Meditation for Monday.
On the Importance of Our Last End.
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 Importance of Our Last End.
I. Consider, O man! how important it is to thee to save thy soul. Thy dearest interests are there concerned, because, if thou attain salvation, thou wilt be eternally happy in the enjoyment of every good both of soul and body; but, in losing it, thou losest thy soul and body; heaven and God: thou wilt be eternally miserable, eternally damned. Thy only important, thy only necessary affair, therefore, is to serve thy God and to save thy soul. Do not, then, O Christian! think of serving thy passions now, and of giving thyself to God hereafter. Oh! how many has this false and deceitful hope precipitated into hell! Thousands of sinners have flattered themselves with the hopes of future repentance; but the day in which they hoped, never arrived, and they are now suffering without resource the torments of the damned. And who amongst them all ever thought of falling into that place of wo? Which of them had not the intention of saving his soul? But God curses him that sins in the hope of pardon. Thou sayest perhaps, within thyself, I will commit this sin and then repent: but art thou sure that time will be allowed thee for repentance? thou mayest die the moment thou hast sinned. By sinning thou losest the grace of God and what if thou never more recover it? God shows mercy to those who fear him, but not to those who condemn and despise him. Think not, therefore, that it will cost thee no more to repent of and confess three sins than one. No: in this thought thou art deceived; God might pardon thee a first or second sin, but not a third. He has patience with the sinner for a time, but not for ever. When the measure of iniquity is filled up, his mercy ceases, and He punishes the impenitent sinner either by death, or by abandoning him to a reprobate sense, in which state he goes on from sin to sin without remorse, and, at length is precipitated into hell. O Christian! attend seriously to this. It is time thou shouldst put a period to thy disorders and return to God; thou shouldst fear lest this will be the last warning that He will ever send thee. Thou hast offended him long enough, and He has borne with thee long enough in thy sins: tremble then, lest He should forsake thee after the next mortal sin. Oh! how many souls has this striking thought of eternity caused to retire from the disorders and dangers of the world, to live in cloisters, solitudes, and deserts! Unfortunate sinner that I have been! what is the fruit of all my crimes? a conscience gnawed with despair, a troubled heart, a soul overwhelmed with grief, hell deserved, and God lost! Ah! my God, my heavenly Father! bind me to thy love.
II. Consider, O man! that this affair of eternity is of all others the most neglected. Mankind have time to think of everything but God and salvation. If a man of the world is advised to frequent the sacraments, or to spend a quarter of an hour daily in meditation, he will immediately reply: I have a family to provide for, I have my business to attend to, I have sufficient to keep me employed. Good God! and hast thou not a soul to save? will thy riches and thy family be able to assist thee at the hour of thy death, or deliver thee from hell if thou be condemned? No, no: flatter not thyself that thou art able to reconcile God and the world, heaven and sin together. Salvation is not to be attained by a life of indolence and ease. It is necessary to use violence and to make great efforts, in order to obtain the crown of immortality. How many Christians have flattered themselves with the idea of serving God and saving their souls here after, who are at this moment, and will for ever be, in the flames of hell! How great is the folly of men in attending to what will so shortly terminate, and thinking so little of that state which will never end! Ah! Christian, put thy affairs in order; reflect that thy all is at stake: remember that, in a very short time, thy body will be deposited in the earth, and thy soul will go to dwell in the house of eternity. How dreadful, then, will be thy misfortune, if thou be condemned to an eternity of wo. Reflect well on this; for then thou canst have no remedy.
III. Consider and say within thyself: I have a soul, and if I lose it all is lost; I have a soul, and if in losing it I were to gain the whole world, what would it profit me! I have a soul, but if I lose it, although I were to arrive at the highest pinnacle of glory, of what advantage will it be to me? If I hoard up riches, if I get forward in the world, but in the end lose my soul, what will be my consolation? Where are now the dignities, pleasures and vanities of those great ones of the world, whose bodies are mouldering in the dust, and whose souls are a prey to the flames of hell? Since, then, I have a soul, and only one, to save, and if 1 lose it once, it is lost for ever, I ought to endeavor to save it. This is an affair of the last importance to me. Eternal happiness and eternal misery are at stake. O my God! I am forced to acknowledge with shame and confusion that I have hitherto blindly wandered astray from thee: I have scarcely ever thought seriously of saving my soul. O my Father, save me, through Jesus Christ. I am willing to part with everything here, provided I do not lose thee. O Mary! my surest hope, save me by thy powerful intercession.
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.
There is not among men, nor even among the angels, an exercise more sacred, nor a work more excellent, than to glorify God in Himself, and in creatures by bringing them to adore and serve Him as far as they are capable. – 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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