Of the Acts of the Will, in which this exercise chiefly consists, and after what manner they are to be produced.

Of the Acts of the Will, in which this exercise chiefly consists, and after what manner they are to be produced.

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.

Of the Acts of the Will, in which this exercise chiefly consists, and after what manner they are to be produced.

St. Bonaventure, in his Mystical Divinity, says, that the act of the will, whereby we must elevate our hearts to God, in this exercise of which we speak at present, consists in the ardent desires of the soul to unite itself to God, by the bands of perfect charity. It consists, he says, in the deep sighs, which love prompts the soul to heave, in order to call her Beloved to her, and in the tender and affectionate motions, which serve her as wings to fly up, and to make her approach nearer and nearer unto Him. These motions and desires are by the saints styled aspirations; because they make the soul raise itself to God, which is the same thing as to aspire to Him; and because, as the action of continually repelling from our lungs the air that we draw into them, is made without any previous reflection or resolution to respire or draw breath; so these burning desires proceed so suddenly from the bottom of our hearts, that we sometimes make them without having had beforehand so much time as to think of them, or to design or purpose with ourselves to produce them. These aspirations and these desires are expressed by short and frequent prayers which are called “ejaculatory,” that is to say, according to St. Austin, “suddenly shot forth” (Epist. ad Prob.); because they are like inflamed darts or arrows, which the heart shoots one after another towards God. Cassian likewise says, that they were very much in esteem, and very much in use amongst the primitive monks in Egypt; because, “being short they did not weary the mind” (Lib. II, de instit. renunt.); and being full of zeal and fervour, they approached God’s presence before the devil could have leisure to trouble him that made them, or to oppose any obstacle to them. St. Austin says upon this subject, what ought to be very much taken notice of by those who give themselves to prayer – “we must take care,” says he, “that this ardent and lively attention which is necessary for him that prays, be not weakened by the length of our prayer” (Epist. ad Prob.). But this is not so much to be feared in ejaculatory prayers, and therefore the saints in the desert ordinarily made use of them, endeavouring, by a continual elevation of their hearts to God, to entertain themselves always in His presence.

And indeed there is no means more fit to attain this end; nor any more easy or profitable: but we shall first explain its practice more fully. Cassian establishes it in that verse which the Church repeats in the beginning of each canonical hour; “Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me” (Ps. Ixix). Before we begin any hard or difficult work let us first of all by these words beg grace that we may perform it well; and as in all things we stand in need of the assistance of God, so let us continually have recourse unto Him. This verse, says, the same Cassian, wonderfully expresses all our desires, whatever may be our state or condition in life. By this we beg God’s assistance; by this we humble ourselves, and acknowledge our wants and miseries; and by it, we inflame ourselves with His love, considering that He is our protector and refuge. In fine, whatsoever combats or assaults of the enemy we have to sustain or resist, we have in these words an impenetrable buckler, a coat of mail that is an assured rampart of defence. Wherefore, we must have these words always in our heart, and in our mouth – we must make them our constant prayer and avail ourselves of them, in order to put ourselves in the presence of God.

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.

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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.

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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.

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To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and, having 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 loving 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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