The Grounds of Conformity to the Will of God.

The Grounds of Conformity to the Will of God.

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.

The Grounds of Conformity to the Will of God.

We now proceed to treat of the foundation on which our will must take its stand, in order to conform to the Divine Will; and of the motives by which we may maintain within us this holy conformity. This foundation consists in a steadfast, firm, and lively conviction, that nothing happens in the vast system of the universe, that is not in subordination to the Will of God. This is the foundation, as it is plain, that man cannot render himself conformable to God’s Will, in all possible circumstances, unless he be fully persuaded that nothing can happen that is not in some sense willed by the Almighty, as the Maker, and Supreme Ruler of the world. And, indeed, it seems that this conviction is rightly styled the foundation of so sublime a virtue, since, as a house must necessarily totter when its foundations give way; so, the virtue of Conformity cannot subsist if we are not firmly convinced that nothing happens in this world, that is not in some sense willed by Almighty God (Scaramelli, Vol. IV, Article iv, Chapter II).

There is nothing done throughout the universe, but by the command and Will of our Sovereign Master, that orders and governs it. There is nothing in respect of God, that happens by chance. He has regulated all things, and appointed everything from all eternity. He has taken an account of every hair of your head, and not one of them shall fall to the ground without His order. His providence extends itself over all other creatures. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father” (Matt, x, 29).

The light of nature alone has been sufficient to make philosophers themselves come to the knowledge of this truth, and force them to declare that, though in regard to second causes, some things might happen by chance, yet in regard to the first cause, nothing happens but by order of Providence.

Just as, they say, a master may send a servant about some business, and afterwards send another to the same place upon a different errand; yet with the intention that they should meet one another on the way. In regard to themselves their meeting would be purely by chance; but in regard to their master, it would be a premeditated design. It is the very same with things which seem to happen here below by chance. In respect of men, who see these accidents happen contrary to their inclination, and without ever having so much as thought of them, it is an effect of chance; but in regard of God, it is a necessary consequence, and an execution of the eternal order of His providence, Who would have it thus for secret and hidden ends, which are known to none but Himself (Rodriguez, Vol. I, Eighth Treatise, Chapter I).

Whatever happens in heaven or on earth, is the effect of either a necessary or of a free cause. Necessary causes are those that produce their effects without choice or deliberation, and from which the effects follow with equal necessity. Such are the effects produced by the sun and moon, by the planets, the stars, the earth, the plants, by the air, the winds, and the sea. Such, too, are the results, whether agreeable or disagreeable, which nature produces either within us, or around us. Now, of all these effects, God is the true cause, for they are all willed by Him, and are each of them individually pre-ordained by His positive decree, and He concurs efficaciously, as First Cause, from Whom all things necessarily depend. “Thou hast wrought all our works for us” (Isaias xxvi, 12). From all eternity God has decreed, such and such concatenations of natural causes, whence result, at one time the fertility of the fields, at another their barrenness; at one time the mildness of the air favourable to health and life, now again inclemency of the weather injurious to all kinds of life; at one time storms and hurricanes that destroy crops on land and strew the sea with wrecks, at another time mild and salubrious weather suitable for the growth of crops and favourable for all kinds of commerce.

From all eternity God has decreed our birth, either from illustrious lineage or from humble extraction; from rich or from poor parents. He has planned that due admixture of the humours in our bodies which produces health, or that unequal combination that results in disease; and the same holds good of all else that befalls us in the course of our life. Hence if we refuse to submit to the Divine Will in the several effects produced by natural causes, when they chance to be painful or disagreeable to us, we rebel against God’s Will, and demand that our blind and disorderly will may prevail over His most righteous appointments.

We are aware that many of these natural phenomena are called evils, because they afflict us, but, in reality, they are not real evils, for there is no moral turpitude in any one of them, and moral wrong alone is real evil. Further, they are intended by God as means to a supreme good, which is our eternal happiness. Such are hail storms, tempests, seasons of scarcity, earthquakes, plagues, seasons of great mortality, loss of health, pain, fever, sickness. Such, too, are the extremes of heat and of cold, over-abundant rains, lengthened drought, the loss of goods, the failure of trade; destruction, poverty and misery. All these things are classed as evils, but they are great goods, because they are eternally pre-ordained by God for the salvation of our souls, in order that when visited by such calamities, we may repent of our faults and attain possession of never-ending bliss; or else, that by patient endurance of these trials, we may gather a great store of merits, which will obtain for us immortal crowns in Paradise. This is what the Prophet Amos assures us of, saying; “Shall there be evil in a city, which the Lord hath not done?” (Amos iti, 6.) Whatever God does, most assuredly He does it for no other end than our great advantage. Wherefore, every Christian who has the light of faith, should under such trials, be calmly resigned to God’s Will, and kiss the loving hand that smites him, the rod that scourges him, repeating, in humble submission, the words of the Psalmist; “Thy rod and Thy staff, they have comforted me” (Ps. xxii, 4).

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.

– Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur October 10, 1910

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Just as we drive out one nail by another, let us oppose effort to effort, habit to habit..St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 151.

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March Devotion: St. Joseph

Virtue to practice: Mortification

Novena in honor of St. Joseph – Day 2

A nine day novena in honor of St. Joseph may be said anytime but especially from March 10th through March 18th before the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19th. Any of the following prayers are suitable.

Prayer Before the Novena

Great Saint Joseph, prostrate at thy feet, with feelings of unlimited confidence, I beg thee to bless the Novena that I begin in thy honor. I will meditate upon thy virtues; grant that I may learn fully to appreciate them. The knowledge of them will be the source of great confusion for me because of the poverty and destitution of my soul.

Great dispenser of the heavenly treasures, assist me in my poverty, help me to display thy virtues in my own soul. “Thou art never invoked in vain,” says the seraphic Theresa of Jesus; be thou to me what thou hast been to that Spouse of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; graciously hearken to me as thou didst hearken to her. Amen.

Second Day

Saint Joseph, Model of Hope

JOSEPH, abandoning himself entirely to the care of Divine Providence, glorified God by his life. Among all the virtues, hope is the most pleasing to God, because it is based upon His infinite goodness. In the sufferings of this life it is the source of the greatest consolation and encouragement.

Joseph hoped in the Lord. He hoped for His grace in the accomplishment of His adorable will; for His help in time of trial; for His light in the difficulties of life. By hope he detached his heart from the perishable goods and the deceitful affections of this world. In the hour of trial he sustained his courage by hope, and fortified his heart with a peace that nothing could alter.

Let us imitate Saint Joseph. Let us elevate our hopes towards the only veritable and imperishable treasures. Let us trust in the wisdom and solicitude of Divine Providence. Let us rely upon the grace of the Lord; upon His goodness, and upon His power. Let us renew our confidence in the hour of trial. Let us avoid discouragement, which outrages the wisdom and goodness of God.

Prayer

O Joseph, do thou cause the gift of Christian hope to descend into my heart. May it enlighten me, console me, defend me. May it detach me from the earth so as to elevate my thoughts and my affections towards Heaven. May it henceforward inspire my whole conduct and give me the right to die like thee, saying: “Lord, I have hoped in Thee, I shall not be confounded.” Amen.

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.

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