Motives of Conformity to the Divine Will.
God has infinite claims upon our submission.
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.
God has infinite claims upon our submission.
It being then established that nothing happens in this world except according to the will of the Most High, we now proceed to show how great is God’s right to our submission, and how complete is the corresponding obligation on our part to conform in all things to His most righteous arrangements. A man can become master of a thing and claim the right to make every possible use of it, either, because he has made it or because he has acquired it by purchase. In this manner, he that builds a house, fashions a statue, or paints a picture, is the master of his own work; and so, too, the person who buys them is the master of his purchase. Now it is precisely in these two titles that God’s claim to an absolute dominion over ourselves and our acts, especially over those of our will – the principal and most noble – is based. His Almighty hands have made us, and He has bought us at the price of His own Blood.
The sculptor is owner of the statue, because it has been carved with his own chisel; so, too, the potter is master of the vessel his hands have shaped, and the painter is master of the picture which he has painted on the bare canvas. Nor are they masters only of their handiwork, but they can put it to any use they please, since it is their right to dispose of it, to retain it, or to destroy it at their pleasure. But what comparison is there between their dominion and the sovereign and absolute dominion of God over us, our will, and its every act, in His relation as our Maker? For after all, the sculptor did not make his statue out of nothing, but out of a block of marble which was not the work of his hands. The painter obtained his colours elsewhere, and blended them together on a canvas already prepared. The potter did not fashion his vessel out of nothing, but out of clay which was dug out of the ground. But God, in giving us our being, did not draw us out of cold stone, nor out of lifeless canvas, nor out of soft clay, but out of nothing, without employing any material which could share with Him in the production of our noble substance. The artists mentioned above, made use of a most limited power, in order to give shape to their several productions. But God set in motion a boundless power, in order to give us our being; for it needed nothing less than to draw us out of the bottomless depths of our own nothingness. How great, then, is the dominion due to God from our will, requiring it in all things to bow to His will; and what a wrong do we inflict upon Him whenever we withhold from Him so just a subordination!
If it be a wrong to the owner of an orchard when the fruit of trees not made, but only planted by him, are stolen, what injury is not done to God when we refuse to submit to Him that very will which He has created for Himself alone! God, as our Maker, requires this submission from us, and we are bound to give it to Him. “I am the Lord your God . . . keep all my precepts, and all my judgments, and do them. I am the Lord” (Levit. xix, 37).
But further, God’s sovereign lordship over us is not derived merely from His being our Maker, but also from His having redeemed us; wherefore to Him, not only as our Maker, but also as our Redeemer, is due our full submission and entire conformity to whatever He wills.
We ought to keep our eyes continually fixed on the copious streams of Blood poured forth by the Son of God in order to ransom our souls from the slavery of sin. We should ponder over the racking torments which formed the price of our Redemption. By doing so we shall realize the unbounded sovereignty to which by this title alone, God claims that we should conform ourselves in all things to His most righteous appointments.
Besides the absolute right God has that in all things His holy will should be done, on account of His sovereign dominion and lordship over us, by the two fold title of creation and redemption, there are other most urgent motives which oblige us to do His bidding. Because, in addition to other claims which He has to our obedience, He is our Father, as we daily profess when we say, “Our Father, Who art in Heaven.” And we do right to address Him by the tender name of Father; for, besides having given us our natural being, He has by means of sanctifying grace, made us partakers of His own life and nature, to use the expression of St. Peter, “By these you may be made partakers of the Divine nature” (II Pet. i, 4).
And as a most loving Father, He keeps in store for us the inheritance of an everlasting kingdom, in which we shall enjoy endless happiness. But who does not know that a Father has an unquestioned right to the subjection and obedience of his children, and to expect them to execute his will? God is, moreover, our friend, by virtue of this same grace, which, as we have already explained, is a real friendship between man and his Maker. It is denied by none, that friendship requires union of will between friends, according to the trite adage, “A friend is another self.” God, on His part, perfectly fulfils the laws of friendship, since, in all things lawful and suitable, He does the will of them that fear and love Him. “He will do the will of them that fear Him, and He will hear their prayer, and save them” (Ps. cxliv, 19). His eyes are always open to see the wants of just souls who hold fast to their friendship with Him; and He always lends a willing ear to their petitions, and to gratify them by carrying out their wishes, “The eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers” (I Pet. iii, 12). However, in order that this holy friendship may be complete on both sides, we must conform ourselves in everything to His will. And all the more, both because God has an infinite right that His will should be done in all things, and because we lie under an absolute obligation to seek His good pleasure, which is the main root of all justice, uprightness, and holiness, If, then, He disdains not to do our will, surely, in our turn, we should make a point of submitting to His.
But the most powerful motive for this holy conformity, and one we should keep ever fixed before our mind, is, beyond a doubt, that God is the Sovereign Good, Who deserves that all creatures should conform to His will. Goodness claims love. What the magnet is to iron, that goodness is to our will, drawing it by a sweet attraction; and the greater the goodness which is reflected in the beloved object, the greater, too, its power to attract the will, and to kindle in it a requital of love. Now, as God is Infinite Goodness, He possesses an Infinite attraction for our love, and deserves to be loved beyond all measure, more than anything else, whether within or without us; more than our body and soul; more than any will or inclination of ours; and consequently He is to be preferred to any and every natural propensity of our will. For to love is nothing else but to wish the well-being of the person beloved, and that, too, in the measure of his deserts. Since, then, God infinitely deserves that every desire of ours should be submitted to His will, our will must invariably be sacrificed to His if we love Him as we ought (Scaramelli, Vol. IV, Article iv, Chapter III).
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.
All creatures are at the service of God’s friends; they help them to acquire greater merit to attach and unite themselves by a closer affection to their Creator. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 34.
March Devotion: St. Joseph
Virtue to practice: Mortification
Novena in honor of St. Joseph – Day 4
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.
Saint Joseph, Model of Purity
“How beautiful is the chaste generation!” (Wisdom iv)
“The whole weight of gold is as nothing in comparison with a pure soul.” (Eccles. xxv)
Saint Joseph was pre-eminent in purity because he feared God and faithfully observed His holy law; because he safeguarded his virtue by fear of the Sovereign Good and by prudence; because he sheltered it under the virginity of Mary, and felt the influence of Jesus, the divine Son of all sanctity.
How pure must he have been who was to become the worthy spouse of the Immaculate Virgin! How holy must he have been whose relations with the thrice holy God were so intimate.
O Saint Joseph, help me to understand the excellence of purity and how dear it is to the heart of God. Teach me to preserve carefully this delicate virtue under the shadow of the fear of God; to safeguard it by prayer, by vigilance, by shunning the world, by careful watch over my heart and my senses. Grant that I may henceforward close my heart to all disorderly affections; that I may deserve to enjoy like thee upon earth the friendship and intimacy of Jesus, and that it may be given to me one day to sing in Heaven the canticle reserved for Virgins.
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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