Conformity to the Divine Will constitutes the happiness of our present life
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
Conformity to the Divine Will constitutes the happiness of our present life
Man cannot live happy here below, unless his every will and wish be satisfied; for if his desires be thwarted in a single point, this alone suffices to agitate his heart, to embitter it, and fill it with discontent. What was wanting to Aman to make up the sum of his beatitude? He held the first rank at the court of Assuerus, being raised above all the grandees of the kingdom. He was rolling in riches; had a numerous family; honours in plenty; neither pleasure nor power was wanting to him; yet with all this he seemed to have nothing. And why? Was it that some rival was plotting against his life; or that some envious competitor was checking the course of his fortunate career? Nothing of the kind. It was merely that Mardochai, a foreigner, sitting on the threshold of the palace, refused to bow down before him. He was not ashamed to own as much with his own lips. “And whereas I have all these things, I think I have nothing, so long as I see Mardochai the Jew sitting before the king’s gate” (Esther v, 13).
Aman is not the only one who has been made unhappy by one little want; it is the case with as many as there are dwellers on this wretched earth of ours. Ask every one of them, and they will tell you that they are not content on account of the absence of something they desire. One man is rich, but is not noble; his neighbour has nobility; but is wanting in riches to keep up the state befitting his rank. One has plenty, but has no health to enjoy it; another’s health is vigorous, but he has no riches to help him to enjoy his robust state. This one lives at home in perfect peace, but has out of doors an enemy who opposes his advancement. Another is free from the persecution of any foe, but his cross-grained wife and unruly children make every hour of his life miserable. In a word, there is no one in this world who is fully content, since no one has all his desires gratified.
To whom, then, will it be given, on this sea of misery upon which we are tossed, to reach the haven of true bliss? To none but to him who in all things conforms himself to the will of God. The reason is plain. Nothing can happen unless by God’s appointment, in the sense already explained. Hence nothing can occur in the life of a spiritual man, who in all things wishes what God wishes, which can be contrary to his own will; for as each event of his life is willed by God, nothing can befall that he has not himself willed; so that he is content, whatever be the case, and is in continual enjoyment of that inward peace which constitutes the happiness of this present life. Wherefore St. Dorothy could say with truth, that there is no other way of doing our own will in undisturbed quiet, but to divest ourselves of any will of our own, and to submit it to that of God. (Doctr. 9).
We may further assert that even bodily sufferings and mental trials, of themselves capable of troubling our happiness, become sweet and pleasant to one who is wholly intent on doing God’s will. For the love which the spiritual person bears to God, makes him rejoice in all that pleases God, in all that God wills. And as he sees that it pleases the Lord he should at times be afflicted, he rejoices in his own afflictions; and knowing that God would have him suffer now and then, he takes delight in such suffering. Thus is formed a compound of pain and pleasure, a mixture of bitters and sweets, most savoury to the palate of a loving soul; so that while the person is suffering, he suffers not, nor are his troubles able to disturb his calm or to trouble his happiness.
The Apostles, dragged before the courts as evil-doers, accused as guilty persons, must surely have felt the pain of such disgrace; yet they rejoiced at it. “And they indeed went from the presence of the council rejoicing, that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus” (Acts v, 41). And why? Because out of their love for Jesus Christ they were glad to be conformable to His will and good pleasure, which they knew to be that they should bear the evils inflicted upon them. The martyrs stretched on the rack, under the strokes of scourges or iron rods, must assuredly have felt their atrocious tortures; yet they rejoiced in the midst of torments, so great was the delight they found in suffering for their God.
Thus do souls that conform to the divine will, from the conviction that their misfortunes and sufferings are decreed by the will of God, and sent by His loving hands, inwardly rejoice and change their very tribulations into sources of contentment. Thus do they verify in themselves what the Wise Man says in the Proverbs, that nothing can happen that is able to ruffle the serenity of their minds, and to disturb the calm of their hearts. “Whatsoever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad” (Prov. xii, 21).
“They, are indeed the sons of God, in whom nothing withstands the divine will, and who enjoy that stable peace in which the perfection of man consists” (St. Augustine, Lib. I, de Serm. Dom., Cap. 2).
Wherefore, if we do not find a sufficient motive of resignation to God’s will in the utter subjection we owe Him as His creatures, and in the boundless claims He has to our love and compliance with His every wish, we should, at least, be urged to this submission by the love we bear to ourselves, our welfare, and true happiness. The angels are blessed in heaven because they perfectly fulfil the Will of God; and men are happy on earth in the proportion of their conformity with that Divine Will (Scaramelli, Vol. IV, Article iv, Chapter V).
God infinitely deserves that His Will be done, by reason of His sovereign loveliness and of His right to our submission, on account of His titles of our Maker, our Redeemer, our Father, and Friend. Whence it follows that we ought to do whatever God wills, not only in one or two points, but in every single thing He may ordain concerning us, since His claim and merit to have His will done holds good in all things without exception. This may also be gathered from what we have before said, namely, that our happiness here below depends on such conformity, since all that is required to mar our peace and happiness is to withdraw in any single point from the subjection due to the Divine Will. We must, therefore, strive to keep our will conformable to that of God in all things, in health and in sickness, in plenty and in want, in honour and in disgrace, in loss and in gain, in heat and in cold, in great things and small, in prosperity and in adversity.
From such conformity nothing must be excluded, however slight and trivial it may appear to us. First, because though the matter in reference to which our rebellious will opposes that of God may seem to us very trifling, still it will suffice to keep our hearts in disquiet. Secondly, the things, which by God’s disposition are ordained to happen may be of little account, yet it is no slight evil to rebel against His will, and to withhold from Him due subjection (Scaramelli, Vol. IV, Article iv, Chapter VI).
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
The cowardly, for not wishing to fight against themselves, will never enjoy, or only late, true peace of soul and the possession of any perfection; the brave and the earnest possess both in a short time. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letters.
March Devotion: St. Joseph
Virtue to practice: Mortification
Litany of St. Joseph
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Illustrious Son of David, pray for us.
Splendour of patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Watchful Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph most just, pray for us.
Joseph most pure, pray for us.
Joseph most prudent, pray for us.
Joseph most couragious, pray for us.
Joseph most obedient, pray for us.
Joseph most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of patience, pray for us.
Lover of poverty, pray for us.
Model of all who labor, pray for us.
Glory of family life, pray for us.
Preserver of virgins, pray for us.
Mainstay of families, pray for us.
Solace of the afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the sick, pray for us.
Patron of the dying, pray for us.
Terror of demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
V. He hath made him master of His house,
R. And ruler of all His possessions.
Let us Pray.
O God, Who in Thine ineffable providence didst vouchsafe to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thy most Holy Mother; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph
(This prayer was said to be founded in the 50 A.D. In the 1500′s it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. According to oral tradition, whoever reads this prayer, hears it, or carries it, will not fall into the hands of the enemy, nor be burned in any fire, nor will they be defeated in battle.)
O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of fathers. O St. Joseph I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph by Pope St. Pius X
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and in death. Amen.
Good St. Joseph protect us, protect the holy Church.
O good and kind St. Joseph guide us in the way of perfection.