MEDITATION FOR SUNDAY.
On the End of Man.
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.
On the End of Man.
I. Consider, O my soul! that the being which thou enjoyest was given thee by God; He created thee to His own image, without any merit on thy part; He adopted thee for His child by baptism; He loved thee more than the most affectionate parent could have loved thee; He has made thee all thou art, that thou mightest know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life, and thereby arrive at the eternal possession of Him in heaven. Hence, thou didst not come into this world for the sake of enjoyment, to grow rich, and powerful, to eat, drink, and sleep like irrational animals, but solely to love thy God and to work out thy eternal salvation. And is this the object, which I have hitherto had in view? Oh! how unfortunate have I been, in having thought of any thing rather than my last end. O God, I beg of thee, in the name and for the love of Jesus, to grant that I may begin a new life of perfect holiness and conformity to Thy divine will.
II. Consider what deep remorse and bitter regret thou wilt feel at the hour of death, if, during life, thou hast not devoted thyself to the service of God. How great will be thy disappointment when, at the close of thy days, thou shalt perceive, that nothing remains at that sorrowful moment of all thy goods, of all thy pleasures, and of all thy earthly glory, but a shadow which flies before thee, and a bitter remembrance which pursues thee. What will be thy consternation, when thou shalt discover that, for the sake of miserable vanities, thou hast lost thy God, thy soul and thy salvation, without the possibility of being able to repair thy misfortune? O despair! O cruel torment! thou wilt then see the value of the time which thou art losing: but it will be too late. Gladly wouldst thou then purchase time at the price of all thou hast; but thou wilt not be able to do it. Oh! how full of bitterness and sorrow will that day be for every soul that has not loved and served the Lord!
III. Consider the general disregard of men for their last end. Their ordinary thoughts are upon the accumulation of wealth, the gratification of their senses, parties of pleasure, amusement and festivity. They think nothing of God or His service; they do nothing for the salvation of their souls; they regard the affair of salvation as a trifle not worthy of notice. Thus, oh deplorable misfortune! the greater part of Christians, by indulging in foolish pleasures, and criminal gratifications, precipitate themselves into hell. O man! thou takest much pains to damn thyself, and wilt thou do nothing for thy salvation? Listen to the dying sentiments of a secretary of state of one of the kings of England: “How great,” said he, “is my misfortune: I have used many sheets of paper in writing letters for my sovereign, and, alas ! I have not used one to help me in the recollection of my sins, that I might make a good confession!” Listen to the death-bed sentiments of a king of Spain: “O that I had spent my life in a desert, occupied in serving God, and had never been a king!” But to what do these sighs and lamentations then serve, but to augment the horrors of despair? Learn, then, this day, at the expense of others, to devote thyself to the salvation of thy soul: remember well that all thy actions, all thy words, and all thy thoughts, which are not directed to God, are entirely lost. Oh! it is time then to amend thy life. Do not wait, therefore, to be convinced of it till thou arrive at the gates of eternity, and the jaws of hell: it will be then too late. O my God! pardon me all the errors of my life: I love thee above all things. I am sorry, from the bottom of my heart, for all my sins. O Mary! my hope, intercede with Jesus in my behalf.
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.
– from St. Alphonsus M. Liguori
with the Approbation of the Most Rev. S. Eccleston.
God was pleased to ransom us, to suffer ignominy to glorify us, to choose poverty to enrich us, to die in the disgrace and agony of one condemned to secure for us everlasting life in the happiness of Heaven. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 50.
February Devotion: The Holy Trinity (also the Holy Family)
Virtue to practice: Humility
I vow and consecrate to God all that is in me: my memory and my actions to God the Father; my understanding and my words to God the Son; my will and my thoughts to God the Holy Ghost; my heart, my body, my tongue my senses and all my sorrows to the sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ, ‘who was contented to be betrayed into the hands of wicked men and to suffer the torment of the Cross.’ – St. Francis de Sales
An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of oblation is devoutly repeated every day for a monh (S.P.Ap., Sept. 22, 1922 and May 12, 1934).
The faithful who devoutly offer any prayers in honor of the Most Holy Trinity with the intention of continuing them for nine successive days, may gain:
An indulgence of 7 years once each day:
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the novena (S.C. Ind., Aug. 8 1847; S.P. Ap., Mar. 18, 1932).
Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Lourdes
O ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, thou knowest my wants, my troubles, my sufferings; deign to cast upon me a look of mercy. By appearing in the grotto of Lourdes thou wert pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary from where thou dost dispense thy favors, and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence, to implore thy maternal intercession. Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for thy favors, I will endeavor to imitate thy virtues, that I may one day share in thy glory. R. Amen.
V. O Mary, conceived without sin,
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
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