In what the exercise of walking always in God’s Presence consists. The work of the understanding.
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.
In what the exercise of walking always in God’s Presence consists. The work of the understanding.
That we may derive more profit from this exercise, we shall at present explain in what it consists. It consists in two acts – the one of the understanding, and the other of the will. That of the understanding must precede, as being always required and presupposed for the producing any act of the will. Now this act is made by considering, that God is everywhere present; that He fills and replenishes the universe; that He is all in all; and all in every part of each creature that has a being. And hereupon we must produce an act of faith; because, in effect, it is a truth that faith teaches us, “For in Him we live and move” (Acts xviii, 28). We must not imagine God as far from us, or as if He were not present to us; for He is within us. “I sought You, O Lord, without me, and You are within me” (St. Austin). God is present in us and He is within us in a more real manner than we are within ourselves. It is He that gives life to all living creatures: He is the force and motion of all things that move, and the being of all creatures that are; He preserves all things by the power of His presence; and, without His continual help and succour, all things would cease to be and return to their first nothingness. Consider, therefore that you are filled with God, encompassed and surrounded by God, and that you, as, it were, swim in God. These words, “all the earth is full of His glory” (Isaias vi, 3) are words which agree admirably well with the subject of which we are treating.
Some, to render this consideration the more easy, represent the whole world filled with God as it is, and themselves in the midst of this infinite ocean of the Divine immensity, as a sponge plunged into the midst of the sea. This comparison at first sight, seems to be very just and proper, and to be within the reach of the human understanding; but in reality, it is far from explaining sufficiently what we are speaking of. For a sponge in the midst of the sea, keeps upon the very surface of the waves if the sea be very high; and if it descends low, it touches the bottom of the sea; and if it is carried either on the one side or the other, it meets with the shore. But in God there is nothing of all this. There is no end or bounds in Him, because He is immense, and infinite. “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy face? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I descend into hell, Thou art present. If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also shall Thy hand lead me; and Thy right hand shall hold me. And I said, perhaps darkness shall cover me, and night shall be my light in my pleasures. But darkness shall not be dark to Thee; and night shall be light as the day, the darkness thereof, and the light thereof, are alike to Thee” (Ps. cxxxviii, 7, 12). Moreover, as the sponge is a body, so the water is a body also, which can never penetrate all parts thereof; but as to us, we are all in all, and in all parts penetrated by God, Who is a pure spirit. Comparisons of this kind, though very imperfect, are, notwithstanding, good and profitable; because in some manner they help us to conceive the infinite immensity of God, and in what manner He is intimately present in all things; and it is for this reason that St. Austin makes use of comparisons of this kind, in sundry places.
We are then, to consider God present to us, by forming a simple act of faith in this truth; by supposing that He is actually and effectually present; because faith assures that He is without searching any farther how He is present. It was in this manner that Moses, as St. Paul relates, considered God, and had Him always present in his mind, as if he had beheld Him with his eyes (Heb. xi, 27). Thus as when we speak to a friend in the dark, we think of nothing else but of entertaining him, and of that satisfaction which we feel in his presence without troubling our imagination as regards his personal appearance; in the same manner we ought simply to repose in this consideration, that God is present; and content ourselves with enjoying the fruit we can reap from His presence, and this all the more because if we will endeavour to represent Him to our mind as He is, we shall never be able to accomplish it. It is yet too dark a night to see Him in this manner; let us, therefore, wait till the morning breaks, and till the broad daylight of the next life appears. At present our sight is too weak; and His apparition in a cloud to Moses, teaches us that He wishes His presence to be so concealed from us here below, that we cannot see Him but with the eyes of a blind and perfectly submissive faith.
All that we have said hitherto regards the first act, which is that of the understanding. But this is not the chief point in the matter we treat of; for we must not only employ our understanding to consider God as present, but we must afterwards exercise our will in loving Him, and in uniting ourselves to Him as present; and it is in this, that the chief exercise of the presence of God consists, as we shall demonstrate in the following chapter (Rodriguez, Christian Perfection, Vol. I, Sixth Treatise, Chapter II.)
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.
If you look into it, you will see that in times past, when you fell into many sins, and were less desirous to serve our Lord, you were neither tempted nor troubled as much by this serpent, who is ever seeking to disturb us. For then your mode of life pleased Him, while now He cannot endure the change in you. – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Letter 13.
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.
To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and, implored the help of thy thrice-holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou was united to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength. Most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us most lovely father, all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.
An indulgence of 3 years. An indulgence of 7 years during the month of October, when said after the recitation of the Rosary and on any Wednesday throughout the year. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, If this prayer is devoutly said daily (Leo XIII, Encyclical Aug. 15, 1889; S.C. Ind., Sept. 21, 1889; S.P.Ap., May 17, 1927; Dec. 13, 1935; and March 10, 1941).
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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