Helps which enable us to keep God’s Presence always before our minds. – continued.
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.
Helps which enable us to keep God’s Presence always before our minds. – continued.
Another help towards remaining in the presence of God during the distracting occupations of the day, is to offer them all to God with the pure intention of doing His most holy will and of pleasing Him in all things. At the beginning of each duty, whether of great or little importance, spiritual persons should lift up their minds to God, protesting with all sincerity that in the occupation whatever it may be – study, business, labour – we seek not our own pleasure, our own interest, our own reputation, or any other private end, but merely to fulfil His holy will and to be pleasing in His sight. And during the progress of our actions, we should frequently renew this holy and loving intention, and continue what we are doing with an unaffected desire of pleasing God in all we do. In this manner, even our most trivial and animal actions, such as our eating, sleeping or working when accompanied with this intention, will be changed, by a sort of heavenly alchemy, into the gold of sanctifying and meritorious works: since thus they will have been directed to a supernatural end, and will earn for us an eternal reward, a never-fading crown in our heavenly country. To perform our daily actions in this manner, implies a continual exercise of charity; as thus they are done for the sake of God, and purely for His love. And further, by this means, the advantage of keeping God ever before us will be obtained without wearying the brain by forced reflections; inasmuch as the very intention of pleasing God in our actions, when kept up constantly, or at least renewed frequently, is of itself a loving remembrance of God, and therefore a true and very real act of His presence. St. Basil makes this plain by the comparison of a smith, or other artisan, who has been charged to produce a work belonging to his handicraft. The workman ever bears in mind the person who has given him the order, and executes it according to the plans and directions which he has received. Thus, continues the Saint, provided that in the performance of our outward actions we try to carry out the will of God, Who requires us to do them, and that we have in view, not our own private ends, but His good pleasure alone, not only will our works be perfect, but we shall thus be enabled ever to keep God before us, and to say in truth, with the Royal Prophet: “I set the Lord always in my sight, for He is at my right hand, that I be not moved “ (Ps. xv, 8).
A third way towards easily realizing the presence of God, is to arrange for ourselves a time and occasion of retirement during the course of the day, suitable to our duties and state of life.
Religious enjoy in this respect a great advantage, as they are shut out from the turmoil and bustle of the world, and being free from the embarrassment of worldly ties and cares, they can withdraw to their cells, in which, they can easily recollect themselves with God in heart. But seculars, especially women, are not wholly debarred from this practice: even they can find some place of retirement within their own homes, while they occupy themselves in their household duties; and if they will but provide and make use of such a retreat, it will be easy for them in the midst of their ordinary occupations to lift up their hearts to God, and to enter into mutual converse with Him; for as He declares, then does He communicate Himself to our hearts when He sees that we are alone. “I will allure her, and will lead her into the wilderness, and I will speak to her heart” (Osee ii, 14).
But if our avocations compel us to remain in public amid the hum of the busy world or in the company of the members of our own families, God will not fail to communicate Himself inwardly to us, if we on our part have any real wish to be with Him, and continue to seek Him in all our actions; though they be performed in the presence of others: so long as we do them with an upright intention, and turn often to Him by ejaculations shot forth from our innermost heart (Scaramelli, Guide to the Spiritual Life, Vol I, Section I, Article vii, Chapter V).
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.
We should confide in God, even to believing that if a vessel were wanting to us, the sea itself would afford us a safe footing… – St. Ignatius of Loyola, Maffœi.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost (The Passion for Lent)
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood,
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of human kind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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