thee, and offend Thee so often? But, I repeat it, Thy blood is my hope. 1 acknowledge, my Saviour, the great injuries that I have done to Thee. Oh that I had rather died a thousand times! Oh that I had always loved Thee! But I thank Thee that Thou yet givest me time to do so. I hope in the time that remains to me in this life, and for all eternity, to sing forever Thy praises for the mercies Thou hast shown me. I have deserved, on account of my sins, to be more and more in darkness; but Thou hast given me more and more light. I deserved that Thou shouldst abandon me; but Thou, with calls still more loving, didst come to me and seek me. I deserved that my soul should remain more hardened; but Thou hast softened and touched it with compunction, so that by Thy grace I now feel great sorrow for the offences that I have committed against Thee; I feel within me an ardent desire of loving Thee; I feel fully resolved to lose everything rather than Thy friendship; I feel a love towards Thee that makes me abhor everything that displeases Thee. And this sorrow, this desire, this resolution, and this love, who is it that gives them to me? It is Thou, O Lord, in Thy great mercy. Therefore, my Jesus, this is a proof that Thou hast pardoned me; it is a proof that Thou now lovest me, and that Thou wiliest me at all costs to be saved; Thou wiliest that I should be saved, and I will save myself principally to give Thee pleasure. Thou lovest me, and I also love Thee; but my love is but little. Oh, give me more love; Thou deservest more love from me, for I have received from Thee more special favors than others; I pray Thee, do Thou increase the flames of my love. Most holy Mary, obtain for me that the love of Jesus may consume and destroy in me every affection that has not God for its object. Thou dost listen to the prayers of all that call on thee; listen to me also, obtain for me love and perseverance.


St. Nicholas giving alms to the poor and needy of his diocese.

St. Nicholas giving alms to the poor and needy of his diocese.


         November 27 – December 5

Glorious Nicholas, my own protector! from that bright throne where thou dost enjoy the vision of thy God, in pity turn thine eyes upon me; ask for me from God those graces and helps most seasonable in my present necessities, whether spiritual or temporal, and especially the grace of . . .

               (Mention petition here)

If such be expedient for my eternal welfare. Forget not, glorious and holy bishop, our Sovereign Pontiff, the holy Church and this pious city.  Bring back to the right way of salvation those who live steeped in sin, or buried in the darkness of ignorance, error, and heresy. Comfort the sorrowing, provide for the needy, strengthen the weak-hearted, defend the oppressed, help the sick; let all know the effects of thy powerful patronage with him who is the supreme giver of all good. Amen.

Our Father

Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.

Glory be

Glory be, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

V. Pray for us, blessed Nicholas.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.


The Sovereign Pontiff, Gregory XVI., by a decree of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, Dec. 22, 1832, granted to all the faithful who with a contrite heart and devoutly, say this prayer, with the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be to the Father, and the versicle. THE INDULGENCE OF FIFTY DAYS, once a day.






                          OF ADVENT

             By St. Alphonsus Liguori    

Goodness of God in the Work of the Redemption

Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto. . .  Et homo factus est.

And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost, and was made man.

Consider that God, having created the first man, in order that he might serve him and love him in this life, and be conducted afterwards to reign with him forever in Paradise, enriched him for this end with knowledge and grace. But ungrateful man rebelled against God, refusing him the obedience which he owed him in justice and gratitude; and thus, miserable sinner, was he left with all his posterity as a rebel, deprived of divine grace, and forever excluded from paradise. Behold, then, after this ruin, caused by sin, all men lost! All were living in blindness, or in the darkness of the shadow of death. The devil had dominion over them, and hell destroyed innumerable victims amongst them. But God, seeing men reduced to this miserable state, was moved with pity, and resolved to save them. And how? He did not send an angel, a seraph; but to show to the world the immense love that he bore to these ungrateful worms, He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh? He sent his own Son to become man, and to clothe himself with the same flesh as sinful men, in order that, by his suffering and death, he might satisfy the divine justice for their crimes, and thus deliver them from eternal death; and, reconciling them with his divine Father, might obtain for them divine grace, and might render them worthy to enter into life eternal.

Consider, on the one hand, the immense ruin that sin brings upon souls, as it deprives them of the friendship of God and of Paradise, and condemns them to an eternity of pain. And, on the other hand, consider the infinite love which God showed in this great work of the incarnation of the Word, causing his only-begotten Son to sacrifice his divine life by the hands of executioners on a cross, in a sea of sorrows and of infamy, to obtain for us pardon and life eternal. Oh, in contemplating this great mystery and this excess of divine love, how can we do otherwise than exclaim: O infinite goodness! O infinite mercy! O infinite love! for a God to become man, and to die for me!       

All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaias 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaias 53:6

Affections and Prayers

But how is it my Jesus, that after Thou hast repaired this ruin of sin by Thy own death, I have so often wilfully renewed it again by the many offences I have committed against Thee? Thou hast saved me at so great a cost, and I have so often chosen to damn myself, in losing Thee, O infinite Good! But what Thou hast said gives me confidence that when the sinner who has turned his back upon Thee is converted to Thee, Thou wilt not refuse to embrace him: Turn ye to Me, and I will turn to you? Thou hast also said, If any man shall . . . open to Me the door, I will come in to him? Behold, Lord, I am one of these rebels, an ungrateful traitor, who have often turned my back upon Thee, and driven Thee from my soul; but now I repent with all my heart for having thus ill-used Thee and despised Thy grace; I repent of it, and love Thee above every thing. Behold, the door of my heart is already open; enter Thou, but enter never to leave it again. I know well that Thou wilt never leave me, if I do not again drive Thee away; but this is my fear, and this is the grace which I ask of Thee, and which I hope always to ask; let me die rather than be guilty of this fresh and still greater ingratitude. My dearest Redeemer, I do not deserve to love Thee, after all the offences that I have committed against Thee; but for Thy own merits sake I ask of Thee the gift of Thy holy love, and therefore I beseech Thee make me know the great good Thou art, the love Thou hast borne me, and how much Thou hast done to oblige me to love Thee. Ah, my God and Saviour, let me no longer live ungrateful to Thy great goodness. My Jesus, I will never leave Thee again; I have already offended Thee enough. It is only right that I should employ the remaining years of my life in loving Thee and pleasing Thee. My Jesus, my Jesus, help me; help a sinner that wishes to love Thee. O Mary, my Mother, thou hast all power with Jesus, seeing thou art his Mother; beg of him to forgive me; beg of him to enchain me with his holy love. Thou art my hope; in thee do I confide.


Miraculous Medal Novena


     Miraculous Medal Novena

O Lord Jesus Christ, who have vouchsafed to glorify by numberless miracles the Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate from the first moment of her conception, grant that all who devoutly implore her protection on earth, may eternally enjoy Your presence in heaven, Who, with the Father and Holy Spirit,  live and reign, God, forever and ever.  Amen.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who for the accomplishment of your greatest works, have chosen the weak things of the world, that no flesh may glory in your sight; and who for a better and more widely diffused belief in the Immaculate Conception of Your Mother, have wished that the Miraculous Medal be manifested to Saint Catherine Laboure, grant, we beseech You, that  filled with like humility, we may glorify this mystery by word and work.  Amen.


Remember, O most compassionate Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your assistance, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, our Mother; to you we come; before you we kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in your clemency, hear and answer them.  Amen.

          Novena Prayer

O Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus and our Mother, penetrated with the most lively confidence in your all-powerful and never-failing intercession manifested so often through the Miraculous Medal, we your loving, and trustful children implore you to obtain for us the graces and favors we ask during this Novena, if they be beneficial to our immortal souls, and the souls for whom we pray.

        (Mention petitions here)

You know, O Mary, how often our souls have been the sanctuary of your Son who hates iniquity. Obtain for us then a deep hatred of sin and that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone so that our every thought, word and deed may tend to His greater glory. Obtain for us also a spirit of prayer and self-denial that we may recover by penance what we have lost by sin and at length attain to that blessed abode where you are the Queen of Angels and of men. Amen.




                VIRGIN AND MARTYR                   

St. Catherine was a native of Alexandria, Egypt, a city then famous for its schools of philosophy. She was a daughter of Costis, half-brother of Constantine, and of Sabinella, queen of Egypt. Her wisdom and acquirements were remarkable, the philosophy of Plato being her favorite study. While Catherine was yet young her father died, leaving her heiress to the kingdom. Her love of study and retirement displeased her subjects, who desired her to marry, asserting that her gifts of noble birth, wealth, beauty, and knowledge should be transmitted to her children.

Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear and forget thy people and thy father's house. And the king shall greatly desire thy beauty. For he is the Lord thy God, and him they shall adore.

Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear and forget thy people and thy father’s house. And the king shall greatly desire thy beauty. For he is the Lord thy God, and him they shall adore.

  Novena in preparation for the Feast

        of St. Catherine of Alexandria

                   Virgin and Martyr                           

      (November 16 – November 24)                  

                         First Day

             Preparatory Prayer

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy Heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy Divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of St. Catherine and following her example imitate, like her, the life of Thy Divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of St. Catherine, the petition which through her I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

              (Mention intentions)

Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul. Amen.

     Prayer in Honor of St. Catherine

O God, Who didst distinguish Thy holy Virgin and Martyr Catherine by the gift of great wisdom and virtue, and a victorious combat with the enemies of the Faith; grant us, we beseech Thee, through her intercession, constancy in the Faith and the wisdom of the Saints, that we may devote all the powers of our mind and heart to Thy service. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

           Invocation of St. Catherine

St. Catherine, glorious Virgin and Martyr, resplendent in the luster of wisdom and purity; thy wisdom refuted the adversaries of Divine truth and covered them with confusion; thy immaculate purity made thee a spouse of Christ, so that after thy glorious Martyrdom Angels carried thy body to Mount Sinai. Implore for me progress in the science of the Saints and the virtue of holy purity, that vanquishing the enemies of my soul, I may be victorious in my last combat and after death be conducted by the angels into the eternal beatitude of Heaven. Amen.